After searching for a reliable and easy to use iPhone video conversion software that runs on Windows PCs and trying a few of them without much success, I found one that works quite reliably. iPhone, iPod Touch and Apple TV play the same video format, so the steps described here are valid for all. Here are the steps:
- Get software: Get Sog DVD Ripper software for $29.90 (for Windows PCs). You can get the trial version that will convert the first 5 mins of your DVDs and just to give it a try.
- Select video: Run the software, insert your DVD in the DVD drive. In the software, press “DISK” button on the top left of the screen. The software will select automatically the longest track of the DVD. If you want, you can select another track.
- Select the settings and record: Select “to iPhone” option towards the middle of the interface (if you cannot find the iPhone option, select MPEG-4). Default options are pretty good, but it is better to change the “Volume” option. Set it to maximum which is 12 db. If you don’t do this, the audio of the recording may not be laud enough to hear on an iPhone, particularly when you are using iPhone’s speaker to playback. Optionally you can also set the “display name”. Normally this is automatically populated and 90% of the time contains the right name. This will be the file name of the final mpeg-4 file.
After you complete selecting the settings, press “Start” button to start recording. Recording will take nearly as long as the movie, about 1-2 hours. The output file is in mpeg-4 format with *.mp4 extension and in the c:OutputFolderiPhone directory. After you finish the recording, double click on the file to open it in QuickTime, and just seek to the end to make sure that the whole file was recorded.
- Import to iTunes: Open iTunes, select Movies, then goto File->Add File To Library. Goto C:OutputFolderiPhone and select the file you just recorded. Then wait until the whole file is imported. There is a progress bar at the top of the screen.
- Sync your iPhone or iTouch: Connect your device to your computer, goto iTunes and select your device. On the horizontal bar, select “Movies”, select “sync movies” and then select the video you just recorded. Then click on the “sync” button. After sync is completed you can access to these videos from “iPod” program in your iPhone or “Videos” program in your iTouch.
- If you are not happy with the volume of the movie even after selecting 12 db in iPhone coding, do like I did: Select “to Apple TV” in Sog DVD Ripper software instead of iPhone, and it gives you the option of adjusting the volume up to 16 db. Default recording settings in this case support higher quality video coding and bit rates are higher. You can modify “video quality” to be about 800kbps and audio quality to be about 96 kbps and you will get still decent quality on your iPhone. Note that your video will be under “c:OutputFolderAppleTV in this case. You can just manually copy these to the “c:OutputFolderiPhone” directory or import to iTunes directly from this directory.
- I play videos from my iPhone on my TV. So, usually I encode my videos at a little higher quality than necessary to play on an iPhone, so that they look good on a big screen TV. For this, I set video quality at 1800 kbps. You can read here how to play your iPhone movies on a TV.