How to Compress DVD Movies on a Mac


It is possible to store all your DVD movies on a hard drive (internal or external) on your Apple Macintosh computer; this way, you can play them at any time, without needing to load the physical disc. The process, however, would take a up lot of hard drive space if you did not first compress the movie files. Compressing standard VIDEO_TS DVD format to an MPEG or MP4 format will save you a lot of room on the hard drive. For example, the “Robot” episode of the "Doctor Who" series takes up 7.79 GB on a hard drive in standard DVD format. After compression, it occupies 1.5 GB of hard drive space.

Things You'll Need

  • Apple Macintosh computer
  • Mac the Ripper software
  • HandBrake compression software
  • iTunes or QuickTime software
  • External hard drive
  • Download the free copy of Mac the Ripper version 2.6.6 (See the Resources section for a link to download page). Copy the program to your "Applications" folder and then drag the icon to the Dock. Insert the DVD to be copied into your DVD drive (internal or external) and start Mac the Ripper.

  • Save the DVD’s disc image to your hard drive. In Mac the Ripper, go to “File,” then to “Save To.” In the browser pop-up, designate where you want to store the DVD disc image.

  • Download the DVD compression software HandBrake (See the Resources section for a link to download page). Open HandBrake: The program's interface looks fairly complex, but the default settings will work for most DVD movies you want to compress. You can experiment with some of the custom settings, but for the most part, leave them as they are.

  • Select the saved disc image of your movie by clicking the “Source” button in the upper-left corner of the HandBrake interface. In the pop-up browser, select the movie file you want to compress. Then, in the main section of the pop-up, click the “Browse” button, under “Destination.” Use this browser to find the folder where you want the compressed movie to reside.

  • Click the “Start” button in HandBrake's Toolbar and the compression process will begin. HandBrake may take a while to compress your movie, depending upon processor speed and on what other applications you may be running at the same time. You will know the compression is done when the HandBrake icon will be bouncing on the Mac’s Dock and a pop-up saying “Put down that cocktail! HandBrake has finished” will appear.

  • Open QuickTime and go to “File” and then to “Open File” to play your compressed movie in this program. You can also play it through iTunes. Double-click the icon for the movie your just compressed: This will automatically open iTunes, import the movie to the “Movies” playlist and begin playing. To view the movie in full screen mode, either press "Command" + "F," or go to “View” and then choose “Full Screen.”

Tips & Warnings

  • Be warned that copying DVDs you don't own is illegal.

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  • Photo Credit Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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