Can someone please summarize Blu-ray to ATV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by stevol, May 12, 2010.

  1. stevol macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008
    I know this has been discussed on and off for a long time, but I am looking for someone to kindly review the best workflows for ripping and converting Blu-ray to ATV. I just bought a Blu-ray drive / burner (external LG burner), downloaded makemkv, and have the most recent handbrake. I tried to rip an animation ("Open Season") as my first rip, everything was going well, MKV file plays very well on VLC. However, Handbrake could not find a valid source when I pointed it to the MKV file. I am looking for a simple workflow, and I would definitely consider using different software, even consider paying for software if it works well. I'd rather not depend on three software programs if I can use only two to get the job done. I'm considering buying Toast for burning, and I know this can also convert mkv, right? Also considering getting the elgato Turbo HD stick, and I think that does it as well. I heard Perian and Quicktime can do the job, and it seems there are also many other third party converters out there, most of them not free. Anyone try all or many of these or know from reading the forum what works best? It seems that people's experiences are so random in terms of what works for someone may not work for someone else. I have had no problem using handbrake with DVDs, but so far 0/1 on blu-ray. Thanks in advance.
  2. stevol thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008

    I read on the makemkv forums that some have had luck with ripping without the subtitles, as far as these mkv files being accepted by handbrake. I have to look into this and try it, but if it works, then I think my problem is solved for now. My only question though is are some subtitles really necessary? I don't personally use them but are some of them actually part of the movie? Any other thoughts on this are much appreciated.

    One other comment: anyone use the elgato HD turbo stick and notice that handbrake is much faster? I have an iMac aluminum 2.8 core2duo with 4 GB of RAM, 24" (mid 2008 model). Thanks.
  3. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    I've used MakeMKV and Handbrake exclusively to rip and encode my blu-ray disks with the only hiccup encountered with Sherlock Holmes (got the 720p encode to work but cannot get lower resolution version for use on iPhone/Touch to complete in HB--go figure).

    FWIW, my workflow is to rip the disk using MakeMKV, selecting only the title that's the actual film and the english audio DTS 3/2 track. From there I point HB to the source file and use a slightly modified :apple:TV preset (720p or 1280 x XXX, depending on the native picture ratio), default decomb filter and AAC (core audio) for the audio track.

    For those movies where the vertical resolution is less than 720 when horizontal is 1280 (i.e. Apollo 13), I select custom anamorphic in the picture settings, make sure the maintain aspect ratio is checked, and increase the vertical up to 720 (i.e. Apollo 13 ends up being 1694x720). I end up with a better resolution for playback using PLEX on my Mac Mini but it will still play on my :apple:TV and iPad (must be downscaled--I'll leave that explanation up to someone with far more knowledge/expertise than me). I also make sure any horizontal black bars at the top and bottom are cropped out--sometimes the autocrop feature doesn't pick them up with MakeMKV sources.

    For any films that have english subtitles for non-english speaking parts (i.e. Avatar and the Na'vi speaking parts), I use Subler to add the subtitle track which I've been finding online at MetaX is my tagging tool of choice but I also add HD/SD tags and cnID numbers using Subler so that both versions of a film (as mentioned, I also usually make a lower res. version for use on my family's iPhones and iPod Touches) appear under a single listing in iTunes.

    Hope you find some of this info useful. It certainly is a time consuming process, especially on my lightly powered Mac Mini HTPC (nothing like a nice 10 hours encode run in HB ;)), but considering we watch our movies on so many different devices, definitely worth it having our movie/TV library available at the touch of a button (or two).
  4. mkbrogers macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2009
    BD to ATV

    Actually I just bought a copy of the Pavtube Bluray Ripper - this is much like many DVD Rippers with the preconfigured outputs - Ive ripped 3 BD's already (that have BD+) and works great..No problems at all.
    You can do direct copy - rip o mkv's - create ATV versions etc etc
  5. Mach1.8 macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2010
    The only time I bother with subs is when they are forced. MakeMKV allows you to select forced subs during the rip process. When MakeMKV is done doing it's thing, the log will tell you if it found any forced subs. If not, I send it straight to HB. If so, then and only then will I worry about it. For Open Season, I would be surprised if that were an issue. One other kink in the Mac only workflow is DTS audio, but there is plenty of info othat here and at the HB forum.

    As to your last question, the elgato turbo stick has no effect on HB encode times.
  6. stevol thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Thanks; follow-up questions

    Thanks to the previous person who gave advice on Pavtube, might consider trying it. As far as the quote above -- thanks for your input as well. Just wondering, you check off forced subtitles during the rip, then if they are found, you do what exactly? If they are not found, you do send straight to HB? Please clarify what you do in either case (if they are found or not). Also, what settings do you use for Apple TV (assuming that is your output device)? I was successful in getting Open Season to convert with HB when I unchecked all subtitles, and it plays well on the Mac, but when streaming over my network to ATV, the beginning of the movie is very blotchy and full of artifacts, then it seems to be ok after a couple of minutes. I am not sure if this is the network, the encode, settings, or my ATV? I used 1280 x 720 with 24 frames per second (I understand that is the limit of ATV). The file was only slightly more than 1 GB. I was surprised how small it was.

    If you could share your settings, I would greatly appreciate it. I want to maximize quality for ATV but also want to be able to play it on an iPad (which I plan on buying). Thanks again.
  7. tommylotto macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2004
    I concur with just about everything that tbayrgs said with these additions:

    If there is a 5.1 AC3 track I use that instead of the DTS. Handbrake currently only gives you a stereo down mix of a DTS surround sound track. So, you are better off with AC3. For BluRays with only DTS, I take the DTS track and make the MKV. Then I put the MKV in a folder shared with my version of Windows running on my Mac through VMware Fusion. From Windows, I use a program call Popcorn audio converter to convert the DTS track into an AC3 track. (There is a purported method to do this on a Mac, but it involves multiple programs, the terminal, and I could not get it to work.) Once you have an MKV with AC3 audio, you can encode with handbrake and get two audio tracks one stereo mix down and one AC3 passthrough for surround sound.

    When dealing with files from MakeMKV you need to determine the frame rate of the file. This can be done with VLC. If the initial source is a theatrical movie BluRay, then the frame rate will most likely be 23.98. When doing your encode, DO NOT select "Same As Source". With MakeMKV files you should hard select the actual frame rate 23.98. If you use the Same As Source option you may get stuttering video.
  8. Mach1.8 macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2010
    I'll try to summarize and not be too confusing. After MakeMKV reads the disk, I check the biggest title...usually on the order of several GBs. I then uncheck everything else (usually extras). Then I expand the main title to reveal the various options...there is often a lot of unchecking to do here. I usually uncheck everything except the first set of English subtitles and the main surround sound track. The set of subtitles includes a sub bullet labeled "forced". In the end here's what I have selected:

    - main title
    - English surround track
    - English subs
    - English forced subs

    Then select make mkv. Come back in 45 minutes. If there were no forced subs, the dialog box will say something to the effect that that track was empty and therefore deleted (sorry, I forget exactly what it says). I feed that mkv file to HB. I use the custom settings a few of the smart guys on this forum have come up with. I'm on my iPad now, so I can't post them, but do a search...they are out there. Others have had success just using the standard ATV setting and changing the resolution to 1280x720. Word of advice: keep the framerate same as source. Changing framerate, in my experience, makes for crappy encodes. If you have a source that exceeds ATV capabilities, I, personally, would dumb down the resolution before screwing with the framerate. Thus far, I've done about 30 BR's and this hasn't been an issue.

    Now, if you do have forced subs, you'll want to extract those from the mkv file and convert them to an SRT file the HB or Subler can use. To my knowledge, that requires Windows. Alternatively, you can download the SRT file from a few websites. I personally extract and convert them in Windows. If you're going to do this sort of thing on a regular basis, you might as well get Windows on your Mac anyway because your going to want the ability to convert DTS to AC3. Again, tons of tutorials here, over at HB and on the AVS forums. The process is lengthy so you'll want to do some more research. If I can find a link, I'll post it.

    Whew! This has been a long post...I'm out!!!
  9. Mach1.8 macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2010
    Here's a link to a thread over at he HB forum that I found very helpful in coming up with custom settings. I use these with great results. Good luck!

  10. kultschar macrumors 6502a

    Mar 26, 2010
    Thanks for a great summary. can you tell me the final file size approximate??? Doesn't ATV have a max acceptance of 4GB for files or has this been changed or is your ATV hacked??????
  11. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    The AppleTV has been able to play files > 4GB for awhile now.
  12. kultschar macrumors 6502a

    Mar 26, 2010
    Cool. Approx what kind of file sizes are you getting your blu rays to??
  13. Mach1.8 macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2010
    It depends on a number of factors. I've done Avatar at a little less than 8 GB, while Inglourious Bastards came in around 3GB. Action movies tend to be on the larger side, but I haven't come up with a rule of thumb or anything.
  14. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    I've seen them anywhere from 2.5GB to 5.5-6GB, all using the same settings, but some including additional soundtracks (commentaries).
  15. tommylotto macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2004
    Most of mine are 2 to 3 gigs, but my encode of Spartacus, apart from being 3 hours and 15 minutes long, is 10.22 gigs at 1600x720 Anamorphic and with a data rate 6279 kbit/s. That is my biggest file, but it plays fine on AppleTV. "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"
  16. robrobin10 macrumors member

    May 13, 2010
    Miami, Florida
    Getting Blu-ray rips to the Apple TV is now pretty easy. If you're interested, this guide should help you get going. It's not cheap, but it's pretty easy to do. First, the list of items that you need:


    1. An Intel Mac
    2. MakeMKV, an OS X Blu-ray ripper for US$50) OR an install of Windows XP SP3, Vista or Windows 7 with AnyDVD HD for backing up your Blu-ray discs to a hard drive - about US$100

    (Note: MakeMKV will allow Handbrake to generate chapters, but AnyDVD HD will not)

    3. A Blu-ray ROM drive (I have Sony's SATA drive retail package in a Vantec USB2 enclosure)
    4. TSmuxer (free Windows app) or the Mac Version for Leopard!

    Patched tsmuxer for Snow Leopard. You MUST delete the two fonts in your SL /Library/Fonts folder

    5. Handbrake 0.9.4 (free Mac/Win app that has excellent Blu-ray support) or the nightly builds for the more adventurous
    6. Lots and lots of hard drive space
  17. rajendradhakal macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2010

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