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DVD Rip Quality on Plex/Roku Ultra

Hello all,

I am trying to rip a few children DVDs and store them on Plex for playing on a Roku Ultra and Roku 4. I used MakeMKV and my PMS found the file without issue. When I play the file on either Roku everything is fine but it doesn't look very good. Everything is a bit blurry because of the standard resolution of the DVD. My Plex Roku app and PMS are set for top quality streaming up to 4K. If I use a DVD player the DVD is upscaled and looks much sharper.

Is there a way to get the DVD video to look sharper on Plex?

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Answers

  • jjrjr1jjrjr1 Posts: 1,749Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Probably changing your parameters for your DVD encoding.
    What setting are you using now??

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016

    If, for some reason, Plex is transcoding that item - it will look like it's being bounced off the moon. Take steps to ensure direct play and what goes in comes out.

    Tony

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  • TrendyGuyTrendyGuy Posts: 16Members ✭✭

    @jjrjr1 said:
    Probably changing your parameters for your DVD encoding.
    What setting are you using now??

    Right now I am just using makemkv and told it to make an exact copy of the DVD no compression or anything.

    @JuiceWSA said:
    If, for some reason, Plex is transcoding that item - it will look like it's being bounced off the moon. Take steps to ensure direct play and what goes in comes out.

    My Roku does say it is being transcoded. What format do I need the file in to be able to use direct play?

  • RyanboostRyanboost Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I'm very interested in this as well as I'm having the same issue. I've used MAKEMKV to rip 100+ DVDs and I'm really hoping I don't have to start over using a different program.

  • jjrjr1jjrjr1 Posts: 1,749Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Encode your videos to

    Container MP4
    Video Codec H.264 (for 1080p and below) H.265 (For 4K)
    Audio Codec AC3 for both 2 channel and 5.1 surround

    Set the size appropriately and a reasonable bitrate like 2-3 mbps

    They should look pretty good I would think

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016

    @TrendyGuy said:
    Right now I am just using makemkv and told it to make an exact copy of the DVD no compression or anything.

    @JuiceWSA said:
    If, for some reason, Plex is transcoding that item - it will look like it's being bounced off the moon. Take steps to ensure direct play and what goes in comes out.

    My Roku does say it is being transcoded. What format do I need the file in to be able to use direct play?

    If you are ripping BluRays with MakeMKV and those BluRays have a VC-1 video stream your Roku is going to tell Plex to transcode. Your Roku may also tell Plex to transcode DVDs with an MPEG2 stream to transcode. If your Roku's Plex app is set to anything other than Original Quality and you're trying to play a MakeMKV stream @ a bit rate of 30Mbps+ your Roku is going to tell Plex to transcode. If for any reason your Roku is telling Plex to transcode you are never going to see that original quality MakeMKV rip. You are storing 30GB files @ 30Mbps when Plex is delivering something way less. Depending on your Roku's settings and your network you may never get a magnum bit rate to it.

    You'll need to post the XML information for one of these files that your Roku is transcoding:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/201998867-Investigate-Media-Information-and-Formats
    about halfway down the page - the XML info.

    There could be a Plex app setting to tweek to get Direct Play happening.

    It is very likely you'll need something to go along with MakeMKV so you can create material your Roku can Direct Play. Handbrake is my favorite, it'll take some time to learn how to use it fully and the conversions will be lengthy, but in the end the quality you're committing to storage will be the quality you're seeing. You'll probably, eventually, find out that a 5Mbps stream looks enough like that 30Mbps stream it won't matter and it's gonna take up a whole lot less room.

    Tony

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  • jjrjr1jjrjr1 Posts: 1,749Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Geeesss.
    He is talking about DVDs
    But Let's confuse the issue Huh??

    (30MBPS for DVDs a Little overkill don't ya think??)

    Even 5mbps is kinda overkill for DVDs I Think...

    The idea is to GET the thing to direct play I thought.

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry for what looks like a double post - this forum suddenly won't allow edits.

    Tony

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  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016

    @jjrjr1 said:
    Geeesss.
    He is talking about DVDs
    But Let's confuse the issue Huh??

    (30MBPS for DVDs a Little overkill don't ya think??)

    Even 5mbps is kinda overkill for DVDs I Think...

    The idea is to GET the thing to direct play I thought.

    2Mbps is overkill for a DVD if you ask me. I stop seeing any improvement above 1800Kbps.

    A lot of people call the disc in a BluRay box DVDs and MakeMKV will churn those out as fast as you can load 'em. In fact I've got one of 'em with a VC-1 stream in Handbrake right now. From 28.5Mbps to 3.2Mbps in..... about another 92 minutes and by the time I'm done it will absolutely Direct Play on every device I have.

    If @Ryanboost is, in fact, speaking only of DVDs the good news is that if he's got a box like mine he can Handbrake one in 20 minutes and I'll be happy to provide my exact settings with pictures to boot. :)

    Tony

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  • jjrjr1jjrjr1 Posts: 1,749Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @JuiceWSA

    That would be great.
    I do not use handbrake but am interested in exploring it.
    Anxious to see what settings you use..
    Also.
    Any Idea as to settings for a 4K rip on handbrake???

    Thanks

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 17

    Attention!
    This guide is written for Handbrake Version 0.10.5.0. I have tested both subsequent versions and found no appreciable difference in their makeup with the exception of many Custom Profiles that will likely allow you to create material that will NOT Direct Play in Plex. Use at your own risk. Version 0.10.5.0 can be found here: https://handbrake.fr/old.php

    Book 2 - BluRays:

    This is going to be pretty easy. Almost all my settings are the same except for...

    Picture:
    No Anamorphic settings are needed. Use 'None'. Always 'Keep The Aspect Ratio' and if you make a User Profile to use Automatic Cropping always check it's done it's job and if you want 1080p make sure the width is 1920. The height will be whatever is left after cropping. My example below shows 1920x800 and that's a 2.40:1 Letterboxed version of The Drop (2014). You can knock it down to 720p if for some reason you feel you must and in that case it would be 1280x534.

    I suppose in this area is where you'd create your 4k resolutions. I have no idea what those are. You're on your own and if I live long enough to need to figure it out I'll post up my settings later... somewhere.

    Filters:
    Off.

    Most of the BluRay stuff is Progressive - but sometimes you may run into an interlaced item. Not very often. Do check though. MediaInfo will tell the tale or a static preview in Handbrake and close inspection will reveal it. Check high motion scenes.

    Sometimes I'll run a recorded TV Show through Handbrake, if MCEBuddy is busy doing something else or I want to give the item some TLC and in that case I will turn the filters back on because HD material that arrives via the airwaves is interlaced and there's no two ways about that. In order to get a 1080p image from the tower to my antenna it has to be 1080i while it's in the air. The bandwidth doesn't exist at the frequencies it's being transmitted. They have to send two frames at 1920x540 and blend them back together at your TV to make one 1920x1080 frame. Your TV is the master of putting that back together so you'll never see any strangeness, but your recording device SUCKS at it and there will be combing artifacts in high motion scenes. Handbrake's filters are the master at fixing it, but you should be aware that a lot of combing will add a lot of time when Handbrake has to fix it. Deal with it. I do. Same filter settings.

    Don't get all ate up with film grain. Denoising takes decades and it will cause artifacts of it's own. Some film is grainy. Get over it. Add some bit rate. Deal with it.

    Video:
    Here's the other area where your 4k comes into play I guess. Again, you're on your own. You're also on your own with 265. Good Luck.

    Stick with the old settings for frame rates - Same as Source and Variable. Use the Advanced Tab and here's where your eyeballs are going to tell you what Average Bit Rate to use. For The Drop (2014) I used 3800 because it was a great source picture, one of Gandolfini's Last and I pumped it up a bit. I hardly ever go beyond 3200, but sometimes I will pump it up. I gave Casablanca (1942) 8500 and there's no way on this green Earth that made it any better than the 3200 I usually give stuff, but... it's Casablanca for cryin' out loud. :) The source for that one is absolutely gorgeous and my copy is too.

    Use the bit rate you feel you must.

    Audio: Whatever floats your boat. Create something that will Direct Play or deal with a Direct Stream. Your call.
    Subs and Chapters: Whatever. Do what you want.

    Advanced:

    This one is dead simple. Pull Sub Pixel Motion Estimation back to 7:RD in all frames - to save a bit of time - and push the button.

    As with the DVD section - and as I failed to mention there - that custom string gets created as you make adjustments (or use the defaults), but if for some reason you aren't getting a 4.1 264 level enter it as I have at the head of that string just as you see it. I have no idea what would happen if you used a higher level, but I do know that above 4.1 causes transcoding on some devices and 4.1 causes transcoding on my FireTV-V1s, but I deal with that by cranking up the max level in the Plex app settings. 4.0 is just stupid for a FireTV. Those things are powerful enough for sure.

    That's it. Happy encoding. Make adjustments where you feel it necessary, but these settings create material that Direct Plays on every device I have - with one adjustment to my AFTVs.

    Tony

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  • astrofisherastrofisher Plex Dwarf Star Posts: 5,514Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I just replaced my media encoding reference bookmarks with this thread, so if I have issues I'll come lookin for you. :D

    Jim

    "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
    Rule #32 "Enjoy the little things"
  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭

    The Handbrake Guide to Direct Play Bliss or How I Gave Up Hoping Plex Would Transcode a Decent Version of Anything and Learned How to Encode.

    I can't find any bugs in the process and if my machine could talk it would tell you it never gets a break - there always seems to be another encode in the queue. If Direct Play and reliable, repeatable, great looking results trips your trigger.... welcome aboard, Sailor (wink, wink).

    :D

    Tony

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  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016

    I just happened to think about this:

    If anyone is as annoyed as I was about Handbrake appending (-1) to every single file, open Tools/Options/Output Files and whack that second tag in the Format window (I can't remember what it was now) so it looks like this:

    Note:
    Handbrake will complain if you insist on overwriting your original file to the point that it just won't do it, but it's a DARN good idea to set your Handbrake destination folder to a place where all your Handbrake files go. I have cryptically created a folder called 'Handbrake Dumps' on my local 'work drive' and aimed HB at it. Everything I drag into HB comes from somewhere else - and it's a good idea to create another folder to put stuff in you want to Handbrake - something like 'Handbrake Deck'.

    I also have one or more 'On Deck' folders on every drive to drag large files into before moving them into my libraries - so they'll instantly show up in the library and not be part-way in when Plex notices them.

    Tony

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  • mikelagasemikelagase Posts: 6Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Any way you can post your Handbrake presets?

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016

    Well.. it would be easy enough to open up Handbrake, make the settings above and save it as a preset for DVDs and HDs, but if it needs to be even easier...

    remove .txt (the extension I added to get the forum to accept them) from these files and try to get them imported - assuming you have the same version as I do (0.10.5.0 64bit Version) it may even work.

    You're still going to have to adjust the bit rates. I make slight adjustments to every encode and I'm not even sure what the starting bit rates are. Maybe 1500 for DVD and 1800 for HD, but those change every time after I get a look at the source. Also you'll need to add 480 to height in the window beside 720 for DVDs 'cause I didn't save a hard resolution in the preset. Handbraking is a flexible operation here in Juice Valley.

    :-/

    Tony

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  • ubce88mubce88m Posts: 5Members

    @JuiceWSA said:
    I also set the DRC (Dynamic Range Control) to 1.8 (I've found that works well) so that a DVD with an AC3 track can be 'normalized' - clipping the loud bits to even out the overall experience. Don't you just hate it when you crank up the volume to hear dialog, then two seconds later you get blown through your picture window when something explodes? I do. I also run every single file through Xmedia Recode after Handbrake to ultimately bring that evened out audio track up to 89db - the industry standard. Every single file I have sees the same volume setting. I like that. You will too.

    First of all, many thanks for creating an incredibly easy-to-follow guide.

    Would you be so kind as to elaborate on Xmedia Recode? I'm guessing I should choose the "Copy" mode on the video tab to prevent re-encoding. Then choose the "Convert" mode on the audio tab. Which codec do you use? What about the other tabs?

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,780Members ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's exactly right.

    One of the great things about Xmedia Recode is it's so easy to use. The guys that are developing it are Germanish/Dutch/Something or other, but they have developed a hunk of code that bridges all language barriers in it's ease of use.

    You can do just about anything with it. A few moments ago I remuxed an MKV file, copied a video track, created an AAC 2.0 audio track in slot one while copying a backup AC3 5.1 audio track in slot two while normalizing the AAC track to 89db (the industry standard) while packing up the end result in an MP4 file and it took all of about 50 seconds.

    It's amazing.

    Tony

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  • ubce88mubce88m Posts: 5Members

    Thanks again, JuiceWSA. It took me a little over 6 minutes to normalize an AAC track, but that's with a 4 year old Core i3 and a separate HandBrake encode going.

    The normalized track sounds good to me. I used the default codec (Fraunhofer FDK AAC), any comments on whether I should continue using that or switch to plain-old AAC?

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