Backing up DVDs is regarded as fair use in some parts of the world but is still strictly a legal no-no in most territories. DVDx 4.0 is one program that enables you to format shift onto a different device or to make an encoded backup, though it’s always going to be up to you to find out whether it’s legal to do this in your location. This is, of course, of no concern if you actually own the copyright to the video concerned.

Due to the structure of a DVD, it’s not always easy to find the video, extract it and then encode it to whatever form you want. DVDx 4.0 helps to identify the main titles on the disc and it provides a range of format options for encoding, so you don’t have to worry about getting each setting right for your device. The program also enables you to browse to an existing video file on your hard drive and queue it for encoding to a different format.

DVDx supports most popular formats, including MPEG2 (DVD), QuickTime, Xvid/DivX and Flash video, making it equally useful for converting video to play on a wide variety of devices, portable or otherwise.

DVDx is pretty easy to use. Start by opening the disc or chosen file in the player and selecting the audio and video streams you want. You can verify you've got the right stream by playing back a short section. Choose the target device from the drop down list and then tick the preview box. Encode a short preview and play it back to check it’s as you expect then clear the preview box and opt to encode the whole video.

This may take an hour or so, depending on the speed of your computer and the length and type of video you're converting, but once done, you’ll have a video file ready for playing in your device of choice.

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A reasonably solid DVD backup and video transcoding tool, but it can be foxed by some copy protection methods.