Why Blu-ray to iPad Converter Software?
Editor’s Note: Some products reviewed here allow you to circumvent copy encryptions contained on commercial discs, an act that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) forbids, even for personal use. Top Ten Reviews does not endorse piracy or any other type of illegal activity. However, some consumer advocates are actively seeking exceptions to the act’s provision for personal use of copyrighted material purchased by consumers. There's no evidence that any consumer has been prosecuted or sued for circumventing copy protections for personal use.
The top performers in our review are Leawo Blu-ray Ripper, the Gold Award winner; Pavtube BDMagic, the Silver Award winner; and Open Blu-ray Ripper, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 applications.
We live in a wonderful world of digital media. There are nearly unlimited options to watch anything you want, on any device you want, anywhere you want. But sometimes the media you buy in one format won't play on the devices you want to watch it on.
Such is the case with Blu-ray discs and iPads. iTunes, Apple's media player that controls what content is synced to your iPad, won't import Blu-ray discs into your library. This means it's effectively impossible to watch Blu-ray movies and TV shows on your iPad. You're left with the option of either paying for the same content twice or just not watching it on your iPad at all.
A third option is to get your hands on a solid Blu-ray to iPad converter application. These programs scan your Blu-ray discs and adapt whatever content you want into a file that you can then import into iTunes and sync to your iPad.
Most of the programs we reviewed have the ability to convert Blu-ray content for the iPad. But they can also do much more: They also have the ability to convert content for nearly every device you own. These programs all have a library of output profiles that optimize Blu-ray content for a great deal of popular smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, televisions and more, which includes all of the popular mobile operating systems such as Android, Windows Mobile as well as a variety of device manufacturers like Samsung and Motorola.
How It Works
Every Blu-ray disc, and every DVD for that matter, that contains movies or TV shows has what is known as an ISO file, or ISO image. This file is the blueprint for that particular disc. It contains all the menus, movies, TV shows, audio tracks, closed captions, special features and everything else.
Blu-ray to iPad converter software cracks open the ISO file and pulls out all its components. But before it can begin a conversion, it must overcome the copy protections found on almost all commercial discs. This is what allows the software to extract the movie from the disc and convert it into a file that you can import into iTunes. This process is commonly known as "ripping."
Once a disc has been ripped, its contents will be listed in the application’s interface. All you have to do is select the content you want to convert, then which iPad version or other product you want to optimize your rip for, and then click Convert. It took most of the products we reviewed between an hour and a half and two-and-a-half hours to complete a conversion of a single hour of Blu-ray content.
This may seem like a long time; however, it takes this long to get a high-quality video file that looks as good on your iPad as it does on a high-definition television. Some of the products we reviewed give you the ability to degrade the quality of the video for a faster conversion.
When a conversion is complete, you need to import the new video file into iTunes. Some of the products we reviewed claim the ability to do this automatically; others require you to import it manually. Once you've imported a converted file into iTunes, you need to sync it to your iPad. The file shows up in iTunes under Home Movies. You'll need to adjust your device's sync settings to make sure they are transferred onto your iPad.
All of the products on our lineup claim the ability to convert Blu-ray content for playback on iPads. However, some programs had problems syncing files created with a customization profile not intended for the iPad. The best products create files that can be played on both in iTunes and synced to an iPad.
Each of the products we reviewed has the ability to retain closed captions for the hearing impaired. However, when you choose this option, the resulting file won't have the ability to turn the captions off since they're embedded in the video itself. But you can always convert two versions: one with captions and one without.
These programs also give you the ability to extract audio content from a Blu-ray disc. This can come in the form of the soundtrack itself, or it can be bonus material like commentary or music. Any audio content found on the disc can be converted so you can listen to it the same as you would a music track or a podcast.
The ability to customize your conversion is also a common feature found on all the products in our lineup. These tools allow you to perform basic video-editing tasks before you export your final video. You're able to trim unwanted footage, crop the frame and adjust picture values like contrast, brightness and saturation. They also allow you to fine-tune technical aspects of your video like bit rate, frame rate and resolution. Not all users will use these granular controls, but those who know exactly what they want out of a conversion will find them very useful.
There is a chance that you'll find yourself in need of technical or customer support. The manufacturers of nearly all the software we reviewed provide at least some support on their official websites. Most have a FAQs section or a knowledge base. This is where you'll find answers to common questions as well as articles and how-to guides for the software. You also usually have the ability to contact these companies via email.
If you would like to learn more about Blu-ray ripping and converting, please visit our learning center.
Blu-Ray to iPad Converter Software: What We Tested, What We Found
We subjected each of the Blu-ray to iPad converter applications on our lineup to a battery of tests. These tests evaluated how difficult the programs are to learn and use and the quality of the video files produced by each converter:
All of the applications we reviewed were relatively straightforward. We tracked how quickly you can access and complete common tasks. The best software has an intuitive interface that allows you to begin conversions quickly, select content for conversion and access customization tools easily. The highest-scoring products have modern, updated designs that are stable and perform as advertised.
All of the products we reviewed have the ability to convert a Blu-ray file that syncs to an iPad with no problems. Some of the files we converted wouldn't sync to an iPad unless it was created using the iPad conversion profiles. The best programs export files that can be read by iPads whether they were created with a conversion profile or not. This makes syncing a custom conversion much easier.
When an application did convert Blu-ray content, we inspected the quality of both the video and audio of the resulting file. We searched for compression artifact – fuzziness or distortion – pixelation and other imperfections in the video. We also listened to the audio and compared the copy against the original Blu-ray file. Only two products produced an iPad file free of such imperfections. The rest had at least some problems such as out-of-sync audio, hissing sounds and degraded video quality.
We timed how long it took each application to complete a Blu-ray conversion. We found that it takes quite a long time. In general, it takes about two hours to convert one hour of Blu-ray content. We noted a correlation between longer conversion times and higher-quality iPad files.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of the average consumer. We obtained the units in our comparison by purchasing each of the products on our side-by-side comparison chart. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
At the end of our assessment we found the following Blu-ray to iPad converters performed the best:
Leawo Blu-ray Ripper: This is the best Blu-ray converter you can buy. It generated a video file that imported to iTunes and then synced to an iPad with ease. Further, the exported file had no imperfections in the audio or video. It was indistinguishable from the original Blu-ray disc or the same content downloaded from the iTunes Store. It has easy-to-use customization tools that allow you to perform basic edits easily. And it has a large library of conversion profiles for over a hundred devices, not just the iPad.
Pavtube BDMagic: There are only slight problems with this program. Converted video looks perfect when synced to an iPad. It also has the ability to optimize a file for many other devices like smartphones, gaming systems and television sets. There were some syncing issues with files that weren't created with iPad optimization profiles. But when they were, the synced files ran smoothly.
Open Blu-ray Ripper: This is another application that performed well in our tests, and it's no surprise that it landed in the top tier of our review. The manufacturer has a long history of making high-quality, easy-to-use disc ripping, copying, and conversion software. And it creates a very good though not perfect video file.
The quality and usability of these applications runs the gamut from excellent to outdated and nonfunctional. The best programs are regularly updated and produce high-quality video and audio that looks and sounds great on an iPad. They also have intuitive interfaces and allow the user to navigate their options and customization tools easily. And once a conversion is completed, iTunes can import it and then sync it to your iPad with no problems.