8. February 2011


What is the file size of a Blu-ray rip?

One common complaint I hear about storing movies on a a hard drive is the large size of the HD movie files.  Here are two rules of thumb regarding file size:

  1. ISO files are exact replications of the Blu-ray disc.  These files run about 30-40 GB.
  2. If you rip out the trailers, the menus, and the extras, you can usually get the file down to around 20 GB.

As I have mentioned before, I convert my movies to HD MKV files.  I also rip out all the extra fluff that comes on the disc.  I do not want to lose any quality so most of my files are around 20 GB in size.  I also like when I select a movie to watch, I do not have to sit through the trailers etc.

Continue reading...

30. January 2011


Total Media Theater 5 | How to Watch Blu-ray ISO Files

So now that you have ripped your Blu-rays, how do you watch them?  I typically rip my movies to MKV files but some people love ripping to ISO files, which behave as if you have the whole disc loaded (i.e. menus and extras). ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5

If you are going the ISO file route, I highly recommend ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5. Some of the notable features of Total media Theater are:

  • Blu-ray 3D movie, 3D DVD and native stereo 3D video playback
  • Sim3D™ allows you to playback DVDs and videos you already own in 3D
  • Advanced SimHD® brings DVD video resolution to near high definition
  • Online video download, playback, and share
  • Smart Menu™ for easy chapter searching and online information
  • Magic View provides an elegant way to browse your media
  • Seamless Windows Media Center plug-in
  • Includes virtual surround sound

To me, one of the biggest selling points of Total Media Theater is the tight integration with Windows Media Center.  While it does not provide native Blu-ray support for windows, it runs fairly seamlessly.

The real reason to use Total Media Theater is that the software recognizes ISO files loaded in virtual drives like Slysoft’s free Virtual CloneDrive.  PowerDVD, the main competitor to Total Media Theater, does not support this for some unknown reason.

total media theater

Continue reading...

26. January 2011


HD-DVD Blu-ray Stream Extractor | Helping Eac3to

I use Eac3to in combination with Anydvd HD as my primary software to copy and rip Blu-ray movies.  Eac3to is a powerful program at a great price…….free!.

The main drawback to using Eac3to is that it lacks any usable graphical interface (GUI).  It is command line only, which is fine for power users but is a pain for people just looking to rip a movie.

There is however a well-known piece of add-on software that can provide a user interface.  This program, HD-DVD/Blu-ray Stream Extractor, is easy to use and even easier to install. All you need to do is place it in the same folder as your Eac3to installation.  Easy.

stream extractor

Continue reading...

25. January 2011


Rip Blu-ray | 3 Essential Tools

makemkvSince this site is called RipBlurayGuide.com, it makes sense to talk about how to rip blu-ray movies, right?

I rip my movies to a hard drive so I can convert them to MKVs.  This provides me flexibility to watch my movies without a Blu-ray player software. This article only focuses on the process of ripping the blu-ray disc to a hard drive and removing the copy protection.

The Blu-ray copying process can be broken down into two steps: the removal of the copy protection and the actual ripping of the movie to a hard drive. If you are just getting started in the Blu-ray ripping world, your first stop should be slysoft.com and check out their free trial of AnyDVD HD.  While expensive, AnyDVD HD is the industry standard for moving copy protection from a disc.  I personally use this software and think its great.  AnyDVD  can work in the background, removing the copy protection on the fly.  This allows you to use other software to actually rip the blu-ray disc without having to make an ISO file.

Right now, there are three legit ways to rip blu-ray movies to a hard drive, which can be done after removing the disc’s copy protection.

  1. Eac3to– This freeware is community supported and gets the job done in conjunction with AnyDVD HD.  This is the software I use to convert movies to MKV. Eac3to will create individual audio and video files that then need to be compiled into an MKV file using mkvmerge.
  2. MakeMKV – MakeMKV is an all-in-one solution that removes blu-ray copy protection and converts the movie to an MKV file.  I actually tend to use MakeMKV to convert DVDs to MKV files.  MakeMKV does not require the use of AnyDVD.  However, it does not do as good of a job keeping up with the latest copy protection.
  3. Handbrake –  This piece of software is free but it does not provide any means of removing copy protection.  This is the software of choice for converting movies to iPod or iPads.
Continue reading...

9. January 2011


Cheapest way to stream ripped Blu-rays to an HDTV

319eUGll--LNow that you have ripped your Blu-ray movies to a hard drive, hopefully as MKV files, you might be wondering how am I going to watch this on a TV?  There are several options for streaming movies to an HDTV, with the cheapest being the Roku XD and the AppleTV.  The problem though is finding such a box that supports 1080p MKV files (forget ISO files for now).  Yes, I am looking at you Roku.  Apple is a snob like that.  Roku should know better.

While I would love to play MKV files over an Apple TV, it just is not happening.  You would need to convert everything to mp4, which is possible using Handbrake, but a pain just the same.  My recommendation is a Boxee, which runs about $200.  Yes it is more expensive, but it can do just about everything an AppleTv can, except for buying moveis from iTunes.

Here is a screenshot of the movie interface. Simple and clean.


The product sepecifications are as follows:

  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.6″
  • Language Support: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Network Protocol Support: IPV4, ARP, TCP, UDP, ICMP, DHCP Client, DNS Client, DDNS Client, HTTP Server, Samba Client, RTP/RTMP, VPN: PPTP, DLNA 1.5 (DMP)
  • Wireless: 802.11n/g/b
  • Ports: HDMI 1.3, 10/100 Fast Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, Optical Audio (S/PDIF), Analog Audio (RCA L/R)
  • Memory Card Support: SD, SDHC up to 32GB, MMC
  • Audio Formats: MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AIF/AIFF, AC3/AAC, OGG, FLAC, Dolby Digital/Dolby True HD
  • Video Formats: Adobe Flash 10.1, FLV/On2 VP6 (FLV/FV4/M4V), H.264 AVC (TS/AVI/MKV/MOV/M2TS/MP4), VC-1 (TS/AVI/MKV/WMV), MPEG-1 (DAT/MPG/MPEG), MPEG-2 (MPG/MPEG/VOB/TS/TP/ISO/IFO), MPEG-4 (MP4/AVI/MOV), DivX 3/4/5/6 (AVI/MKV), Xvid (AVI/MKV), WMV9 (WMV/ASF/DVR-MS)
  • Image Formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF
  • Playlist Formats: M3U, PLS, WPL
  • Subtitle Formats: SRT, SUB, SSA, SMI, ASS
  • Supported Resolutions: H.264: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; WMV9/VC-1: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; MPEG4: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; MPEG2: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps
  • Two-Sided RF Remote: with 4-way navigation and full QWERTY keypad
Continue reading...

4. January 2011


How to Buy Cheap Blu-rays

Blu-rays are expensive.  Most cost about $20.  To build your Blu-ray library would cost alot of dough if you are buying every thing new.  So how do you buy cheap Blu-ray movies?

Over the last couple of years, I have found Amazon.com to be the cheapest.  While their new Blu-ray prices are competitive, their best deals are on used Blu-rays.  If you are ripping your movies, do you actually care if you are buying a brand new movie?  I know I don’t care.

The only downside to buying used movies from Amazon.com is the cost of shipping, which is just under $3.   Most movies can be had for around 10 bucks, including shipping.  Albeit, these movies aren’t the latest releases but for building your library, it is perfect.

Continue reading...

10. September 2009


Lord of the Rings Blu-ray Delayed

LOTRSome movies are meant to be on Blu-ray.  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is one of them.  Sadly though, it looks like the trilogy won’t be available until next year (first quarter of 2010).  From Engadgethd.com

Our friend Bill at the Digital Bits continues to deliver on some of the best and worst Blu-ray movie news — although we really wish he’d make his site linkable already — and this time it is the sad news that one of the most anticipated Blu-ray releases ever will be pushed to 2010. No word on exactly when The Lord of the Rings will make it to Blu-ray, but it seems pretty certain that it won’t be in the next four months.

I still do not understand the delay in getting Blu-ray movies to the marketplace.  LOTR Blu-ray would be a perfect Christmas present for geeks.  These movies will surely be some of the best selling Blu-ray movies ever.  Hopefully the quality is better than Gladiator though.

Continue reading...

3. September 2009


Why You Should Rip Blu-rays

There are several reasons why you might want to rip Blu-rays.  Here are my reasons:

  1. There main one is that you want to watch your movies on a computer.  Legally playing your blu-rays on a computer is a big pain.  You have to jump through a ton of hoops.  Ripping out the content protection is the first step in being able to actually watch YOUR OWN MOVIES.
  2. Protect your movies from kids.
  3. Avoid using the awful blu-ray software players like Cyberlink’s PowerDVD.  If you rip your movies, you can convert them to MKVs or another format.  There are tons of free players out there that support MKVs.  Why pay $80 for PowerDVD?

If you notice, I did not mention burning blu-ray movies.   In my opinion, writeable blu-ray discs are too expensive and not worth burning.

Continue reading...

2. September 2009


MakeMKV | Convert Blu-ray to MKV Easily

MakeMKVmakemkv is a free program that converts your Blu-ray movies to MKV files, which can be played on most computers with the proper codecs installed.

MakeMKV’s main selling point is that it is easy and makes fairly good conversions.  The one drawback I see in MakeMKV is that you can’t use lossless audio codecs like FLAC. The high fidelity of blu-ray discs will be lost in coversion to AC3. This may not be a big deal for some though, especially if you do not have a high-end receiver and speakers.

MakeMKV has some capability to remove the copy protection from your discs though I would plan on still using AnyDVD HD, which is by far and away the best ripper for Blu-rays.

Continue reading...

1. September 2009


Why Blu-ray is Better than Downloaded Movies

Ever since the release of Blu-ray to the world, people have been predicting its demise. The most common reason is that downloaded movies are just around the corner. In essence, Blu-ray was dead before it arrived.

However, Blu-ray has two advantages over downloadable content from the likes of iTunes and Amazon. First off, Blu-ray looks and sounds better. Maybe not by a lot but the difference is still there. This by itself would not be a big deal, which leads us to the second reason: Blu-ray is actually cheaper. Blu-ray movies can be bought on sale or used for under $15. Brand new releases run about $20. To download a movie from iTunes or Amazon costs $20. This brings us back to the better quality issue. Plus you can always resell a Blu-ray movie.

In terms of renting a movie, Netflix makes Blu-ray almost a no-brainer. Sure you can rent a movie from iTunes for $5, but why not pay $12 a month for Netflix and get all the Blu-rays you can watch in a month.

Next time someone is telling you that Blu-ray is dying, tell them two things: quality and price. Pretty simple.

Continue reading...