The CD data disk came as a revolution when it arrived. Before the most common storage method was still the 3.5″ floppy disk that held only 1.4 MB. The size of programs was rapidly increasing and many popular programs already came on a dozen or more disks and a bad floppy disk was all too common. The arrival of the CD made larger programs and games not just easier, but possible in the days when dial up Internet was still the norm. The DVD soon followed and increased the amount of data on a single disk to 4.7 GB and also brought the digital movie to the computer user.
Installing software now most often comes from a download, whether from the Mac App Store or the vendor’s web site. The DVD adds space and weight that can seem unnecessary. Apple now shows no concerns about removing the drive to shrink the size of their computers. The MacBook Air doesn’t come with a DVD drive to save space and the new MacBook Retina also removed the DVD drive. The trend is clear that Apple considers these drives to be unimportant and best relegated to an external drive in the rare times it’s needed.
Still, computer users can’t quite completely ignore the CD and DVD yet. Most boxed software, which now is relegated to mainly large suites like Microsoft Office or Creative Suite, still comes on a DVD or CD. While digital downloads of both movies and music are the future, many of us also have DVD or Blu-ray movie collections and even (gasp) CD music collections that we’d like to bring with us to the digital world. Here we’ll look at a few programs either included with your Mac or freely available that will help you deal with those physical disks still lying around. An external DVD drive will allow you to get anything on those disks to you Mac with the programs below.
In this day and age, everyone wants high-definiton content, and that means they either have to download the new 1080p video from iTunes or watch some Blu-Rays on their HDTV. Sadly, Macs still don’t sport Blu-Ray drives and probably never will, so why bother? Well, if you’ve already invested in lots of Blu-Ray films and TV shows, then it’s really not worth re-purchasing all your content on iTunes just to have it on your computer at the same resolution. I mean, there really should be a solution for this sort of thing.
And there is — sort of. You see, film producers decided that they would offer digital copies of their films with the physical copies. The only problem with this great idea is that many films do not include it and almost every TV show I know doesn’t, leaving the majority of what you own tied to your television and not playable on your Mac or Apple TV. Instead of fretting about this and going off to re-purcahse all your content on iTunes so that you can watch it on your iOS devices, Mac computers, and Apple TV, maybe you should consider ripping your Blu-Ray content. It’s not that hard to do actually, and I’m going to give you a full walkthrough, so join me after the break for some insight on getting all your high-definition content on your Mac.
Apple is known for often being one of the fore-runners in adopting new technologies – Firewire, ExpressCard, and Mini DisplayPort spring to mind. But equally, the company can be ruthless about dropping the inclusion of features they no longer feel to be relevant.
Blu-ray is an interesting outlier, and it isn’t obvious whether Apple is planning to adopt the technology yet. As themselves a video distributor through the iTunes Store, choosing to include an optical format that’s almost exclusively used for HD films would not necessarily be in their competitive interest.
Apple is a purveyor of the benefits of downloadable content – whether that be apps, music, or HD movies and TV shows. It even seems that they’d ultimately like to move away from optical media altogether, as is the case with the MacBook Air.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with this. I rarely use the DVD drive in the MacBook Pro – a couple of times per year at most – and I wouldn’t think twice before purchasing a machine with no optical drive at all. I don’t own any Blu-ray equipment or media, and am content downloading HD content from the iTunes Store.
But do you feel the same? Or is it Apple’s duty to support a wide range of formats – especially widespread standards such as Blu-ray? I’d love to hear your thoughts!