This is my short guide on converting a Blu-ray/DVD/HD-DVD into a MKV video leaving the video intact but converting the audio into regular AC3 to increase compatibility as software players and standalone devices that support MKV still seem to have quite a bit of trouble handling the HD audio formats.
Is there an easy way to go through all that ?
Yes for Blu-ray/HD-DVD & DVD there is a program called MakeMKV which is very easy to use. The latest version can now handle HD-DVD’s (though problems are still reported with those) and can also preserve HD audio tracks if needed.
MakeMKV can also decrypt discs without the need for any extra software, really good piece of software worth getting, is also ideal for extracting episodes from DVD TV show discs.
It didn’t work, is there another way ?
Blu-ray/HD-DVD manual conversion – what you’ll need:
Start AnyDVD and put in your Blu-ray/HD-DVD disc. Now start the HD-DVD/Blu-ray stream extractor and you will have a screen like below. Under “Input” click the browse folder button and point it at your Blu-ray disc or folder if you have transferred it to the hard drive. Now click on “Features” and it will scan for media that can be extracted, be aware their is a further delay when you select a stream so be patient.
After it finishes the scan it will populate with entries like below (though each disc can be different in my case this disc has multiple streams for foreign languages), I have ticked the box for chapters, the video stream is easy to ID because it’s 1080p and the audio stream is thankfully labeled as English. Under the heading “Extract As” for the audio change it to AC3 as seen in my screenshot below.
[You can of course pick another HD audio stream or convert into another format but for this guide I'm just using regular Dolby AC3]
Under “Output” set a folder to output the extracted files to, and when ready click on “Extract”.
After the extraction you will have a mkv file containing the video, a chapters txt file and the audio in AC3 form – all that’s left to do is to merge everything together into a single mkv file using mkvmerge so start that. Under the “Input Files” drag your video mkv in and then your audio into it as well, look at the “Output Filename” & select a name for the video.
Update: Newer builds of MKVmerge implemented a feature that while part of the MKV spec was rarely ever used, many players do not support this feature and your files may not play so go into File->Options->mmg and tick the box to disable header removal compression.
Now to go to the global tab and see where the section is highlighted you can add the chapters txt in through that.
Once done back on the Input tab click on “Start Muxing” the process will take a while but it will if all goes to plan spit out a fully working MKV.
Playback software recommended is MPC-HC or VLC, there is no need for codec packs as both players have the necessary codecs built into the application.