Uncompressed DVD files over AppleTV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by 00Diablo, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. 00Diablo macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2009

    I've been using AppleTV mainly as a music server for the year or so that I've owned it, and it works great for streaming uncompressed wav or Apple lossless audio files from the iTunes library on my MacMini. I also enjoy the YouTube functionality from time to time, but have never used the iTunes store to purchase content - I like to rip my own to get the best quality.

    However, I'm a complete newbie on ripping and streaming my DVD video library in a similar fashion, and would like to get started. I began reading some of the sticky threads here on ripping DVD libraries, and it quickly became apparent that further compression of the ripped DVD files is involved in this process.

    Is there anyway to rip and stream my DVD files to the Apple TV without any further compression or conversion involved? I'd like to preserve most or all of the video information, and especially, retain the full bitrate 5.1 or PCM audio tracks from my ripped DVD files.

    Please advise if this is doable at all with the Apple TV, and if not, what the best alternatives might be. Thanks.
  2. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    If you use a simple patchstick hack you can get your ATV to play VIDEO_TS files that you rip from DVDs.

    For most people, though, drive space becomes an issue. If you use HandBrake to transcode from VIDEO_TS mpeg-2 to h.264, you'll notice little if any loss in quality and save a great deal of space. The trade-off is encode times.
  3. 00Diablo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2009
    Thanks, it's good to know this is at least do-able.

    Disk space probably won't be too much of an issue, because I just plan on ripping some concert DVD's and late night talk show musical appearances I've recorded for now. I don't mind watching my DVD movies or Blu-Ray discs the old-fashioned way, it's all the little stuff I have spread all over that I'd like to consolidate via the Apple TV.

    But what is a patchstick hack?
  4. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    It's a software hack that uses a flash drive and the ATV's USB port to enable features. Other people on these forums have installed other software, but I've only installed Boxee, a great piece of software based on the popular XMBC. With it you will not only be able to play other file formats, but you will get access to CNN, CBS, Comedy Central, Hulu, PBS, and other streaming internet video.

    You can get the patchstick creator here, and sign up for Boxee here. Just a word of warning: the whole process is very easy, BUT UNPLUG ALL OTHER USB DRIVES BEFORE CREATING A PATCHSTICK lest you accidentally wipe your data from an external drive.

    EDIT: You might have to turn your VIDEO_TS folders into ISOs in order to play them via Boxee. I haven't tried either, but I think I heard that Boxee doesn't do VIDEO_TS well.
  5. 00Diablo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cool, this sounds like something I can handle. I've heard of Boxee and will look into it.

    Will it upset the audio file streaming I already have setup through iTunes, though?
  6. bohbot16 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2009
    Your audio streaming will still work. You'll have to exit Boxee to use it.
  7. kmcrawford macrumors member

    Mar 9, 2008

    If you have your DVD's already in VIDEO_TS just use handbrake with the Apple TV setting. It will make great quality movies, preserving 5.1, and make most DVDs movies down to 2 gb. Also if you want the movies to be tagged correctly check out metaX.
  8. mfillhart macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2009
    i would go the boxee route, thats what i've done with my rips and it's worked beautifully :cool:
  9. 00Diablo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2009
    Thanks everybody.

    I think I will use both - Boxee for music-oriented video material where I want to maintain full audio bit-rate as much as possible, and I'll also try Handbrake for other stuff like documentaries where I'm not as anal about sound quality and prefer accessibility through the AppleTV/iTunes interface.

    But I generally don't like adding another layer of compression to my files, and I wish I could organize and access all of my various off-loaded DVR recordings through the AppleTV/iTunes interface without further degradation.

    One other question about Boxee. A few years back, I briefly had Comcast and have some HD .m2t files I pulled off of their PoC DVR via firewire before canceling the service. Stuff like Austin City Limits and various brief musical performances on late night TV. Can Boxee handle the HD .m2t files?
  10. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    If you use the Apple TV preset in HandBrake I think you'll find little if any difference between the resulting encode and the DVD. I've also used it for HD content I pulled off my DVR and think the stuff looks great. Yes, it takes some time to encode, but the space savings are huge. HD transport stream files are usually 6 gigs or so per hour. Up to you, though.

    I'm not sure if Boxee handles m2t. Never tried it.

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