Monday, March 2, 2009

How To: Rip Blu-ray Discs

Included digital copies are still the exception rather than the norm in the Blu-ray world. Lame. You'd like to rip those discs for playback elsewhere, right? But there is something you should know first.

And that is this: Ripping Blu-ray discs sucks. Hard. It takes forever, eats up a ton of hard drive space, and for all practical purposes requires software that isn't free. It's like trying to rip a DVD in 1999: computers still have a long way to go before this is easy.

But just because it's hard doesn't mean it's impossible, and once your system is set up it's something you can start before you go to bed and have finished for you in the morning. Here we've outlined exactly what you need to rip your 1080p Blu-ray discs (the ones you own, of course) and then convert the video into a more manageable file size for watching on a computer, phone, game console or PMP. Because hey, you own this movie, and you should be able to watch it on whatever device you want.

But you'll have to earn that right. Let's start this painful process, shall we?

What's you'll need:

• A Windows PC (the Blu-ray ripping process is, at the moment, Mac-unfriendly. I used Windows 7 Beta 64-bit and all the following software is Windows-only)

AnyDVD HD (free fully-functional 21-day trial, $80 to keep) for ripping and decrypting BD discs

RipBot264 (free) for transcoding from AVC (you'll also need a few codecs to go along with it: .NET Framework 2.0, the avisynth and ffdshow codec packs, and the Haali media splitter)

tsMuxeR (free) for muxing (may not be necessary)

• A Blu-ray drive (I used OWC's Mercury Pro external)

• A ton of free hard drive space (80GB or so to be safe)

• A decent understanding of how video codecs and containers work (Matt's Giz Explains has everything you need)


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