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Watch DVDs on your iPad

 The iPad doesn’t have an optical drive, and iTunes doesn’t import DVDs to your iPad, but if you want to watch your DVDs on an iPad or iPhone there is a relatively easy way to get around these obstacles.

 If you want to watch your DVDs on an iPad or iPhone you can follow these steps to convert the contents of your DVDs into MP4 files suitable for viewing on the iPad or iPhone. Some steps may look different on your computer but these guidelines should at least help you to get headed in the right direction.

 First use DVDFab 8 Qt to decrypt and copy the contents of your DVD (in this example I’m using the movie Snow Dogs) into a folder on the computer’s hard drive. You can download DVD FAB 8 Qt here, http://www.dvdfab.com/download.htm. They’ve since updated to version 9 but I haven’t tried it out yet.

 For the first 30 days after you install DVD Fab 8 Qt you can use the DVD COPY - Full Disc feature. After the 30 day trial period ends, the DVD COPY - Full Disc feature is no longer available. At that point the program defaults to the HD Decrypter feature. I think the main difference between DVD Copy - Full Disc and HD Decrypter is that DVD COPY - Full Disc allows a full 100% size and quality decryption and copy – plus – the option to select a reduced size/quality copy. HD Decrypter only allows 100% size and quality copy.

 Reduced quality will probably not be noticed since the iPad’s viewable screen is fairly small but if you don’t have much available space on your iPad a reduced file size can be desirable. For my use it makes no difference since I don’t retain a large number of movies on the iPad. Also, I think image quality probably isn’t really that different between the two options.

Once the trial period ends, file size reduction and a number of other nice features (not required here) are no longer available, but the program continues to decrypt and copy DVDs to my hard drive - minus file size reduction.

 To decrypt and copy the contents of your DVD’s over to your hard drive launch DVD Fab 8 Qt then insert your DVD. Your movie might start to Autoplay or pop up some other window. You will need to stop Autoplay and/or close any additional windows that pop up. DVD Fab 8 Qt will begin scanning the DVD; when it finishes scanning your DVD, click on the FULL DISC tab on the left side of the program window. DVD Fab 8 Qt will present you with a window similar to the following,


 Be sure to select a “Target” folder on your computer otherwise the program will default to your optical drive.

 Depending on the amount of computer generated images in the movie you’re copying, it may take 20 to 30 minutes to complete the Decrypt/Copy task.


 When the operation is complete your target folder will include a folder by the name of the movie with a subdirectory called Video_TS that might look this,


 Next I use a program called HandBrake to compile the contents of the newly created Video_TS folder into a single viewable MP4 file. You can download Handbrake here, http://handbrake.fr/downloads.php.

 Launch HandBrake then click on the SOURCE button in the toolbar to select the source directory. This will be the new movie folder’s Video_TS subdirectory that DVD Fab 8 Qt created.

 Next select the output device from the list in the field on the right side of the HandBrake window. In my case I selected iPad so HandBrake would apply all the appropriate presets.


 Next click on the big green “START” button in the toolbar; the program will begin to compile the contents of the copied files into a MP4 file. The process may take four to six hours to complete so I usually get things setup then begin the process just before leaving for work in the morning or right before going to bed. When the process is complete HandBrake has created a new file, in my case “Snow Dogs.m4v”. Although it is not essential, I typically delete the original Video_TS folder that DVD Fab 8 Qt created so that I can gain back the 4GB of space the original copied DVD files take up on the hard drive.

 HandBrake is a very easy program to use; it has presets for most all the smart phones, iPods, iPads and tablets you might want to transfer your movie to. It’s also faster than other similar programs I’ve tried.

 The next step in the process is to open iTunes, import your movie, and then transfer it to your iPad. There will be no directions for that here, iTunes provides plenty of information about how to import and transfer your songs, photos and movies to iPods and iPads.

 I have tried a couple of different free download programs and find DVD Fab 8 Qt and HandBrake to be the best, easiest and quickest combination of free programs to use for converting DVDs to MP4 files, short of spending $30 - $40 for full retail programs.

 Some of these directions may require slight adjustments to suite your setup but as a general guideline I think they should help you get started. Enjoy!

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