Just wanted to add my 2 cents re: Handbrake. I've been ripping with HB for over a year now, but made some mistakes along the way. Since I never had a good way to play the rips until now, I kept making the same mistakes over and over.
Just recently I picked up a WDTV (2nd generation) at our nearby Staples. It was on the clearance rack. The WDTV plays .mkv's better than .m4v.
My comments would be for those of you who want to rip your collection and play on a home theater setup.
- So, first piece of advice. As has been mentioned, rip in .mkv container. .mkv appears to be more compatible with various devices. I ripped numerous movies in the .m4v default for months. WDTV can't find the AC3 track in an .m4v container. We get Dolby Stereo instead.
- If you want AC3 passthru, go to the Audio tab on the Handbrake GUI, click on the AAC line to highlight it, then click the "minus" sign to make it go away. HB will transcode only the AC3 track. If your home theater doesn't pick it up, at least you can be reasonably sure that it's not the rip.
- I've had spotty results using mkvtoolnix to remux .m4v to .mkv. With some rips the AC3 sound is available on the WDTV. With at least one other, the AC3 sound was there but it was unacceptable. Kept skipping, like a Gatling Gun. I've only tried a few remuxes, but the biggest lesson is "don't rip in .m4v anymore".
- This is a WDTV trick, not a Handbrake trick. If you did rip an .mkv with AC3 and AAC, and WDTV wants to play the AAC track, click the "Options" button on the remote after starting the movie, click on the Audio tab, and push Enter. WDTV will search for an alternate audio track. It should pick up the AC3 track.
- You probably know about making a default. Pick .mkv, then click on the "Options" tab in Handbrake (lower right corner) and choose "Make Default". Name it something you'll recognize. I'm pretty sure you'll still have to tweak in the Audio tab each time if you're getting rid of AAC track.
Regarding using Ubuntu, my understanding is that there is not yet a stable release of Handbrake for anything beyond 9.10. You have to take your chances with the ppa snapshots, as described in earlier post. These directions
worked for me.
As long as your PC is online with a broadband connection, and you've got a little experience with copy/pasting text into terminal, this is pretty darned straightforward. No guarantees of course, but worked for me on two different PC's running Ubuntu 10.04 just a coupla weeks ago.
If you don't have much experience copy/pasting text, open a terminal and paste one line at a time, beginning with the first one in the directions. Paste the line into terminal, click Enter key, wait for the computer to finish. Go onto next line, same thing.
One more thing - Handbrake can take advantage of multiple cores and it's pretty aggressive. Our Core 2 Duo laptop runs at about 198% to 200% when Handbrake is busy. I only have one screw holding the bottom cover on. I take the back cover off, set the laptop on a stand, and run a small fan underneath it that blows directly onto the CPU heatsink. That one little fan knocks the peak temps down about 10 degrees C.