Yes Virginia, the Mini can play Blu-Ray (rips)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Cave Man, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #1
    (Edit 12 SEP 2008: Forget Front Row and Quicktime, get Plex and you'll have the best media Mac possible. It's such a great app, and it's free. The new update doesn't drop frames and handles all video and audio out there, including decrypted Blu-Ray rips with DTS-HD or True-HD audio.)

    Just had an interesting hour or so testing out a 1080p Blu-Ray rip on my 2 gHz Core 2 Duo Mac Mini (3 gb RAM) using XBMC and VLC 0.8.6i. Here's the file info:

    • I, Robot, Blu-Ray rip using AnyDVD HD
    • AC3 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track (converted from DTS-HD using eac3to on Windows XP under Fusion)
    • Video (H.264) and AC3 tracks were muxed as an m2ts file with tsMuxeR 1.8.4b on Win XP

    The resulting file was 22 gb in size; note, there was no transcoding of the video rip - it was simply extracted and combined with the AC3 track. It was encoded at a variable bit rate and from watching a few minutes of it, its maximum rate was about 30 mbps. Both XBMC and VLC correctly passed through the AC3 track to my Onkyo receiver by optical cable, which detected and decoded the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio correctly. (Of course, Quicktime cannot open m2ts files, but even if it could it would probably drop every other frame since it's so poorly coded. :rolleyes: )

    The results:

    VLC choked. Lots of dropped frames for the video, although the audio had no problems at all.

    XBMC ran like a champ. No dropped frames in 30 minutes of viewing and audio was nice and clear. XBMC can send analog audio by optical cable, so even if you don't have a Dolby Digital capable receiver you can still get audio out of it. I don't know if it's in Dolby Pro Logic II (5-channel), but it does get passed through. All and all, XBMC is a beautiful experience. :D

    So, there is no hardware limitation of the Mini for playing Blu-Ray content (the 2 gHz model, at least) with the right software. Of course, this does not address other limitations, principally HDCP (which is removed by AnyDVD HD). But it is clear that the Core 2 Duo has the muscle to decode 1080p H.264 video and the GMA950 of the Mini can do the 24 fps 1920x1080 video, and all the while pass through Dolby Digital to a receiver.
     
  2. BOSS10L macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #2
    Cool. How long was the ripping/encoding process?

    I've thought about getting AnyDVD HD to convert my 50+ Blu-Ray and HD DVD titles, but for the space requirements and time investment needed, I'm not sure it would be beneficial to me. :)
     
  3. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #3
    So brilliant, only a Cave Man could do it.:)

    Your threads and posts on these topics have educated and informed me. Just want to let you know that your hard work is appreciated.
     
  4. iknowyourider macrumors 6502a

    iknowyourider

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    onanorthboundtrain
    #4
    Thanks for your hard work. I am a mini fan too. I think you should have a link to your home theater info in your sig.
     
  5. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #5
    Well, I didn't do any encoding, just muxing of the raw H.264 Blu-Ray video with the transcoded AC3 audio file. The rip took about an hour on my MBP under Boot Camp, then the audio transcode took about 15 min. Muxing took another 30 min and it was ready.

    Yeah, not to mention its price - US$100. Pretty painful (and probably why I won't buy it, just using the 3 week demo). I was just experimenting to see how the Mini would perform.
     
  6. BOSS10L macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #6
    Hmm, not too bad, but still nearly two hours a movie, I can't see it being worth it because it is easier to just pop the disc in the PS3 or HD-A1.

    I don't mind the $100, but storage space would be a problem, and of course as I said I just can't see spending 2 hours per movie when I already own it. The SD DVDs are a different story because I don't want the wife/kids handling them anymore, but I'm the only one who handles the Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs.
     
  7. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #7
    A quick update on the Mac Mini 1080p home theater: It has trouble if you have just about anything else doing tasks. Copying large files, recording or exporting from Eye TV software, etc., makes the playback of the m2ts files with XBMC a bit choppy, even passthrough of audio. If iTunes and Eye TV are running (but not doing anything) there's no problem at all. Only if other tasks are running does the system suffer a bit.
     
  8. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #8
    Well, this past weekend saw a major bug-fix release of Plex (0.5.14) that has the app running very nicely. It still has some stuttering issues with some Blu-Ray rips on the Mini, but it is shaping up to be the app for playing Quicktime and non-Quicktime compatible files. It has a very nice interface and does other things as well that Front Row doesn't. It's still a ways off, but getting there. I'm looking forward to each new release.
     
  9. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #9
    OP, have you tested converting these files to be playable on QT? i play a lot of my (aahem) BR Rips with quicktime (passthrough from the mkv) and they seem to play ok. just wondering if you could test that for me, i am thinking of getting a current MacMini and need to know if it will be able to play my movies!! (surely it will be more powerful than my current MBP?)
     
  10. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #10
    Doh! Just saw your post in the other thread (re: mac mini home theater).

    I did transcode one Blu-Ray video into a 10 mbps vbr QT 1080p h.264 movie and it played just fine on my 2 gHz Mini, but the new QT breaks AC3 passthrough, so no Dolby Digital 5.1 surround (only AAC). Back down to QT 7.4 and passthrough works just fine with Perian installed.
     
  11. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #11
    haha i was a step ahead of you on this one :p i normally do a search before going somewhere else.

    plays just fine does it?? ok thats very good to know, i have been playing 1080p rips on my MBP CD (see specs) and it jitters a lot. i was just after the results in difference between the CD and C2D, i knew the lower speed of the macmini wouldnt have made much difference.

    umm is that plex program similar to the XBMC program? i have downloaded XBMC and found it very unreliable as it wouldnt play the audio and was just hard to use.. maybe ill get used to it?

    cheers.
     
  12. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #12
    Yes, Plex is da bomb! The thing about it (compared to XBMC) is that the dev team is Mac-only. They are coding it specifically for Intel Macs, thus it is highly optimized for OS X (Leopard only). I use my Apple remote to control Plex and while it's a bit different than using it with Front Row, it's not more difficult - you just have to memorize things differently.

    The Blu-Ray rips play just fine through Plex. It can handle all three video formats (H.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1) without any hiccups that I can see. What's particularly cool about Plex is its ability to transcode on the fly from Dolby True-HD to Dolby Digital (AC) and DTS-HD to DTS (my receiver cannot decode the HD audio), so I get digital surround sound out of every Blu-Ray movie, no matter what format it's encoded in. I've decided it's time to sell my 720 projector for a 1080p. :D I'll probably pick up a 1.5 TB drive and another Harmony remote for it, as well. (This home theater stuff is like a drug; it gets expensive after a while.:()
     
  13. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #13
    oh wow. thanks for that information! i just downloaded it and ill be using it as my main program! :) i have ordered a DVI-HDMI cable for when i finally get a mini, in the mean time ill try it with my MBP.

    the screen res is at 1080p so hopefully there wont be many jitters from the old lappy until the mini comes along :(

    plex seems like an amazing program!!!

    thanks for your help, muchly appreciated
     
  14. neoelectronaut macrumors 68030

    neoelectronaut

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Southeastern Louisiana
    #14
    Out of curiosity, is there even a external BR drive that works in OS X? Assumedly FW800 if possible?
     
  15. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #15
    nothing natively can be played on osx... DVD player doesnt support it. not 100% sure if there are any external apps or whatnot.

    youd probably have to custom make the BR drive (i.e. buy a FW800 LaCie dvd burner, buy the BR drive and change them over yourself, then find the right software to run it!)
     
  16. neoelectronaut macrumors 68030

    neoelectronaut

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Southeastern Louisiana
    #16
    Yikes. It's a shame that I have this great 24" display but nothing to really take advantage of it outside of Movie Trailers.
     
  17. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #17
    *cough*torrents*/cough*

    nah but seriously, it would be amazing.

    internal bluray drives for PCs are cheap!! might invest in one of those
     
  18. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #18
    All of them should work with OS X in the sense that you can mount any properly-formatted disc. I have a Sony BR-ROM drive in a USB enclosure, and it properly mounts Blu-Ray discs. Heck, I can even copy or image those discs. Unfortunately, Apple (nor any third party) has provided a Blu-Ray DVD Video disc player (ala DVD Player for DVDs). If/when someone does this, then we should be able to play Blu-Ray movies straight from the disc.

    Yes, but it's unnecessary if you're talking about future BR disc playback under OS X. USB2 is fast enough.
     
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #19
    no firmware upgrades/driver installs at all?? just plug n play??
     
  20. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #20
    No, no installation of anything. Just plugged it in, inserted a disc and the volume mounted on my desktop.
     
  21. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #21
    awsomeo ill definately be looking into this :)
     
  22. neoelectronaut macrumors 68030

    neoelectronaut

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Southeastern Louisiana
    #22
    Well, can you recommend an inexpensive drive and enclosure? I'm sure someone will come up with someone will come up with a player soon.

    Also I said FW800 simply because I don't have anything else that uses that port and I may as well have something use it rather than use up a USB port.
     
  23. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #23
    I have this drive and this enclosure. You'll need to find a 5.25" enclosure with FW800 if that's what you want to use.
     
  24. neoelectronaut macrumors 68030

    neoelectronaut

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Southeastern Louisiana
    #24
    Wow, $159? I didn't realize that they got that cheap. Back when I worked at CompUSA they were still around the $600 mark.
     
  25. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #25
    Is there any other software for a mac that will rip blu-ray movies or is it just that anyDVD, because i know that's windows only?
     

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