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Back to main How-Tos page


Zune How-Tos

Zune

How To: Convert DVDs to play on your Zune

This page covers two popular ways to convert DVDs to play on your Zune: with Cucusoft and with Super.

Cucusoft Zune Video Converter Suite is a simple and powerful software package for converting DVDs and video files to make them playable on your Zune. The package includes DVD to Zune Converter (which rips and converts movies from DVDs), and Zune Video Converter (which converts other video files on your PC).

With Cucusoft you can:

  • Convert almost all kinds of DVDs to Zune-compatible .wmv format
  • Create Zune-compatible video files, so they sync to your player without needing to be re-converted.
  • Customize the file size and quality of the video file
  • Incorporate subtitles into converted movies
  • Select audio track (English, French, Spanish, etc.)
  • Select video cropping options (16:9 widescreen, 4:3 fullscreen)
  • Convert DVD audio to MP3
  • recommended by Zunerama

    Zunerama recommends Cucusoft for its ease of use, conversion speed, and quality results.

    You can try out Cucusoft with the trial version, or buy the full version. Both are delivered to you as downloads so you can start using Cucusoft right away. The trial version is fully functional, but embeds a watermark on your converted video.

    Cucusoft free trial      Cucusoft buy now

    Download with confidence. Zunerama recommends Cucusoft Zune Converter Suite, and supports your Cucusoft experience with:

  • Up-to-date links to download latest version of free trial
  • Up-to-date links to purchase and download full package
  • Cucusoft tutorial with Zunerama's step-by-step instructions and over thirty screenshots
  • Free access to Zunerama's Cucusoft technical support board, where you can ask questions, get help, and share your experience with Cucusoft software.
  • Free access to our Zune community in the Zunerama forum, where you meet and interact with thousands of other Zune enthusiasts.





  • How To: Convert DVDs to play on your Zune - using Super

    This tutorial shows how to convert your DVDs into a file that is readable by Zune, using free software. This tutorial is noob friendly, so just follow the steps exactly and you should be okay. Feel free to ask questions using the comments link at the bottom.

    Note: Click on any graphic to see a full-size view of it.

    Overview

    Here's what you'll be doing:

    Short version: Taking your DVD and getting the data onto your computer, then putting it into a file format playable by your Zune.

    Long version: What we're doing in the Tutorial is we will be taking the data from the DVD's using DVD Decryptor, and putting it onto your hard drive in a format recognized by your computer. The files (.vob) will be playable in certain programs, like Nero Showtime and VLC media player. However, the Zune itself can only read files with an extension of .wmv . The software that comes with the Zune will be able to transcode (change the file) into a .wmv file only if it is a .mp4 file or h.264 file. So the next step is to take the data from your DVD that is now on your hard drive (in the .vob format), and use the program Super to change it into a .mp4 file or a .wmv file.

    Step 1: Getting the Necessary Programs

    We'll be needing two programs for this - DVD Decrypter and Super - and both are free. DVD Decrypter will get the data off your DVDs, and Super will take the data and put it into a Zune-playable file.

  • Link to download DVD Decrypter
  • Link to down Super (See download link at bottom of page.)
  • Step 2: Getting Everything Ready

    Now install both programs - each comes with self-explanatory instructions.

    Next, pop in the DVD. Close out any programs that might pop up to play the DVD, then start DVD Decrypter. It should look similar to this:

    Now we're all set to do some DVD ripping, so onto the next step...

    Step 3: Ripping the DVD

    If you have more than one CD/DVD drive in your computer, you may have to change the source to the appropriate drive. The correct one should come up with a bunch of data on the right side of the screen as shown in the picture.

    Next, change the mode from File mode to IFO mode. To do this go to "Mode" at the top of the screen, and choose IFO mode. Easy, huh?

    After selecting IFO, the interface should look similar to this:

    Now, we need to select the video files to rip. On your right will be many different tracks you can choose from; these are the different video files on the DVD. If you have just one movie on it, then in almost all cases it will be the longest track (e.g. [01:30:43] would represent an hour-and-a-half movie). If you're not sure or have multiple movies you might want, you can try playing it in Windows Media Player to identify the track you want. In our example, we want the second track on the disc, so that is PGC 2.

    Now that you have your track selected, the final tweaks can be made. Click on the little folder on the left side to choose where you want the file to go. Make note of where you are sending the file, so you can find it later.

    The final thing to do is to change a setting in DVD Decrypter. Go to "Tools", then "Settings", then click on the "IFO Mode" tab. There will be an option for "File Splitting", and the default should be 1 GB. Change that to "None". This way we will have one file to work with rather than many.

    Click the button (pictured below) to start the ripping process.

    DVD Decrypter will begin to read the disc, and will display a little screen similar to this:

    Once it gets to 100%, CONGRATS! You just successfully took the data from your DVD and made a backup on your hard drive!

    Step 4: Converting the Files

    The next step is to convert the data you got from your DVD.

    First, open up Super (it's a slow loading program, so don't worry if it doesn't come up right away), and open up Windows Explorer (by going to Start, then clicking on My Computer/My Documents). Now, remember where you sent your files? Head there, then go into the folder (NextGen2 in this example), then into Video_TS. In there should be 2 files, an .IFO file and a .VOB file. Drag and drop the .VOB file (it will be the largest file) onto Super. The file should appear in the job list, as in the picture below.

    NOTE! Currently Zune will not play .wmv video encoded by Super, because Super only encodes with mp3 audio - and Zune can only play .wmv with .wma audio). I would guess that in a month or so Super will be Zune compatable, but until then the only option is to create .mp4 files.

    So, choose .mp4 for the first box. Next, choose H.264/AVC in the second box, and make sure that AAC is in the third box.

    For the Video and Audio options, many things will depend on your opinion of Quantity vs Quality. First double click on your file in the job list, a window will come up with the details of your file. We'll start with video first.

    For aspect ratio, chose either 320x240 or 640x480. The former is the same size as the Zune, the latter is in case you want better quality, for playback on a TV or something like that. Keep in mind the larger it is the more space your file will take up.

    Next is the Frame rate, this is determined by the frame rate of the original video. Go to that little window I had you open up, and in there under Video should be the frame rate. Mine is 29.97 so that is what I'll choose; yours may vary.

    The bit rate is next; DVD's often have really high bit rates. I recommend around 624 - it's what most videos on the web are at, and you won't notice much of a difference on the Zune's small screen.

    My setup (yours will vary):

    Audio options are next. In the window with all the information about your file, there should be something called "Sampling Rate". Mine is 48 Khz, so I will choose 48,000 in my audio area. You can choose anything, but lower than what it is will result in lower quality (lower file size as well though). If you choose something higher than what it is in the original file, it will be a larger file, but there will be no increase in quality. The same thing goes for the audio bitrate. Most of the time you probably won't notice a difference between bitrates, so I would go with 160.

    My setup (again, yours will vary):

    The last thing to do is specify where you want the file to go. Right click on your file in the job list, and choose "Specify the Ouput Folder Destination". Then go to where you want it to be sent.

    You're ready! Click "Encode" and it'll start going. Don't pay attention to that progress bar, though. It just loops around and around forever until you're done.

    So, now that your file is converted to .mp4, it will sync to your Zune (after some conversion through the software) or do whatever you want with it.

    You can also clean up the files from DVD decrypter - you can delete them or save them, but they take up a lot of space so I would recommend the former unless you want to do some more stuff with them.

    Troubleshooting: Error messages may come up during the transcoding, it will usually be one of two things:

  • You have too many programs running at once, leaving little memory for Super to run on. If too many programs are running, the software just gives up on it and reports an error, most often this occurs when two things are converting (like the Zune software and Super).
  • It's a mistake made by Super. Occasionally Super will make a mistake and report an error about the file. If it's still encoding, don't push the error button to see what it's all about, because once you click cancel it'll quit the transcoding. Let it continue until the end, then just skip through the file in the Zune software to make sure the entire video was converted. Do the same thing if you notice an error when it's done transcoding.

    Thanks to Zunerama member olion597 for preparing this tutorial!

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