Large DVD collections can take up a lot of room. Shelf after shelf can be taken over, and if DVDs get out of order it can be very difficult to find the disk you are looking for. Converting the DVDs to a digital format for viewing on PCs and media centres is a smart way to reduce the need for physical copies and speed up the process of selecting a title.
Choose whether you want to compress your DVD collection. Compression is a great way to save hard drive space, but will require that any special features on a DVD be saved as separate files. Saving an uncompressed copy of your DVD will copy all the information to your hard drive, making an exact copy of the disk.
Select a compression format, if this is the option you wish to take. The two most popular are DivX and Xvid, which are methods of compressing video data to enable the file size to be lowered. Typical file sizes for a full length movie are 700 to 800 megabites.
Use third-party software to copy and compress your DVD. (See Resources for several software options.) Software typically allows you to choose your preferred file-size or quality level. You can choose which audio and subtitle tracks you wish to copy.
Convert the DVD to your preferred format and save the file with the DVD title.
Download and install third-party software to copy the DVD to your hard drive. (See Resources for software options.)
Create a new folder on your hard drive and label it according to the DVD. Often DVD structure can be confusing and not relate to the DVD title. Creating a folder with the name of the DVD title will alleviate confusion.
Use the software to copy the uncompressed DVD to your hard drive.
Copying DVDs requires a lot of hard drive storage space. One option to free up space is to purchase an external hard drive to hold your DVD collection.
Research current copyright laws to ensure it is legal to copy DVDs for personal use.