I back up all of my DVDs to a 2 GB hard drive using HandBrake. In future posts, I’ll give you the basics of HandBrake usage as well as how I used a MacMini and an AppleTV to create a great media server for my upstairs and downstairs TVs.
Note: It is important to remember that the MPAA and most media companies argue that you can’t legally copy or convert commercial DVDs for any reason. I (and others) think that, if you own a DVD, you should be able to override its copy protection to make a backup copy or to convert its content for viewing on other devices. Currently, the law isn’t entirely clear one way or the other. So our advice is: If you don’t own it, don’t do it. If you do own it, think before you rip.
Why would you “need” to create a backup of your DVD? Consider this:
In early 2000, a group of Stanford researchers leased one of Intel’s clean rooms and, with the approval of their parents, scrubbed down several 5 year olds, placed them in clean suits, handed each a DVD copy of Toy Story, and placed each one inside the clean room for 20 minutes. When the researchers opened the door, each and every child was covered in jam, as were the DVDs.
Oddly enough, there was no jam within 20 miles of the facility. This demonstrated that children, when in possession of a favorite DVD, are capable of conjuring jam from the ether.
That is why I backup my DVDs or rely on digital copies supplied with those discs.