I can tell you how to make legal copies of your DVD’s:
You have FIVE main options when backing up DVD-Video:
1) making a FULL backup to a dual-layer disc
2) making a backup to a single-layer disc
3) converting to Divx or Xvid
4) converting to Nero Digital AVC
5) backing up full copy to hard drive for playback, but NOT burning to disc
1) To make a FULL copy, use DVD Fab Decrypter (free version) to copy data to a hard drive folder then use Nero Burning ROM->DVD-Video to copy to a dual-layer disc
2) If you use only a single-layer disc, first look at the files using Nero Recode (Nero 7 Ultra) and see if you can remove extras and audio tracks to reach 100% so compression is not required. You can compress with Nero Recode, but I would use DVD Rebuilder Pro with CCE2. In fact, this method is so good I’m now keeping the FULL menus with only the non-english audio tracks removed. After compressing, test then burn to single layer disc, then remove the files that were created.
3) Divx (or xvid) are compressed video files. They save space but need a standalone Divx DVD player (or portable media player), a computer, or PS3 to play. I use Dr. Divx 2 with the Divx Create pack.
4) Nero Digital AVC is a codec that is SIMILAR to Divx or Xvid but has slightly superior quality in a smaller size. It is NOT compatible with Divx standalone devices but is compatible with computers, certain media players and probably HD-DVD, Blu-Ray and soon the PS3 (if not already). The PS3 can boot to the PS3 interface and a Linux interface. Appropriate “codecs” need to be loaded in Linux for playability but everything should be supported. The native PS3 interface is updated direct from Sony.
5) Standalone on computer. You will see this increasingly in the future. When the computer is hooked up to the TV, you will be able to browse to your stored DVD’s (which may also be on a hard-drive based “media server”) instead of inserting the disc. Currently, many programs (notably Nero’s Showtime or Windows Media Player) can play back the stored content though you may need to manually select the “video_ts.ifo” file and “open with...".
I can’t endorse downloading illegal content or software such as can be found on Torrent sites such as Demonoid using applications such as Azureus or uTorrent. This is equivalent to stealing and I highly recommend that no one advertise that they do this. This problem is so widespread that it is practically socially “acceptable” to do this.
I am interested in the software for backing up of my legal collection mainly due to the scratches I can’t avoid. Since I have high standards, I’m reluctant to use compression on video such as “Star Wars III” so I’m paying extra for dual-layer for part of my collection. In a year or two I intend to build a High-Def PC (Blu-Ray?) with HDMI output which will store all my DVD’s (either in folders or as ISO), act as a DVR, VOIP and more. I am currently considering buying a PS3 as it is a phenomenal deal and can act as a standalone computer. I believe LINUX will be given a huge push due to the PS3 and will become useful enough to start threatening Microsoft in two years.
By the time the PlayStation 4 comes out in perhaps five years it will be an even more incredible marriage of a mature Linux machine, video gaming console, Blu-Ray player (HD-DVD via USB in Linux)DVR, media server and more. It will be even more quiet, smaller and truly awesome. There’s no reason to learn Linux now, but keep this in the back of your mind.