No Frills DVD2iPod

Version 4.1

Mac OS X 10.3.9, Mac OS X 10.4.3 and higher

Also useful:

0SEx (no longer available for general download)

Advantages of No Frills DVD2iPod
  • 1. Drop a handful of unencrypted .VOB or .mpg files and/or folders containing unencrypted .VOB files or .mpg files (such as a VIDEO_TS folder on a DVD you made with iDVD), and all of them will be converted.
  • 2. You can drag the source files/folders even from a non-writable directory such as a mounted DVD volume.

No Frills DVD2iPod for Mac OS X

I wrote No Frills DVD2iPod because I wanted a way to make iPod compatible video files from iDVD projects I had burned to DVD but for which I hadn't saved any source files. I also wanted a way to do it without having to configure many settings.

If you have used an older version of No Frills DVD2iPod in the past, I recommend running the "Remove obsolete support items" application included with the download before using this version.

To use No Frills DVD2iPod, follow these steps.

1. Set the proportions and frame rate for the converted movie file(s)

 Most homemade DVDs will probably be formatted for TV (4:3). Wide screen and Extra wide screen format options are also available. Most homemade DVDs will probably have a frame rate of 30 fps.

2. Customize the data rate settings.

 Use the slider or the text fileld if you want to customize the settings. Default data rate is automatically set when you select the proportions. If you want to customize these settings, you should do so after making a selection in the proportions area.

3. Choose whether or not to take advantage of new iPod compatibility standards.

  Click the button entitled "Maximize quality for updated iPod standards" to take advantage of the new specifications which allow higher quality video compatibility. These standards allow for much greater quality than before but the resulting converted files are larger.

4. Choose destination for converted files.

 You can choose to select a destination when you click the Create button or simply let No Frills DVD2iPod put the converted files in the same locations as the source files. If you drag sources from locked destinations such as a DVD video disk while the Same as source choice selected, you will be prompted for a writable location when you click the Create button.

5. Drag source files and folders onto the picture in No Frills DVD2iPod's window.

 You can drag unencrypted .VOB or .mpg files and/or folders containing unencrypted .VOB files or .mpg files (such as a VIDEO_TS folder on a DVD you made with iDVD), even though other files are present in nested folders, and all of the appropriate files will be converted. The hierarchy of the dropped items will be reflected at the destination if you chose to select your specified location for converted files.

6. Click Create and wait.

 An activity indicator will appear and remain until the conversion(s) is finished, then a dialog will be displayed indicating that the operation has completed. You can click "OK" after receiving the "DONE!" notification and drag more items to begin a new conversion process. Note: Progress reporting is not extremely refined. Sometimes processing will be complete while the progress bar is still quite far from the end. Other times processing may continue for a good while after the progress bar has reached the end and the progress bar has changed to indicate status rather than degree of completion.

If you installed version 1.x of No Frills DVD2iPod, you can run the Remove obsolete support items application to get rid of items previously installed but no longer needed by No Frills DVD2iPod.

Using 0SEx to combine .VOB files.

0SEx is a tool that extracts video files from DVD disks. While it can be used in some cases to decrypt protected video files, it's most useful with No Frills DVD2iPod to combine several .VOB files so that selected content can be combined and converted to a single video file then transferred to an iPod using iTunes.

0SEx's default setting for gathering and combining the files is precisely the setting you need. You simply have to select which titles, chapters, and audio content are combined into the resulting .VOB file created by 0SEx.

0SEx's default settings for formatting and segmenting

If two copies of the same title with different screen formatting are available in 0SEx, You should probably use the one for full screen (4:3) viewing size.

You can select some chapters and begin the extraction, then stop 0SEx and view the partially extracted file with VLC to see if you're selecting the right content.

The 0SEx download site has apparently been unreachable for several months, so I've included an Applescript droplet to provide the basic functionality of concatenating the typically divided segments (.VOB) of a video title set in an unencrypted VIDEO_TS folder. To identify the .VOB files that need to be combined, view the VIDEO_TS folder as a list in the Finder, sort by size, then look for the first .VOB file with a size much larger (typically 1024 MB in size) than the previous file. The name of the file is typically VTS_01_1.VOB in a VIDEO_TS folder with one video title set. It's typical for the last file in the divided set to be the first file that is smaller that the previous ones, resulting from the fact that when a title's .VOB file is divided into segments of equal size, the final remaining title set segment could be expected to be smaller than the rest.

You can preview probably title set .VOB files using VLC to determine whether the correct .VOB segments have been selected. Then simply select all the desired files and drag them onto "Sort and cat VOBs to desktop" to combine them to a single .VOB file on your desktop as shown in the picture below. You'll be prompted to give the resulting file a name. Don't forget that you will need at least enough free space on the hard drive where the Desktop folder resides to contain the resulting .VOB file, of course.

If you prefer, you can convert the .VOB files separately using No Frills DVD2iPod and add them in the correct order to an iTunes playlist. The iPod will continue playing each item in the playlist although there will usually be a brief pause when switching between files.

VOB files can also be combined using the Tools section of D-Vision.

Conversion can be adversely affected by video without accompanying audio when such passages occur at the beginning of mpeg video files. The problem can easily be remedied by using MPEG Streamclip to strip away the troublesome silent sections (which usually have unwanted video content anyway) at the start of a movie. MPEG Streamclip is also a useful tool for extracting parts of an mpeg video file.

No Frills DVD2iPod is simple freeware.

The ffmpeg project makes available ffmpeg, the gpac project makes available MP4Box, and VideoLan makes available x264.

Version History

4.1 - released on Jan 20, 2009
Fixed display aspect ratio for iPod and iTunes - QuickTime Player may not display correct ratio, if not, try VLC.

4.0 - released on Feb 16, 2008
Increased resolution for compatible output for latest vesions of QuickTime/iTunes/iPod when Maximize button is checked.

3.9 - released on Nov 22, 2007
Corrected output aspect ratio problems for wide screen (16X9) and extra wide screen (2.35:1) formats.

3.8 - released on Nov 4, 2007
Added Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) compatibility.

3.7 - released on June 26, 2007
Added function for creating iPod compatible movies with larger dimensions. Added function for cropping black bars at top and bottom to create actual 2.35:1 widescreen movies from 16x9 sources.

3.6 - released on June 15, 2007
Problem fixed for the older format (iPod screen size) conversion process that sometimes resulted in output video files that couldn't be transferred to the iPod.

3.5 - released on March 13, 2007
Improvements in performance speed and output quality.

3.4 - released on February 3, 2007
Added deinterlace option for maximum dimension (640 width) conversion process, added .VOB concatenation Applescript application, updated documentation.

3.3 - released on January 6, 2007
Improved output quality, improved stability for encoding process, improved file handling.

3.2 - released on October 12, 2006
An explanation alert now appears if incompatible file types are dropped. Improved output quality for the opening frames of converted video content.

3.1 - released on September 21, 2006
No Frills DVD2iPod now includes the ability to take advantage of new iPod video compatibility standards mainly regarding file size, playback dimensions, and data rate.

3.0 - released on April 28, 2006
No Frills DVD2iPod and components are now packaged as universal binaries to allow much faster processing on Intel Macs. Process commands have also been refined and other minor improvements have been made for streamlined execution.

2.9 - released on February 3, 2006
Improved response from the application when the operation is cancelled by the user.

2.8 - released on February 3, 2006
Changed status reporting to correct a problem that significantly hindered speed of completion.

2.7 - released on February 2, 2006
Improved status monitoring.

2.6 - released on February 1, 2006
Added frame rate selection.
Modified video dimension choices to allow true 2.35:1 encoding.
Updated binary executables.
Added drag and drop capability for application icon and Dock icon in Mac OS X 10.4.

2.5 - released on January 1, 2006
Added support for Mac OS X 10.3.9
Corrected pop-up help in main window
Added further customization for included binary executables.

2.3 - released on December 25, 2005
Added better compatibility for larger source files.

2.2 - released on December 25, 2005
Added error handling for source files without incompatibilities.

2.1 - released on December 23, 2005
Added error handling for source files without audio tracks and made adjustments to progress indicator.

2.0 - released on December 23, 2005
Added a graphical user interface to allow adjustments to data rate.

1.4 - released on December 10, 2005
Fixed a timeout problem introduced in previous version
1.3 - also released on December 9, 2005
Fixed a problem introduced in version 1.2 that resulted in a critical error for the script.
1.2 - released on December 9, 2005
Fixed a problem that resulted in Application Support folder for installation of ancillary executables being created in a static location rather than in a relative location (new folder in /Users named "llee" was created, but the current user's folder should have been used).

1.1 - released on December 8, 2005
Laine Lee,
Jun 17, 2011, 12:01 PM