Open .ISO File With VLC Media Player

In this article, we will take a look at why you might want to open an .ISO file directly on your computer and then we’ll look at how to open .ISO files with the VLC Media Player…and even watch them on your home theater system.

I just sat down at my computer to watch a movie that I have in .ISO format.  As you may or may not know, the .ISO format is known as an image file.  These .ISO files contain an exact image of what is found on a DVD.

Most of the time the .ISO file will have an exact replica of the contents of a DVD.  However, in today’s world, we have two DVD formats:  DVD5 and DVD9.  Most of today’s DVD Movies New Releases come in DVD9, the newer format which contains much more data than DVD5.  When people want to copy DVD to DVD, they need to shrink the data from DVD9 size down to DVD 5 size (see What Does DVD Shrink Do? ) because most people do not have DVD9 DVD burners.

Thus, even though we say that an .ISO image is an “exact” replica of the original, it’s often not.  If you have downloaded something–especially a newer movie–there is a good chance that that movie has been compressed to fit on a DVD5 disc.

When most people download an .ISO file, they think that they have to burn it to a DVD.  This makes sense if you want to watch the movie on your home theater system.  But it seems like a waste, doesn’t it?  You might just watch a movie one time so burning it to a blank DVD is a waste of time and also a waste of the blank DVD.

So, there is a much better way to do this.  I’ll tell you how you can watch an .ISO file directly on your computer or even watch it on your home entertainment system.   In this way, you do not waste the time burning the DVD nor do you waste the blank DVD.

So, how do you open an .ISO file on your computer without burning it to a DVD?

Well, when you search the Internet for how to open an .ISO file, you will find many tools that will allow you to open an .ISO file and view the contents of the file.  For example, in the first link, you will read that a program called WinRAR can open an .ISO file.  In fact, it can and it does a very good job at it (I have it installed on my machine).   WinRAR allows you to see the data within the .ISO file and then you need a program that mounts the .ISO file so that your computer will see it as a DVD drive, even though it’s actually in a file.  Many people use a free product called Daemon Tools to mount the DVD and watch on their computer.

But there is even a much better way to do this and it’s much easier and quicker.

You can use the VLC Media Player to open .ISO movie files directly and watch them on your computer.  There is no “extracting” or “mounting” that needs to be done by you.  You simply open the file within VLC as you would any file.

Look how easy it is…

I have the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance on my c: drive.  You can see it here.

DVD5 ISO File Size

Now, I want to open the .ISO movie file directly in the VLC Media Player.  I simply open up the VLC Media Player and choose Media | Open File and you see in the photo below.

open an .ISO file in VLC Media Player

Then, I choose the .ISO file (just as you would open any file) as you see in the photo below:

opening the .ISO file in VLC Media Player

Now, you are watching the .ISO file live on your computer.  It works exactly like if it were a DVD with all of the menus available for Extras, Special Features, Subtitles–EVERYTHING, just like if it were a DVD.  Check out the screenshot below of my .ISO file loaded up in the VLC Media Player.

watching an .ISO file in VLC Media Player

Now, suppose that you want to watch this .ISO file on your television.  How would you go about doing that?  That’s not hard either.  You simply need to read the article connect pc to TV or connect laptop to TV which detail the rather simple and inexpensive (a cable $5 or less) method of hooking up your computer to your LCD TV.

And that’s it–you are now watching an .ISO file on your Top Rated LCD TV using the VLC Media Player…no more copying DVDs and wasting time.

Open an .ISO File With The VLC Media Player: Summary

The VLC Media Player is simply the best media player on the market by far. When other players will not play certain types of media, it’s always VLC to the rescue. It’s truly an amazing piece of software!

And, now, in this version (download it here), you can open up .ISO files with it without having to have tools to “read” and “mount” the DVD.

VLC makes it so easy.  Then, if you want to watch the movies on your TV, you can simply connect your PC to your TV and you are off and running!

Richard CummingsOpen .ISO File With VLC Media Player

DVD Shrink Versus Handbrake: Which Should You Use

Because we write a lot of articles about DVD’s, we also get lots of questions and one of those is:  Which should I use…DVD Shrink or Handbrake to copy DVDs?

Well, the short answer is both of them.Read More

Richard CummingsDVD Shrink Versus Handbrake: Which Should You Use

What Does DVD Shrink Do?

Many people have read about DVD Shrink and wonder just what does DVD Shrink do? 

Well, as I wrote about in the article how to copy a DVD there is a great misunderstanding about DVD shrink does.  Many people think it is the end all solution for copying DVDs.  And, while it is truly an awesome program and does great at what it does, DVD Shrink is not an all-encompassing program.

When we investigate copying DVDs, we need to be familiar with the overall process and then we will see where DVD shrink fits into the equation. 

When we copy a DVD, we need to accomplish three things. 

First, data must be decrypted if the information on the DVD that you want to copy has encryption.  To do this, you will want to choose one of two packages:  DVD43 (which is free) or a program called AnyDVD which you have to pay for might be just a little bit better.

DVD Shrink does not perform the decryption function like the other programs do because DVD Shrink is no longer being developed, which I will get into later.  Thus, DVD shrink is not keeping up with the latest in decryption technologies.

The second part of copying a DVD to another DVD is taking the data from the DVD and placing it on the hard drive.  Most people do not do a DVD to DVD copy directly because they do not have two DVDs.

The third part of the process is actually burning the DVD.  This means that you take the data from the hard drive and “burn” it–place it on–the DVD.

DVD Shrink excels at the second part of this formula.  It can work in conjunction with an imaging program like Nero or Image Burner to “burn” the DVD but it is not performing this process itself.

So, what’s the big deal if DVD Shrink is just copying the data from the original DVD to your hard drive?

Well, here is why DVD Shrink is so cool!  It is a master at doing this and it is one of the few programs that does this and it does it all for free!

You see…most DVDs that you will rent now-a-days are not the same size as the ones that you are copying your data too.  They are dual layer discs which will hold 9.4GB of data while the DVD that you are copying to is in all likelihood a single layer disc and can only contain 4.7GB.

So, what will happen if you try to copy 9.4gb of data to a DVD that can only contain 4.7GB of data? 

Exactly, it won’t fit!

And this is where DVD Shrink is the master!!!  In fact, this is where its name comes from–it is shrinking the data so that it will fit on your DVD.

Any time that you need to shrink data, you are going to lose something in the process.  With DVD shrink, you can choose not  to put on the extra features of a DVD for example and, in doing so, the movie that you are copying will be very close to the original in quality.

But, let’s suppose that you want to copy the DVD as is so that when you pop it into your DVD, it will be exactly like the original.  Well, like the movie says, something has got to give!  And, in this case, the giving is the picture and sound quality.

Is the difference in quality massive?

No, it is not.  However, if you are an audio or videophile, it will probably annoy you because you want your copy to be exactly like the original. 

If you are one of these people and do not want to make any compromises, then you have to go with dual layer copying.  This will produce a virtually 1 to 1 copy of the original DVD. 

You need two things to do this:  a DVD burner capable of burning dual layer and dual layer DVDs to burn to.  All of this is more expensive but if you are a perfectionist, this is what you got! 

So, in summary, DVD Shrink copies data to your hard drive and “shrinks” it so that you can burn it to a DVD.  To learn how to do this, simply read the article how to copy a DVD and you may also be interested in copying DVD to hard drive so you can have your movies on the go and also have great backups!

Richard CummingsWhat Does DVD Shrink Do?

Copying DVDs: Where To Begin

I started this blog, copying DVDs, after having written several posts about copying DVDs to your hard drive and copying DVDs to DVDs and other formats.

The fact is that some of you want to know the details–like what is an .ISO file–but most of you simply want answers.  How do I copy DVDs from one format to another?

For you all, you will want to begin with the follow two articles:

How to Copy a DVD: This article shows you how to copy a DVD using tools freely available on the Internet. It explains the process in a way that you will be able to understand in less than 10 minutes.

Copy DVD to Hard Drive
: The other question that people ask is, “How do I copy a DVD to my hard drive?” There are many reasons for wanting to do this. The reality, especially when you are on the go, is that DVDs and DVD players are cumbersome. Thus, it is great to have copies of movies on your hard drive so that you do not need the DVD. This article tells you exactly what you need to copy a DVD to your hard drive for free.

After you have tackled these initial basics, you will want to come back here to the copying DVDs website to get more information on the best DVD products and technologies.

Richard CummingsCopying DVDs: Where To Begin

1 Click DVD Review

There are many tools available to copy DVDs, but the easiest one of these to use is called 1 Click DVD.  In this 1 Click DVD Review, we will take a look at why 1 Click DVD is the easiest application that you can use to copy DVDs.

The world of computer audio and video has historically been a minefield of complicated terms and difficult programs.  If you have ever come across terms like “bitrate”, “framesize”, and “encoding” to name a few, you know of what I speak.  In fact, all of this geek-speak often led people simply to give up when trying to copy DVDs.

However, with the launch of 1 Click DVD, the minefield has been cleaned up.  There are no more treacherous terms out there to impede you from copying a DVD movie.

If you have the ability to click one “Start” button, you have the ability to copy DVD movies.

Yes, that is it.  To copy a DVD movie with 1 Click DVD, you need only be able to click one button and the process will be underway and you will have a completely copied DVD.

How is this possible?

Well, the good folks at LG Software Innovation-the makers of the product–set out with a goal of making technology available for the rest of us.  They understand the “minefield” and sought to act as a go between.  The end result is a product that conceals the difficult technology and allows us to accomplish what we want to accomplish:  Copying DVDs.

The reality is that most of us just want one thing:  a DVD copy that is just like the original DVD.  We don’t want to fuss with a bunch of techie terms.  Otherwise, we’re just back in the minefield.  This is where one-click DVD succeeds-creating great DVD copies of the original DVDs.

However, if you want to get a little technical, you can.

For instance, if you do want to all of the “special features” of a DVD, you can select to have those removed.  If you do not want all of the titles and previews, you can remove those too.  It’s up to you how detailed that you want to get.

I have not even mentioned yet the feature that I like the most:  Copying a DVD to your hard drive.  Do you know what my kids have done with some of our DVDs?  They have used them as Frisbees!  I kid you not.  I have also lost some DVDs that I have purchased and I don’t like to carry my DVD player with me when I am on the road.

All of these are reasons that I love this feature of One Click DVD-you can copy movies to your hard drive and watch them without the need for the DVD media.

In summary, this product truly changes the landscape of copying DVDs.  It makes it easy and convenient.  Thus, I fully recommend it.

Richard Cummings1 Click DVD Review

How To Copy A DVD for Free?

Many people pay for DVD copy software but the reality is that it can be done for free.  In this article, we will look at how to copy a DVD for free on a PC.

When we look at the process of copying a DVD, we can boil it down to three components:  encrypting, copying, and burning.

Many DVD movies are encrypted to protect their illegal distribution.  Thus, if you have purchased a movie, it may or may not be legal to decrypt in your area.  You may want to check that out before performing doing a decryption.

There are several tools available for decrypting software:  some of them you have to pay for and some you do not.

Since this is an article about how to copy a DVD for free, let’s investigate the ones that do not cost any money.  There is really just one and it is called DVD43.  This program can be found by searching on the Internet.  Once this program is installed, you are done with it.

DVD43 operates in the background and launches on your computer automatically.  Thus, once it is installed it will decrypt on the fly.  The program is represented by an icon in the system tray on the bottom right of your machine near your computer’s clock.  When the icon is green, this signifies that DVD43 has identified the DVD in your drive and it is ready to go.

Since DVD43 operates in the background, you really only need to do two things when you want to copy a DVD for free.

First, you need to copy the data from the DVD to your computer.  This process is also referred to as “ripping” the DVD.

The best product to accomplish this is called DVD Shrink.  This program can also be found by a quick search on Google.  DVD Shrink does one more thing besides ripping the data to your hard drive; it, as the name implies, shrinks the data.  This is often necessary as the DVDs that you want to copy are dual-layered DVDs and can contain more than 8GB of data.    Since the DVD that you will be copying to will in all likelihood  be the standard 4.7GB blank DVD, you will need to shrink the data.

The end result of DVD Shrink will be a file in the .ISO format.

You will now do the final stage to complete your free DVD copy, which is “burning” this .ISO file to disk.  The best freely available program to do this is called Image Burner, which can also be found by searching the Internet.

This free tool will take your .ISO file and write it to your blank DVD.

What can you do now?  Well, you have completed the process and can now take that DVD and play it just about anywhere!

Richard CummingsHow To Copy A DVD for Free?

The Process of Copying a DVD: Is It Difficult?

When I first wanted to copy a DVD, I did lots of research on the Internet.  The articles I came across made the process seem so difficult.  But, after distilling it down to just three simply components, it’s actually pretty easy.

When you want to copy a DVD movie to another DVD, there are three things that need to take place.  First, if the DVD has encryption you will need software to decrypt the DVD.  Second, because you just have one DVD in your computer, you will need to copy the files from the DVD player to the hard drive.  And, third, you will need to burn the data from your hard drive to the DVD.

This is it in a nutshell and, overall the process is not that complicated.

Now, let’s look at each step in more detail.

First, let’s take a look at encryption.  Is your DVD encrypted?  In all likelihood, the answer to this question is yes.   Second, do you have the legal right to copy this DVD?  The law is not completely clear on this point.  Most judges have ruled that, if you purchased the DVD, you have a legal right to copy that DVD.  However, other judges have declared that you cannot use a DVD decryption program.  Well, this would prevent you from being able to copy your DVD.  It’s a Catch-22.

Anyway, you should investigate your personal situation to determine if you are allowed to decrypt the DVD that you want to decrypt.  If so, this process is very easy.  There are tools on the Internet that will allow you to do this.  Many people use a free one called DVD43 and others use one that is shareware which means it costs money after a trial usage.  The name of this product is AnyDVD.

Since these decryption tools run in the background, you simply need to install them and they will do their job sight unseen which makes them extremely easy to use.

The second part of the process is copying the files from your DVD to your hard drive.  Do you remember in the old days when people had two tape decks so that they could copy from one tape deck to another?  Well, this is not the case with your DVD.  You probably have one DVD in your computer.  Thus, you will need to copy–and sometimes resize-the contents of your DVD to your hard drive.  The best free application to do this is called DVD Shrink.

This will place the contents of your DVD onto your hard drive in the form of an .ISO file.  An .ISO file is a DVD image file which you can then burn to your DVD.

What program are we going to use to burn the program to DVD?  Is there a free one to do this?

You bet there is and it is called Image Burner.  Image Burner will allow you to then “burn” this .ISO file to your DVD.

Once this process is complete, you can then play the DVD anywhere you would like.

Richard CummingsThe Process of Copying a DVD: Is It Difficult?