What is this guide about?
This guide shows how to encode H.264 video using StaxRip. While the focus is on H.264 encoding, the instructions will be similar for all the video types supported by StaxRip (DivX, XviD ...), so this guide can be considered more of a "How to use StaxRip" guide. This guide assumes you already have some knowledge regarding video conversion, like how to decrypt a DVD (which this guide does not cover).
What is StaxRip?
StaxRip is an all-in-one conversion/encoding tool designed to convert DVD/DVB and other video file formats to DivX, XviD and H.264. It supports outputs in the container formats AVI, MKV, MP4, DivX and PMP (PlayStation Portable). It's designed to be used by people who may not be familiar with all aspects of video conversion, but have enough knowledge to know the process - this is why it doesn't require the user to have Avisynth knowledge and at the same time allows you to configure most of the advanced codec and container settings. The disadvantage is that StaxRip hasn't been updated for a while now (and may not work with the latest version of the software it uses). If you don't mind doing a bit of extra work, then you might want to try MeGUI, which is updated much more frequently - we've written a MeGUI H.264 Conversion Guide
which might help you get started.
In terms of H.264 encoding, StaxRip only features a sub-set of options available in the x264 encoder. This is due to the author's wish to simplify the interface of the software and to not have to support the functions that the average user may not need or understand. All of the important x264 options are still present though, the missing options include rate control, and manual quantizer adjustments.
Technically, other software are required as part of the StaxRip installation process, but this will be covered in the next section.