Better way to watch DVD on WDTV Live


I found a better way to watch the DVD collections.

Instead of copying the whole DVD in NAS / HDD, I rip it with free software ‘makemkv’. I am aware of ripping diffciculties and frustration it causes on time and outcome quality. But ‘makemkv’ is amazing. It rips DVD in few steps in few minutes like a cakewalk. Absolutely no loss of quality and audio. All we get is full mkv container with chapters, subtitles and audio streams in one single file.We can do FF and REW. Start from where we left and jump to chapters - which we cannot dream while watching VOB.

Unlike other softwares it does not do a big compression. It only reduce the size of the DVD about 10%. Still Ok.

If we need to reduce the size, we can use converters like ‘staxrip’ to further compress, but we might lose the chapter options. But these converters take a very long time to complete the encoding.


What’s the 10% that gets lost?


If it’s just taking the MPEG2+AC3 audio straight to MKV, the 10% would probably be all the menus and DVD “extras.”

Other than the time to transcode factor, I don’t see why people are worried about file sizes.   MPEG2 is an archaic video compression standard.  MP4 or h.264 is MUCH more efficient, will reduce file sizes on the order of 50-90%, and still have no appreciable drop in quality.   

I’d rather have a few video glitches than to spend $500 on terrabytes of storage, when a single $69 500G drive is more than enough to hold my librabrary in h.264, but that’s just a personal preference.

If a full DVD averages 8 Gigs, and a ripped Main Title is only 700Meg, do the math.  :)


I too prefer the smaller size at the cost of a bit inferior quality with AC3 audio. But, the time it takes for transcoding is too much. Can u suggest any converters ? I am trying ‘handbrake’ currently.


Menus, extras, other audio channels like director comments, other subtitles, etc. This adds up to quite a bit more than 10% for most any DVD. I’ve ripped all of mine to ISOs with all of the extras and whatnot removed so they’re pretty big, but not 8gb. I’m strongly considering switching to MKVs for chapter support because it looks like that’ll never be implemented for ISO.

For me, the problem with ripping to anything lossy is that whenever I notice any little quality degradation, I always ask myself why I’m watching a less than full quality copy when I have the full quality copy sitting in a box in the basement. Large hard drives are getting cheaper and larger all the time so I’m not too concerned with that. By the time I need another, they’ll be cheaper and larger still.


MakeMKV is purely a container and there is no lossy conversion. It  copies the DVD into a MKV container with chapters. Obviously the MKV container is not as flexible as a DVD structure so there are some bits of the DVD which are not included but the main film with all soundtracks are all included in their original form. It also does the whole thing at the speed of your DVD drive, so you don’t have to wait for hours.


Ok, I’m having a truckload of ripping issues, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s just my wd messing with me.

Every program, every format I try either looks 

a.  awful


b. chopped

I just used makemkv and it does what looks like about a 20% screen zoom, leaving the sides of the film chopped off.

I’ve tried dvdfab, and would be fine with the program, but how do you handle the multiple vob’s?

I have a little over 400 dvd’s I’d like to start ripping, as I anticipate a significant time dump doing it, and I don’t care which format or file size I use, but I would like to retain 95% or greater in quality, and I would like the video to be the same size on the screen.  

Is it possible to just crack the encyption, drag the vob’s directly from the dvd to my local drive, and then tie them together?

I’ve tried shrink with “no compression” settings and it still looks mediocre at best, with screen chopping.

Somebody said they’re making an iso.  At this point, I could care less about file sizes, all I want is quality and progress… does ISO work?  I thought this format was yet to be supported.

I’m pulling my hair out here… I really don’t want to breakdown and buy another one of those sony 400 changers… they last about 2 years at best.

Thank you so much for any information and time you can offer.


Er, what you are describing doesn’t seem to have anything to do with ripping, transcoding or any of that, it looks like you simply haven’t configured video settings or connected the WDTV live to the TV set with the proper cable. Have you made sure you have connected the WDTV with either the component video output or HDMI, and set the max definition allowed by your TV? Also have you made sure your TV isn’t doing the zooming itself? Is it set to receive a 16:9 signal on the video input used by the WDTV, and is the ratio aspect set to 16:9 instead of one of those modes that zoom the picture to get rid of letterbox bars or fix the aspect ratio? Also, the WDTV has a zoom feature that can be set in the options menu while you are watching a video/photo, make sure it is set to 1:1 and not to zoom by 10% or 20%.

You say *everything* looks chopped/awful, does that include files that you haven’t encoded yourself, or just your own encodes? Do they look awful on your TV played on the WDTV live, or do they look awful on your PC as well? Because like they said in a previous post, those programs do nothing to the video quality of the DVD if you don’t want them to, and DVD shrink will only drop some data that will cause a few artifacts here and there, but it will certainly not chop the sides of the image.


Bill -

Thanks again for your time.

Well, I’m using an HDMI cable on a two year old samsung 42" 1080i (for now).  The pictures are getting “chopped” like the movies are widescreen, but they’re beeing ripped into a full screen format. While credits are rolling, names are chopped etc and during the film, characters speaking or being spoken to are off screen where they otherwise would not be.  When I zoom the wdlive out, the image is identical, only smaller.

 I am running the film on DVD and comparing it to the wdlive content back and forth for quality comparisons.  The makemkv seems to be comparable in quality, with great exception to the chopping.

Shrink seems to lower the quality approx 20% or + even with “no compression” selected.

Xilisoft both chops and/or hideously reduces image quality, without regard to which format (ripped several movies in all formats for comparisons, none of them were even borderline acceptable.)

Handbrake was a joke.  Chopping and quality distortion, mixed with some synch issues.

I’m attempting to begin this process with older DVDs with the idea that I should encounter fewer encryption crack issues (btw, big bird to the movie industry for making it so difficult for me to watch my own movies through an alternative medium)  and I was surprised to see Me, Myself and Irene stump makemkv.

I have a small fortune in software, my wdlive and the 1.5tb drive.  It wouldn’t seem like nearly as money if it worked, but as of yet, it’s a failed experiment with an insatiable appetite for time.

I’m willing to try, retry, and tripletry any suggestions and will be prompt about posting a result.  If this continues for much longer, I could see a very reasonable business model for creating software that works well and attempting to pair it with the wdlive… unless I’m the only person on the planet with these issues.

I’ve tried changing drives between my lite on, samsung, and the laptop drive and had identical results.  I didn’t expect different results, but again, I’m willing to try silly things at this point.

thanks again for any direction you may offer


but dont forget that the conversion will take hours for a 2hr-DVD.

is there any other soft can do the task faster?


I can understand your frustration about the whole thing, I guess it would frustrate me as well, but believe me when I say that the kind of observations you make about Makemkv, DVDShrink et al don’t make any sense. You need to reencode a video from *scratch* to chop the sides of a video, and neither makemkv nor dvdshrink do that, so claiming that any of those programs chop the sides of the movies is wrong.

Makemkv doesn’t even attempt to touch the video content, so that’s a no go, it doesn’t look more or less like the original, it looks bit for bit exactly to the original. If it doesn’t work well for any reason you’ll get error messages and won’t play at all, but certainly not a chopped image. Same with DVDshrink. It doesn’t reencode the video from scratch, so again the only thing that can occur if you allow it to compress the DVD is that you see some artifacts here and there -like macroblocks- or an overall softer picture. What you’ll never get is a resized, chopped, zoomed, etc… image.

You still haven’t said if you have tried those files in a PC before playing them on the WDTV live; if those programs really screwed up your DVDs then you’d be able to see it with WMP, MPC-HC or VLC on your computer screen long before playing them on the WDTV live. If those files don’t look “chopped” on your PC, but do on the WDTV live, then you know the software is not to blame, but rather the WDTV live, your TV, or the way they communicate between them.

My recommendation is that you stop focusing for a moment on the sofware, and take a look at the settings menu of the WDTV live. You have it connected with HDMI, right? Default is HDMI (auto), simply choose 1080i on the menu, and leave the other HDMI options at default settings . If you still don’t manage to get a full widescreen picture after that, check your TV and make sure it is set to 16:9 or widescreen when you switch to the WDTV output. Many TV’s have different settings for each input. If that doesn’t work, check with component video out, the red/green/blue cables: it is basically just as good as the HDMI connection quality-wise (I can’t distinguish between the two on my 42" Panny), and for troubleshooting purposes it gives a more predictable result than HDMI.