There are two excellent free video "converters" for Mac. One is a "ripper," and the other a transcoder. There's more out there, but the best of the free software are probably MacTheRipper and Handbrake, and RipIt stands alone as an elegant, affordable DVD ripper.
MTR (formerly MacTheRipper)
MacTheRipper excels at ripping DVDs to your Mac's hard drive. The most recent version of it is hard to find and technically is for sale at a cost, though it is through a circuitous and financially vague transactional process, due to the legality of the software being in question and the developer fearing prosecution for making it available (so he says). Still, it is the only software I have found that can rip your legally owned DVDs to your hard drive for personal use for free, regardless of any copy-protection schemes employed on the DVD. Support for MacTheRipper is sparse due to its shadowy presence on the web, and if you are dissatisfied with it, you have no avenue for restitution. There is no way to try the software before you buy it.
- As of 2016 the current version of it is MTR 5, and is for sale at a "suggested" cost of $40 which is "not strictly required".
However, if you want the simplest, easiest DVD Ripper for Mac, it is worth spending a little money (only $20) on RipIt. This is a very well-designed and highly capable app with fantastic support from the developer. You can download a copy for free and rip ten DVDs to test it and see if you like it. Before you start messing around with MacTheRipper and its myriad of settings, I'd highly recommend you try RipIt. I am not in any way associated with the developer.
- As of 2016 the price is $25, and there is mixed recent feedback on the product page at MacUpdate.
- An alternative app with good feedback there is Mac DVDRipper Pro.
The second indispensable piece of free video converting software on the Mac is HandBrake, which can transcode almost any video, including DVD, to a variety of formats compatible with all of Apple's products.
- Update as of February 2012: when using HandBrake to read encrypted DVDs, it uses part of the free video program VLC. If you have upgraded VLC to version 2, and HandBrake gives you a stating VLC is incompatible, see this page at MacWorld.
- Opening Windows files#Online conversion for free services to convert video, either uploaded or from another website
- MTR at MacUpdate.com
- RipIt from TheLittleAppFactory.com
- MPEG Streamclip, another free transcoder with many tools
- online-convert.com converts videos if not too large, as well as audio, images, documents etc. You can either upload a video, or enter the URL if the video is already online e.g. at YouTube.
- Contributed by David Burke, "CMUG Ambassador" on Mac-Ministry, Feb 23, 2010
- MPEG Streamclip recommended by Chris Howard and others
- online-convert.com recommended by David Larson in September 2011
- Fix for VLC compatibility posted by Marvin Robertson, Feb 27, 2012
- Updates added by Neville Reid, Aug 13, 2016