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How to Rip Blu-Ray Discs on the Mac

Synopsis:

Learn how to rip blu-ray discs on your Mac using freely available software. You can then watch blu-ray movies on your iPhone, iPad or laptop.

Let's Begin:

A lot has been written about ripping DVDs so that you can play them back on your Mac, your iPod, iPad or iPhone, but not much has been said about blu-ray ripping. This article is here to help.

Important: Blu-ray ripping and circumventing the copy protection on the discs may be illegal in some territories. Check your local laws before proceeding. The information in this article is provided as is and the reader assumes all responsible and risks for its use without exception. In all cases, the reader is solely responsible for compliance with local laws.

To rip blu-ray movies to your Mac you will need two things: a blu-ray reader and some software. The good news is that external blu-ray readers compatible with the Mac are now easy to get and fairly inexpensive, and even better, the software needed is free!

There are a number of external blu-ray drives available for your Mac. These use either USB, Firewire or eSATA to connect to your Mac which makes hook up easy. One such drive is the OWC Mercury Pro Blu-Ray Reader which can also read and write DVDs and CDs. If you think you will need to burn blu-ray discs on your Mac at some point, then you might consider the OWC Mercury Pro 10X Blu-Ray Burner + SuperMultiDrive which can read and burn just about any type of disc you’re likely to need.

Once you have a drive capable of reading blu-ray discs connected to your Mac, the next thing you’ll need is the blu-ray ripping software. For this you can use the free MakeMKV program available from www.makemkv.com. Visit the site and download the Mac version. A version of the blu-ray ripping software is also available for Windows if you should need it.

With the software installed and the drive connected, pop in a blu-ray movie to rip to your Mac. The software should recognize the title as soon as you launch it. The software gives you the option of which audio and video tracks to rip. This allows you to skip foreign languages you don’t need or things like movie previews that you don’t want in your ripped copy. When you’re ready, click the MakeMKV button and take a break while the software does its work. See the documentation in the application or on the web site for details about how to use the software and FAQs.

When it’s done, you’ll have an MKV file that contains the ripped blu-ray disc. An MKV is an open movie file format which stands for “Matroska Video”. Matroska is a container file format, capable of holding unlimited number of video, audio and subtitile tracks, along with any metadata. The main advantage of this format is that it is unencumbered by patents and can therefore be freely used by anyone. Videos in the MKV format can be played back using the free VLC player available from www.videolan.org.

If you’d like to watch the move ripped from the blu-ray disc on your iPhone, iPad or iPod, then you’ll need to transcode the file to a format that these devices use. One way to do this is by using HandBrake, which is available for free from www.handbrake.fr. Most people are familiar with HandBrake for DVD ripping on the Mac, but it can also be used as a transcoder. Just tell it to open the MKV file you created when you ripped the blu-ray disc and HandBrake will be able to create an mp4 file that will play on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

With a blu-ray reader and MakeMKV, blu-ray discs and movies can easily be ripped to your Mac for playback while you’re on the go either on your laptop or other Apple mobile device. ┬áIf you need to burn blu-ray discs as well, consider the popular Roxio Toast 10 Titanium Pro
software package.

Category: Apple Mac OS X