A new Linux interface to HandBrake called HandBrakeGTK can convert DVDs to H.264 for viewing on your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s simple to use (no terminal commands), fast (especially with multi-core CPUs), and is easy to install in Ubuntu.

Download and install the DEB package from the HandBrakeGTK download page.

Insert the DVD you want to copy into your DVD drive. If the disk you want to encode from is a commercial encrypted DVD, your system needs to have software installed that can decrypt it.

Run HandBrakeGTK from Applications->Sound & Video->HandBrakeGTK. Click the Source button and select your DVD drive. It will take a minute for HandBrake to finish checking it.

Selecting the source

Click on the Browse button to select the destination file to be written (without the file extension).

Selecting the destination

Select the Presets tab, and select iPhone from the drop down box.

Selecting the iPhone preset

Unfortunately, the iPhone preset in the current version of HandBrakeGTK is incorrect. You need top change the Video Codec drop down box to H.264 (iPod).

Selecting the correct codec

I have found the the video bitrate in the iPhone preset is unnecessarily high. You can change it by selecting the Video tab and under Quality Settings change the Avg Bitrate to a lower number. 500kbps seems to be a good balance of file size and quality.

Changing the bitrate

Click the Start button on the top tool bar to begin the encoding. On my computer, converting a DVD takes approximately 20 minutes. The resulting files should be around 500 MB, depending on the length of the movie.

At this point, I use iTunes on Windows to sync the movies to my iPod Touch. :( I copy the video file from Ubuntu to the NTFS partition using Linux Reader.

Next up is finding a way transfer the video to iPod using a tool on Linux rather than iTunes.

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