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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How To Rip a Blu-Ray Movie with Just One Click

Handbrake and AnyDVD lets you effortlessly rip DVD movies, but Blu-Ray discs have typically been a bit trickier. In addition to needing a Blu-Ray drive (obviously), you had to use a combination of AnyDVD HD (to decrypt the disc), RipBot264 (for transcoding the MPEG4 AVC video format), and tsMuxeR (to mux audio and video files). Not anymore. The newest version of the MakeMKV utility streamlines the entire process into one click. The 3.5MB program, which is available for both Windows and Mac OS, will decrypt and rip your Blu-Ray disc to a MKV file that contains whatever video and audio streams you want. It'll also package selected subtitles tracks into the file, though it won't hard embed Forced subtitles onto the video.

Download MakeMKV ( alt link), install it, and launch the program. With a Blu-Ray disc in your drive, click the big Open Disc button. MakeMKV will decrypt the disc and show you a list of video tracks. Select the largest one (usually the one with the most chapters) and check the audio and subtitle tracks you want to include in the rip. The other video tracks are for menus and special features. Finally, click the Make MKV button to start the ripping process.

In our test, MakeMKV took only 23 minutes to rip a 90 minute movie. It's this fast because the utility doesn't transcode the video to a lower bitrate or resolution--the outputted MKV file is the same quality and size as what was on the disc. The speed at which it rips limited by the speed of your Blu-Ray drive. But that also means you'll need plenty of disc space to store these files (about 20GB per movie) unless you plan on transcoding them to 720p afterward. Handbrake accepts MKV container files as a video source, and we'll let you know how well it works for transcoding these rips. MakeMKV also isn't a process hog, since it's not doing any transcoding, but you will need a relatively powerful PC to play 40Mbps 1080p files with VLC or Media Player Classic.

The current MakeMKV build is the 1.5.2 BETA, which is a free download. Blu-Ray ripping is free on a trial basis for 30 days, and the full version of MakeMKV is $50. Considering that a 1-year license of AnyDVD HD is $85, this isn't a bad deal at all.

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