GreatVideo 2.1

GreatVideo 2.1

GreatVideo (top) and HandBrake (bottom) won't win any interface beauty pageants, but they're both very congenial.


For 80 bucks, GreatVideo makes it easy to rip videos from unprotected DVDs to your Mac. But there's a free alternative, if you don't need formatting options: HandBrake (free, can rip video from protected and unprotected DVDs.


GreatVideo's advantage is that it can convert video to more than 40 formats, including H.264, DV/DVCPRO, Sorenson Video, and Cinepak. HandBrake converts only to MPEG-4 and H.264. GreatVideo also comes with ReadDVD, a handy tool that's worth the price of the whole package because it lets Mac OS 10.4 users mount UDF-formatted DVDs, commonly used in DVD camcorders and DVD set-top recorders. HandBrake doesn't provide a way to access UDF DVDs.


We took a three-minute video on an unencrypted DVD and converted it to iPod format using GreatVideo and HandBrake on a 2.33GHz 17-inch MacBook Pro. Before we started testing, HandBrake got a head start-it has Intel-native code, while GreatVideo doesn't. GreatVideo runs on Intel Macs using Rosetta, Apple's on-the-fly software translator, and that extra layer of effort affects GreatVideo's conversion speed.


HandBrake converted the movie in a blazing 2 minutes, 39 seconds. GreatVideo finished 15 minutes later. Another drawback: GreatVideo doesn't let you adjust the pixel resolution of your output, while HandBrake does.


The bottom line. GreatVideo's strengths are its multiformat support and the bundled ReadDVD tool. But if all you need is MPEG-4 or H.264, try HandBrake. It won't cost you a thing.


COMPANY: Software Architects
PRICE: $79.95
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3.9 or later (ReadDVD requires Mac OS 10.4 or later), 256MB RAM, 5GB disk space, QuickTime 6 or later
Easy to use. Comes with handy ReadDVD tool that lets your Mac read DVDs from DVD video recorders and DVD camcorders. Lots of codecs to choose from.
Not a Universal binary.





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Here is the correct link for handbrake.



Please let me know the correct web site for "" as it does not work.. I suggest that your mag start a better method of displaying web addresses that clearly show the difference between 0 and O and Caps vs non cap in addresses.



I purchased this product with the intent of transferring my DVR (DVD-RAM) files to mac for editing. The DVD-RAM has the VRO video and while ReadDVD now allows me to open the folder, GreatVideo has yet to successfully rip a video recording. I sent a DVD-RAM to SoftArc and they have yet to do more than acknowledge the receipt of the disc (that was back before thanksgiving).

The problem? It just sits there during the demux phase and eats hard drive space until the free space is gone then sits there still doing nothing. No progress bar activity... nothing. I left it this way for over 12 hours to convert a 2 minute test recording - never did work.

ReadDVD seems to be working just fine though. I recommend buying ReadDVD then using something else like MPEGStreamClip or MPEGTools for the conversion.



GreatVideo doesn't handle AC3 Audio either. You'll need mAC3dec or similar to convert to mp3 or aiff.

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