How to Put a DVD on an iPad


Note: Some DVDs, such as those by Disney, have multiple dummy files. Importing one of these will give you an out-of-sequence movie. Please check out this thread before proceeding with Handbrake. It tells you how to find the proper file to import.

Now that we are entering a more digital media space people are looking for ways to watch movies and television programs on their mobile devices.  The old hard formats, like DVDs, are not able to easily plug into devices like your iPad.  Instead, as an effort to support their iTunes Store, there is a limited digital video format that is allowed for playback on your iPad and it is not easy to just take a hard format and put it onto your iPad.  This does not mean that you cannot take your DVD library and then rip it into a format that can be put onto your iPad, though this is not as cut and dry as just downloading a movie from the iTunes Store and then syncing it to your tablet.  Here is a look at how to put a DVD on an iPad.

If you are looking for how to put a DVD on an iPad you are going to have to utilize an outside program to do the ripping.  The question here comes for how is this going to be different between Macs and PCs, though the answer is that it won’t.  Instead, the program Handbrake is available for both systems, as well as for Linux.  Handbrake, which is a free download, will take DVDs and then rip them to a digital file that is stored on your computer.

When you download the program and install it you will begin by opening it and looking at the interface.  Find the DVD you want to rip to your computer and put it in, making sure that it does not open in the DVD Player app on your computer.  Then click the Source button in the upper right hand corner of your Handbrake display.  This will bring up a prompt where you can locate the DVD, and you will select the DVD as a whole instead of content within the DVD.

It will then scan the contents of the DVD, and when it is done it will list information about the DVD.  If will then list how long the film is, the chapters that are there, where it will put the file, and the name.  You can then choose between M4 and MK3 formats, and you can stick with the default MP4 format.  You can go down and make even more changes to the final video format, such as specifying the source of the file, the bitrate, the framerate, what video codec to use, and more.  It is best in most cases to just maintain the default settings since this is going to be the best way to ensure that you are getting the video as it appears on the disc.


Once you are done making changes to the settings you can go up to the left hand corner and hit the Start button, and it will begin ripping the video file to the location specified in the Destination bar.  The process may take a while, and when it is done you will have a stand-alone movie file.


This file may still give you problems when trying to sync it over to the iPad, so when figuring out how to put a DVD on an iPad the second stage of this is to do a final conversion.  There are a lot of different programs that will convert to the MP4 file to a perfect iPad format, most of which are free.  One of the best pay programs for Mac that will do this is Compressor, and it is actually a pilot for how to do this across other programs both on Mac and PC.

When you open Compressor you will notice that the top window in the program is for the project and the bottom left one is for the listings of different codecs.  Click into the top window and then go to File and Open.  Locate the MP4 file you created and select it.  Then go up to Target and choose Destination.  This will allow you to choose a destination where you want the converted file to go.  Once these elements are set in the upper window go down to the Settings window and open Apple, then Apple Devices.  You will be given a few different H.264 options, and the one you want to choose is the simple H.264 for iPad and iPhone 4.  Drag and drop this into the upper project window.  Once it lists your project and the correct codec go down to the lower right hand corner of that window and hit Submit.  Your project will then appear in the lower right hand window as a progress bar and you can watch a preview of it in the available monitor.

Once it is done you will have another stand-alone file that will then be in the exact format that you need to sync over to your iPad.  Open up iTunes and then select Movie from under the Library heading in the left hand panel, which will be right under Music.  You will then see your Movies library and you will want to drag and drop your movie file onto that library so it will be listed and available in your iTunes.

Plug in your iPad to your computer and then select if from under the Devices heading in the left hand column.  Select Movies from the task bar in the main iTunes display, which is in between Music and TV Shows.  You here have several options for syncing movies, but you need to make sure to check the box that says Sync Movies.  You can then go through the available library and find the movie you just added, then add a check mark to the box next it.  Then hit the Apply button in the lower right hand corner and sync your iPad to iTunes.  This will port over the converted video file to your iPad, being permanently available in Videos until you decide to delete it from the device.  You will, however, always have a back up of this video file on your computer that was originally derived from a DVD.

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