High Definition Disk Formats

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It is indirectly possible to play back Hi-Def media such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD Disks in MythTV. While it is currently impossible to place a HD-DVD disk in the drive and play it with MythTV, one can rip the files onto the hard drive and play them with a patched version of MPlayer. Please note the following caveats before following this guide:

  • Decrypting copy-protected media may be illegal where you live. Take note of any local laws concerning the circumvention of copy-protection and act accordingly.
  • Playback of 1080p content is extremely processor-intensive. Many users download 1080p content from the internet that has been transcoded and downsampled to very low bitrates. True HD-DVD and Blu-ray rips average between two and four times higher bitrates. These files are therefore substantially more difficult to play. The advantage to this method is that the quality is vastly superior when viewing an untranscoded rip.
  • This guide is written for use with Ubuntu, but there is very little within that cannot be directly applied to any other distribution.
  • Menus and other interactive content are currently unavailable in Linux. The user will only be able to play the video files on the disk.
  • Some blu-ray disks with BD+ encryption can now be ripped under linux. There are Windows alternatives that are able to offer more comprehensive BD+ ripping support. One option is SlySoft AnyDVD HD, which rips both HD-DVD and Blu-ray disk formats.

Understanding HD-DVD and Blu-ray structure

Blu-ray and HD-DVD are fundamentally the same creature from a linux perspective. Both contain muxed files using either the MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264), VC1, or MPEG-2 codecs, and audio tracks in AC-3, E-AC3, DTSHD, TrueHD, or MLP audio formats. HD-DVD uses the EVO container which is analogous to a VOB file in DVD parlance. Blu-Ray uses M2TS, or MPEG-2 Transport Stream containers. The video formats on both disk types are well understood and have various levels of support in both MPlayer and FFmpeg.

Blu-Ray features are generally found in a single .m2ts file, while HD-DVD features are usually two EVO files (Usually the two largest on the disk and sequentially numbered, ie FEATURE_1.EVO and FEATURE_2.EVO).

Mplayer demuxing of EVO and m2ts files is imperfect, sometimes leading to missing audio tracks. For example, on a rip of "Crank" Blu-Ray, only the "family friendly" audio track is currently visible/playable. This appears to be related to the Blu-ray format muxing multiple audio streams into a single PID.

Ripping Hi-Definition Media


To rip Hi-Def Media to the disk with DumpHD, you will need all of the following:

  • A drive capable of playing back the media you intend to rip (ie the Xbox 360 HD-DVD Drive or the LG GGC-H20L HD-DVD/Blu-ray Combo Drive)
  • Adequate disk space for the entire movie, generally between 25-50 GB/disk. After removing extras and menus, this is commonly 20-30 GB/movie.
  • A Kernel with UDF 2.5 Support (Most current distros as of 2009 ship with this)

  1. Begin by downloading DumpHD, available at the Doom9 Forums. Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the file and untar it:
    tar xvzf dumphd-0.6.tar.gz
  2. Download the current copy of libaacs at Doom9. Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the file and untar it:
    tar xvzf aacskeys-0.4.0.tar.gz
  3. Enter the aacskeys directory:
    cd aacskeys-0.4.0/
  4. Build the aacs source:
  5. Copy the ProcessingDeviceKeysSimple.txt to the DumpHD directory:
    cp ProcessingDeviceKeysSimple.txt ~/dumphd-0.6/
  6. Enter the DumpHD lib directory and copy the appropriate version of libaacskeys.so to the DumpHD directory. If you are on 32 bit Linux, this will be lib/linux32 from within the aacskeys source. If you are on 64 bit Linux, this will be lib/linux64 from within the aacskeys source. Example:
    cd lib/linux64 && cp libaacskeys.so ~/dumphd-0.6/
  7. Start DumpHD and insert the HD-DVD or Blu-ray Disk into your drive.
    cd dumphd_0.6 && bash dumphd.sh
  8. Click "Browse" in the upper right and navigate to your disk (ie, /media/300_HDDVD) and select it as the source.
  9. Click "Browse" in the section marked "Destination" to select the directory in which to copy the files (ie, /tmp).
  10. Click "Dump" to begin ripping the disk.
  11. Optional Step: If the feature is composed of multiple files, you can append the files with the cat command.
    cat FEATURE_1.EVO FEATURE_2.EVO > outfile.evo

Erase any extra files. Only the feature film is necessary for playback.

Note! The above instructions pertain only to AACS protected disks. BD+ decryption is still in its infancy. More information to follow.


AnyDVD HD operating in VMWare.

You can also run the Windows tool AnyDVD HD in a VMWare or VirtualBox instance. AnyDVD HD will *not* work in Wine. In VMWare, you can rip the files wherever you like, then copy them to your MythVideo share via Samba.

AnyDVD is by far the most capable Blu-ray and HD-DVD ripping software available. Whereas DumpHD is limited to the AACS keys in the downloaded file, AnyDVD HD can rip any AACS encrypted disk. It can also rip all known BD+ encrypted disks. Almost all new disks are encrypted with BD+, making AnyDVD the only software capable of ripping them. It is available for purchase from SlySoft.

New Developments

Efforts are underway to understand and decrypt BD+ protected disks (without resorting to purchased options like AnyDVD HD). This thread documents the progress thus far. A working, open implementation of BD+ in Linux is still a long ways off, but there is substantial progress to that end.

Playing Ripped Hi-Definition Material

Mplayer and FFmpeg now include support for the MLP/TrueHD and E-AC3 audio codecs in SVN, and require no patching for this material. It is advisable to compile both, as ffmpeg will make it easier to determine what type of audio tracks are available.

Once you have patched, compiled, and installed mplayer as appropriate, you need to edit the codecs.conf file in your ~/.mplayer/ directory. There may be a copy you can edit and copy in /etc/mplayer. Insert the following into the existing codecs.conf file:

audiocodec mlp
  info "FFMpeg mlp"
  status buggy
  format 0x20504C4D
  driver ffmpeg
  dll "mlp"

At this point, it is possible to play back your film.  If you patched and compiled FFMpeg, use it to inspect your film (In this case a rip of the "300" HD-DVD).  The format is "ffmpeg -i filename".

<pre>root@mythtv:~# ffmpeg -i /movies/300.EVO 
FFmpeg version SVN-r11584, Copyright (c) 2000-2008 Fabrice Bellard, et al.
  configuration: --prefix=/usr --enable-shared --enable-gpl --enable-pp --enable-swscaler --enable-pthreads --enable-liba52 --enable-liba52bin --enable-libfaac --enable-libfaad --enable-libfaadbin --enable-libgsm --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-libx264 --enable-libxvid
  libavutil version: 49.6.0
  libavcodec version: 51.49.0
  libavformat version: 52.5.0
  libavdevice version: 52.0.0
  built on Jan 20 2008 18:24:00, gcc: 4.1.3 20070929 (prerelease) (Ubuntu 4.1.2-16ubuntu2)
Input #0, mpeg, from '/movies/300.EVO':
  Duration: 01:56:32.5, start: 20523.753856, bitrate: 22580 kb/s
    Stream #0.0[0xfd55]: Video: vc1, yuv420p, 1920x1080 [PAR 1:1 DAR 16:9], 29.97 tb(r)
    Stream #0.1[0xfd56]: Video: vc1, yuv420p, 720x480 [PAR 40:33 DAR 20:11], 29.97 tb(r)
    Stream #0.2[0xc4]: Audio: liba52, 48000 Hz, stereo, 192 kb/s
    Stream #0.3[0xc3]: Audio: liba52, 48000 Hz, 5:1, 640 kb/s
    Stream #0.4[0xb1]: Audio: mlp, 48000 Hz, 5:1
    Stream #0.5[0xc2]: Audio: liba52, 48000 Hz, 5:1, 640 kb/s
    Stream #0.6[0xc0]: Audio: liba52, 48000 Hz, 5:1, 640 kb/s

On movies with MLP audio tracks, it is best to use it rather than the liba52 tracks (these tracks can be either E-AC-3 or AC-3). In order to play the film, you must specify the demuxer, the audio codec, the audio ID, and the frame rate. For all HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies, the demuxer will remain the same. The other options will change. For example, on this rip of 300 HD-DVD, the correct command line is:

mplayer -fs -vo xv -demuxer lavf -ac mlp -aid 4 -fps 24000/1001 /movies/300.EVO

This command line invokes MPlayer in full screen mode with Xv output, sets the demuxer to lavf, the audio codec to MLP, the audio track number to 4 (derived from the ffmpeg output, "Stream #0.4"), and the frame rate to 23.97. To play back one of the E-AC3 tracks in the same file, use a command like this:

mplayer -fs -vo xv -demuxer lavf -ac ffac3 -aid 3 -fps 24000/1001 /movies/300.EVO

If you experience slow playback, try the following options:

-lavdopts threads=2:fast:skiploopfilter=all -sws 0 -framedrop

This will remove all processing of the file and play back multithreaded if possible.

If the playback works properly, copy the file into your MythTV video directory. Enter the Video Manager in MythTV's frontend. Select the film from the list and press the right arrow. Select "Edit Metadata." The last option is to set a custom player command for the file. Paste or type the command you used into the box and press "Done." The file should now play back as any other in MythVideo.

Upcoming Advances

With MLP and E-AC-3 support in ffmpeg, Myth has gained full support of playback for these files in trunk. By the time .22 is released, the above playback information should be unnecessary. No linux player is currently capable of playing 8 channel LPCM or DTS-HD tracks, so disks with those are currently unplayable if they don't have an audio stream with a supported codec.