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Playing Back Blu-Ray Rips on Xbox 360

November 28, 2010

I had some large chunks of time over the past couple of days to try out some new methods for playing playing back Blu-Ray rips from a the network on my Xbox 360 acting as a Media Center Extender.

I had previously used MakeMKV and AnyDVD to rip Blu-Ray movies to MKV files. With the installation of the Haali spliter codecs on my Media Center PC, these would play on the extender, but not without transcoding. The transcoding produced annoying video issues and audio sync issues. I eventually found this sufficiently annoying that I shelved the project.

Recent threads on The Green Button about successful and (this is important) relatively simple strategies for re-encoding Blu-Ray rips for playback on the Xbox 360 led me to restart the project. My goal was to get video files that would play back on the Xbox 360 with 5.1 audio and no audio or video issues. The ability to get fast forward, rewind, multiple audio track or subtitle functionality was not essential. The process also had to be no more than a few steps. I have no interest in 16 step processes that span multi-day periods for encoding a single movie.

With that said, here is my new approach to ripping Bu-Rays for playback on the Xbox 360:

  1. Rip the Blu-Ray to my hard drive with AnyDVD. (2 hours)
  2. Use MakeMKV to turn the main movie into an MKV file with the only the audio track I want. (30 minutes and probably could be combined with step 1)
  3. Use DVRMSToolbox’s “MKV to DVRMS mencoder” profile to rencode the MKV file to a WMV file that I output to the networked drive where I store all my movies (3-4 hours)

To get DVRMSToolbox to work with Blu-Rays that use the VC1 codec, I had to:

  1. Create a Codecs subdirectory as in the following: G:\Video\DVRMS Toolbox\Applications\Mencoder\Codecs
  2. Download the mencoder codecs from http://www.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/windows-essential-20071007.zip
  3. Copy the files from the downloaded zip file into the above subdirectory

This approach produces WMV files a little smaller than 10GB for a two hour movie. Playback is not flawless (a few times when sound will stutter or get out of sync (easily fixed with a pause and restart if you can’t wait until it works itself out) but is much better than trying to play transcoded MKVs,

I tried a number of other approaches and found them unsatisfactory for a number of reasons:

  1. RipBot264. This is a nicer application than DVRMS Toolbox and I would probably prefer to use it if I could. A nice guide for setting up Ripbot264 can be found here.

    Unfortunately, I had audio sync problems that got progressively worse as the movie progressed (and could not be fixed by a stop and restart of playback). It is possible these problems are not widespread as there is a thread describing the audio sync problems using Ripbot to re-encode a rip of the Sherlock Homes Blu-Ray I was using to do my tests. The solution involved demuxing the audio with another application and then remuxing it with just the video encoded by Ripbot. These extra steps are a bridge to far for me at this point, however.

  2. PavTube. Encodes to WMV I can FF/RW with no audio sync issues, but the video was softer that I would prefer and had many noticeable macroblocking artifacts and no obvious way to adjust the encoding process to eliminate them. Also would have cost me $40. These problems don’t disappear even when encoding to only 720p rather than 1080p.
  3. Xilisoft. Video seemed softer than I would prefer, and this would not encode to WMV files with 5.1 audio. I did not get the chance to try this with longer than a 3 minute clip without purchasing it for $40, so there may be audio sync issues with longer clips.
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2 Comments
  1. I simply download the Bluray rip from Frostwire and load it into video converter(FreeMake) Once loaded I choose to convert to MP4 or AVI…MP4 are usually between 600-900 MB while the AVI are around 1.5 gigs…Always a very crispy HD Picture quality somewhere between 720-1080p…I sve them my 16gig flashdrive and plug into Xbox 360=The advantage is to save multiple bluray files on a single DVD and play them off the mixed media disc at full quality!!!

  2. What does FreeMake do with the audio track. Does it retain 5.1 sound or convert to stereo?

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