Problem coverting DVD to MKV

I’m not sure if anyone can help me.  I’m attempting to convert a DVD to MKV for the WD TV Live.  I’m running into an issue where the converted file will stutter on the Live.  I’m not sure what’s causing it.  I have the file running through a USB stick.  I converted it through Handbrake using the High Profile setting, English subtitles and AC3 passthru.  I left all other Handbrake options alone.  All my other conversions play on the same stick with no problems.  I’ve already converted this DVD twice with no change.

Below are the details, thanks:

Complete name                    : C:\Work\done\Disc 5-4.mkv
Format                           : Matroska
File size                        : 422 MiB
Duration                         : 22mn 57s
Overall bit rate                 : 2 569 Kbps
Writing application              : HandBrake 0.9.4

ID                               : 1
Format                           : AVC
Format/Info                      : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile                   : High@L3.0
Format settings, CABAC           : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames        : 3 frames
Muxing mode                      : Container profile=Unknown@3.0
Codec ID                         : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration                         : 22mn 56s
Bit rate                         : 2 326 Kbps
Width                            : 720 pixels
Height                           : 480 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 4:3
Frame rate                       : 23.976 fps
Standard                         : NTSC
Resolution                       : 8 bits
Colorimetry                      : 4:2:0
Scan type                        : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.281
Stream size                      : 382 MiB (90%)
Writing library                  : x264 core 79
Encoding settings                : cabac=1 / ref=3 / deblock=1:0:0 / analyse=0x3:0x113 / me=hex / subme=7 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.0:0.0 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / chroma_qp_offset=-2 / threads=1 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / mbaff=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=0 / b_adapt=2 / b_bias=0 / direct=1 / wpredb=1 / wpredp=2 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=24 / scenecut=40 / rc_lookahead=50 / rc=crf / mbtree=1 / crf=20.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=10 / qpmax=51 / qpstep=4 / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.00
Color primaries                  : BT.601-6 525, BT.1358 525, BT.1700 NTSC, SMPTE 170M
Transfer characteristics         : BT.709-5, BT.1361
Matrix coefficients              : BT.601-6 525, BT.1358 525, BT.1700 NTSC, SMPTE 170M

ID                               : 2
Format                           : AC-3
Format/Info                      : Audio Coding 3
Format profile                   : Dolby Digital
Codec ID                         : A_AC3
Duration                         : 22mn 57s
Bit rate mode                    : Constant
Bit rate                         : 192 Kbps
Channel(s)                       : 2 channels
Channel positions                : L R
Sampling rate                    : 48.0 KHz
Stream size                      : 31.5 MiB (7%)
Language                         : English

ID                               : 3
Format                           : VobSub
Codec ID                         : S_VOBSUB
Codec ID/Info                    : The same subtitle format used on DVDs
Language                         : English

How did you rip the DVD?  Usually a problem like this boils down to the ripping application (for best results, try AnyDVD – they have a 14 day free trial).

And do make sure you use one of the nightlies instead of Handbrake version .94 (which is *really* old now, over six months old).

I ran only once into this same very issue.  I ripped a DVD using AnyDVD.  I used handbrake to save into MKV.  What I got was a stuttered video with the Live unit.  This was the exception.  It was an older DVD.  But never knew what was the exact problem.  Life is too short :slight_smile: you know specially that these encoding take a long time!  I had to use AVIDemux to xvid encode.  Then use mkvmerge to include chapters into MKV.

Jackster, does the converted file play properly at a pc? If no, then you can try playing the ripped DVD directly at the pc.


Sorry for the late reply. I ripped it again this morning with AnyDVD, again used the same version of Handbrake and it still has the stuttering problem. I just don’t understand why this particular DVD is giving me problems. I’ve ripped just under a hundred DVDs with absolutely no issue except this one. It plays fine on the PC, as it should since the PC has a vast more amount of codecs than the WD TV Live has. I’m going to borrow my friend’s version and see if I can rip and convert it instead. There has to be a reasonable explanation. BTW, these are original untouched DVDs.

Do try one of the nightlies instead of the version of Handbrake you’re using – while it might not solve the issue it always helps to use the latest version (and the .094 version had TONS of problems that were straightened out by subsequent releases).

Jackster wrote:
I ripped it again this morning with AnyDVD, again used the same version of Handbrake and it still has the stuttering problem.

I still don’t get why you use Handbrake? Do you want to compress the file any further? If you just want to make an MKV from a DVD simply load it in MakeMKV and be done.

Thanks, Mike.  I borrowed my friend’s copy of the very same DVD I was having problems with and it finally worked using Handbrake 0.9.4.  It looks like there’s something wrong with my copy even though I don’t see a scratch on it.  One day I’ll take your advice and try one of the nightlies, but I wanted to find a reasonable explanation for something that should have been trivial at best.

Techflaws: I’m using Handbrake in an effort to save space and have the most compatibility with all my devices.  Using h.264 in an MKV container allows me to perceive no noticeable differences between the original DVD disc and my converted file.

That’s why I suggested it might be a ripping issue – with a good ripping program it should catch those issues.

Some rippers will plough on ahead even if there are errors on a disc – some will correct the errors.  It’s possible that a better ripper would have worked with your own disc (or at least told you it wasn’t possible to use).

But I’m surprised that AnyDVD didn’t catch the problem (or at least tell you it was a bad disc).  Usually it’s very good at this (and I assume you DO have the latest version of that at least).  Glad you got it sorted out, though.

DVDFab will attempt to correct errors, and that’s a behavior I don’t like.  More often than not, the errors create problems when reading or transcoding.    I would prefer it just bail out and die than to try to correct errors.

And even the nightlies of Handbrake don’t work around those errors; I was making an MKV of an episode on one of my X-Files discs.  When I checked its progress the next day, it was still running, the MKV was 14 Gigabytes, and it was only 10% complete.   :dizzy_face:

I ripped the disk again in a different DVD drive and the problem was fixed…

Yeah, AnyDVD will usually just stop the rip when there are DVD errors, and that’s what I want as well.  That’s why it’s very odd that he used AnyDVD and it didn’t do that.

I have discs that my grandkids use as frisbees and when I was converting my collection I had several occasions when AnyDVD told me “no way Jose”.  However, I *was* able to rip these (still using AnyDVD) using my blu-ray drive which for some reason seems to read better than an ordinary DVD drive (perhaps it’s the blu-ray laser itself – I dunno, I’m not really a hardware type of guy).

Well, I’m confounded by this dilemma as much as the other guy!  I don’t want it to occur again.  My original DVD is pristine, and stuttered once converted to MKV.  My friend’s copy of it worked perfectly, just like the others I’ve converted.  I can only say that my original has something wrong, but doesn’t present any problems when playing on a regular DVD player. 

I can only chaulk it up to a manufacturing glitch…but who knows.  All’s well anyway.

Indeed.   I bought the X-Files collection from Amazon a few weeks ago and started ripping them the first day I received them.   They had never seen the light of day before, and three of them had read errors that threw DVDFab for a loop, and later screwed with Handbrake when trying to MKV them.

Simply re-reading them in a different drive was perfect.

I’ve heard that minor scratches on a DVD surface are all but invisible to the DVD laser, but the tiniest of smudges from a fingerprint will wreak havoc because of the different index of refraction of sebaceous oil on the DVD surface.   All I know is that a perfect “appearing” surface wasn’t.  


You’re the hardware guy – what do you think about my blu-ray reader being able to read better than my normal DVD reader?  Is that because the laser is better/smaller or something?

I’ve taken to using it for everything (it seems a lot faster than my normal DVD reader even for DVDs).

I *THINK* the blu-ray laser is completely separate from the DVD laser.

Higher end units may have Tunable lasers so they might only have one laser / one pickup.

I have both a DVD-ROM and a BD-ROM in my desktop; I really haven’t noticed much difference in DVD reads between them…