How to Download DVD Movies Into iTunes

by Christina Shaffer

    ITunes enables you to import and watch videos directly on your PC, but it doesn’t include a feature for downloading content from a DVD. To transfer a DVD to your computer, download and install a DVD-ripping application. Many programs can rip and encode a DVD to a video file format that is compatible with iTunes, such as MP4, MPG or MOV. After you transfer each movie to your computer, you can import them to iTunes and use the program’s “Get Info” feature to categorize your movie collection.

    Legality

    In recent years, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has fought to make copying DVDs to a computer illegal. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, however, creating backup copies of DVDs you purchased and legally own is considered legal. Copyright infringement occurs when you make a copy of a movie for the intended purpose of distributing the motion picture for profit. Importing a movie you don’t own into iTunes, such as a movie you borrowed from a friend or relative, is also considered illegal.

    Ripping and Encoding

    The process of extracting audio and video from a DVD is commonly referred to as “ripping.” Ripping also includes the process of encoding, which converts the DVD content to a specific digital file format, such as MP4. To rip a DVD to your computer, install a freeware application such as WinX DVD Ripper, Freemake Video Converter or iMacsoft Free DVD Ripper. Launch the program and insert the DVD into the PC’s disc drive. Select an output format that is compatible with iTunes, such as MP4, MPG or MOV, then select a destination folder for the converted file. Click the “Convert” or "Start Ripping" button to rip and encode the video. Depending on the program you choose, the name of the conversion option may differ.

    Importing to iTunes

    After you rip and encode the DVD into a video format that is iTunes-friendly, you can import the file directly into the media player. Click the “File” menu on the iTunes toolbar and select the “Add File to Library” option. Open the folder that contains the video, select the file and click “Open.” Verify that the movie was imported successfully by clicking the “Library” button and selecting “Movies.” A thumbnail of the video file appears on the screen.

    Tagging

    Tagging is the process of embedding information, such as a title, genre and release date, for a specific file and allows you to easily a video you want to watch. To tag a video file in iTunes, click the “Library” button and select “Movies.” Right-click your preferred video and select the “Get Info” option. Click the “Info” tab in the iTunes dialog box and fill in the information you want to attach to the file, such as the title of the film and the year it was released. If you imported an episode of a television show, click the “Video” tab and enter the name of the series, the title of the episode and a brief description.

    About the Author

    Christina Shaffer is a freelance writer based in New Jersey and has been writing arts and entertainment articles since 2005. Her articles have appeared in "Philadelphia City Paper." Shaffer received a B.A. in journalism and gender studies at Rutgers University.

    Photo Credits

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