bluray

Guide: Makemkv Made Even Easier

MakeMKV made easier (even though its already pretty easy) by "assassin"

One of the drawbacks to Windows 7 is that is does NOT support playing back bluray discs natively. What this means is that you can't just pop in a bluray and expect Windows 7 to play it because it just won't happen. To watch bluray discs on Windows 7 you have 2 options. The first is to buy an expensive piece of software like TotalMedia Theatre 5 ($100) or PowerDVD 11 Ultra ($100). The second way is to rip your bluray disc to your hard drive in a MKV format where it can then be played by Windows 7 for free. You will not lose any quality in either video or audio by using the latter option.

So how can you do this? By using a great little free program call MakeMKV. Please note that MakeMKV is free while in beta (now) and can be tried free for 30 days but will eventually cost $50 (DVD decryption will always be free).

So what are some of the features of makemkv? A quick overview:

  1. Reads protected DVD and Bluray discs
  2. Direct conversion of all video and audio tracks with no loss of HD Audio/Video quality
  3. Includes all chapter and metadata information
  4. On an Assassin HTPC the speed of transfer is only limited by the speed of your drive --- your hardware is plenty to perform this transfer
  5. No additional software is needed --- everything else you need is already included when you purchase an Assassin HTPC
  6. Available for Windows, Linux and Mac should you want to try this out on another PC
  7. As stated above all of this is free while it is in beta (now) but at most will cost only $50 in the future

The Tutorial:

  1. Download and install MakeMKV
  2. Insert your Bluray disc into your bluray drive
  3. Open MakeMKV.

4. Next click the "Disk to Hard Drive" button in the center of the screen. The bluray disc will be analyzed for just a few seconds.

5. Next is perhaps the biggest part of why I love MakeMKV. You are able to select just specific tracks to be ripped which can really make your movie collection more precise and specific. For example

you can select just the main movie and leave all the extras, foreign languages and previews behind. This saves you a ton of time and space on your Assassin HTPC. As you can see in this example just the main movie, non-HD audio and English subtitle tracks are selected. If you wanted the HD audio track you would select the DTS-HD track instead.

6. Now its time to tell MakeMKV to rip your disc to the hard drive. As you will see above there are two areas highlighted. Click on the large button to the right of the screen.

7. As you can see your bluray is now being ripped to the hard drive! That's it! You just ripped a Bluray to your Assassin HTPC! How easy!

As I have stated above this will create a exact quality copy of your bluray on your Assassin HTPC. This whole process should take less than 30 minutes for most movies.

Assassin HTPC Trick: Did you know that you can compress your MKV files to make them smaller? Some people like to do this to save on space. You will lose a little picture quality but most users swear they can't tell a difference if compressed slightly. If you are interested in experimenting with compressing your HD bluray MKV files I would recommend a great little free program called HandBrake. Please note that this process can take many hours to complete.

First Pics of Assassin HTPC Mini-ITX

Here are the first pictures of our first line of HTPCs - The Assassin Mini-ITX. This model has the following specs. This is another one of our "no cut corners" builds:

  • Intel 2100t Sandy Bridge i3 CPU
  • Mini-ITX Motherboard with USB 3.0, SATAIII, eSATA, AHCI capable, Digital Audio Optic Output
  • 40 GB SSD
  • 2TB Hard Drive
  • Bluray Drive
  • 4GB DDR3 1333 RAM
  • Case and PSU
  • Windows 7 OS installed
  • Bios Configured
  • HTPC software setup and configured to be used out of the box

Assassin Mini-ITX and 32" Samsung test HDTV

Kill-a-Watt Meter at Idle: 30-35 watts

Kill-a-Watt meter while playing Avatar 1080p

Avatar 1080p playing on test HDTV