Back Up Your DVDs Using ratDVD

Published Date
01 - Aug - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2005
Back Up Your DVDs Using ratDVD
Apart from good quality, what is the biggest USP of a DVD?
Undoubtedly, it is the ability to resume from a specific location, the menus, the scene selection and additional goodies including the "making" of the movie, bonus tracks, and scenes. All of it is packaged to prompt people to pay the significant price difference and buy a DVD
instead of a VCD.

Now, the quality you get when you copy your disk on to your laptop in the avi format is exceptional, but what about the menus and other goodies? Really Advanced Technology DVD, or ratDVD, does just that!

The default screen of ratDVD

It creates a container file, a concept akin to file zipping, which maintains the quality of an avi file while providing you with a full-fledged DVD experience in terms of menus and navigational features.

Monitor the enconding progress

To make the concept extremely simple, we can say the ratDVD zips your DVDs and allows you to watch them as and when you see fit. This is not to say that the compression is lossless. It is lossy, but the difference is not really noticeable unless you get picky or get a file which is roughly a third of the size of your DVD!

Step 1. What You Need And From Where?
The software is called ratDVD and is available for download at It has been developed by a group of programmers (aren't they all?) who have decided to keep themselves anonymous for fear of a lawsuit from media giants...

Step 2. The Software And The Interface
The software uses freeware or proprietary encoding methods and creates a .ratDVD file, which is playable via the ratDVD player or through several others (through force play-which is when the software says, "This file is not supported, try playing anyway?" So you say "Yes"!)

The interface is remarkably simple for software that does something no other software has hitherto been able to accomplish (although DivX 6 employs menus, they are no match for the ratDVD).

The window contains three file explorer-type panes and is dominated by the preview pane where you can watch the movie you are er… ratting!

The bottom two panes show the DVD content and individual file settings when the DVD file has been loaded into the software. The software shows the duration and size of each file and also the size of the final file.

Step 3. The Settings
The software allows you to open only .ratDVD files and DVD Video Files (such as Video_TS.ifo). It doesn't support MPEG and others. That's OK, as it's supposed to zip DVDs!

On opening the Vide_TS file, it gives a list of files on the DVD and the content of each file (in terms of audio streams) on the right-hand side.
You can choose to keep or delete the various Audio streams (it's best to keep the DTS 5.1 and delete others for best audio quality, unless, you are low on space, then you should only keep the AC3 2.0 2 channel audio.)

It has a neat slider-it is by default set to zip the file with 95 per cent retention of quality, but you can slide it at 100 per cent file size and beyond. This results in bloated file sizes sans any significant increase in quality.

The most interesting feature of the ratDVD is that you can individually select audio channels for each video file. If there's a video file you don't like very much, you can downgrade the audio quality to reduce the file size. It's best to remove video files that you don't want and to do so, simply uncheck the file in the left pane.

Step 4. Convert
To convert the file, simply click the bottom right icon. The software closes this window and opens up another conversion window which is a preview pane and by default, shows the movie preview as it gets ratted in the background. There is a tiny little check box on top, which when unchecked, shows the ratDVD logo while the file is converted.

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