My favorite DVD ripper, Handbrake, has just been updated to version 0.9.3, and this time around there are a number of useful new features as well as a nice UI update. Some of the better updates this time include:

Universal input

HandBrake is no longer limited to DVDs: it will now accept practically any type of video as a source. This massive enhancement was achieved by tapping into the power of libavcodec and libavformat from the FFmpeg project.

Video quality

The x264 project has really come into its own this year, and HandBrake 0.9.3 integrates the latest improvements to the H.264 encoding library. Picture quality has enhanced dramatically through the use of psychovisual rate distortion and adaptive quantization, and there have been significant speed optimizations.

Audio flexibility

HandBrake now offers total control over multiple audio tracks.

Persistent queues

When queueing up a bunch of videos to encode, you need no longer fear a crash in HandBrake's graphical interfaces. Queued jobs are cached to disk for safekeeping between sessions.

New, better organized presets (Be sure to run "Update Built-In Presets" from the Presets menu!)

The presets are now "nested" in folders and have evolved. Notably, there is a new Apple "Universal" preset, designed to play and look good doing so on anything from an iPod Nano to an AppleTV.

Massive improvements to all interfaces

As hard as it might be to believe, the changes listed above are only the tip of the iceberg. A much longer list is available, but even that is only a brief summary. There have been well over 600 changes to HandBrake's code base since 0.9.2, including hundreds of bug fixes, and a thorough log can be found on the Trac.

Good stuff all around. I’ll be testing this one tonight on my quad core-based notebook.