When it comes to ripping DVDs to your hard drive, Handbrake is one of the best known open-source tools there is. One small problem if you're a Windows user: the GUI was designed for the Mac, and the Windows build sometimes feels like an afterthought, particularly with the slightly cluttered GUI.
Enter, stage left, VidCoder. It takes the underlying code behind Handbrake, and overlays its own specially designed user interface that's simpler and more intuitive to use. Like Handbrake it'll only output to MP4 and MKV file containers, and it won’t rip encrypted DVDs, which covers most commercial discs. If you want this functionality, try DVD Decrypter, available as part of the Free Studio suite, or as a standalone download.
The interface is definitely easier to navigate than Handbrake’s: everything you need is accessible from a single screen, and when you click Settings to tweak the various presets, these appear in their own window beneath the main one, ensuring you don’t lose sight of where you’ve been. You can tweak just about every aspect of the conversion process, so advanced users will be pleased, while novices can restrict themselves to one of the available presets: normal or high profile for most, with various Apple-related options also available.
Conversion isn’t particularly quick, but the end results are suitably impressive, just as they are with the program that inspired VidCoder.
What's new in 4.36 (see the changelog for more)?
- Support for encoding to WebM container format
- Support for reading Ultra HD Blu-ray discs (without copy protection)
- Updated Intel Quick Sync Video to use Direct3D 11 API
- Each scan and encode has its own separate log, and general app messages are put into the General log.
- Added button to upload the log to Pastebin and copy a link to it.
- Added option to copy logs to a custom directory.
- Removed in-memory log copy which should reduce VidCoder memory consumption.
- Added support for importing SSA/ASS subtitles.
- Improved behavior for dragging imported subtitle files: It pops up a non-blocking status message rather than opening a dialog.
- Removed Advanced tab. It had not been updated in years, is missing a ton of options, bad defaults, inaccurate tooltips and no protection from invalid settings.
- The full x264 parameter list is now displayed side-by-side with the "More Settings" box to let you know exactly what you're getting.
- Added option to keep failed and stopped output video files. Global options -> Advanced -> Keep files from failed or stopped encodes. Updated to disable move/remove/edit context menu items for jobs on the queue that are currently encoding.