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Backup Bluray and DVD to MKV with MakeMKV

Since I have been dealing with backing up both my Blurays and HD DVDs (yes, I have some of these) to hard disk recently, I stumbled across a pretty darn awesome program called MakeMKV.

What makes MakeMKV so special is that is unique. It is essentially a decrypter and remuxer packaged into one. It decrypts Blurays, HD DVDs (if you have ‘em), and DVDs. Best of all, it does most of this for FREE!

Well, to be more accurate, Bluray decryption is only free during beta testing, but DVD decryption will always be free. Still, Bluray decryption is limited to 30 days at the time of this writing (they are still cranking out versions). However, you can go ahead and buy a license here (it helps support this site if you use that link) if you would like.

Here is a quick rundown of the features it offers:

  • Reads DVD and Blu-ray discs
  • Reads Blu-ray discs protected with latest versions of AACS and BD+
  • Preserves all video and audio tracks, including HD audio
  • Preserves chapters information
  • Preserves all meta-information (track language, audio type)
  • Fast conversion – converts as fast as your drive can read data.
  • No additional software is required for conversion or decryption.
  • Available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Functionality to open DVD discs is free and will always stay free.
  • All features (including Blu-ray decryption and processing) are free during BETA.

And before you guys ask, no, I am not being paid to write this. I honestly like this software as it simplifies a lot of things. Plus a majority of its functionality is free.

I especially like it because it is cross-platform, meaning it can run on Windows, Linux and Mac machines. No other serious decryption software that I have found offers this functionality.

So, lets get started.

Getting Started

Well, it’s really not that hard to get started. First off download MakeMKV.

Second, insert your Bluray or whatever you are ripping into your disk drive.

Open up MakeMKV, and make sure your disk drive is selected (it should be already, especially if you only have one disk drive).

The main window that appears when MakeMKV is first opened.

When you are ready to start, click the big Disk to Hard Drive button, right in the center of the screen. Your disk will be analyzed by MakeMKV for a few minutes (usually seconds actually). Here is my analysis pass in action:

The progress window for MakeMKV and its disk analysis.

Selecting Your Tracks

Now, the real power of MakeMKV is that you can select specific titles and tracks to be ripped. This gives you immense flexibility, and saves you a lot of time and space if you only want the English tracks and the main movie.

Once MakeMKV has finished analyzing your disk, it will display a window like the one below. As you can see, I have selected just my main movie and my preferred audio and subtitle tracks (English).

The selection of specific tracks to be ripped in MakeMKV.

It really couldn’t be simpler.

Now, as you will see in my screenshot, I have two areas highlighted. The top area shows two icons. The icon on the left will start decrypting the disk to you hard drive. The second will start a streaming server, allowing you to stream you Bluray over your home network to a compatible media player (like the PS3 I believe). How cool is that!?

I may do another write up sometime on streaming, but there really isn’t much more to write up than what I already have.

Rip the Disk

Anyways, let’s finish ripping our disk. Select either the left icon in the top highlighted area, or the big button in the second highlighted area, and your disk will be begin to rip to an MKV.

Here is a snap of that process in action:

The progress window and accompanying log window shown during MakeMKV's ripping process.

Again, it couldn’t be simpler. For those of you wondering, you will not lose a single drop of quality in the conversion process. Since MakeMKV is really only remuxing your disk on the fly, it’s like it is copying the original video into a MKV container.

Yes, the size will not be exactly small, but you can recompress at your leisure with programs like MeGUI, StaxRip, RipBot264 or HDConvertToX. Or keep the original quality, it’s your choice!

Well that about covers it for me! Post in the comments!


  • Richard

    Interesting. I think I’ll have a play around with this. I already have AnyDVD HD, I wonder if makeMKV can be tied in with that rather than using the built in decrypter? Hours of fun!

  • Richard

    Oh and does it install anything else? Codecs etc?

  • Richard

    ^^ Obviously not. Stupid question.

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Ha! I’m glad you figured it out Richard! Sorry I couldn’t respond sooner.

  • Richard

    I gave it a go last night with a DVD of Bourne Indentity and it works well. I also tried it without using its own decrypter and using AnyDVD HD. That worked fine too, straight forward rip and ISO creation.

    FYI they all played just fine on my WDTV Live too ;)

  • http://www.favessoft.com/ MilesAhead

    I bought MakeMKV a year ago. One advantage of having a licensed version is you can back off to an older version without getting a “too old” beta warning. It has a complete backup function. But mostly I extract a “main movie” .mkv title and use BDSup2Sub to extract and convert PGS subtitles. (I watch a lot of Asian films.) But one thing many may not know is you can use tsMuxerGui to convert an .mkv title to a BluRay disc structure. If the structure is BluRay compliant then it will usually work as input to BD Rebuilder .. another BluRay beta tool. BDRB can be used to produce a standard DVD or BD5/BD9/BD25 structure. Typically I use BDRB to compress the main movie to a BD5 for playing on my WD HDTV for USB set top box.

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    That seems like a lot of work just to get a workable Bluray, especially when MakeMKV can rip directly to a Bluray structure, not just an MKV. That completely removes your need for TsMuxer…

    And yes, BD Rebuilder is fantastic. That is why I have written several guides concerning its use on this site.

  • http://www.favessoft.com/ MilesAhead

    Your assumption is that all modes work equally well on all discs. Use MakeMKV for a longer period and you’ll see it’s not the case. Also by ripping a single .mkv title you filter out all the crap of less than 120 seconds duration.

    Also most movies I watch are foreign films. MkvExtractGui-2 is the easiest way to extract the PGS subs. Not so easy to extract from .m2ts files.

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    @MilesAhead,

    I see your point. I personally have not had too many issues when demuxing streams from M2TS files. I usually use MeGUI’s HD Streams Extractor to great effect.

    My comment about a lot of work was your ripping to MKV, and then creating a Bluray using TSMuxer, and then compressing said Bluray with BD Rebuilder. As you have said, ripping to MKV removes the extra “crap”. Still, there are programs available that will let you skip the TSMuxer step. These programs include RipBot, multiAVCHD, and BDtoAVCHD. All of these take in an MKV and will produce a compressed Bluray.

  • http://www.favessoft.com/ MilesAhead

    I’ve tried all the programs you mention and I can’t get any of them to work as reliably and stably on my Vista64 system as BD Rebuilder.

    I wouldn’t do all those steps if there was an easy way around. The muxing and all that sounds like a lot.but I use USB 3.0 docking stations with different source and target drives. I can just sit and watch the progress bar zip across at 120+ MB/s. No big deal.

    I have a Phenom I 9850. Perhaps it’s a quirk of that processor I don’t know. But all the other BluRay conversion programs I’ve tried, like Handbrake etc. seem to crash more than half the time. BDRB is the only one in the category that consistently processes to completion. It’s possible the reason is “good” profile one pass abr mode is less taxing on my quad core. Whenever I’ve tried higher quality modes things don’t go smoothly.

    It works for me. I’m not saying everyone should do it the way I do. :)

  • Bear

    I know this is probably an incredibly stupid question but if you already have a BD rip on your computer how do you get it to see it? When I select the folder icon and navigate to the BD rip it doesn’t see it, even if I drill down the the stream folder.

    Works fine on dvds, though.

  • http://www.favessoft.com/ MilesAhead

    Using the Folder Button in toolbar navigate to BDMV folder. Load the file “index.bdmv” to display titles. Usually I right click on the topmost title and deselect to uncheck as many boxes as possible. Then just select the ones I want. Not smooth but only takes a few seconds once you get used to it. Since it’s cross platform, the author is probably limited by the window framework. I’m assuming that’s why it’s just a bit clunky for title audio and subtitle selection.

  • Richard

    Just used this again on a DVD of The Jungle Book for my little lad. It really is a cracking bit of software. Easy to use and very quick.

  • Richard

    That said, it falls down trying to handle Robots. Using AnyDVD or its own decrypter.

  • jim

    This looks very useful – if it works reliably I’m happy to pay for it.
    I’m pretty new to all this but I have spent a long time trying to back up
    my DVD and Blurays to hard disk (Our TV can play from USB ) but I didnt know
    how to select the tracks I wanted.

    So now I have a problem with subtitles all the time.
    If this could strip out subtitles from existing MKV files without recoding them
    leaving just the original video and audio that would be a great bonus to me.

    I’ll download and take a look anyway.

    I also cant get the TV to play DTS files so I need to convert to something else
    but I guess you cant have it all. (I have a lot of original boxsets I want to try this on)

  • jim

    All I have to do now is locate the download link

    Anyone else getting sick of all these fake “download” buttons and spammers?

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    The link at the top of this post should take you directly to the MakeMKV website and download area. It is pretty clear cut at that point.

    What is your problem with MKVs and subtitles? As long as they are soft subs (meaning you didn’t purposefully encode them into the video stream), you can disable them in any modern media player.

    MakeMKV will let you choose which streams you would like to rip from the original disk, so if you do not want subtitles, you can choose to not include them.

  • ggg

    anyonne know a good bluray ripper>>>this rips em but their interlaced

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    It’s possible that your source disk is interlaced. MakeMKV will remove pull down from disks when it rips, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    However if your original disk is interlaced, you will need to run a deinterlacer and re-encode it in order to remove the interlacing.

  • ggg

    It’s an original bluray bought from store so I very much doubt that’s the problem

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Just because you bought it from a store doesn’t mean it’s not interlaced. Have you gone through the video frame by frame for a selection of frames and confirmed that each one is interlaced, not just a few?

    MakeMKV will appropriately flag video that has been pulled up to 29.976fps. As long as you have a decent encoding program or playback software, you can have it perform a pulldown on the fly when encoding or watching.

  • ggg

    I already deleted the converted file, not a biggie going to try a different software and see.

  • Richard

    I’m using this software more and more. Pointed it at a few iso’s the other day with excellent results.

    And when do we get some new articles Adub?

    ;)

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Haha Richard, I’ve been wondering that same thing. Unfortunately, school has been quite busy now. Hopefully I’ll be able to crank out a few during break.

  • sempei

    To Richard: When you said you did The Bourne movie, how did you go with the hard subs, non speaking english parts? Did they come up automatically. I remember doing one of the Bournes and i couldnt get the subs to come up on the non english speaking parts. thanks

  • Richard

    sempei,

    I’m afraid I don’t remember. I’ll have a play tonight and let you know.

    If you read this before I get back to you it would be handy if you could give me a scene in the movie to check. To save me searching.

  • sempei

    I Richard: not sure if you have done Bourne Ultimatum, but in the first 2 and half mins when hes being chased i am sure in the original when the police talk its sub titled, right up to the point where they catch up with him in the bathroom, around the 2:40 mark. The rip i have i got no idea what the police are saying.

  • Richard

    No problem sempei.

    I’ll have a go later. I’m at work at the moment so not a deal I can do right now. I’ll re-rip and run through MakeMKV to see what happens.

  • Richard

    So this was tricky and involved much buggering about. Mainly because I don’t have a standalone DVD player since my PS3 got a touch of the YLOD. As my main player on the PC is WMP (I don’t use it much) subtitles are a bit of a challenge too.

    Anyhoo… I turned off AnyDVD and installed the latest MakeMKV BETA v1.7.0. I inserted The Bourne Ultimatum, fired up MakeMKV and let it do it stuff. When you get to Adub’s ‘Selecting Your Tracks’ section unselect everything and then re-select the 4.5GB ‘Title’, ‘Audio DD 3/2+1 English’ (assuming that’s the audio you want) and then the third English subtitle option. Trial and error led me to choose the third one. The first one appears to be descriptive, second is Directors Commentary and the third appears to be ‘forced’ for want of a better description. Note that on Adub’s pic above the proper forced subs are labelled. On this they’re not.

    Now the only real way I could check was to play the file via my WD TV Live and I still had to choose to display subtitles but at least it only played subs for the non-English parts. The best bit to check is about 1:30 in where the Russian police car gets a message over the radio.

    Hope that helps. Let me know how you go on.

  • sempei

    thanks for that. will have to try. i dont have makemkv, guess by the write ups i can download the beta version and have it for 30 days, is that correct? Full version works i presume? I probably didnt explain myself properly i have only been using ripbot and thats where i had issue with the subtitles/hard subs. . thanks

  • Richard

    …..!

  • GaProgMan

    This is an amazing piece of software! Seriously, I’ve been looking around for a ripper that can handle my recently purchased that didn’t have a massive price tag attached.

    Not only did it rip my copy of Super in less than 20 minutes, but it was also ridiculously easy to use. Excellent work, devs. I’ll definitely be purchasing a key when the free trial runs out.

  • oi8abug

    Hi there! Ok, so I am really clueless about what to do with this site and thereafter. What I want to do is rip some workout DVD’s on to my laptop and then put them on my iTunes, sync it, then be able to watch them on my iPad…. I downloaded HandBrake.com, because thats what someone told me to do…. But can anyone help me with the ‘after’ part of ripping? and uploading to iTunes? Many thanks!!
    Sherrie

  • Richard

    Hi Sherrie,

    Rip your DVDs using MakeMKV (or AnyDVD/DVDFab etc). If you’re using MakeMKV then follow Adub’s step by step.

    Then point Handbrake at the resulting mkv. Now all you have to do is import the file Handbrake produces to iTunes. Drop it onto your iPad, voila!

    Shout if you need more detail.

  • darkwstuff

    handbrake works fine with makemkv, but ripbot dose struggle to load mkvs made by makemkv, would rather use anydvd.