Is step 3 only necessary if you want to save some hard disk space? Would I skip STEP 3 if all I wanted to do was rip the BD or HD-DVD video with FLAC to my hard disk? I'd trim out extras, previews, subtitles etc too. Ends up with a single mkv, right?
Also, is the meGUI step just an alternative method of Step 3? Should I be following the meGUI step for ripping all my DVDs to hard disk?
You are correct that step 3 is only nessecary if you want to save HDD space or if you only have a 720p capable display since offline scaling via a re-encode produces much better quality than a real time scaler. You would end up with a single mkv with the main movie and any sub/audio tracks that would like to include in your project (major reason for mkv over ts is its support for multiple audio, chapters and subs etc).
Be careful with mkanet's posts ....while what he proposes is simpler it suffers from many limitations which is why many of us choose to take the more complicated route ....at the end of the day tho it will depend on what you need
. Most of us here do not like PowerDVD/winDVD/TMT etc
which are the main supporters of ts files, other directshow players are patchy for these files (actually its more a issue with splitters but will not go into that here).
Both .ts and .mkv can be played in VMC with a few tweaks and I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to use your remote (no pluggins needed but it needs to be set up properly ...I don't use VMC so can't help but I'm sure if you ask somebody here will help you). It is true that not so many COMMERCIAL players support mkv however and you should be aware of that, I think its only TMT and Nero at the mo BUT all Directshow capable players i.e. MPC, Zoom, VLC, WMP 11, VMC etc do and very well (mkv is the opensource container of choice
If you are worried about being stuck with mkv remember it is only a container, the streams inside can be easily extracted and placed in any other container type that supports HD or SD media i.e. mp4, m2ts, ts, avi etc this is actually easier to do with mkv than other file types as most opensource software supports these. This is very simple and doesn't require much time. I'm working on a new more advanced guide at the min so I will include many of the options that you outlined then, this time I will also use Blu ray as the example (despite examples already given). If you need any help please ask its what we are all here for. Happy watching.
Edit: Yes meGUi is an alternative to step 3 ....did it because some where having problems with all the command style .bat files. you can use either method for re-encoding DVD tho. You can also use eac3to to join the vob files/extract audio and create an mkv
ask if you need instructions.