Let's say I own the box set of TV's most criminally canceled show, "Firefly." Now let's say I want to watch some episodes on my iPhone. Or iPad. Or even just my laptop. Do I really have to spend more money to buy or rent them from Amazon or iTunes?
Not if I have a good DVD ripper, which copies movies and TV shows from the discs I already own and converts them to other formats (like, say, iPhone-friendly MP4).
Rippers often sell for $30, $40, or even more--but I have a pair you can have absolutely free, no strings attached.
The first is Digiarty MacX DVD Ripper Pro, which, its name not withstanding, is also available for Windows. If you go for the Mac version, you'll need an activation code (BD-TGTXUVYO-OONQRP). The Windows version's activation code can be found in a text file included with the download.
The second is iToolSoft DVD Ripper, also available for both Windows and Mac. The required registration names and codes appear right on the download page; make sure you enter the latter exactly as they're shown, dashes and all.
Update: Several readers have reported problems getting the Mac code to work. While I had no problem with the Windows version, I wasn't able to try its Mac counterpart. I've contacted the developer and will post an update if and when I get a response.
Update #2: iToolSoft has informed me that they've fixed the problem with Mac registration. It should be working now.
These are full versions, the only limitation being that they don't qualify for updates or technical support. (Before you start griping about that, let me remind you that they're free.) I downloaded, installed, and ran both without any problems to speak of.
Which one is better? I think the iToolSoft product has the prettier interface, but Digiarty's ripper supports more device-specific output formats (including the iPhone 4, iPad, and Zune). My advice: grab 'em both and decide for yourself.
The Digiarty and iToolSoft freebies are available until October 28 and October 31, respectively.