Remuxing vs Transcoding Blu Ray Collection

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Rmafive, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    #1
    For years now I have been converting my blu ray collection to MKV files (using MakeMKV) and then transcoding them to smaller mp4 files (using Handbrake). I use the slow x264 preset as well as a constant quality of RF 18. I usually am able to get a pretty good quality conversion, with very little perceivable quality loss. However, I am upgrading to a 48TB raid to store my collection (28 more than I currently need, leaving me quite a bit of room to expand by collection). I am wondering if I am missing out on quality by not remuxing the files using something like Subler, especially if I have the storage space (I have the power to transcode these movies, so that's not a concern). I tried a comparing a 40gb remuxed blu ray compared to a 20gb compressed handbrake file. They looked very similar, but the Handbrake looked slightly more saturated. I was wondering if anyone has any experiences with remuxing, or has any opinion on the subject (difference between it and transcoding). I seem to be stuck between choosing a slightly smaller quality gain for almost 2x the size. Are there any cases where remuxing would make more sense than transcoding?

    As a side note, I do stream my collection from iTunes to a third gen Apple TV. I wish it supported HD audio, as I now pass through the hd audio files when transcoding (future proofing them for now).
     
  2. Rigby macrumors 601

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #2
    There is no easy answer. The quality loss due to transcoding depends a lot on the source material. Movies with a high amount of entropy (e.g. lots of film grain) are harder to encode, thus there is a higher risk of introducing additional encoding artifacts when you transcode. Of course, it also depends on the size of your display how visible encoding artifacts are (e.g. a 7-ft projection screen is more revealing than a 45-inch TV).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the codecs used on Blu-ray may not be compatible with the ATV. Quite a few older and some new releases use the VC-1 video codec, which is not supported for playback by the ATV. In those cases just remuxing is not an option.

    Then, as you mentioned, the lossless audio codecs used on BD are not supported either (in fact, the ATV unfortunately does not support any lossless multi-channel codec as far as I know :()

    For me personally, I have decided that the losses due to transcoding are just too big. Hence, for Blu-ray I keep using the physical discs. But I have remuxed my old HD-DVDs to MKV (keeping the original video encode and only converting the audio losslessly to multichannel-FLAC). I then use an HTPC or a WDTV for playing back the MKVs. It would be nicer to have everything in iTunes though.
     
  3. Rmafive thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 25, 2008
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    Richmond, Virginia
    #3
    You make some good points here. I guess it really does depend a lot on the movie. I do most of my viewing on a 110 inch projection screen, so artifacts are noticeable every once in a while. I have definitely realized that there is no easy answer! As I'm new to remuxing, I didn't realize that some BD's are using VC-1, thanks for that warning.
     
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #4
    There are quite a few discs out there still using VC-1. Notably many titles from Warner Brothers. Items such as the Harry Potter movies, Matrix Trilogy come to mind.

    Honestly, if I were in your shoes, given all your other hardware, I'd skip over the ATV and opt for a better media player if you have the budget.

    Oppo and other Blu Ray players often can output TS, M2TS and MKV files via network which you can pass to your receiver (AVR).

    Media players such as some of the HD Dune players also can do similar and may rival some Blue Ray players on playback quality due to the use of the Sigma chipsets within.

    I sure would hate to see you cripple your set up with the ATV as the weak link. Just more peanuts tossed into the gallery.

    Of course, you could go for an HTPC and run XBMC or Plex (both free).
     
  5. Rmafive thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Richmond, Virginia
    #5
    I actually already have an Oppo player. I just sent it an mkv file and seeing the mkv file play flawlessly (along with DTS-HD!) made me realize that I should just stop converting the files to mp4 at all. If I ever need them in mp4 form I can always convert the mkv file.
     
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #6
    Oppo Blue Ray players do an excellent job of playback. It should match the original disc that the MakeMKV MKV files was made from. Glad to hear it worked well for you.
     
  7. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #7
    I use MKV and select the stream parts I want to keep (usually just main audio track and main video track). BR's are like 10-15GB so that is peanuts to store nowadays. You have 100% the original quality.
    I never had different colours compared to playing the BR itself. Only one occasion where the EU distribution was having messed up colours.
     
  8. rayward macrumors 68000

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    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #8
    Well, the "easy" answer is to play your movies on Blu Ray if you want the original picture and sound quality. :)

    I transcode purely for convenience and portability, choosing to give up the picture and sound quality to achieve this. I have a Blu Ray player still, though, connected to my main TV (70" LED/LCD) for when I want the original quality (or I'm watching something that's 3D).
     
  9. WebHead macrumors member

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    Dec 29, 2004
    #9
    In my experience HandBrake can't handle VC-1 anyway, as VLC doesn't support it. So if you haven't run into any problems yet you probably don't have any VC-1 discs.

    Your existing method of MakeMKV -> HB has worked for me so far and I don't see any reason to change (though I also only have a quarter of your storage space!)
     
  10. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I've converted vc1 rips with HB and played vc1 rips with VLC so my experience has been different.
     
  11. WebHead macrumors member

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    Dec 29, 2004
    #11
    How recently? Been a coupla years since I tried but I wasn't aware VLC had added support ...
     
  12. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

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    #12
    About 5-6 months ago. March of the penguins blu ray.
     
  13. WebHead macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    #13
    Remuxing vs Transcoding Blu Ray Collection

    Oops, my bad, was thinking of interlaced VC-1 which I assume is still unsupported.
     

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