Update: Steve has produced a video going through some of the features in detail. The video is embedded at the very bottom of the review (but read the review first!)
Firstly, to begin, I’d like to highlight that the team here at ReviewMacSoftware have already written a review about MacXDVD Ripper Pro in the past but that review is now quite old (last updated in 2014 in fact) and many of the comments on that article are also out of date and old.
So with a rather large DVD Collection that I’m trying to convert to run on my Plex Media Server to Chromecast to my TV (and surround system) I thought it was time to update that review as my first assignment.
To begin, let’s dispel the myth that only pirates want to rip DVDs. This is so far from the truth it’s not even funny. I’m putting my DVD collection onto a Plex Media Server so that I can watch it on any number of devices in my house, from an nVidia Shield Android TV (a highly recommended 4K set top box I might add), to a Chromecast device in the bedroom and even (via Plex) streaming to my iPhone when I’m having overnight stopovers. I have purchased all the DVDs I’m ripping and don’t own a DVD player any more. Even my Macbook Pro doesn’t have a DVD drive of it’s own.
Which leads to the next point. If you don’t have a DVD Drive, as I don’t, then I would recommend grabbing a USB3 DVD drive. I feel a lot of the comments regarding the speed of MacXDVD probably come down to poor hardware – as I’ve bought myself a USB3 DVD drive and I really cannot fault the speed of rips. USB2 is probably OK, but for the price these days, just get the USB3 version. There’s loads available and I’ll update this article later to provide some links to make it easy to find Mac compatible drives. I’ve updated the above to provide a link to Most Useful – Gear, Gifts and Gadgets, which is our sister site and now provides an online shop. If you’d like to support the site, please consider buying from there 🙂
The biggest plus I’ve found so far, as a media dummy, is that MacXDVD Ripper Pro is so extremely to use. Basically load your DVD into the drive and follow the prompts. If you choose the recommended settings when they pop up, you pretty much won’t go wrong.
MacXDVD Ripper Pro though is extremely flexible. There are more different video output profiles than I can count, ranging from standard video format (the type I chose) such as MP4, through to profiles optimised to provide formats for your iPhone, Android phone, YouTube video formats and even Chromecast formats. This latter one is invaluable if your Plex Media Server resides on a low powered Android device for example, where transcoding is not an option. Why not rip your DVDs directly into a format that Chromecast will play without transcoding?
I’ve also found MacXDVD Ripper Pro to be fast. I am using it on a Core i7 MacBook Pro (mid 2015) so it’s not a huge powerhouse machine, and so far it seems to rip an hour and a half movie in around 20 minutes. This doesn’t seem to vary all that much, except that I have found that the program does perform better when it’s in the foreground – at least on OSX High Sierra – I suspect OSX is power managing it to reduce power drain, but I’ve not looked into it too deeply.
The ‘new’ Disney copy protection is not an issue, MacXDVD Ripper Pro managed to rip my collection, some of which had this copy protection. Please don’t use this to illegally distribute rips though – artists deserve to be paid for their work. Watching it on different TVs and devices is fair use – distributing it isn’t.
There’s not much I can say that’s bad to be fair. The only niggle I have with the current release is that OSX High Sierra complains when you run it for the first time, stating that the app is not optimised for High Sierra. Checking out Apple’s support page for this suggests that MacXDVD Ripper Pro is not a 64bit application. At the moment this isn’t a problem, and I doubt it would improve the software much by being 64bit, but – and this could be a big issue in the future – Apple have committed to ending support for 32bit applications, so it might be that, unless Digiarty get their fingers out and recompile the app for 64bit, a future version of High Sierra might no longer run the app.
I have had some quirky issues with the DVD not being detected. This usually seems to be fixed if I unmount the DVD in Finder (for some reason my system is auto-mounting them and auto-running DVD Player). On one occasion it did get it’s knickers firmly in a knot and I had to reboot, but I haven’t had that happen since.
If you’re experiencing speed issues, I’m pretty convinced that High Sierra is throttling the program when it’s in the background. If I’m doing other things on the Mac and MacXDVD isn’t in the foreground then it eventually stops reading the DVD as often and therefore runs slower. There may be a system setting that I can adjust for this (and please let me know in the comments section below if that’s the case).
All the major output formats are supported, MP4, MOV, H.264, QT, AVI, MPEG, MP3 and they can be optimised for various devices from iPhone, Android, YouTube, ChromeCast, PC, Mac.
Subtitles and 5.1ch surround sound audio can also be ripped and converted into the digital file when saved as an MKV file as well as the option to simply backup the DVD to an ISO format. External subtitles can be merged into the rip if necessary – although I’ve not done this myself.
You can rip individual tracks from the DVD, and there’s a useful preview screen on the right which allows you to play the track you’ve currently selected. Multiple tracks can be selected and merged into one file, so if you’ve a bunch of episodes on a TV series DVD you could, if you wanted, merge them all into one long binge-watch. I’m sure there’s other more sensible reasons to do this though!
MacXDVD come with free lifetime upgrades, so if new technology comes out you’ll be able to upgrade.
The High Quality Engine feature preserves the original quality of the DVD without noticeably slowing down the rip, which is great for devices that can tell the difference (such as your 64″ TV).
A free trial (very limited though!) is available and Digiarty often run promotions with fairly substantial discounts, making it very good value for money. All in all, even with all the various DVD Ripping software I’ve used in the past, I still find MacXDVD Ripper Pro to be the easiest to use, the quickest to use and therefore the best value for money.
My review is based on MacXDVD Ripper Pro version 5.7.0
Steve has produced a video below for me, which goes into some of the features of MacX DVD Ripper Pro and will potentially answer some more questions. Thanks Steve!