Instant Handbrake – A quick and easy DVD to Mac/iPod conversion utility

Nov 28, 2006 - 43 Comments

Handbrake is a no frills easy to use open source video conversion utility, which used to be known as Instant HandBrake. HandBrake makes taking any DVD you own and placing it on your Mac/iPod/iPhone/iPad easier and more instant than ever before. And of course, I should mention that Handbrake can also convert your DVD Videos to a format Sony’s PSP can understand. When converting DVD Videos to your iPod, you can choose from the standard MPEG-4 format (perfect for pocket viewing), or if you plan on hooking your iPod up to a television, H.264 encoded video is also supported.

1. Open HandBrake

2. Choose your DVD drive, or Video_TS Folder

3. Pick iPod or PSP output.

4. Click convert.
handbrake for mac

Depending on the speed of your computer’s processor, you will wait from as little as 45 minutes to well over 2 hours. The wait is well worth it, as you will receive a video file which you can simply drag onto your iTunes icon, ready for your next sync.

Handbrake Developer home
Download Handbrake for Mac OS X 10.5
Download Handbrake for Linux
Download Handbrake for Windows

Other downloads of Handbrake are available here


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Posted by: Bill Ellis in Mac Apps, Mac OS, Utilities


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  1. Sharyl Opal says:

    Where did you buy from? Pricing standard across Sony and neighbourhood game shops?

  2. tyler durden says:

    i cant get you instant handbrake to down load on to my new hp pavlion slimline please help me i realy need it

  3. bob says:

    make sure your source is correct… like make sure your desktop is selected or w/e file you want to put the file in

  4. mike turner says:

    the page dosnt come up when i hit the “Download now for Windows” button any suggestions?

  5. APlace says:

    I’ve been using Instant Handbrake for about a month with no problems, until recently. Sometimes the main title (with the actual movie on it) doesn’t appear as a choice. Any ideas?

  6. PolarBear says:

    Kind of misleading to show a screenshot of instant HandBrake beneath a link to the full Handbrake. Either remove all reference to instant handbrake or change the download link so that it actually downloads instant handbrake. Either way but some consistency would be nice.

  7. […] C) Per il caricamento delle foto basta posizionarle in una cartella del nostro pc e poi sincronizzarlo nelle preferenze di iTunes con quella cartella specifica. I video vanno prima convertiti in formato .mp4 o .mov. Per fare questo ci sono diversi software anche gratuiti che ci permettono di scegliere la qualità e le dimensioni del filmato. Per convertire i Dvd consiglio Instant Handbrake che è disponibile sia per gli utenti mac che windows. Per convertire invece i filmati (divx, avi, ecc…) gli utenti mac hanno a disposizione iSquint mentre gli utenti windows possono usare Videora per il quale è disponibile anche una guida. […]

  8. Ritch says:

    I must be the idiot from the idiot proof but after I convert the DVD to the H.264 for an iPod using Handbrake and try to import the file into iTunes I get an error that iTunes could not sync .

  9. Rick Yazzolino says:

    I’m trying to encode Underworld Evolution for my ipod and it continues to stop about 2 minutes into it, and then says it’s done. Help anyone!

    Rick Y

  10. Rick Yazzolino says:

    I’m trying and trying to encode my copy of Underworld Evolution and it just isn’t working. It keeps stopping about 2 minutes in to it. Very frustrating. I’ve tried other copies and get the same results. Any tips?

    Rick y

  11. michael says:

    everything is fine exept the sound, picture working fine when I use handbrake and play in quicktime but the sound is strange…any help mac os x quad

  12. DNJ says:

    In relation to the problem experienced by “dkb” and “MichaelH”…………..Check on Wikipedia for Handbrake (software)… says there that……….. “As of March 3rd, 2007; HandBrake’s programs are no longer able to convert movies to iPod format because of impending legal issues.”…………My guess is that if you downloaded handbrake after this date….you’re out of luck. I say this simply because i downloaded handbrake prior to this date and have ripped DVDs to iPod format after March 3rd, 2007. However, I was unsuccessful when i tried to rip “Casino Royale” last night. Maybe the new restriction has been put in place even on my version of handbrake which i downloaded 6 months ago.

  13. dnj says:

    I’m having the dame problem as MichaelH and dkb. I just tried to rip “Casino Royale” with Instant Handbrake and it would work fine for about 1 min then say done..but the resulting file was only about 23 seconds long. Could this be because the DVDs have very new DRM encrypting or some security software that Handbrake can’t crack. With Da vinci Code and Casino Royale, they are both very new so there may be new restricitons.
    i am running a fairly new Macbook 1.83 ghz with Mac os 10.4.9

  14. dkb says:

    It looks great, but I am having the same problems with both Handbrake and the beta instant, same as MichaelH. HB runs as normal. Selects the right file, auto configures (or I do the settings myself in HB), it runs for a minute–though it says it will take about 5 hours–then says done with only a brief capture. Powerbook G4, 10.3.9. I also tried changing the file format, anything I could think of. Same thing, just a 30 second title capture. I’ll check back for comments.

  15. Jen says:

    After it converts my DVD for about 2 hours, it says “Done.” But there is no converted file. Not in Movies folder or anywhere else. Could it be done and I just can’t find the converted file? I’ve done this repeatedly and haven’t yet been able to get a completed file at the end.

  16. Bockscar says:

    I just burned a copy of my favourite movie ‘Fandango’ to my PSP, i made sure i named the file for use on it but it reads as incompatible data… any advice would be great.

  17. […] Sites Internet Pour la discrétion, c’est raté (en passant Patrick Lagacé est de retour) Un nouveau sport extrême PS3: 2005 vs 2006 Comment transférer un DVD à son iPod facilement Petit bébé animal […]

  18. MichaelH says:

    Some of the movies I try to rip (Underworld Evolution and DaVinci Code…so far) start out converting just fine and then suddenly say “Done”. If I play the file it gets about 30 seconds to 1 minute through the movie and then stops. I have rebooted, closed and reopened the app but still nothing fixes the problem. Any ideas?

  19. Darrell says:

    For windows you can try DVD Decrypter

  20. Vladimir says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Chad,

    also, just use MediaFork since it is the new direction

  21. Chad Garrett says:

    I just had to post and say something to that guy who considers a 1.8GHz G4 the latest in technology. Sir, you simply fit into the “well over 2 hours” category. Faster computers do exist. 45 minutes is NOT crazy.

  22. balligerant says:

    “Depending on the speed of your Macintosh’s Processor, you will wait from as little as 45 minutes to well over 2 hours. ”

    Ummm, I don’t think so. For a DVD movie?…more like 5-6 hours. And that’s on a G4 1.8 Ghz Powerbook.

    “The wait is well worth it, as you will receive a video file which you can simply drag onto your iTunes icon, ready for your next sync.”

    This part I agree with. The output quality is good.

  23. Andy Berry says:

    Is there a pc version of this does anyone know ?

  24. j says:

    i ripped a dvd with the instant hand break and i converted it to a quicktime file i can watch it but i cant get it into my itunes what did i f up?

  25. lee says:

    I have a Mac G4 desktop – after the software scans I select iPod 5G(h.264), Orginal picture format, English Audio and select concert. I continue to get a message – “The application Instant HandBrake has unexpectedly quit. The system and other applications have not been afected…….” Not sure what is causing the process to quit. Any thoughts?

  26. Scott says:

    Its amazin. 1 Month ago there were 2 users of my applicaiton

    (I wrote the windows GUI for handbrake)

    Now i’ve had 275 downloads in the last 72 hrs :/ Bandwidth bill shotting through the roof.

  27. diggler says:

    Where is the best place to get memory for a G4 powerbook? I’m running 2 256 sticks.

  28. When you select OTHER… as the destination, Handbrake puts it in to MOVIES anyway.

  29. MyronAIII says:

    I read an earlier post that said Handbrake was only for mac; however, there are at least two versions for pc. Here is the best of the two versions:

    It is the best version out for PC and has many more options than the first PC Handbrake version that most people have. Also, you will need DVD43 as well, which you can find many places.

    Here is the creator’s page (who made this PC version):

  30. […] Instant HandBrake lets you easily convert any DVD to iPod and PSP friendly formats. Convert and drag the resulting file into iTunes, it’s that easy! Now I know what to do with all those NetFlix rentals…read more | digg story […]

  31. […] read more | digg story Filed under: Uncategorized   |   Tags: . […]

  32. Johnny Appleseed says:

    The latest beta of the full version of Handbrake will convert to the new 640x baseline low-complexity codec.

  33. […] Instant HandBrake lets you easily convert any DVD to iPod and PSP friendly formats. Convert and drag the resulting file into iTunes, it’s that easy! Now I know what to do with all those NetFlix rentals…read more | digg story All media playerAll media player Social Bookmark Digg it Earthlink Furl iFeedReaders ma.gnolia Netvouz Netscape RawSugar reddit Scuttle Shadows Simpy Spurl StumbleUpon Wink Yahoo MyWeb […]

  34. […] Instant Handbrake has got to be the easiest way to get your DVD to your ipod. It’s a total no brainer just choose the DVD and click convert. That it all there is to it. As of now it’s Mac only. […]

  35. Chad says:

    If this program is open source it wouldn’t be that hard to implement a new setting that outputs 640×480….

    Anyone feel like playing around with the source code?

  36. anonymous says:

    Well in that case lets figure out a way to make this puppy output 640×480 :)

    One more question: how long ago did this firmware update get rolled out?

    Can I store video on my ipod thats higher resolution than 640×480 strictly for tv output?

  37. Jay says:

    If your 5G iPod is updated with current firmware, it can support 640×480 H.264.

  38. anonymous says:

    is the 5g ipod the 320×240 ? How do I know which resolutions my iPod can support?

  39. brad says:

    Works great. Nearly idiot proof. Author considers it beta software. I have an old iMac dedicated to Instant Handbrake (converting DVD’s to iPod files)

    The web site has been dormant since 04/21/2006. Since that time Apple doubled the resolution of the iPod (from 320 lines to 640 lines). Instant Handbrake doesn’t support the higher resolution (yet).

  40. muchmore says:

    Does it encode at 320×240 or 640×480?

  41. anonymous says:

    Yup, I don’t think this program is frequently updated.

    Fortunately its GPL’d and just waiting for someone to pick it up, Market it, and run with it.

  42. anonymous says:

    Another great application that I’ve been using recently. It doesn’t do PSP H.264, which is too bad, so some have found that a second step using ffmpegx does the trick (I haven’t had any luck with that, however).

    Not to mention, I think this is a GNU/GPL license, so think freedom.

    From what I understand, development on this is more of a personal endeavor for the developer, so it’s not like it’s constantly updated, etc. Please correct me if I’m wrong (as always)

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