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ripping to mkv or m4v for Roku channel?


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#1 tommynospam

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:02 AM

In a few days, I'm going to start on a major rip project from DVD to m4v. This is to specifically play back on a Roku as I've experienced nothing but inconsistent problems when trying to use ISOs with Plex Media Server and the Plex channel. Some play, some don't. I'm planning on using handbrake for the conversion using the "Normal" setting but it defaults to the .m4v file extension and was wondering if anyone can brief me on the advantages of possibly using .MKV over .M4V? Any other suggestions would be great as I only want to do this once. :)

Hey, many thanks in advance.

p.s. One more thing... I'm ripping a TV series and as everyone probably knows, each DVD contains about 4 shows in their own seperate tracks. Can anyone recommend a tool that I can rip those individual tracks from the DVD in batch mode putting each show in an ISO or directly to m4v/mkv? I'm hoping to set it up and let it run overnight. I'm using DVDShrink but have to do one at a time manually and is really a pain.

#2 Alan Morgan

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:20 AM

MKV is natively supported by the Roku-- toss it on a USB stick and if you've got the right encoding settings, it'll play. Make sure that you don't go above an h264 level of 4.0, however; I'm not sure what Handbrake defaults to. If you look around you should be able to find some suggestions for how best to encode files for the Roku using Handbrake, it's a pretty popular program for converting. If your settings are right you should be able to do direct streaming (and eventually direct play, though the majority of the performance benefit will come from the ability to do direct streaming). I believe, but can't remember for sure, that M4V will need to be transcoded to play on the Roku, which is a performance downside.

I didn't even realize you could stream ISOs via Plex. That's kinda interesting to know.
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#3 dnelms

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 10:36 AM

In a few days, I'm going to start on a major rip project from DVD to m4v. This is to specifically play back on a Roku as I've experienced nothing but inconsistent problems when trying to use ISOs with Plex Media Server and the Plex channel. Some play, some don't. I'm planning on using handbrake for the conversion using the "Normal" setting but it defaults to the .m4v file extension and was wondering if anyone can brief me on the advantages of possibly using .MKV over .M4V? Any other suggestions would be great as I only want to do this once. :)

Hey, many thanks in advance.

p.s. One more thing... I'm ripping a TV series and as everyone probably knows, each DVD contains about 4 shows in their own seperate tracks. Can anyone recommend a tool that I can rip those individual tracks from the DVD in batch mode putting each show in an ISO or directly to m4v/mkv? I'm hoping to set it up and let it run overnight. I'm using DVDShrink but have to do one at a time manually and is really a pain.



I done many TV Shows and this is what I do:

1. I use MakeMKV to rip the shows (yes, you have to check/uncheck each epiosde for ecah disk (audio tracks, subtitles, etc.), but it works well.
2. IF space is NOT a concern, then I'd leave them in MKV format. Name each episode using the suggesting Plex naming convention. Since I do have a concern about how much space I'm using, I then group all the episodes in one folder. Then as an overnight or during the day while at work, I'll drop that folder in Handbrake and convert each episode to m4v.
3. Plays fine on the Roku

EDIT: wanted to add that I have mine converted to m4v so I can watch content on my ipad or appletv2, in addition to the Roku. Just depends what room I am in.

#4 samukas

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 01:03 PM

Yep, MakeMKV is a breaze :) It's also what I use as well... I haven't however converted those files to be roku-compilant, I leave them as it is to have maximum quality.

I find that my NAS is powerfull enough to transcode those on the fly, but should you go with Handbrake, MKV or M4V, either way is fine :)

Current Plex Setup:
1x Synology DS3612xs

1x iPad 3rd Generation 16GB

1x Roku LT

1x PlexBMC Client


#5 tommynospam

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 08:52 PM

Thanks to all for the responses.

Wow, I tried MakeMKV and it is very simple. When ripping an individual episode, I noticed that the MKV file size is about the same as an ISO made by DVDShrink which leads me to believe it is not a "compression" but a container? What would be the advantages of MKV over ISO?

#6 blatantsubtext

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:36 AM

I wouldn't say MKV has "advantages". You're right in that it is just a container. makemkv just repackages the mpeg-2 streams from the DVD into an MKV. The only real disadvantage is that you don't get the DVD menus. All video-based special features can be saved, if you check their boxes.

I will say that I have a beast machine that should be able to handle the MPEG2->Roku transcode in realtime, but every now and then I get some artifacts in my Roku playback. I don't have that issue when the video file is an H.264 stream, however, even on BD mkvs at 1080p. So for just Roku playback, H.264 may be the way to go?

#7 tommynospam

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 04:47 PM

I put one of the MKV files on a USB stick but the Roku couldn't see the MKV. As a "control", I also put an m4v that has previously worked and it *did* see the m4v. I thought in one the previous posts the member said the Roku is MKV compliant? What is your experience?

Thanks.

#8 Alan Morgan

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:00 PM

Well, it supports certain MKV settings, not all of them. MKV is more of a container file format and less of a specific type of video file. Specifically, MKV on the Roku needs to use the H264 video codec; if it uses a different video codec the Roku won't be able to handle it. If it works with M4V, then maybe you just want to rip to M4V instead. Again, getting things set up so they can directly play on the Roku (regardless of which format you ultimately pick) will mean the least amount of time spent formatting it for the Roku and the best performance as a result. Using the USB stick to test your settings is a good way to verify if you have things set up right or not. Plex should be able to handle transcoding just about everything you toss at it, but that's more of a strain on the CPU of your Plex server. Ripping or encoding things specifically in a way that the Roku supports directly is always going to yield the best results.

You'll want to look at this page: http://support.roku....channel-support
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#9 Robot

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:13 PM

Handbrake can transcode to MP4. You need to hit the check box for it.

As for the TV shows, Handbrake has a que. It'll only does one episode at time, but you can add jobs to do after completing one. You don't need to do MakeMKV step. Although, this may allow you setup more than however many episodes are on a disc.

#10 samukas

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 09:31 PM

Haven't had time to read the whole thread, but wanted to say something:

On Roku 2's units, MKV is (still) not supported trough the USB Channel. They removed that feature and I have no idea when it's coming back.
So if you want to keep compatibility with that, use M4V.

For the Plex channel, however, it doesn't make a difference, as long as you keep the video inside roku's restrictions, Plex will have no problems playing back either an MKV or M4V file.

Current Plex Setup:
1x Synology DS3612xs

1x iPad 3rd Generation 16GB

1x Roku LT

1x PlexBMC Client


#11 blatantsubtext

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 11:12 PM

@tommy: I should've mentioned that you can't just use makemkv and expect that to playback on the Roku USB channel. For a DVD disc, makemkv would just create an mkv with an MPEG2 video stream, which is unsupported on the Roku. That file WOULD work with the Plex channel, however, as the Plex server would convert the video to H.264 for playback on the Roku. The only real advantage of keeping your mkv would be if you're using the Plex client on OSX, Win, etc.

The easiest, most space efficient thing would be to use Handbrake and make H.264 M4Vs and leave it at that. Pretty much what Alan said.

#12 tommynospam

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 03:40 PM

With regard to ripping to m4v, Handbrake has a lot of presets and although they help, sometimes it doesn't remove artifacts like intelicine or combing. To know how to handle that effectively (which I never really have despite the online handbrake help), one must almost be an expert in m4v conversion which I have no desire to be. I've never really understood and as I said, really have no desire to know that to a low level.

Is there a conversion tool (probably paid) that will automatically scan the video for what it needs to do and just DO IT automatically? I'm more than willing to pay, and pay good, for conversion software that is really just one click and it figures out for itself what it has to do. Conversion speed isn't important, compression rate isn't important.... it doesn't even have to compress. My goal is QUALITY output as easy as possible.

Thanks.

#13 EddieA

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 07:33 PM

I've had pretty good results following this guide.

Cheers.




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