John, to rip my dvds to my Apple iMac (with built in 20"widesceen LCD) Intel 2 Ghz Core Duo (duel core) with built in 500 GB HD ... heh, I love my macs ... you need a free program called MacTheRipper, which can be found at versiontracker dotty commy. (Like how I got around that? New forum user limitations. Heh.)
MacTheRipper is not Universal yet, meaning that it will run at half speed on the new Intel Macs, but it they are working on it. Most of my Apps are already Universal, or going Universal this year, the progress has been snappy on this in the Mac community. MacTheRipper is free, but the developer uses donations to continue his work. It's a very streamlined Mac like program, which means other than a few terms you need to learn, it's a no brainer to use, and does not complicate you with it's simple yet powerful controls.
What MacTheRipper does is removes User Operation Prohibitions (you know, the "you can't hit fast forward or chapter skipping now" signs), ARccos protection, CSS encryption, Macrovision protection, and sets the region code to "0" for region free playback. It can remove RCE region protection too. You can store the file in a folder, and play it back (without the disc) by selecting it with your Apple DVD Player that comes with the iMac, and it just plays Full DVD Quality, just like that. It can rip only the main feature if you want (or any portion of the disc), so when you hit the button, it fades in with just the movie. No warning screens, no previews, and no menus. I have found that a movie like Spiderman 2 takes up about 5 GB, thats just the main feature. With everything, it jumps up a few GBs. Hard Drive space is limited even with my 500 GB hard drive, so I only plan to rip the main features of my favorite 50 or so movies. I may add an ethernet based 500 GB Hard Drive, giving me a Terabyte to work with. Movies like the Matrix Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Spiderman 1-2, Superman Returns when it comes out, Batman Begins, MI 2-3, King Kong...you know the epics. No Meg Ryan stuff. Like I said, space is limited!
The new 750 hard drives with vertical stacking (instead of the space hogging flat stacking of norm) of the magnetic data storing "dominos" on typical hard drives has me excited. With 750 GBs, now we can all store our dvds on a "video server" if you will. No more scratched discs, and far more easy access to you collection, and at the same full quality to boot. Who needs HD DVDs? Until High Def comes standard in my Macs, I will not jump on HD DVDs.
This is all just to play DVDs, and you could burn them too if you wanted, as everything is decrypted, with other software afterwards. But I don't have the need. Another main feature about watching DVDs from a hard drive is for laptops. It takes far less juice to read a movie from a hard drive than to spin a disc and shoot lasers at it. So your battery will last much longer. Cool eh? I don't have a laptop though...Yet! I need a 12" Macbookpro when they come out, ya know for late night bedside internet browsing and avsforum posting
If you were to do cool things like edit together all your episodes of a fav TV show into a more epic "movie" style cut, you could use cinematize 2.0 (or the Universal version when that comes along) to transcode you DVDs to a editable format (DVD files are not editable without transcoding), which a video editing program could then tackle. Mpeg 2 Stream seems to be the best quality, DVD quality or near. Then you could reburn your final cut or clips to DVD or store it on your hard drive. How bout puting all the lightsaber battles together? All The Matrix fights together? Lots of fun there.