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Blu-Ray Ripping and Encoding Questions

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
I've got quite a large Blu-Ray collection, and I've started getting into ripping it so I can access the videos easily on my TVs via a HTPC. However, I've got two rather pressing questions in regard to ripping and encoding.

Ripping:

So, for ripping, I'm currently using MakeMKV. It's still on the 30-day trial that you start off with, but I'm not happy with it. Every 1-3 discs, the software screws up, and fails to unmount the Blu-Ray disc. The only way to fix this problem (that I've found) is to reboot the system. It also takes forever to reboot (~5 minutes), because the failed unmounting screws up Explorer. Well, anyone that knows me knows that I don't like restarting my machine; so, I'd like to move away from MakeMKV toward something that works better.

The two big kahunas that I've seen are AnyDVD HD and DVDFab. The latter is an all-encompassing suite, but they also have a program specifically for ripping Blu-Rays. I'm really curious about any sort of user testimonials. Do these programs get updated enough to tackle newer securities? Have you run into any annoying bugs like I mentioned above? MakeMKV is $50 and the other two are over $100 for a lifetime license. I don't want to spend that sort of cash (more than I spend on an OS license!) and regret it.

Encoding:

Now, this might end up being a bit subjective. So, I'm using Handbrake for encoding, and I don't have any problems with it. AnyDVD HD can actually perform the rip and encode and DVDFab also has Blu-Ray encoding software. However, Handbrake is free, and it has one really nice advantage, which is the main focus of my question. That advantage would be support for Intel's QuickSync. QuickSync is just ludicrously fast compared to me encoding via the CPU. On my stock i7-4770k, I was encoding an episode (1080p->720p, 22 Quality, x264, audio pass-through) at about 30-40 FPS. I installed the Handbrake nightly on my server (uses an i5-4670k + iGPU), and using QuickSync (1080p->720p, 22 Quality, Intel QS, audio pass-through), I encoded at about 220 FPS.

This really sounds like a no-brainer situation, but I keep jumping back to the Haswell HTPC review on Anandtech where there were complaints about Haswell's QuickSync quality. I played both episodes side-by-side in Media Player Classic - Home Cinema, and I wasn't really able to discern a difference. I think the only negative aspect is that QuickSync was slightly blotchier in areas with a lot of the same (or similar) color. Have driver updates improved QuickSync? Does anyone here swear by it?

I was able to easily enable the iGPU along with my dGPU in my desktop, so I can use QuickSync even with my dGPU. The only negative aspect that I've run into is that I now have two cursors visible on my screen. There's one in the top left corner that just sits there. If anyone knows how to get rid of that (My Google Fu wasn't able to find anything), I would appreciate that as well.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Personally I use AnyDVD HD. They are the best about being quick to update when a new copyright system comes out.
 

nickbits

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2008
4,125
1
71
What exactly do you mean by unmounting? I eject the disc all is good.

MakeMKV has been flawless for and I have used it with 3 different blu ray drives?
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
Personally I use AnyDVD HD. They are the best about being quick to update when a new copyright system comes out.
I've definitely considered buying AnyDVD HD in the past. The only thing that makes me a bit sheepish is the rather high cost. Even with their 20%-off promo that they're running right now, it's $130! :eek:

What exactly do you mean by unmounting? I eject the disc all is good.

MakeMKV has been flawless for and I have used it with 3 different blu ray drives?
Here are the steps I use...
1) I put a disc in
2) Go to File > Open Disc > Pioneer BDRW [Disc Name Here]
3) Wait for it to read the disc
4) Ensure the stuff I want is checked
5) Hit Back-up
6) Wait about 40 minutes
7) Go to File > Close
8) Click Eject

Sometimes it works fine, and other times it fails miserably.

So, I just saw something odd. I logged into my machine to make sure that I was running the latest version (I am, 1.8.8), and I noticed that everything was fine. Apparently, if I leave it alone (I ejected about 6 hours ago), it will eventually fix itself? What it normally does is act like I haven't even ejected the disc. If I close MakeMKV and open it again, it will enter the process of trying to read the disc, but nothing happens. If I try to eject the disc in Explorer, the File Explorer just hangs and it cannot be closed -- not even by force killing Explorer.exe!
 
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SlitheryDee

Lifer
Feb 2, 2005
17,253
18
81
I've ripped over 100 blu rays with makemkv and I've never had a mounting problem. The only thing that I can imagine is that it just doesn't play well with your drive. I tried anydvd and dvdfab, but they just weren't quite as streamlined and painless as makemkv, though they did the job just fine. I ended up just paying for makemkv and it's been what I used ever since.

As for encoding, I usually don't do it unless I want to add a movie to itunes for viewing on my apple tv. My solution was to throw a ton of storage space at the problem. I have an 8tb NAS on my network that makemkv is set up to rip my blu rays directly to. That way I have enough space to keep hundreds of full quality movies for later encoding at my leisure, should I ever want to. The movies play just fine over my network through WMC.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
I've ripped over 100 blu rays with makemkv and I've never had a mounting problem. The only thing that I can imagine is that it just doesn't play well with your drive. I tried anydvd and dvdfab, but they just weren't quite as streamlined and painless as makemkv, though they did the job just fine. I ended up just paying for makemkv and it's been what I used ever since.
I also prefer the simple nature of MakeMKV, but I need simple and working! :p It might actually be an issue with this drive. I have a Pioneer BDR-206, and while I couldn't find anyone complaining about my issue, I found a few complaints about poor ripping speed. I'm ripping a disc right now, and I'm only getting ~3.0X speed (I might be near the inside of the disc though). Some people were commenting about "rip locks", which I assume are caps on the drive's read speed?

If you have a recommendation on a drive, I could probably use it. I don't know if I necessarily need another Blu-Ray burner, but I also don't know if I need to waste the space on two optical drives.

As for encoding, I usually don't do it unless I want to add a movie to itunes for viewing on my apple tv. My solution was to throw a ton of storage space at the problem. I have an 8tb NAS on my network that makemkv is set up to rip my blu rays directly to. That way I have enough space to keep hundreds of full quality movies for later encoding at my leisure, should I ever want to. The movies play just fine over my network through WMC.
Each episode of Stargate: Atlantis is 8GB! I might have a ton of hard drive space, but I'd be chewing through my space if I left all of my shows and movies at the original Blu-ray quality. :p
 
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smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
It should normally take between 30-45 minutes to rip a complete Blu-Ray to your HDD.

I've used AnyDVD for around 10 years now, simply because it is the fastest to update and because it runs as a driver, it allows you do whatever you want with the DVD or Blu-Ray. You could literally rip and convert from the Blu-Ray with Handbrake, but it's generally a bad idea to let you BR Drive spin for hours on end while the conversion is taking place, not too mention the noise and the issue if you've converted for 4 hours and then it hits a bad sector on the Disc and you are left with 4 hours of nothing.

AnyDVD is a great tool for large projects or if you will use it in an ongoing fashion in the future. For 2 dozen BR/DVD Discs, it is not worth it.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
It looks like I've solved my MakeMKV woes by upgrading the firmware on my Blu-ray burner. I've ripped probably a half-dozen discs by now, and I haven't had a single hiccup.

I'm still not sure about the whole QuickSync vs. x264 debate though. I know I don't want 8-12GB per episode, but I also don't want junky encodes! I pieced through my test encode, and it looked fine; however, I'd still like more opinions if anyone has one.

It should normally take between 30-45 minutes to rip a complete Blu-Ray to your HDD.
It usually takes me about an hour. I don't know if mine is slow, but I saw others talking about seeing faster speeds than I get. So, if I'm going to be ripping a lot, I could possibly save a decent amount of time by getting a faster drive.

Although, maybe part of the problem is the fact that it's downgrading the DTS HD-Master audio to DTS 5.1. I'm guessing that is going to add to the overall ripping time.

You could literally rip and convert from the Blu-Ray with Handbrake, but it's generally a bad idea to let you BR Drive spin for hours on end while the conversion is taking place, not too mention the noise and the issue if you've converted for 4 hours and then it hits a bad sector on the Disc and you are left with 4 hours of nothing.
I'm not doing a direct conversion from the disc like you're suggesting. I'm pulling the data from the disc to the hard drive using MakeMKV. Once the data is on the hard drive, I am encoding it using Handbrake. I also remembered why I couldn't use Handbrake in the past. The first Blu-ray that I tried to rip awhile ago was Ip Man, but Handbrake wouldn't do anything with the subtitles, which since I was reluctant to learn Mandarin, Handbrake just wasn't going to cut it. However, they've recently added Blu-ray subtitle (PGS) support.
 

smakme7757

Golden Member
Nov 20, 2010
1,488
1
81
I've definitely considered buying AnyDVD HD in the past. The only thing that makes me a bit sheepish is the rather high cost. Even with their 20%-off promo that they're running right now, it's $130! :eek:
I picked up 2 years last night actually to rip all my Blu-Ray movies.

My reasoning is that in 2 years the likelihood of me still buying movies on discs is going to be pretty small.

I don't really think the lifetime membership is worth the cost the way things are moving. However if for some reason I'm wrong then i might consider a lifetime membership if I still want to renew the product in 2016.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
It looks like I've solved my MakeMKV woes by upgrading the firmware on my Blu-ray burner. I've ripped probably a half-dozen discs by now, and I haven't had a single hiccup.

I'm still not sure about the whole QuickSync vs. x264 debate though. I know I don't want 8-12GB per episode, but I also don't want junky encodes! I pieced through my test encode, and it looked fine; however, I'd still like more opinions if anyone has one.
I've never used QuickSync. However, I used to play around with CUDA on the nVidia graphics cards a few years ago. The speed bump was nice, but the video quality was just not good enough. I'm sure that for the majority of the population (i.e. ones that really aren't bothered by the quality difference between DVD & BR) that CUDA was fine and I'm sure QuickSync is, too. For me, though, I literally thought that it looked like crap.

It's just a matter of personal taste. If it's good enough for you, then don't worry about it. The only thing I would consider is the playback device. What might look good on a 22" monitor can look horrible when played back on a 63" plasma.

It usually takes me about an hour. I don't know if mine is slow, but I saw others talking about seeing faster speeds than I get. So, if I'm going to be ripping a lot, I could possibly save a decent amount of time by getting a faster drive.

Although, maybe part of the problem is the fact that it's downgrading the DTS HD-Master audio to DTS 5.1. I'm guessing that is going to add to the overall ripping time.
It could, but I don't use MakeMKV, either. I have an Asus and an LG that I use. Drives can be rip-locked by the manufacturer. Back in the DVD days, they would limit drives to 4x speed for ripping DVDs so everyone clamoured for non-riplocked Lite-Ons. I don't rip enough Blu-Rays to really concern myself with it anymore, though. If the project is big enough and you find yourself with $60 lying around, you could always investigate. This forum thread may be of interest to you:

http://www.makemkv.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6441

I'm not doing a direct conversion from the disc like you're suggesting. I'm pulling the data from the disc to the hard drive using MakeMKV. Once the data is on the hard drive, I am encoding it using Handbrake. I also remembered why I couldn't use Handbrake in the past.
I wasn't suggesting that you use Handbrake to rip, just giving you an example. Ripping first and converting later is the better/safer option. AnyDVD HD includes its own ripper that would be better than ripping with Handbrake. With AnyDVD HD and tools like BDinfo and Tsmuxer, you can keep the DTS-HD track (or any other track for that matter) although playback compatibility may be affected. MakeMKV takes the safe route and automatically downconverts so that playback compatibility is greatest.

The first Blu-ray that I tried to rip awhile ago was Ip Man, but Handbrake wouldn't do anything with the subtitles, which since I was reluctant to learn Mandarin, Handbrake just wasn't going to cut it. However, they've recently added Blu-ray subtitle (PGS) support.
A real man would have taken some foreign language courses at the community college.
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
3
81
I'm still not sure about the whole QuickSync vs. x264 debate though. I know I don't want 8-12GB per episode, but I also don't want junky encodes! I pieced through my test encode, and it looked fine; however, I'd still like more opinions if anyone has one.
What generation of CPU do you have? On my IVB, I've tested a few files, and for SD/DVD quality stuff, I don't see any quality difference vs. x264. Encoded files come out about 10% larger for the same quality settings, but I just giggle a bit when I see the ~700fps conversions and CPU utilization at 25%. Bluray/1080p files, perhaps a slight quality degradation when I stare closely at the computer monitor. At 10 feet on the plasma, I see no difference. Again, about 10% larger, but speeds roughly triple (EDIT, running a batch now of 1080p: make that 10 TIMES faster) vs. x264 and very low CPU overhead. For movies that I really enjoy and will watch multiple times, I use x264. But anything that will only get watched once or twice, I'm going to save the power bill and use QS.

AnandTech's review of Haswell didn't think too highly of the latest implementation of QS, but IIRC, missingremote had more positive things to say.

Long story short, If you don't mind the wait, x 264 will still give the best quality with the smallest file size. If you have a large batch that you want done quickly and don't mind slightly larger files, QS is pretty awesome.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
I don't really think the lifetime membership is worth the cost the way things are moving. However if for some reason I'm wrong then i might consider a lifetime membership if I still want to renew the product in 2016.
I think I can still see myself buying Blu-rays in the future, but that might depend on the quality that we expect to see. With how miserly ISPs are being, they're going to be stricter and stricter with our bandwidth limits yet give us more rope (bandwidth) to hang ourselves with. We could easily see higher quality video available (e.g. Netflix's Super HD), but using it could end up costing us more in fees.

Is there a significant fee to go from the two year upgrade period to the lifetime if you decide to change?

It's just a matter of personal taste. If it's good enough for you, then don't worry about it. The only thing I would consider is the playback device. What might look good on a 22" monitor can look horrible when played back on a 63" plasma.
Given my indecisiveness, I've asked a friend to try and give his opinion. I think part of me is swayed by the 7x speed increase of QuickSync... especially given that I have quite a bit of stuff to encode! QuickSync also means that my computer is completely usable while I'm encoding since I use my dedicated GPU for anything gaming-related. I can also use my server for encoding since it has access to QuickSync as well. It also doesn't help that I didn't notice much of a difference, but I only watched a little bit of the encodes. It was fun enough just trying to get them as close to playing in sync as I possibly could. :p

It could, but I don't use MakeMKV, either. I have an Asus and an LG that I use. Drives can be rip-locked by the manufacturer. Back in the DVD days, they would limit drives to 4x speed for ripping DVDs so everyone clamoured for non-riplocked Lite-Ons. I don't rip enough Blu-Rays to really concern myself with it anymore, though. If the project is big enough and you find yourself with $60 lying around, you could always investigate.
I've seen a few people complain about the Pioneer drives, which is why I wasn't sure if my Pioneer Blu-ray burner could be causing slower rip times. It looks like a few people in there are complaining about poor speeds, but some of them get even worse speeds than I do. I tend to see about 2.5x to 3.5x, but there are others in the thread that get over twice as much performance with their drives!

I wasn't suggesting that you use Handbrake to rip, just giving you an example. Ripping first and converting later is the better/safer option. AnyDVD HD includes its own ripper that would be better than ripping with Handbrake. With AnyDVD HD and tools like BDinfo and Tsmuxer, you can keep the DTS-HD track (or any other track for that matter) although playback compatibility may be affected. MakeMKV takes the safe route and automatically downconverts so that playback compatibility is greatest.
I'm pretty sure MakeMKV can keep the lossless audio tracks if I want them. I've never actually tried to rip with one in there, but there is a checkbox for it. It's just unchecked by default and they have the DTS 5.1 checkbox checked.

What generation of CPU do you have? On my IVB, I've tested a few files, and for SD/DVD quality stuff, I don't see any quality difference vs. x264. Encoded files come out about 10% larger for the same quality settings, but I just giggle a bit when I see the ~700fps conversions and CPU utilization at 25%. Bluray/1080p files, perhaps a slight quality degradation when I stare closely at the computer monitor. At 10 feet on the plasma, I see no difference. Again, about 10% larger, but speeds roughly triple vs. x264 and very low CPU overhead. For movies that I really enjoy and will watch multiple times, I use x264. But anything that will only get watched once or twice, I'm going to save the power bill and use QS.

AnandTech's review of Haswell didn't think too highly of the latest implementation of QS, but IIRC, missingremote had more positive things to say.

Long story short, If you don't mind the wait, x 264 will still give the best quality with the smallest file size. If you have a large batch that you want done quickly and don't mind slightly larger files, QS is pretty awesome.
I have a Haswell CPU. I encoded the same episode of Stargate Atlantis using x264 and QuickSync, and I didn't really notice much of a difference. They were both encoded with a 22 quality factor, which gave me a file size of about 1.2GB at 720p. I think the only thing I may have noticed with QuickSync is that areas of a frame with a lot of the same color appeared a bit "splotchier" than the x264 encode.

I know what you mean about the Anandtech Haswell HTPC review. That's pretty much the reason why I'm so hesitant to use it! However, that review was awhile ago, and since QuickSync is driver-based, things may have changed... and hopefully that's for the better! :p I definitely like the speed. I get about 220 FPS with QuickSync vs. 35 FPS with x264 at the same quality settings.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
I found something odd that I'm not sure if it's a bug with QuickSync or just a problem with Handbrake. I went to encode Caddyshack last night, and there was one thing that I noticed about it that was different than all of my other rips: it was encoded using VC1. When I started up the encode, I noticed something else rather quickly... it wasn't going very fast -- only about 45 FPS. For 720p, I should be seeing about 230-240 FPS. I left the encode alone since it doesn't affect my system at all, but it ended up stopping prematurely leaving an 800MB file.

I originally wondered if QuickSync had bugged out, but I encoded a copy of Ghostbusters (h.264) again, and it worked fine. So, it seems that there's an issue somewhere if I want to encode a VC1 file.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
I found something odd that I'm not sure if it's a bug with QuickSync or just a problem with Handbrake. I went to encode Caddyshack last night, and there was one thing that I noticed about it that was different than all of my other rips: it was encoded using VC1. When I started up the encode, I noticed something else rather quickly... it wasn't going very fast -- only about 45 FPS. For 720p, I should be seeing about 230-240 FPS. I left the encode alone since it doesn't affect my system at all, but it ended up stopping prematurely leaving an 800MB file.

I originally wondered if QuickSync had bugged out, but I encoded a copy of Ghostbusters (h.264) again, and it worked fine. So, it seems that there's an issue somewhere if I want to encode a VC1 file.
I doubt it's a VC-1 and I'm trying to wrap my head around how Quick sync could be the issue. It almost looks like a bad rip. VC-1 is a pretty common stream type. Does the rip playback smoothly? When the encode bugs out, can you play the file to that point? If so, does the original rip stall at the same point when you play it back?
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
So I tried this and it's great cuz the file size is so small, but it won't play back on my iPhone or Apple TV. What did I do wrong?
Nothing. Hardware decoders don't exist yet in consumer devices. It only works with CPU decoding which means real computer.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
I doubt it's a VC-1 and I'm trying to wrap my head around how Quick sync could be the issue. It almost looks like a bad rip. VC-1 is a pretty common stream type. Does the rip playback smoothly? When the encode bugs out, can you play the file to that point? If so, does the original rip stall at the same point when you play it back?
I'll need to check the Blu-ray rip to be sure, but I'm fairly certain that the rip is alright. After the QuickSync encode failed, I switched over to x264 in HandBrake, and it worked fine. Also, I did open the 800MB file (failed QS encode), and it seemed to play fine for the few seconds that I tried.

It being a problem with VC1 is all that makes sense. I'll have to try and find another VC1 disc, and see if it screws up too.

So I tried this and it's great cuz the file size is so small, but it won't play back on my iPhone or Apple TV. What did I do wrong?
You shouldn't be using it, because as Poofy mentioned, nothing supports it yet. I recall NVIDIA stating that Maxwell will have partial h.265 support, but that's it.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
x264...ghetto, move on to h.265 FFS.
Haha. I wish. x265 just isn't there yet. When it is, I'll gladly move to it.

What's sad is that if you buy a bluray, and you want to get a digital version of it you have to the purchase a digital version. BluRay's should allow you to go online or something and be able to download the digital version once you give a receipt code or something.

I use Handbrake for encoding and it's pretty fast. Not sure which settings your using since I think I'm seeing higher frames per second encoded.

This is one of those moments though where if you own the product, you shouldn't have to go through the trouble of learning how to make a digital copy.
 

DesiPower

Lifer
Nov 22, 2008
15,368
740
126
Here's how my setup looks like -
ASUS DVD Burner
Clone Bly-ray to ISO using DVDFab
Installed DVDFab Virtual Drive
Double click on the ISO automatically mounts it on the DVDFab Virtual Drive and that invokes the autoplay and opens the disk with TMT

All very seamless, I like the simplicity and having the full DVD with menu and extras and everything, not just the movie. I personally do not like converting my disks to a file with the just the movie. Clone is very fast, takes 20-40 mins depending on the size, ASUS FTW

TMT also has the server feature iirc, never tried that, my HTPC is the only device I watch Blu-rays on
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,481
451
126
I thought I'd give a bit of an update as I've ripped and encoded a few more of my movies.

First of all, I purchased a new drive. I picked up a LG WH14NS40 drive, and it's so much better than my Pioneer drive for ripping. I start off around 5x speed and end up ripping at around 11x speed! I've gone from 45 minutes for a rip to about 10! :) If that piques your interest, the drive is on sale right now at Newegg.

So, I'm still not sure what's going on with VC-1. I've ripped a few movies that use VC-1, and all of them seem to take longer to encode than a similar MPEG4 movie. For example, Speed Racer is VC-1, but it was actually encoding at ~80 FPS at 1080p, which isn't terrible, but is still a little slow. I normally see around 130-160 for 1080p.

I've been using QuickSync for pretty much everything so far, and I haven't had any issues with it. As I mentioned earlier, one of the nicest things about it is that it doesn't render my PC fairly unusable like x264 would do (since it would peg my CPU at 100%).

All very seamless, I like the simplicity and having the full DVD with menu and extras and everything, not just the movie. I personally do not like converting my disks to a file with the just the movie. Clone is very fast, takes 20-40 mins depending on the size, ASUS FTW
Having the full ISO is fairly nice. The only downsides (for me!) is that I don't watch extras that often, and PLEX, my main media program, doesn't support ISOs.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
12,977
2,511
126
First of all, I purchased a new drive. I picked up a LG WH14NS40 drive, and it's so much better than my Pioneer drive for ripping. I start off around 5x speed and end up ripping at around 11x speed! I've gone from 45 minutes for a rip to about 10! :) If that piques your interest, the drive is on sale right now at Newegg.
Thanks for pointing that out. I literally killed my BD drive ripping all my movies. I've lived with out one for a few months, but I just got a few new movies I would like to rip.

Having the full ISO is fairly nice. The only downsides (for me!) is that I don't watch extras that often, and PLEX, my main media program, doesn't support ISOs.
I agree. I ripped some of my movies to ISO at the start, but since I actually have all the disks for my movies I feel that on the rare occasion that I want to watch the extra's I can pull the disk out.
 

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