Create back-ups of your DVDs using HandBrake on Mac

I knew this day would come, as it has come for all other friends of mine who became fathers: create back-ups of your original kids-content DVDs, as their constant playback is not only difficult to manage but damaging to the discs themselves. Hooray for the media playback method: digital files! Long live the Matroska format!

An excellent tool that I’ve been using since my first Intel-based OS X days, HandBrake is the solution to digital files creation and of course, MKVs are the only way to go nowadays. Simple in its GUI yet powerful, HandBrake has been a companion for many of us and I am very happy that its development is still on-going.

What I didn’t know until recently is that HandBrake was counting on third-party software to directly read CSS-encrypted DVDs (e.g. “Fairmount” for Mac, by Metakine) something I’ve never experimented with until now. However, this “third-party” software is no longer available nor updated, as “Fairmount” has been acquired by DVDSuki Software and has been merged into “Mac DVDRipper Pro”. But according to this older article in MacWorld, we can still read and convert encrypted DVDs to MKVs for use with our favourite digital media players. In my case, a Western Digital WDTV Live player.

When prompted by HandBrake, simply install the necessary CSS library in your system, re-launch HandBrake and you’re good to go. In effect, what you need is the installation of the file libdvdcss.2.dylib in /usr/lib/ on your Mac system and you won’t be getting these error messages on HandBrake anymore:

HandBreak Missing Library Warning

Open the inserted DVD via HandBrake and wait until it reads all titles and chapters, then just select what you want to convert. Happy converting…

UPDATE: Just found out that user pmetzger got the source code for Fairmount and released a tweaked version. It may or may not remain alive as a project, but it’s worth having a look: http://github.com/pmetzger/Fairmount/

UPDATE: Seems that MacWorld have updated their same article and now we can get the updated libdvdcss.2.dylib versions directly from http://www.videolan.org/developers/libdvdcss.html