Related coverage: Could Apple add RealDVD-like DVD-ripping to iTunes?
RealNetworks will soon let users rip DVDs to their hard drives--legally. The company will be unveiling the RealDVD software at Monday's DemoFall conference in San Diego, but CNET got an early look at the software. Our hands-on impressions follow:
Operation is simple and straightforward. Once the RealDVD software is installed, just pop a DVD into your PC, and the program will copy the entire disc to your hard disk. Depending on the read speed of your computer's DVD drive, the operation will probably take 15-20 minutes (for dual-layer discs that house 7 to 8.5GB of data). You can copy as many as your hard drive will hold, and the program's browsing screen gives you the cover art and relevant metadata (cover art, stars, directors, plot summaries, ratings).
Whether you're at 37,000 feet or you're accessing the program on a home theater PC hooked up to your TV, you need only click on the movie you want to watch, and it'll start straight away. (We say "movie," but RealDVD works just as well for TV shows on DVD as well.) The files are uncompressed, and include everything on the disc--all the extras, and all of the surround sound and alternate audio tracks. Videos can only be watched in the program's built-in software player, but you can toggle to full-screen viewing, and videos autoresume wherever you last left off. … Read more