Ripping DVD's for Apple TV playback

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by flyman, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. flyman macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2004
    Hi Everyone,

    I have some DVD movies which I'd like to copy to one of my Macs internal HD's for playback through my Apple TV (Gen 4) but I'm at a loss as to which software to use!
    On my Google searching I've come across numerous programs such as:

    WinX DVD Ripper Mac

    As I'm not likely to want to watch any of them on my iPad or iPhone what would you guys recommend?
  2. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    All the above will work.
  3. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    How do you want to play back the files? If you want to use Apple's native Homesharing with an iTunes server, you need to re-encode the content using specific codecs (H.264, AAC, AC3) in an MP4 container, in which case Handbrake is the best choice. If you want to use something like Infuse or Plex, you can use other formats as well (such as MKV containers).
  4. flyman thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2004
    Let me begin by saying I know very little regarding DVD ripping, servers and sharing so please forgive my ignorance.

    On my MacPro in my study I have a spare internal HD which I've named Media and is where my iTunes media is located (the path is: /Volumes/Media/David Music/iTunes Media)
    Given my lack of expertise I thought the easiest way to watch a DVD was by using Apples native Home sharing using iTunes.

    Do I copy a DVD to the Movies folder at this location and then re-encode before I use my ATV to watch the movie on the TV in my lounge?

    If I've got this wrong could you ket me know the correct procedure?

    Many thanks
  5. Longkeg, Feb 7, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017

    Longkeg macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2014
    S. Florida
    I haven't ripped a DVD in probably 10 years but as I recall all the apps you list, plus a couple of others, are good to have in your toolbox. Ripping a DVD is more of an art than a science. What works on one many not work on another. It's all about getting rid of the encryption (copy protection). Different studios use different kinds of enctyption and each of the apps you mention may handle some types better than others. Once the encryption is removed you'll have an unencrypted VideoTS folder on your hard drive. A VideoTS folder is the dvds original file structure which then needs to be reencoded to a format that your AppleTV can understand. Handbrake does a good jod with the encoding. Handbrake used to be able to do this directly from the encrypted DVD but I don't think it supports that anymore. When Handbrake is finished doing it's thing, you'll have a single file ( either a .mp4 or .m4v) which you can move into iTunes. At this point you can throw the VideoTS folder away and put the DVD back inn the drawer. There are other apps that will add metadata to your final movie file but that's probably best left for another thread.

    Long story short... you've got a learning curve in front of you. I don't miss it at all. Thank God for digital copies.
  6. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    If you want to stream from iTunes, you need to re-encode (Homesharing and Airplay only works with H.264 in MP4 containers, while the video on DVDs has MPEG-2 format). I suggest to use Handbrake. It looks a bit daunting at first due to the many options, but it's actually pretty easy to use these days. It has presets specifically for the Apple TV that should handle most DVDs just fine. Handbrake can rip directly from protected DVDs if you install an additional library (libdvdcss).

    Once you have ripped and re-encoded the video, you need to add it to your iTunes library like any other movie (e.g. by dragging it into the iTunes window). You may also want to look into tagging using tools such as Subler on OS X or Meta-X on Windows.
  7. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I have ripped lots of dvd's and BR's. It's really not that bad. First question, are you using aTV4 or 3?

    If you are using the 4, you only need to rip to an .mkv and use something like the Infuse app to play it (no iTunes). If you are using the 3, you need to take the .mkv and transcode it to an .m4v using Handbrake.

    So either way, you need to download MakeMKV and use it to rip your source (dvd or BR) to an .mkv. MakeMKV is free. .mkv files tend to be big, so if space is a big consideration and you don't mind losing a minuscule amount of quality, transcoding an m4v using Handbrake will save lots of space. If you decide to use Handbrake, just choose a aTV preset and hit run. No need to tweak create your own settings.
  8. Colonel Badger macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2008
    Simple solution;

    1. Rip using MakeMKV which simply repackages the DVD on to your mac WITHOUT the need to re-encode, preserving original quality.
    2. Share the folder using SMB via the OS X Sharing option
    3. Download Infuse app for Apple TV, select the SMB share and play movies !!
  9. rtrueman macrumors member


    Jan 5, 2009
    I second this approach as it's simple, works really well, and the quality is fantastic. I believe this also preserves the HD audio tracks as playback through the Infuse app produces incredible sound through my home theater amp. I couldn't be happier with this workflow.
  10. Colonel Badger macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2008
    Yup the original Dolby Digital track will play directly to the Amp via bitstream. Not only that but Infuse also supports DTS.
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    If you want to use iTunes and home sharing with the appletv that is where the files will end up.

    For dvds you can just use handbrake. Open source > point handbrake at the DVD > choose/open, select an easy destination at first like the desktop. Select the AppleTV preset on the right click go and wait.

    When it's done take that file and drop it in iTunes. Let it copy. It will save to the home movies section. If you want right click it, get info and set it to the movies section you can also edit the title, cover art etc.

    Now it will be in that folder you mentioned above and you can delete the original on your desktop although I would hold off until you verify everything worked.

    Goto the AppleTV and goto movies, find the title and play it.

    Once you get familiar with the programs and process you can refine them to your liking. Adding subtitles, better compression, etc. If handbrake give you a hard time about the DVD (it won't decrypt BD) you can use MakeMKV. Then just point Handbrake at the MKV file and the above generic process is the same.

    Using apps that can play mkv will deliver the best quality since it's not compressed however will have the largest file sizes. DVD ~4gb and BD ~30gb. This is why a lot of us use handbrake to compress the files.
  12. flyman thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2004
    Thank you everyone for the really useful advice you've given.
    I'll go away, experiment and see what results I can achieve!

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11 February 6, 2017