Blu-ray to appleTV 3 workflow

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mazuma, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    #1
    I know there a lot of threads on this subject, but the information seems to be fairly fragmented depending on the final output device the media will be play on. I am considering converting my disc blu-ray collection to a format that will play on my appleTV 3. Good idea or bad?

    My current planned workflow is
    Blu-ray disc -> MakeMKV -> Handbrake -> appleTV 3

    From what I've been able to piece together is that.

    1. appleTV 3 will only play m4v files and not mkv? mkv is for a HTPC or similar setup?
    2. appleTV (or any mac) won't natively play DTS-HD passthru? So, I'll need to either not include this or include a second track? Which one? AC3 or AAC?

    I wen through the process on one disc and ended up with a file that has no sound if I try to play it though quicktime on my mac. I only selected the DTS-HD passthru though. VLC will play the mkv file with no problem, but doesn't play the m4v file? Not sure why. Really doesn't matter though because that is not my end game.

    Side note. At one point I tried mac mini HTPC with Plex, but it seemed like Plex never really would just work. Seemed like a lot of software restarts to get things running. Ultimately I tapped out and went the apple TV route with my dvd collection and has worked near flawless. Now I'd like to repeat that with my blu-ray discs.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. macrumors member

    morningsong

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #2
    Your MAC will not play any 6-channel format in Quicktime or iTunes.
    I encode two sets of audio, one that will play on the MAC (and secondary devices) and another hi-quality stream that will play through my receiver on Apple TV.
     
  3. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #3
    If you use the HB aTV3 preset, it should automatically set up your audio formats for you (track 1 AAC stereo, track 2 AC3 passthrough or, if DTS, ffmepg discrete 6-channel). Personally, I do not include the DTS (or DTS-HD) in the mp4 package. It's such a long shot that mp4's and apples will ever be able to play this track that it is probably not worth the disk space to include it. I do however, keep the mkv's that contain the dts tracks. Just in case something changes and the dts tracks become useful, I do include them in the mkv archive.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    #4
    After I scan the disk in MakeMKV i check the audio tracks I want. Is the DD 3/2+1 a Dolby Digital 5.1? If so, would it make sense to include this in the mkv creation and let this passthru in handbrake? That way I'm not getting a resampled version of the audio. Or, would this be a waste?

    Also, why do they use the terminology lossless on the DTS-HD track only? is the 3/2+1 and other tracks a form of lossy?
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #5
    Regular DD 5.1 is DD3/2+1. HD Dolby is Dolby True HD. DTS normal DTS and DTS Master Audio is high def DTS. After MakeMKV scans the disc you will be given a choice of audio tracks, I always choose the highest quality track. So if you see Dolby True HD and you select it, you will also get the SD audio track as part of it's core. HB has no HD audio capability (neither does the aTV), use passthrough with all Dolby audio tracks. DTS and DTS-MA which have to be converted, by HB, to Dolby. Rarely, but I have seen it, a movie will include a DD 5.1 track along with the DTS-HD track. If you see that, it's your option which to tell HB to use, passthrough DD or resampled DTS-HD.

    Is that clear as mud? :)
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    swfh

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    #6
    Blu-ray to appleTV 3 workflow

    I rip the BD to my HDD via DVDFab or AnyDVD, I then open that file in Handbrake choosing Title Specific Scan and selecting Folder (this keeps the chapters) not bothering with making an MKV file first. I always use the Normal profile and have two soundtracks, one AAC 2.0 (default) and the other DD 5.1 created from the DTS HD or DD track on the BD by selecting AC3 (ffmpeg) and 6-Channel Discrete.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    #7
    Sorta. I've tried one bluray so far and selected the DTS-HD lossless track. After that I imported into handbrake. I selected the DTS-HD passthru. When I tried to play it in QuickTime, no audio. Should there have been a SD track in there as well? Or, should I be selecting a second track and making it AC3? Sorry for all the confusion, but these transcodes don't go fast. So, I'm trying to get it right from the start.
     
  8. mic j, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012

    macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #8
    DTS pass-through won't work because nothing Mac will play them. You need to select:

    Track: DTS-HD
    Codec: ffmpeg
    Mixdown: 6-channel discrete

    You can put the DTS passthrough in the mp4 along with the other 2 tracks (AAC stereo and 6-channel discrete) but it is basically a useless track just taking up disc space

    Edit: I would also make sure Web Optimize is checked and Picture size is set to Anamorphic Strict. Those setting will help insure easy streaming and high quality visual output.

    Edit #2: One thing you can do to work your system out is just select 1 chapter to transcode. If it looks and sounds like you want it, then go do the full title.
     
    rhett7660 likes this.
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    #9
    Thanks and that makes sense on how to get things setup. I forgot about just using one chapter to test. So, thanks for that reminder as well.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #10
    I have been selecting the Apple TV 3 preset after importing all of the English audio tracks available on MakeMKV—even when the first HD track is not checked, by default. Everything plays fine on iTunes and the Apple TV. Is this ideal?

    Also, why is that HD track not checked by default?
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #11
    Just a quirk of MakeMKV. Not 100% sure but I think there is something you can do to make the HD track checked by default. You might want to check their forum for that.

    HB does not do HD in an mp4 nor does the aTV. You are doing it "ideally" as possible with a media streamer that does not play or pass-through HD audio tracks.

    However, if you keep your mkv's as archives, I would recommend checking the HD audio box in the selection list so that you archive the best quality sound possible. Who knows what the future holds.
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #12
    Hrm. I haven't been doing that, but perhaps I should. I have been wondering whether keeping the originals around is necessary. Can I maybe keep the HD audio backup but throw out the source video?
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #13
    You can. But not sure what the point would be. Highly unlikely that mp4 or the aTV will do HD audio. I was thinking more along the lines that if someday they found a jailbreak for the aTV3, then you could play uncompressed mkv (with full HD audio) through the aTV. Just saving the audio track would not allow you to do that.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #14
    What exactly is HD audio? Is that just a high bitrate or something?
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #15
    HD audio involves a few things, bitrate is one, also possibly number of channels. If you don't have a very high quality home theater, you aren't going to get the benefit from it. There is always a heated debate as to whether you can actually hear the difference. I keep it, just because disc space is cheap and it is a future proof.
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    jjk454ss

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #16
    These methods work in osx? With osx not supporting bluray you don't need to use anything else, makemkv will rip a Blu-ray Disc just fine?
     
  17. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #17
    Yes. All you need is the software and external BR reader drive.
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    jjk454ss

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #18
    Ok, thanks. Any recommendations on a good quality bd reader?
     
  19. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #19
    I bought a Plextar a couple years ago and it works fine and I like that it is USB powered. So no brick and cord. I think most inexpensive players are fine. You're just reading so it's not real demanding. Speed is of minimal importance, unless you are anal about every second spent doing something. I rip a BR in around 20-30m with MakeMKV. Another thing about speed, I think the mac uses riplock which prevents the speed from going over 3-4X. So even if you have a 16X reader, you won't see any reading speed over about 3.8X.
     
  20. macrumors 68040

    jjk454ss

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #20
    I was just looking at newegg, it looks like most everything they have is a bd writer/reader. I'm hoping to find s reader for less money.

    Thanks again.
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #21
  22. macrumors 68040

    jjk454ss

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #22
  23. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #23
    I'm looking at buying a BD drive myself. Since I now have a $25 gift card at Amazon, that's where I'm sticking to. While looking earlier today, I did see some around $40 and $50, but they are from manufacturers I've never heard of and, more importantly, only 2X.

    I saw some LG models at $60-$80, and they read at 6X. I'm thinking thrice the read speed is worth the extra bucks, plus knowing LG is behind it and not something called cBear.

    Here's the one I think I'll end up getting. Thoughts?

    http://www.amazon.com/LG-Portable-B...1099&sr=1-15&keywords=blu-ray+external+player
     
  24. macrumors 68040

    jjk454ss

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #24
    That looks like a better option than the others, the ones by cBear. Those have a Panasonic model number though, I think it's a Panasonic BD Reader in an external enclosure.
     
  25. Robsta2142, Dec 28, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    #25
    Another thing which I don't think has been mentioned yet is how you handle the fact that some BluRays that you rip will have forced subtitles e.g. Avatar. They can also be a right pita to do correctly. This is how I rip my collection and handle forced subtitles (I don't know of any easier way!).

    Applications Used

    1. MakeMKV http://www.makemkv.com/download/
    2. VLC http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
    3. Handbrake http://handbrake.fr/downloads.php
    4. Subler http://code.google.com/p/subler/downloads/list
    5. iDentify 2 http://identify2.arrmihardies.com

    Preparation

    Before I first started ripping I created folders to organise movie files at their various stages. These were:

    - "To Transcode" <-- Folder to store the .mkv BluRay rips.
    - "To Tag" <-- Folder to temporarily store newly transcoded BluRay .m4v's for tagging.
    - "To Add" <-- Folder to store tagged newly transcoded BluRay .m4v's for copying to iTunes.

    Stage 1 - Ripping

    The first time I opened MakeMKV I changed the following preferences to make it easier to filter out unnecessary tracks and to link to my folders:

    - Default destination: Changed this to the newly created folder "To Transcode". (Found under the Video tab of preferences.) This saves the rips to that specific folder to keep them organised.
    - Minimum title length (seconds): 2400. (Found under the Video tab of preferences.) This ignores extras like trailers, deleted scenes etc.
    - Preferred language: eng: English. (Found under the Language tab of preferences.) This checks only the English versions of tracks such as subtitles and audio (saves a lot of unchecking).

    1. Open MakeMKV and click 'Open Blu-ray disc'.
    2. To select the correct video track, I make sure the largest title is checked (around 25-35 GB in size). It looks something like this: "Movie name - xx chapter(s), xx.x GB). Sometimes there are duplicate tracks (no idea why) but only one needs checking.
    3. To select the correct audio track, I check only the best available audio track. In nearly all cases this will be the audio track at the top and will either be named "DTS-HD Lossless" (this is the DTS-HD Master Audio), "TrueHD" (this is Dolby TrueHD) or in rare cases "DD 3/2+1"/"DTS 3/2+1" (this is Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS 5.1).
    4. After the main audio tracks are listed, there can sometimes be several audio tracks listed one following another named "DD 2/0". These can be audio visual descriptions (not important to most), a stereo track of the main audio (not important) or feature commentaries (to me they are important). As there is no way to tell which is which I check all of the "DD 2/0" tracks and disregard any which I don't use later.
    5. Check all relevant language subtitles, making sure that the (forced only) tracks inside them are not checked. I do this as forced subtitles can be located on any of these tracks.

    At this stage MakeMKV usually looks something like this:

    [​IMG]

    6. Click 'MakeMKV' to create the custom BluRay .mkv rip.

    Stage 2 - Brief Research

    Once the .mkv rip is created I then open it up in VLC. I then change the audio track being played in order to identify any "DD 2/0" tracks that I selected to include in the .mkv rip (e.g. some may be feature commentaries that I like to keep). For those that I want to keep, I then make a note of the order in which it appears in the audio track list e.g. 2.

    [​IMG]

    At this stage I also check the film I am ripping against a user created database of Forced subtitles: https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=t8Xb85eyNFtZ3vaNK8gqkbQ&single=true&gid=0&output=html

    As far as I know, forced subtitles can come on BluRays in two ways, either in their own subtitle track, or flagged as forced in a subtitle track with subtitles for the whole film.

    If someone has flagged it on the database as being on their own subtitle track, I will open the .mkv in VLC, find a relevant point in the movie which should contain forced subtitles (e.g. foreign language scene) and change between the different subtitle tracks that I selected to include in the .mkv to identify which shows only the forced subtitles. I will then make a note of the order in which it appears in the subtitles track list e.g. 2.

    If someone has flagged it on the database as not having their own subtitle track, I will open the .mkv in VLC, find a relevant point in the movie which should contain forced subtitles (e.g. foreign language scene) and change between the different subtitles tracks that I selected to include in the .mkv to identify which shows the dialogue subtitles. I will then make a note of the order in which it appears in the subtitles track list e.g. 1. This is important as some subtitle tracks included in the BluRay .mkv rip can be subtitles of feature commentaries.

    [​IMG]

    Stage 3 - Transcoding

    The first time I opened Handbrake I changed the following preferences to make life easier:

    - When Done: I checked "Send file to: xx", hit Browse and selected "Subler". (Found under the General tab of preferences.) This opens the newly created .m4v in Subler, ready for track naming.

    1. Click 'Source', navigate to the folder "To Transcode" and select the BluRay .mkv rip for transcoding.
    2. Select the 'AppleTV 3' preset.
    3. Under the Audio tab, I add any necessary additional audio tracks to include in the transcoded file. e.g. If I have earlier made a note that track 2 of the audio from the .mkv BluRay rip is a feature commentary, I will select the second one down from the track list (this is 1, as they are ordered 0, 1 2, 3, etc.).

    At this stage the Audio settings usually look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    4. If I identified the film as having forced subtitles, select the Subtitles tab and do one of the following:

    - If I identified the forced subtitles as being on their own subtitle track I will select the necessary subtitle track and make sure that 'Forced Only' is unchecked and that 'Burned In' is checked. e.g. If I have earlier made a note that subtitle track 2 from the .mkv BluRay rip has the forced subtitles on their own subtitle track, I will select the second one down from the track list (this is 1, as they are ordered 0, 1 2, 3, etc.) and make sure that 'Forced Only' is unchecked and that 'Burned In' is checked. This burns any subtitles that appear in that subtitles track which, as identified, will only be forced subtitles.

    - If I identified the forced subtitles as not having their own subtitle track I will select the necessary subtitle track and make sure that both 'Forced Only' and 'Burned In' are checked. e.g. If I have earlier made a note that subtitle track 1 from the .mkv BluRay rip has the forced subtitles together with subtitles for the whole film, I will select the second one down from the track list (this is 0, as they are ordered 0, 1 2, 3, etc.) and make sure that both 'Forced Only' and 'Burned In' are checked. This burns only subtitles flagged as being forced that appear in that subtitle track. The rest of the film subtitles should therefore not be included.

    At this stage the Subtitles settings can look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    5. Select the destination for the transcoded file as the folder "To Tag".
    6. Click 'Start'.

    Stage 4 - Renaming Audio Tracks

    Once Handbrake has finished transcoding the BluRay .mkv rip, the newly created .m4v should automatically open in Subler (as per the settings). At this stage I rename the audio tracks as following:

    - Audio Track 1: Stereo --> Dolby Pro Logic II.
    - Audio Track 2: Surround --> Dolby Digital 5.1.
    - Audio Track 3 (Optional): Stereo --> Feature Commentary: Actors/Feature Commentary: Directors.

    I then save it.

    Stage 5 - Tagging

    1. I open the newly created file in iDentify 2 and allow it to look it up.
    2. If it does not find a match I find the film on IMDb http://www.imdb.com/ and copy and paste the unique film identification from the URL into the IMDb code field in iDentify 2. e.g. In the case of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258463/ I would copy and paste the tt0258463 part.
    3. I re-scan if necessary and use IMDb to fill in any blank fields.
    4. If chapter names are not found, I use http://www.tagchimp.com to fill in blanks.
    5. Select my preferred cover artwork.
    6. Save the file and move it into the folder "To Add".

    The newly transcoded/tagged .m4v is then ready to add to iTunes.
     
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