Blu-Ray to Apple TV

Cave Man

macrumors 604
Original poster
(Revision 4 - Updated 10 May 2012)

Now that Handbrake's nightly builds support Blu-ray subtitles, it's pretty much easy as pie to get Blu-ray movies transcoded the Apple TV. Here's how it's done.

Materials
  • A Blu-ray drive, such as this Lite-On (not tested by me, but should work) and an external enclosure, such as this BYTECC (the replacement of the enclosure I own)
  • Make MKV
  • Handbrake nightly build 4632svn x86_64 or later
Methods

1. Insert a Blu-ray disc and launch Make MKV. After the disc is opened, decrypt it and then rip to your hard drive the titles you're interested in. You only need DTS or AC3 audio; you don't need True-HD or DTS-MA audio. Find the subtitle track(s) that you want to keep. This is usually just one - forced subtitles that you'll burn in, such as the non-English speaking parts of Iron Man (subtitle track 5 of the USA distribution Blu-ray Disc).

2. Open the MKV files generated by Make MKV with Handbrake.

3. Choose the Apple TV preset in Handbrake for your version of the ATV. You can change it to 720p with "Picture Settings" if you so desire (1280 by xxx) so long as it is no more than 25 fps (Apple TV 1) or 30 fps (Apple TV 2). If the disc has a DTS track, Handbrake should automatically set to transcode it to AC3 for track 2 audio.

4. If you want/need subtitles, click on the Subtitles tab of Handbrake, choose your track from the pull-down and check Burned-In. Finding the right subtitle tracks can be tricky since most movies have more than one English track. For most of us, we only want the subtitles when foreign languages are spoken.

5. Transcode with Handbrake ("Start") and drop into your iTunes, give it cover art (e.g., Amazon), a description (e.g., IMDB) and assign it a genre, then sync to your Apple TV.
 

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marklight

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2006
310
0
Yes you can have both AAC and AC3 in .mov format- if you're worried about tagging I've written various articles on how to completely tag the .mov format.

I've had no problems playing video at 6000 kb/s. I actually have a copy of the 5th element encoded at 6600kb/s. play fine, looks nice. Do your own experimenting though. I just choose visualhubs apple tv 5.1 + 2.0 and in the settings I insert 6000 into the bit rate. Works great.
 

Cave Man

macrumors 604
Original poster
Yes you can have both AAC and AC3 in .mov format- if you're worried about tagging I've written various articles on how to completely tag the .mov format.
I'd sure like to read up on those - can you point me to them?

I've had no problems playing video at 6000 kb/s. I actually have a copy of the 5th element encoded at 6600kb/s. play fine, looks nice. Do your own experimenting though. I just choose visualhubs apple tv 5.1 + 2.0 and in the settings I insert 6000 into the bit rate. Works great.
Sure enough, the 5 mbps works fine and the file is just over 5 gb. I understood from Apple's web page that 5 mbps was the limit, but this apparently isn't so? I'll give the 6 mbps a run.

Oh, and a great movie, too. :)
 

MLC4SGR

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2008
24
0
I have been doing this process quite successfully now for a little while.. DTS can be a pain but can converted in the PC world pretty easily using eac3to or Foobar2000. Converting DD Plus from HD DVDs is a bit more of a pain but can be done as well...

So far I'm really happy with the quality of the image and sound.. VisualHub is a great workhorse.. I just need subtitle support and I will be thrilled.. Submerge is great but another step I would like cut out..

AnyDVD is great and well worth the purchase, always updating and their forums are pretty helpful...
 

dynaflash

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2003
2,119
5
understood from Apple's web page that 5 mbps was the limit, but this apparently isn't so? I'll give the 6 mbps a run.
Yep. 1. thats just the video bitrate alone, and 2. depends on the x264 opts that you run and local bitrate spikes. VH uses a fairly weak set of x264 opts, so you can likely run higher bitrates. Max up the opts, and you stress the atv's ability to decode. Though you will likely see same percieved quality vs. bitrate to be sure (and lower file size as well).
 

nordesmic

macrumors member
May 2, 2005
97
2
Adelaide, Australia
I have been doing this process quite successfully now for a little while.. DTS can be a pain but can converted in the PC world pretty easily using eac3to or Foobar2000. Converting DD Plus from HD DVDs is a bit more of a pain but can be done as well...

So far I'm really happy with the quality of the image and sound.. VisualHub is a great workhorse.. I just need subtitle support and I will be thrilled..
Yes this is what I was thinking. Eac3to can convert all the HD audio formats with the correct plugins installed. Even without the paid plugins it will still be able to encode everything but might not be perfect.

I have my bluray drive (LG internal drive in an enclosure) hooked up to my iMac and use it through Fusion (Vista).

Hard coding subtitles can be done using MeGUI on the PC.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,497
27
Singapore
WOW

thankyou so so much for this thread mate. im saving this ready for when i finally buy a BR drive. (currently my BR movies are... uumm.. borrowed)
 

jwt

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2007
344
0
Second, it's pretty expensive.

2. A Blu-Ray ROM drive (I bought a Sony BDU-X10S SATA retail drive [$150] and connected it to my Universal Drive Adapter - USB2)
4. AnyDVD ($90 - I'm using the trial version at the moment)
7. Visual Hub 1.34 ($24)
Comes to $264 + $229 (ATV) = PS3 and I don't have to do a billion steps. I applaud the effort though. Thanks for the info.
 

LinMac

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2007
1,193
12
Comes to $264 + $229 (ATV) = PS3 and I don't have to do a billion steps. I applaud the effort though. Thanks for the info.
I like the PS3 as a gaming console. GTA5: Prologue's graphics are stunning and it is quite a fun game. (It is my favorite game so far).

I don't really care for it as a Blu-ray player though for a few reasons.

1) Bluetooth remote means I can't use my Harmony 880 remote that controls everything else. How hard is it to include a damn IR receiver in a console that expensive?

2) The interface to play the movies is a bit clunky compared to some dedicated Blu-ray players I've seen. It is just too confusing for some people to use even with the instructions written on a piece of paper for them in case they want to watch it when they're staying here.

3) The integration with Mac still leaves a lot to be desired. You can stream to the PS3 (in addition to playing Blu-ray), but the solution isn't as easy as iTunes streaming to the AppleTV.

The solution here in the thread is a roundabout way to handle things, but it does allow you to play the media on an iPhone or convert the video to DVD format so you can play it on players other than Blu-ray.

Finally, I hate DRM. The AppleTV has it too, but it doesn't play Blu-ray and Blu-ray irks me with AACS and BD+. I've yet to see a movie released in any format on any system that wasn't also available via some type of P2P source.

Ah well. I like the PS3 overall, but you can pry my AppleTV from my cold dead hands. :p
 

herr_neumann

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2003
324
3
Roseville, Ca
3) The integration with Mac still leaves a lot to be desired. You can stream to the PS3 (in addition to playing Blu-ray), but the solution isn't as easy as iTunes streaming to the AppleTV.
p
MediaLink provides pretty tight integration so that it is about as easy as iTunes streaming.

-J
 

Darth.Titan

macrumors 68030
Oct 31, 2007
2,708
299
Austin, TX
1) Bluetooth remote means I can't use my Harmony 880 remote that controls everything else. How hard is it to include a damn IR receiver in a console that expensive?
Buy one of these for $15 and you have your IR receiver. You'll still have to use a Sony remote to turn the PS3 on, but in my experience it's a non-issue because it turns on when I put in my disc. Your Harmony remote can now control the PS3's Blu-Ray player.

I know this is a bit off-topic for the rest of the thread, but I thought someone might like to know about this.
 

MLC4SGR

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2008
24
0
Takes about 15 minutes to RIP the disc, about 10 min to demux the files you want from the entire disc.. 5 more minutes to convert the audio file if needed.. IE DTS or DD Plus.. then 10-15 to remux all the video and audio.. then about 120 minutes to drop the file in VisualHub to convert for Apple TV...

at least for me...
 

61132

Guest
Oct 31, 2005
327
0
Takes about 15 minutes to RIP the disc, about 10 min to demux the files you want from the entire disc.. 5 more minutes to convert the audio file if needed.. IE DTS or DD Plus.. then 10-15 to remux all the video and audio.. then about 120 minutes to drop the file in VisualHub to convert for Apple TV...

at least for me...
So how does visualhub set the size? On handbrake I have to go to the picture settings and select the size and aspect ratio.
 

MLC4SGR

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2008
24
0
Personally I go the easy route and use the Apple TV 5.1 setting and it looks amazing... drop it in hit start and wait for it to be done..

I'm sure I could mess with it to squeeze a bit more out.. but the file have been trouble free and stream perfectly..
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
Comes to $264 + $229 (ATV) = PS3 and I don't have to do a billion steps. I applaud the effort though. Thanks for the info.
I hate discs. Good for archives, crappy for daily use. Putting everything on a HDD and having it available "on demand" is the only way to go.

Takes about 15 minutes to RIP the disc, about 10 min to demux the files you want from the entire disc.. 5 more minutes to convert the audio file if needed.. IE DTS or DD Plus.. then 10-15 to remux all the video and audio.. then about 120 minutes to drop the file in VisualHub to convert for Apple TV...

at least for me...
15 minutes to move 20-40GB of data?? That seems a little on the fast side. I would have thought 45-90 minutes depending on the drive, way it's connected to the computer, and the movie being copied.
 

pprior

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2007
1,440
8
any comment on parallels instead of boot camp? I suppose I could use my windows laptop, but I don't do bootcamp.
 

fivepoint

macrumors 65816
Sep 28, 2007
1,175
4
IOWA
Can't wait to see the Mac version of this thread once it becomes possible. 10.6 is when everyone expects Leopard to gain Blu-Ray compatibility, correct? After that, we just have to wait for some Blu-Ray ROM drives to be made compatible and some of the geniuses at Handbrake to get a Blu-Ray version working perfectly!

My guess is that in a year, many more of us will be importing Blu-Ray files for viewing on AppleTV. I can't wait! But I'll have to. ;)
 

northy124

macrumors 68020
Nov 18, 2007
2,293
6
After that, we just have to wait for some Blu-Ray ROM drives to be made compatible and some of the geniuses at Handbrake to get a Blu-Ray version working perfectly!
You can already encode pre-ripped m2ts files (Not sure on EVO (HDDVD)').
 

Cave Man

macrumors 604
Original poster
CaveMan how is it going? Any glitches or what not?
Well, my 21 day AnyDVD HD trial ran out and I stopped buying discs - they are really expensive. Hopefully, that'll change by Christmas and maybe AnyDVD's cost will come down a fair amount. If it were around $50 I'd probably buy it, but $100 is just a bit much for me.

I have The Fifth Element, Cars, and Ratatoullie working just fine. TFE was a bit of a problem as described in the first post because of the True HD Dolby Digital transcode. I also have I, Robot but have not been able to get it transcoded with either VisualHub or Handbrake. Its audio is in DTS-HD and it's a bit problematic, but most significantly the video stutters and has "color waves" with either HB or VH (after DTS conversion to AC3). However, the 1080p m2ts file plays very well with XBMC on my 2 gHz Mac Mini (but VLC chokes).

15 minutes to move 20-40GB of data?? That seems a little on the fast side. I would have thought 45-90 minutes depending on the drive, way it's connected to the computer, and the movie being copied.
Yeah, on my system it takes an hour to an hour and a half to rip to disc.

any comment on parallels instead of boot camp? I suppose I could use my windows laptop, but I don't do bootcamp.
It might work, but for me I couldn't get it to work with Fusion. I had to use Boot Camp.

Can't wait to see the Mac version of this thread once it becomes possible. 10.6 is when everyone expects Leopard to gain Blu-Ray compatibility, correct?
I've heard it might be out in the 10.5.6 updater.

After that, we just have to wait for some Blu-Ray ROM drives to be made compatible and some of the geniuses at Handbrake to get a Blu-Ray version working perfectly!
My Macs see the Blu-Ray ROM drive just fine. It's just there's no way to decode the disc content on the Mac side.

My guess is that in a year, many more of us will be importing Blu-Ray files for viewing on AppleTV. I can't wait! But I'll have to. ;)
Prices will have to come down substantially before I get back into it. For now, I'm done with it (other than troubleshooting IR).