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Blu Ray drive for Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Nelson Au, Aug 2, 2019.

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  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The playback problems are VLC, not the blu-ray drive or the ripping. Try a different video player. As noted, it might be your GPU and/or drivers are outdated relative to playing HD h264 compressed video files.

    MPV is the player behind Emby, that's something to try
    https://mpv.io

    A mac-native player to check out is IINA. I like it as replacement for QuickTime. I haven't used it for blu-ray rips, but it will likely work fine.
    https://iina.io
     
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  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    It could also be the lossless audio track holding up the video playback. I have much better playback on my 2009 machine when I switch from the lossless DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD track to the lossy core.

    My newer machine has no problems with those tracks but they can cause my older machine to choke.
     
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  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Well, the stutter is in the same places in a Handbrake rip I made off the MKV file, so am thinking it’s not the VLC player, it’s the rip.

    If I can find a drive that has enough space, I can test the file on play back on my Oppo. And I’ll try the other player applications you mentioned.

    As far as the GPU, NVIDIA and Apple don’t like each other, so I might have a problem there with drivers.

    The other thing is I’ll try to make a rip of a newer blu ray. Maybe this blu ray has those bad sectors Jr was speaking of. :)

    Thanks for all the input, I’ll do some more experimenting after lunch.

    On a tangent topic, about the audio tracks, I’ve noticed on this Iron Man blu ray, on my system, I could never hear much or any surround activity. I just happen to do a recalibration of my pre-amp the other night and I’ve reset all the speaker levels. It sounds great in a movie like The Force Awakens. I can really hear Snoke echoing and filling the room! When I tried Iron Man, I got nothing in the rears. I even tried that old stand by, Top Gun and it’s as amazing a sounding movie as ever. Great surround effects. So my system is working pretty well. So maybe the blu ray I have of Iron Man is defective.
     
  4. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Pioneer drives usually do not bulldoze through bad sectors. (Assuming Pioneer did not drastically change its basic reading algorithm).

    The way you describe the video playback, sounds like a large number of frames being dropped. This type of behavior is usually not related to disc playback, especially with a Pioneer bluray drive.
     
  5. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Did makemkv dump any error messages during the ripping process?
     
  6. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Here's another way of checking whether the ironman disc is actually defective.

    Find the largest m2ts file on the disc in /BDMV/STREAM which is most likely the actual movie. Copy and paste that m2ts file to your mac's hard drive which will probably take 20 minutes. If the mac completes the copy paste job, most likely it means the disc is not defective.
     
  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Well guys, something odd here. Right before I had lunch, I tried to check the file as Jr suggested and trying to wake up the computer, the keyboard wasn’t working, I could not type in my password. So I had to do a hard reset. This computer has not been having any issues. It’s been working pretty much fine.

    Upon restart, I thought I’d try the MKV file again via VLC and to my surprise, the file played fine. No stutter. I played it for about 4 minutes in. That’s good news! And the m4v file appears ok too. So maybe there is some issues with the software, some background operations maybe going on. Or conflicts or as Josh suggested, something is choking the machine. Checking the audio track that is in the rip, it is True HD audio. Maybe the OS does not like the Pioneer drive as I can’t see it now. When using the top menu bar to try to open the drive trays, only the original SuperDrive is visible. I’ll try another restart.

    I’ve been resistant upgrading to Mojave. Maybe that would be something to consider. Josh, I imagine your new Mac is Mojave.

    And Jr, it looks like the blu ray disc is fine since the rip appears ok now.

    It is a hoot when I think that I just made a digital file of a blu ray!
     
  8. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Guys a quick update. Through out the afternoon, I learned that this series blu ray drive from Pioneer has issues with the Mac Pro. I learned that other Mac users with a Pioneer drive experienced the drive disappearing after a while and I noticed that too. A full shut down and start up restores the drive. One work around I found on the Apple Discussion forums is that there is a conflict with the burning software and the drive. One work around was to go to Systems Preferences/CD&DVD Drive and changing the setting for when a blank blu ray disc is inserted, select Ignore. That Has settled the main issues I was having earlier. Let’s see how long this works out.

    Since Jr mentioned Star Wars was a tricky disc with the opening crawl being in different languages, I was curious and tried to rip The Force Awakens. I found the first file to be the English version and did a rip. This worked out and I did a conversion in Handbrake and added it to my iTunes library. I then synched my iPad to it and loaded The Force Awakens to its library. It plays on my iPad Pro now. No stutters. Looks great. Next step is to see how it looks via Apple TV to my home theater.

    DaveF, I may have to go and get that huge hard drive if it’s still on sale!
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    A recommendation: storage space is cheap, so don’t do lossy transcoding of blu-ray movies. Keep the bit-perfect MKV. Delete Handbrake from your computer. :)
     
  10. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Nowadays I don't even bother doing any compression / transcoding (whether lossy or non-lossy) for stuff from dvds and blurays.

    Most of the junk I leave on my external hard drives, will end up being deleted after a year or so of non-use. Basically to make space for other stuff I want to watch. Otherwise I just rip the same discs over again.
     
  11. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Interesting Dave. I was curious about what you posted. The Make MKV file is a bit by bit exact copy of the Blu Ray? I’d expected a certain amount of degradation. Not a lot. So this is cool. Because I was interested in making a digital copy of the disc for my home use.

    I’m laughing at the comment about the lossy transcoding. I agree it’s not the ideal. The Handbrake conversation of the MKV file gives me a handy way to view the files on my mobile devices when away from home.

    I don’t think there is a way to stream these rips from outside the home. I suppose one might be able to store them in the cloud. What is very nice with iTunes that I learned from my recent purchases of movies from iTunes is the ability to stream the film remotely. That’s nice and I see that’s a part of Movies Anywhere service, to let us view the titles on our preferred platforms.
     
  12. Message #172 of 225 Aug 19, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
    Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    There's actually a rather easy way to do it, as I'm learning. First, you need a server client on the computer that the rips are stored on. Dave uses Emby, I'm using Plex. You download that free program and it organizes your media. Then, you download a client application on your iOS device. As long as you set up your server to allow remote streaming and have that machine on and connected to the internet, you can then access your content on the go.

    The server and client will take care of transcoding on the fly if your client device is unable to play the clip in its native format.
     
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  13. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    mkv is just another container format.

    VOB and m2ts are also container formats.

    The video+audio data should be bit-by-bit intact if there is no further compression. (Other than maybe deleting any "stuffing" data which is inactive and doesn't do anything).
     
  14. Message #174 of 225 Aug 19, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
    Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, you just blew my mind! I half suspected there was a way to stream from ones own library. I just wasn’t aware of how.

    I’m aware of Plex and I was going to use it once I had built up several titles. So now your information about setting up a server and a client app fills in the areas I didn’t know! Now I have to see how I can set up a server. Streaming I imagine would be as smooth as I’ve experienced from iTunes? Once probably should have a good speedy home internet connection. 30gb is a big file but I would imagine it’s playing the file, not transferring the whole file at once.

    That brings up another question I had last night after I did the second rip. Is the data in the rip that has the film title, plot overview, actors and director info? Or does one need to manually input that in Plex?
     
  15. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Jr, thanks for that extra bit of info. That’s really cool. Then I imagine the same holds true for a 4K rip? It’s all there, no loss.
     
  16. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I'm quickly discovering that the techheads figured this all out at least five years ago - so the nice part is, at this point, it all pretty much works as advertised with a minimum of fuss.

    I chose Plex for my server because a friend of mine was already using that program, so I had the opportunity to check out his setup first hands. I know that Dave is really happy with Emby and I would bet I would have had a good experience with that too, but I felt a little more comfortable going with the program that I had the chance to see firsthand. The good news is that both Plex and Emby are open-source and free, so if I decide to switch which one I use down the line, it's not as if I've wasted a big financial investment on it.

    Plex by default uses a few different services to try to match your content to existing metadata. One of those services is the same The Movie Database (TMDb) that HTF uses for movie threads. Plex wants your media to be in a certain folder hierarchy which is pretty simple, and then within those folders, it also helps if you have the file titled with the name of the movie and the year it came out in parenthesis. As long as you do that, the built in metadata engines should be able to match it to what it is. If it gets the match wrong, you have the option of re-running the search to try to find different metadata, or you can opt to manually input the metadata.

    So, for example, if you wanted Plex to recognize and grab the right metadata for the 2009 Star Trek movie, you'd simply call that file something like "Star Trek (2009).mkv" and that should be enough for it to figure it out.

    You can also adjust the metadata and sort order - Plex might sort "Star Trek" (the '09 movie) as coming before "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" alphabetically, but you can change the sort order so that "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" displays on your screen before "Star Trek" ('09). You can also change the poster artwork that it displays for each film, so if you're partial to a particular poster more than another, you can customize it to show you the one you like.

    I've imported far more TV shows than films so far into my new server (it's only a couple weeks old) but it's matched everything I've thrown at it so far with no trouble. If there's any interest I can try to give this its own thread with whatever pointers I've picked up along the way.
     
  17. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, thanks so much sharing your experience with Plex and how it works!

    This is very cool. I’ve been ripping my CD collection a little at a time and it’s nice with a higher storage capacity phone to carry my music. But to now be able to access my Blu Ray library and DVD too is amazing away from home.

    Up until recently I was fine to go to my Blu Ray and DVD cabinet and pull the disc to play it. So I’m really curious how this will work with the Blu Ray rips, if I’ll do that more then playing the disc.

    By the way, another aspect that sort of escapes me is how the audio works. I can see the audio format is ripped as part of the MKV container. But how are you playing your files? I believe you are streaming to your Oppo? And you mentioned you have a server or place you store the files. That is wirelessly streaming to the Oppo or whatever you play the files through? And that device is then playing the audio through your home theater audio system of course.

    This sounds better then the Atavachron!
     
  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I ended up taking the plunge and getting some real HTPC gear instead of just using my Oppo.

    First order of business for me was to find a good price on an older Mac Mini - I got a 2014 model at a very good price that exceeds the specs needed for what Plex needs to handle household streaming and some out of the house transcoding. The one I got isn't powerful enough to allow a dozen people to stream from outside of my house, but that wasn't one of my goals. I also wasn't interested in 4K compatibility - I just wanted something that would be good for my legacy content on DVD and Blu-ray, particularly things that are extremely unlikely to be upgraded in the future. There are definitely cheaper options for a Plex server than a Mac mini - it can run on lots of different NAS devices and very basic PC builds as well - but I've been a Mac user for so long that I was comfortable staying with what I knew. I figured since we're a Mac household, having an extra computer that could be used in the event we have an issue with our laptop wasn't a bad thing either. The Mac Mini just powers the server - the actual movie files are kept on one of those monster external drives that Dave was talking about earlier.

    The material from the Mac Mini is streamed via Plex to different devices in my apartment. In the living room, I use the AppleTV. In the bedroom, we have a Roku. For the bedroom Roku (which is just plugged directly into a very basic HDTV, no soundbar or surround sound), I just downloaded the free Plex app, and use that. For the living room, which has the main home theater system, I decided to use a different app called Infuse for playback. The reason for that is that while Plex is technically capable of playing just about any format, Plex didn't pay the licensing fees for DTS-HD MA on Mac platforms. Infuse did. The video quality with Infuse on the AppleTV also seemed to be much better than Plex on the AppleTV. (Infuse isn't free but it's not expensive either - $1 a month, or $10 a year, or $25 to just buy the app.) The only downside is that it appears that Atmos hasn't quite been figured out on some of these devices, but since I'm not setup for Atmos and have no plans to be for the foreseeable future, this wasn't an issue for me.

    Last night I watched a bunch of episodes of Season 7 of 24 -- which was ripped in full quality with no transcoding from the Blu-rays. 1080p video, DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio. It was indistinguishable from the disc. And I had the benefit of not having to navigate menus and sit through forced trailers at the beginning of the disc.

    My immediate priority with what to rip for my Plex server has been TV shows that my wife and I both watch together. Sometimes we watch a show before bedtime in the living room, other times in the bedroom. It's not that that was ever really a problem, but it could be annoying having to grab a disc from one room and bring it into the other, or having to sit through five or ten minutes of trailers before the main menu came up. And the shows we watch together tend to be older shows that aren't readily available on streaming at all, or aren't on a service we subscribe to - think of stuff like I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, etc.

    I am amazed and impressed at what a positive impact this has had on our quality of life in just a short period. My only regret is that I didn't do this sooner.
     
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  19. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Yes. Exact, bit-perfect copy. It’s the blu-ray movie exactly.
     
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  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    That’s not too hard. Last month I was watching Back to the Future special features from my HTPC from a hotel room 3000 miles away. Use media server software. Do the jiggery-pokery to open up the port in your home internet. The server will transcode on the fly to stream lower bitrate for out-of-home viewing.
     
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