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 Drivebutton, 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!