Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a program for Mac that I can use to copy DVDs to iTunes? I've tried Handbrake but the quality is poor. Maybe there's just a setting I need to change?

share|improve this question
Can you clarify what you mean by copy them to iTunes? Are you intending to play them on an iOS device, or are you content with Mac playback only? There are options to do DVD playback without compression on a Mac, but anything on an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch will require some transcoding/compression - however you can adjust the quality. – robmathers Dec 20 '11 at 21:12
Both - play back on MBP/iTunes AND on iPad/iPhone. Example: when I download a "digital copy" of some movie from iTunes store, it plays back on all devices. – AJ. Dec 20 '11 at 21:36
And maybe my example isn't "lossless" but the point is it looks just as good on MBP as it does on devices with lower resolution. – AJ. Dec 20 '11 at 21:43
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Given that you want playback on your Mac and iOS devices, Handbrake is really the way to go. As you note in the comments, it's not lossless, but you should be able to get pretty good quality, and with a good reduction in file size.

If you find the quality of your first attempt unacceptable, you can adjust the settings to improve it (typically at the cost of file size).

A good starting point is the Universal or iPad preset in Handbrake. The RF slider adjusts how much compression is used (higher RF = more compression = less quality).

Handbrake Window

Try setting it around 19, maybe 18 (it's logarithmic, so small amounts make big differences) and do an encode, see how you feel about the quality. If it's still lacking, reduce the RF a bit more and try again. Perhaps just pick a chapter or two as a test encode until you figure out what settings you want.

share|improve this answer
Great tip...I will try this tonight and see what sort of results I get! – AJ. Dec 20 '11 at 21:53
If you are unsatisfied by Handbrake's encoding quality, you might have the same problem I had: horizontal lines that appear in some of the frames. If that is the case, make sure that Decomb and Detelecine are set to "Default" in Picture Settings --> Filters. They are not in the Normal preset, that's why I use the High Profile. – lpacheco Dec 21 '11 at 10:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.