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Watching Blu-ray discs on the Sage extender

Posted by onlydarksets on January 11, 2009

I picked up a Blu-ray drive for the Sage server and a couple of BR discs.  I don’t use the Sage server as a client – I have a HD-100 extender for viewing (with a HD-200 in the pipeline).  Since I don’t have a stand-alone player, the only way to watch the movies I have bought is to rip them.

After going through this thread and all of its suggestions, I have found that some discs work with no modification, while for others the audio won’t work unless manipulated first.  Generally, if the first audio stream is AC3, it will work. So, I have come up with the following workflow for getting the movies to play on the extender.  Basically, I start with the easiest method first, and work my down through successive steps as necessary:

  1. Play the m2ts file as it was ripped from the BR disc.  With many discs, this just works.
  2. Delete all streams from the m2ts file except the main video and audio streams.
  3. Demux the main video and audio streams from the m2ts file, downmix the DTS-HD stream to AC3, and remux in a MKV container.

In each case, there is no converting of the video stream, so there is no quality loss and the processing time is relatively minimal.  Details after the break.

First, a quick primer on the terms:

  • Codec = coding/decoding algorithm used to store either audio or video in a stream
  • Stream = audio or video data in a container
  • Container = file format used to hold streams, along with other information like meta-data, subtitles, etc.
  • Demux = extract an audio or video stream from a container
  • Remux = combine audio and/or video streams into a container

Option 1: Play the m2ts file (no processing time)

Just rip the main m2ts file (almost always the largest file on the disc), and then play the file via the extender.  If the first audio stream is AC3, it should play fine.

Option 2: Delete extra streams (20-30 minutes to process)

This is the option to use if there is an AC3 audio stream, but it’s not the first stream.  You delete the other streams to move it to the top.

  1. Run tsMuxeR GUI
  2. On the Input tab, click the add button next to the Input files: list and select the m2ts file.
  3. Make sure the m2ts file is selected, and a list of all streams will show up in the Tracks list.
  4. Delete each stream except the main video (usually the 1080p resolution stream) and audio (DTS or AC3) streams using the remove button next to the Tracks list.
  5. In the Output section, select m2ts muxing.
  6. Enter a new filename.
  7. Click the Start muxing button.

tsmuxer_gui

Note: You will have to use trial and error to figure out the correct audio stream (e.g., English/French/commentary/etc.).

Option 3: Remux into MKV (1 hour to process)

This is the option to use when there is no AC3 stream on the disc.

  1. Use eac3to to identify the stream types and indexes:
    eac3to “<fullpath>\video.m2ts”
  2. Use eac3to to extract the main audio stream and convert/downmix from DTS-HD to AC3:
    eac3to “<fullpath>\video.m2ts” 3: outputaudeostream.ac3
    (where “3:” is the number of the main video stream – again, the extension doesn’t matter)
  3. Use tsMuxeR GUI to remux the two streams in a m2ts container.
    1. Click the add button to add the original m2ts.
    2. Delete each stream except the main video (usually the 1080p resolution stream).
    3. Click the add button to add the AC3 stream from step 2.
    4. Select the M2TS muxing option.
    5. Select the output file.
    6. Click the Start muxing button

UPDATE: tsMuxeR is able to handle variable frame rates in h264, but mkvmerge is not, so ignore the rest of the post.

Option 3: Remux into MKV (1 hour to process)

This is the option to use when there is no AC3 stream on the disc.

  1. Use eac3to to identify the stream types and indexes:
    eac3to “<fullpath>\video.m2ts”
  2. Use eac3to to extract the main video stream:
    eac3to “<fullpath>\video.m2ts” 1: outputvideostream.h264
    (where “1:” is the number of the main video stream – note that the extension doesn’t matter)
  3. Use eac3to to extract the main audio stream and convert/downmix from DTS-HD to AC3:
    eac3to “<fullpath>\video.m2ts” 3: outputaudeostream.ac3
    (where “3:” is the number of the main video stream – again, the extension doesn’t matter)
  4. Use mkvmerge GUI to remux the two streams in a MKV container.
    1. Click the add button to add the two streams from steps 2 and 3.
    2. If the video stream is h.264, you need to specify the framerate.  You can use tsMuxeR or MediaInfo to determine the framerate (I couldn’t get the SourceForge download to work, but the VideoHelp mirror was fine).
    3. Select the output file.
    4. Click Start muxing

IMAGE

Note that you can combine steps 2 and 3 once you are comfortable with the syntax:

eac3to “<fullpath>\video.m2ts” 1: outputvideostream.h264 3: outputaudiostream.ac3
(where “1:” is the number of the main video stream – note that the extension doesn’t matter)

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