DVD Ripper comparison

There's currently a lot of DVD decryption programs "on the market". One of the favorite questions of a newbie is "Which ripper should I use" and everybody has its own opinion about that. Everybody has its own explanation why his particular choice is best, but there was no comprehensive comparison between the various ripping programs till now. 

I have contacted each of the authors of these programs if possible, to ensure that the info about their program is as accurate as possible. Furthermore I've suggested some improvements, many of which you can already see in the current releases of the respective programs. 

Since my first test there have been many updates to the program involved so I decided it was about time to have another comparison. As you'll see, there's many issues which toady's rippers now can deal with.. but there's new problems to be solved as well.

The participants

cladDVD XP 1.1
DVD Decrypter
SmartRipper 2.41
vStrip 0.8e_css

Where's the rest of the pack? Both DeCSS and DOD Speed ripper can't be used for most of the reasonably new discs. In the case of DeCSS we also have legal considerations to consider. Then there's vobdec and decss_plus which still are available on my page, but only listed on the source code page because nobody uses them anymore. But, keysearch algorithms from these 2 programs can be found in almost any modern ripper. I wanted to include DVD Decoder 0.3 but the program will crash upon starting up every time I tried it.

Test Setup

I've chosen a particularly tough setup, designed to push the programs to their limits. I have tested the programs with the following 8 DVDs:

The regions have nothing to do with the results, but I've indicated it because certain R2 releases of the same movie don't have problems with ripping programs, or the other way round.

My choices are based on the following: 

After each test I removed the DVD and inserted it again, in order to ensure that the drive was not authenticated. I also had no auto-run enabled for the DVD drive, in order to ensure that any auto-run DVD player would activate and authenticate the disc.

The results

Death Row uncut:

Here I basically expect that the program detects that there's no CSS and immediately starts ripping instead of searching for a key. All programs were able to do so.

Raw Deal:

Here I tried to rip only the VOBs where vobdec keysearch will fail in order to ensure that another keysearch has been implemented that's able to take care of the problem. All the programs tested were able to find a key in every VOB file.

However, cladDVD XP can only rip full PGCs or the whole set of main movie files.

The Blair Witch Project

Here I tried to rip VOB2 and VOB4. I expect a key to be found as soon as possible. SmartRipper and DVD Decrypter have been able to find a key immediately. cladDVD XP can only rip full PGCs or all the main movie VOBs so this couldn't be properly tested but since it uses vStrip I would assume that it works anyway. vStrip did crash in the GUI mode, but worked in the command line mode, though it took rather long to find the key in the 2nd VOB.

Just Cause

Basically the key should be found in every VOB file as fast as possible. All application could do that, but once again with cladDVD XP we have the problem that we can't rip single VOBs.

The man with a golden gun

All the tested rippers were able to handle this movie properly when using the correct options which differ from the default options. In the case of cladDVD XP this was activating the mastering error option and using intense keysearch, for DVD Decrypter it was checking mastering errors, for SmartRipper it was setting keysearch to occur on each VOB ID and forcing the file access mode to ASPI and for vStrip setting the keysearch to occur at every VOB ID change (-r1 on the commandline).

Some more info about that title: The main movie is contained in vts_03_1.vob - vts_03_5.vob. In title1, chapter 21, cell 2 the key changes from C1 87 79 74 EE to C1 87 79 74 ED. That position can also be seen as VOB ID15, Cell 1, LBA 521277. vts_03_4/5.vob use the new key. The key change occurs at the layer change and all PC based DVD players are unable to play discs with such mastering errors. At the moment only vStrip_css, DVD Decrypter and SmartRipper will properly decrypt that title and only if you enable keysearch by VOB / Cell id. I was even unable to play the disc on my standalone. Interestingly PowerDVD 3.0 can play the disc, even tough there will be a couple of seconds of scrambled picture but at the VOB change it'll descramble with the new key, the same applies to WinDVD 2.4 and later.

Scary Movie

All rippers were able to give me the French credits when selecting the 2nd angle.

Additional info: The title contains 4 VOBs: vts_01_1.vob - vts_01_4.vob. The movie consists of VOB IDs 1-20, where ID 17 are the English credits and ID 18 are the French credits.


All programs gave the right output in both cases. I even crosschecked with older tests and the file were identical to the last byte.

A bit of additional information on that title: The movie consists of 8 VOBs: vts_04_1.vob up to vts_04_8.vob. It contains 106 cells and 34 VOB IDs. The special edition contains VOB IDs: 1,2,4,5,7,8,10,11,13,14,16,17,19,20,22,23,24,26,27,29,30,32,33 and the regular edition VOB IDs: 1,3,4,6,7,9,10,12,13,15,16,18,19,21,22,23,25,26,28,29,31,32,33. I split up the output of each program into cell IDs and compared them cell by cell (for size and name).


The UDF parser in WindowsXP can handle 1.00GB files so the test results may not apply for everybody but XP is getting more and more popular... All rippers were able to read the first VOB file despite its size.

Additional information: The first VOB file on the disc (vts_01_1.vob) is slightly larger than a regular VOB (explorer shows it as 1.00GB instead of the regular 0.99GB). As the Windows UDF parser cannot read such large files every program that uses that parser will fail to read that file. All programs that have their own UDF parser will succeed (assuming that it has been properly implemented).

Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition

All programs managed to extract all the different cuts of this movie.

Additional information on this title: The movie has 60 VOB IDs. The theatrical release comprises VOB IDs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 3, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57 and 59. The director's cut is contained in VOB IDs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 59. Finally the third cut just has a different ending than the director's cut so it is contained in the same VOB IDs as the director's cut but it contains VOB ID 56 instead of 55 as the other two releases.

Or here's the short version of the test

  cladDVD XP DVD DecrypterSmartRippervStrip
Death Row Uncutxxxx
Raw Deal(x)xxx
The Blair Witch Project(x)xxx
Just Cause(x)xxx
The man with a golden gunxxxx
Scary Moviex x xx
ID4 x x xx
T2UE x x xx

As we can see, the programs managed to handle my test discs admirably well. The only problem was that cladDVD XP didn't allow me to rip single files and screwed up the seamless branching titles.

Features overview 

  cladDVD XP DVD Decrypter SmartRipper vStrip
detects CSS x x x x
VobDec keysearch x x x x
DeCSS+ keysearch x x x x
Demacro x x x x
Regionfree x x x -
adjustable keysearch x x x x
drive authentication x x x -
selects main movie x x x x
copies ifo of main movie - x x -
multiangle processing x x x x
multiangle disable x x x x
one button movie rip x x x -
IFO parsing x x x x
standalone program - x x x
stream processing - x x x
UDF parser (x) x x x
ripping by chapter - x x (x)
calculate stream delays - x x x

And there are a few noteworthy special features:

DVD Decrypter can rip the whole movie to an ISO file that can be mounted in daemon tool or burned on a DVD using a DVD recorder. Furthermore it can burn such images to a recordable DVD disc. It can also be used to change the region of your DVD drive and display the region code of the drive.

SmartRipper furthermore creates a detailed info file about all your VOBs contain, audio streams, subtitle streams, chapter positions, etc. as well as a DVD2AVI project file (though that functionality is far from perfect).

cladDVD XP allows you to select if you want to keep all audio track, or select the one you want to keep.

So which program is best? Judging by the number of x'es you'd have to say SmartRipper and DVDDecrypter. SmartRipper has been tested for a long time and it works in most cases, but it has its problems and that's why it's currently being completely rewritten. DVDDecrypter has probably been the most stable ripper and pretty much the only thing you can hold against it is that its IFO parsing hasn't been as extensively tested as the one in SmartRipper and vStrip though so far no serious problems have been reported. vStrip doesn't look so good in the feature comparison but it manages to handle all the disc and it was in fact the first ripper to handle all my test disc. I've used it pretty much since I started out ripping and when in doubt about the results I get from other programs I will continue to cross-check with vStrip. But vStrip is definitely not as user-friendly and is more a program for the experienced user. cladDVD XP is a pretty good GUI for vStrip and can safely be used as vStrip replacement when DVDDecrypter/SmartRipper fails and vStrip itself scares you away. When you encode using FlaskMpeg or make a rip to be burned onto a recordable DVD there's just one choice: DVD Decrypter. Just run the exe and press the big button and wait, that's all there is to it.

Speed testing

Of course, speed is of essence. Hence I ran all rippers to a small speed test. I ripped the first VOB of the main movie of "The Matrix", R1 release (a DVD-9) to my harddisk. The drive used was a Toshiba SDM-1212 12x DVD-ROM in Ultra DMA mode.

cladDVD XP: 2:35
DVD Decrypter: 1:33
SmartRipper: 1:41
vStrip: 2:21

DVD Decrypter leaves them all behind. SmartRipper gets reasonable close and half a minute separate vStrip and SmartRipper. I must say, the last time I did that test it looked considerably different. For vStrip I tested both GUI and CLI version just to make sure I got the results right. cladDVD cannot rip single files so I just waited till I had a 0.99GB VOB on my HD which isn't entirely fair but what can you do...

Wishes for the future:

There's several things I'd like to see in future rippers:

DVD Decrypter: can't think of anything right now..

SmartRipper: a more stable codebase, many people are having problems with SmartRipper (see my forums for details)

vStrip: splitting the output in accordance with the input VOBs, authentication

cladDVD XP: allow people to select VOB files by themselves, smaller filesize.


This document was last updated on 06/21/00