WinX DVD Ripper Platinum

Hey, everyone. Summer’s here, school’s out, and there’s nothing to do but chill. And blog. So, I though I’d do a nice review and then do a giveaway right after. So, here’s my review. Expect the giveaway in a day or so.

Check back soon for a giveaway!

I was asked to do a review of “WinX DVD Ripper Platinum” by WinX as a joint promotional attempt, of sorts; In exchange for reviewing their software, I was given 10 copies of the software to give away to you folk. I’ll write up that giveaway later, but for right now, I want to do a review of the software, because I was actually thoroughly impressed.

Ta dah!

Functionality

First off, function, the most important part of any bit of software. To rip a DVD, all you need to do is launch the program, pop a DVD in the drive, and wait a second. The software automatically detects the video files on the DVD and chooses the one most likely to be the movie that you want to rip (as opposed to trailers, extra scenes, etc.). You additionally have the option to manually select the source drive or Video_TS folder (dvd video folder) by clicking the “Disk” or “Path” buttons at the top of the screen.

Selecting the video output format for your video is as simple as choosing a tab at the bottom of the screen. The software comes with a lot of pre-configured settings optimized for any output device. You additionally have the option to customize these settings manually. You have manual control over many aspects of the finished rip; the software allows you to  choose quality rates from drop-down boxes, select sample/frame rate for the audio and video, tweak the gain (in decibels) for the volume, select audio and video filetypes and containers, and adjust the resolution and aspect ratio. A large “Start” button allows you to start the conversion process.

The pre-configured outputs are as follows:
  • Direct, lossless backup
  • AVI
  • MP4
  • MPEG
  • WMV
  • FLV
  • MOV
  • iPod/iPhone
  • iPad
  • Apple TV
  • PSP
  • 3GP
  • Zune
  • Music (Just the audio from the DVD)

Extra Features

The software includes a few extra features to enhance the conversion process.

Advanced De-Interlace Accelerator – When recording video, some cameras use “interlacing,” when twice the required frames per second are shot, the heights of the frames are scaled in half, and the two frames are meshed into one frame. This can cause individual frames to be blurry (to see what I mean, check this out). The software uses the De-Interlace Accelerator to quickly remove interlacing from videos.

High-Quality Engine – Using a specialized rendering engine, the software can create high-quality rips, lengthening the time it takes to rip a DVD but increasing the quality of the final product.

Intelligent A/V Synchronizer – When I had previously tried to rip DVD’s, I had always encountered issues with synchronizing the video and the audio of  the films. WinX included an automatic A/V synchronizer into it’s software so that people like me don’t have to fuss with video files and audio files just to see a movie as it’s supposed to be seen.

Things to be desired

The software, despite the fact that it works, smoothly and without error, is ugly. Its gui looks like it was designed in the ’90’s, complete with a serif-typeface splash screen. The buttons are rather gawky, and the icons for buttons and the actual buttons themselves don’t match. For example, in it’s main window, it lists 3 steps to get you started, but provides different images to represent the buttons than what they use for the buttons themselves. Just look at the screenshot above.

Besides the crummy visuals, there is no option to convert a standard video_TS folder or something like that. You must select a drive physically attached to your computer, which is limiting. It’s not the biggest of deals, but it would certainly help.

Overall?

After spending a good 2 weeks with a working copy of this software (I had initially tried running it on my desktop, which currently has a faulty optical drive), I can honestly say that there has yet to be a DVD that I haven’t been able to rip easily. I’ve successfully ripped and played back in almost every format, from full resolution to the “iPod” configuration, with no issue. I tried playing a movie on my brother’s psp, which worked fine. Seriously, I can’t see anything wrong with the software, bug-wise.

Cost: $30, includes 2 years of free backup downloads.
Check back soon to find out how you can get a copy for free!

Check out WinX DVD Ripper

New Muse Song – Neutron Star Collision

That's right, this is... for Twilight?

That's right, this is... for Twilight?

*sigh* I haven’t blogged in ages, thanks to SAT’s, AP Tests, and pre-college stress. It really gets to you. 10 years from now, I’ll look back at this and laugh, but right now it doesn’t seem so funny. On that note, if anyone is taking AP US History next year, I have a nice Google Doc with a compilation of all the “important” terms that you should know for the AP test. According to the Princeton review “If you know even half of the terms, you’re well on your way to a five. More than that, and you might as well teach the course.” Here it is, at any rate. It’s incomplete, so I’ll open it up to editing some time next year.

Anyways, Muse.

Right, I digress. Muse has announced that they will be releasing a new single, entitled “Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)” on the seventeenth of this month. Exciting, isn’t it? It was written and recorded earlier this year (cool) and was chosen to be the lead single for the new Twilight movie, Eclipse (DAMN IT). I see Muse, like my other favorites, Mutemath, Radiohead, and Iron and Wine, is becoming “Twilight Property.” Regardless, I’m not about to judge a song by it’s movie, so I’m still excited for the song’s release.

Singles Only?

On a similar note, Muse has always hinted that they like the album format less and less. They announced in ’08 that they’d ditch the concept of an “album” completely, and then went and released the album, “The Resistance.” Maybe this is finally the beginning of a long line of singles from the band. Radiohead made a similar claim, and seem to be following through with it. I like the idea of an “album,” only because albums fit on vinyls much better (for obvious reasons) and they provide a nice flow of music. Even still, I’m up for new ideas.

In the mean time, here’s a nice spread of anti-Twilight paraphernalia, propaganda, and groups to satisfy you for a while.