Best way to rip DVDs to keep menus and 5.1 sound?

I have just started playing with converting my DVDs to various formats using different software and playing back with different versions of  the WDTV Live firmware.

  1. I have found that DVDs ripped to .iso files with DVD Decrypter play back with menus and 5.1 sound on any versions of the firmware, just as the original DVDs.

  2. DVDs ripped to VIDEO-TS files with DVD Shrink seem to play back okay, except for the latest version of the firmware. The playback stutters but the menus and 5.1 sound works.

  3. Converting to .mkv files with MakeMKV, Handbrake and DVD Converter Professional, I end up with a file that does not give 5.1 sound, menus or even chapters with any versions of the firmware.

I have read that .mkv files are the best format to use for video files, but in my case .iso files seem to be the most trouble-free format. Am I doing anything wrong? Has anybody ripped DVDs to .mkv files and have working 5.1 sound and menus, chapters on any of the firmware versions? I like the idea of having a smaller .mkv file, but if I can’t get 5.1 sound and Menus or chapters, I think I will stick withh .iso files and put up with the bigger files.

I have a wired gigabit network and I have tried playing the files from a Windows 7 and WD Sharespace. My WDTV Live is connected to a Yamaha receiver with TOSLINK optical connector and to my TV with HDMI.


In handbrake, you DO have to make sure the audio track is set to PASSTHROUGH, otherwise I think it defaults to two-channel AAC or MP3.

You also need to make sure that you ENABLE the chapters function in handbrake in the CHAPTERS menu.

ISO is fine, it’s just relatively large compared to what Handbrake can do with it.   Most of my MKVs are about 1/8th to 1/10th the size of the original DVD.

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You can’t retain the DVD menus in MKVs though, can you?

No, no menus in .mkv, just chapters and subtitles, as well as any audio you want.

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If you don’t want to compress just use MakeMKV.

(nonsense deleted)

Thanks, RoofingGuy and Techflaws.

Thanks for the replies.

When I use Handbrake to rip DVDs the resulting .mkv file is corrupted. The video is broken up. I am using the “Normal” preset with version 0.9.4. and I’ve left all the settings at default, except changing the audio to AAC passtru, as you suggested.

The .mkv shows the same broken up video when I play it with VLC on my PC.

Any suggestions on how I can get a good rip?


Um… AAC Passthrough?   DVDs aren’t allowed to have the audio in AAC.  Every video DVD commercially manufactured must have LPCM, AC3 or MP2 as the main audio, and can also include DTS.  No DVD has ever been sold with AAC audio, either as the main track or as a supplementary track.

But that would only lead to audio problems, not video problems.

You’d probably be happier with the “High Profile” preset in Handbrake, written to a .mkv container, but it sounds to me like you haven’t properly removed the CSS encryption from the DVD before you try re-encoding it, so it’s encoding garbled video.

I think what Badmem is saying is that, by default, HB does AAC RE-ENCODE; not passthrough.

Badmem; what you want is probably AC3, not AAC.

Thanks again for the replies - yes I’m new to ripping DVDs. I tried to rip a DVD directly with Handbrake - hence the corrupted video. When I ripped the DVD with DVD shrink first, Handbrake made an uncorrupted .mkv file from the video_TS folder. As far as audio goes, yes I picked source automatic and AC3 passtru originaly. This time I picked the LPCM and AC3 instead of automatic and I got stereo and 5.1 channel soundtracks. Unfortunately, the sound and video are way out of sync - what am I still doing wrong?

Thanks again

If you can find a copy of DVD Shrink, I still think it’s the best (and most user-friendly) piece of software out there for ripping DVD’s.  You can set it to rip the DVD uncompressed to an .iso image.  If you’ve used MakeMKV, you’ll certainly recognize where they got the whole check-box format from. 

There’s also DVD Decryptor in ISO-Read mode.  It’ll retain everything and be totally uncompressed.

Both DVD Shrink and DVD Decrypter are old and unsupported, so newer titles may fail to rip.

Try DVD Fab HD Decrypter, which is also free but gets updated: