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DVD Rebuilder Advanced Techniques RRS feed

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  • DVD Rebuilder Advanced Techniques


    Using DVD Rebuilder and CCE Basic is starting to become something of a standard for people who want to compress a lot of DVD-9 movies with the highest possible quality, but don't have the money (or interest in pirated software) to use methods like The Big 3 or the knowledge to use AviSynth, CCE, IfoEdit, IfoUpdate, and probably a couple of other programs by themselves. This is a great way to backup big DVDs, but in its current incarnation, Rebuilder barely scratches the surface of what's possible by adding a couple of helper applications and some additional filters (plugins) for AviSynth

    Software Used In This Guide


    DVD Rebuilder
    RB-Opt
    RBFarm

    AviSynth Plugins
    ·Undot
    ·Deen

    Installation


    This guide uses tools designed specifically for working with DVD Rebuilder's ECL and AVS files. There are no installers for these tools, and at some point they may be rolled into DVD Rebuilder so you won't even need to download them individually. For the moment, I recommend unzipping them into the same directory as Rebuilder, each in it's own subdirectory, but you can keep them wherever you want. Just make sure you know the path to each one so you can run it later.

    In the case of AviSynth plugins you need to copy the DLL files from each plugin you're using to the C:\Program Files\AviSynth\plugins directory to make them work. RBFarm is already in release status, so you don't need to worry too much about updates, but other tools (including DVD Rebuilder) are still in beta so make sure you check for updates regularly.

    Some Notes On Filtering With AviSynth


    One of the methods I suggest for improving visual quality on high compression, poorly transferred/encoded source discs, or black and white encodes is to use AviSynth filters. There are multiple ways to do this, including an editor found in the latest versions of DVD Rebuilder, another one built into RB-Opt, AVSEdit (the official AviSynth editor), or any text editor (like Notepad).

    While the methods may differ slightly, they all allow you to use the filters described here. If you decide to try adding filters to your video, you should probably come back to this section after you read through the rest of the guide, but I'm putting it first because it applies to more than one program.

    Why Filter?


    So why should you use additional filtering? Well there are a couple of possible reasons. The first, and probably most common, is simply because you're increasing the amount of compression compared to the original DVD. If the compression is within about 20% - 30% of the original, it's unlikely that filters will make much difference, although for many TV series it may still help due to the number of bad transfers and encodes.

    For discs that need to be compressed more, it often makes a big difference. Another use for filtering is removing film noise. Some DVDs, like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, have noise intentionally added for effect. In these cases using additional filters in AviSynth may not help much (depending on your personal taste they may even give you worse results), but there are many movies (especially older, unrestored ones) that have flaws in the film, often age related, which besides requiring bits to encode, can also affect the quality of the original DVD.

    AviSynth filters can often remove, or at least hide, many of these flaws. There aren't any perfect solutions, but there are some very good ones, and you can improve both the quality and compression of many movies this way.

    Filter Syntax


    Since AviSynth scripts (AVS files) are just text files, all that's required to add lines to one is to edit the text, adding the lines you want. If that sounds easier than you'd expect, trust me - it's really that easy. Now for the hard part. What are you going to add?

    Because this guide is for DVD Rebuilder, and not AviSynth, I'm going to stick to simple filters. Fortunately, they're also common filters for many AviSynth gurus to include in their scripts, so you're not missing much by keeping things simple.

    Regardless of the filter being used, the basic syntax is filter_name(), replacing filter_name with the actual name of the filter of course. If you want to add multiple filters to run one after another, you can put them on a single line using this syntax: filter_1().filter_2()

    Which Filters?


    I'm going to cover 3 filters here, but there are a lot more that are either built into AviSynth or available as plugins. For more information you can always check out my AviSynth guide here at AfterDawn, the AviSynth homepage (www.avisynth.org) or Doom9's AviSynth forums. The 3 filters I use regularly are Undot, Deen, and Greyscale.

    Undot


    Just like the name suggests, Undot removes small dots from the video. Although many people use it for TV captures, it's also good for filtering DVD sources. Its biggest strength is that it usually doesn't make major changes to the source. That also means it doesn't always have a great deal of impact on compression, but it's probably the most useful general purpose noise removal filter available.

    It's great for removing the grain and age related noise from film sources, both of which use bits that could be better spent on the actual movie.

    Deen


    Deen is a 3D denoiser. In English this means that it makes changes based not only on the surrounding pixels of the current frame, but also the content of surrounding frames. This is important for denoising since it's basically just a selective smoothing of details. I don't recommend using this filter unless you have to compress the DVD a lot with Rebuilder or have a poor quality source to begin with. Smoothing is very helpful to CCE because sharp edges and fine details are some of the biggest challenges for lower bitrate encoding.

    Greyscale


    This filter changes everything that isn't already black, white, or grey to a shade of grey. This won't necessarily improve quality, but since pure black and white video requires fewer bits than color, it will reduce the bits wasted on noise, thereby increasing the bitrate available to the actual movie.

    Specific Examples


    I use some general rules for adding filters. The first is that if there's noise intentionally added to the movie you have to decide whether you prefer the encoding artifacts that will probably be created by lowering the bitrate, the changes to the look of the film, or the inconvenience of splitting the movie across multiple discs.

    Only your own eyes can tell you whether the results are acceptable or not. Beyond that I use the following:

    General cleanup of film grain:


    Undot()

    Very noisy source, poor transfer/encode on original, or high compression:


    Undot().Deen()

    Good black and white source:


    Greyscale()

    Noisy black and white source:


    Undot().Greyscale()

    Poor quality black and white source:


    Undot().Deen().Greyscale()


    Notice that Undot is always first and Greyscale is always last. Anything Undot would remove may be gone by the time it runs if the video has already been altered, and if you use Greyscale after Deen you may avoid having Deen mistake noise for part of the image.

    If you decide to experiment with other filters you need to consider these kinds of things when you determine their order.

    DVD Rebuilder Advanced Settings


    While the third party utilities for tweaking DVD Reuilder encodes provide some great additional functionality, you really should start by looking at Rebuilder itself. Generally speaking, if you can do it in both Rebuilder and another program, it will be easier in Rebuilder. Even if all your tweaking will be done in other programs you at least need to put Rebuilder in Three Click Mode.

    If there's only one button (Transcode) at the bottom of the DVD Rebuilder window, go to the Mode menu and select One Click Mode to uncheck it. You should now have 3 buttons (Prepare, Encode, & Rebuild) instead of one.

    CCE Settings


    Starting with DVD Rebuilder 0.53, there's a setting for CCE Basic that's enabled called Quality_Prec. You can set this by going to the Options menu, then to CCE Options, and selecting Advanced (Expert) Settings. Quality_Prec is on the bottom left (the other settings don't apply to CCE Basic so you can ignore them) and is set by selecting a value from the dropdown list. In CCE Basic this is referred to as either Quantization Characteristics or Flat Part Priority. I like the second name because it describes what the setting does pretty well.

    Setting this to a lower number will increase the number of bits available for motion and fine detail. Since this bitrate has to come from somewhere, it means that solid surfaces (flat parts) will get fewer bits. The default setting of 16 is fine for most encodes, but if you want to experiment you can set it lower to reserve more bits for motion or higher to get more bits for solid surfaces. If you set it too low you'll get a "banding effect" which essentially means that solid colors will appear to be made up of smaller bands or stripes of color. If you get this effect (whether you changed this number or not) you should raise the Quality_Prec number until you no longer get it. Of course that means that motion will get fewer bits, and with high enough compression you may have to make a compromise.

    AviSynth Settings


    There are a couple of ways to add filters directly in DVD Rebuilder. The easiest is to do it indirectly using options like Half D1 (more detail later), but you can also use the built in AviSynth editor. On the Options menu, go to Advanced (Expert) Options, and select Filter Editor. That will open up the editor window where you can type in lines to be added to all AVS files. If there's something you want added only to select files you can still add them here, but you'll have to remove them manually (you can do this with Notepad) from any scripts you don't want them in. Alternatively, if there are only a couple of segments that you want to apply filters to, it's probably easier to manually edit just those files to add the lines. All lines you add here will be inserted right before resizing (right after the Trim filter), so if that isn't where you want the lines, you may want to use RB-Opt to edit scripts with. Also make sure you don't put in any blank lines.

    When you have the desired lines entered, click the Save & Exit button or click the Quit button to cancel. See the beginning of this guide for more information on AviSynth filters.

    Resolution And Bitrate


    The quality of your final DVD is partly dependent on the number of bits per pixel for each frame. In some cases there's an advantage to having a lower bitrate for certain titles because it allows you to use those bits for a more important titles (ie reduce trailers to improve the main movie). If you reduce the number of pixels in half by resizing, but keep the bitrate the same, each pixel now has around twice the bitrate it had at full size. This means that if you drop the resolution you can also drop the bitrate and keep similar quality (on smaller screens) as you started with. The downside is that you have less detail since each pixel will now have to fill twice as much space on the screen. The smaller your screen, the less difference this makes, but with very large screens it can be very evident no matter how well it's done.

    There are a couple of ways of changing the resolution and bitrate, and while there's some redundancy, it's just a result of adding specific features when they were requested and then adding more later on with similar functionality. I'm going to focus on using the Steal Space and Resize To Half D1 options.

    On the Mode menu there's an option called Steal Space From Extras. There are 3 options - 25%, 33%, and 50%. This is the level of reduction and not the final size, so 25% means 25% less. If you decide to steal more than 25% of a title's bitrate you should seriously consider resizing it as well. If the compression level is already high, you may need to consider this even at 25%. If your disc has more than one "main movie", like a TV series, don't use this option as Rebuilder will only recognize 1 main movie per disc and everything else is considered extras. If you have a disc like that and want to reduce the bitrate for some of the titles, you should look at RB-Opt later on in this guide. If you want to resize, on the Settings menu, go to AVS Options, then to Advanced (Expert) Options, and Resize To Half D1. There will be a list of titles to be encoded and you can select one or more of them to be reduced to slightly less than half their original resolution (most DVDs are 720 pixels wide but Half D1 is only 352 wide).


    Hidden Settings


    There are some settings you can only adjust by editing a text file called Rebuilder.ini with a text editor like Notepad. These are referred to as Hidden Settings because they're not visible in the GUI. All the settings mentioned here will need to go after the [Options] line and before [CCEOptions]. The settings relevant to CCE Basic are for setting the size of the finished project and the minimum/maximum bitrate. I've included examples of my settings where applicable. The graphic on the right shows my own INI file with the one tweak I use. For the other two settings, xxxx needs to be replaced with the actual number you want to use.

    CCETargetSectors=2260000


    This sets the size of the DVD. The default size (without this line) is 2236400, which in my experience gives you a final size of about 4.32GB. When I first set this option, I used 2265000 instead of 2260000 and it worked fine, except that it eventually gave me a DVD that was 14MB too big for a blank. Since lowering it by 5000 I've never had this problem (most movies end up within 30MB of a full disk), although occasionally using RB-Opt to change bitrates after the Prepare Phase lowers the size marginally.

    If you're using lower quality or questionable media it's best to leave this setting alone because it will help you avoid playback problems due to poor dye distribution on the outside edge of the disc. In any case, this setting is more for those of us who want the disc full on general principle since the default setting should fill about 99% of the disc already, and the extra 1% isn't likely to get you any noticeable increase in quality.

    min_bitrate=xxxx


    This sets the minimum bitrate setting in kbps (kilobits per second). By default, DVD Rebuilder sets this to 0, which actually means it's undefined in CCE. If you want to set a specific minimum, make sure it's set to something other than 0. I don't see any reason to use this setting, but it's there if you want to use it.

    max_bitrate=xxxx


    This sets the maximum bitrate for CCE to use when encoding. To be DVD compliant, a video stream can't have a bitrate higher than 9800kbps. Furthermore, the combined bitrate of the video and all audio streams associated with it can't exceed 10080kbps. For example, if your final DVD has both a 448kbps Dolby Digital stream and a 768kbps (no that's not a typo!) DTS stream, the maximum available bitrate is 10080 - (448 + 768) = 8864kbps. Since the default setting is 9000kbps, you can probably see where this option may be useful if you plan to include multiple audio tracks. If you're not including a DTS stream (or several Dolby Digital streams) in your project this setting can normally be ignored. In any case, it's best to leave a little room for error and keep it at least 200kbps or so lower than it absolutely has to be. In my example I'd probably want it set to 8500 just to be safe.

    Generally, when you have a lot of audio streams, or even just a couple with high bitrates, you won't have space on the disc for particularly high peak bitrates anyway, so you're not really losing anything by setting this lower, but you may avoid a single bitrate spike that could cause playback issues.

    RB-Opt


    RB-Opt is a 3rd party program designed specifically to tweak settings for DVD Rebuilder projects. Before you open a DVD Rebuilder project with it, you need to run it once (RBOpt.exe) and click the Select MPlayer button. This will open a file browser window where you need to locate a media player for RB-Opt to use for previewing video segments. Select your media player (I use Media Player Classic 6.4.7.8) and then you can either close RB-Opt or load a DVD Rebuilder project and start tweaking.

    Tweaking Bitrates RB-Opt


    Before you start tweaking bitrates with RB-Opt, you'll need to make sure you understand some basic terms - VTS, VOB-ID, and Cell. No doubt you've noticed by now that a DVD is made up of groups of files with similar names that start with VTS_xx, where xx is a number from 01-99. Each group of files with the same number is referred to as a Video Titleset or VTS. For example, The Matrix has 3 Video Titlesets VTS_01, VTS_02, and VTS_03. Titlesets can be further divided by VOB-ID. Every VTS will have 1 or more VOB-IDs, which are just a way to organize the information. Each VOB-ID will then have 1 or more Cells associated with it (once again an organizational unit), and each segment encoded by DVD Rebuilder is a single Cell. RB-Opt is able to set bitrates either for every cell associated with a given VOB-ID or for individual cells.

    Start RB-Opt and click the Import Settings button. Browse to the REBUILDER.INF file for your project and select it. On the left side of the window, RB-Opt will show you a list of titles, including the VTS number and VOB-ID for each. Keep in mind that there isn't always an advantage to changing the default bitrates. If the size of the video you're lowering the bitrate on is negligible compared to the size of the video receiving a higher bitrate, the increase in quality will be equally negligible, but the effect on the video with the lower bitrate may be severe. Read that last sentence again if you didn't understand it the first time because you may save yourself some grief later. You can also end up with a smaller DVD than you would get without tweaking bitrates.

    Tweaking By VOB-ID


    The easiest way to tweak bitrates with RB-Opt is to adjust entire VOB-IDs. A title may only have 1 VOB ID or it may have many. The easiest way I've found to do this is to start by determining which VOB-IDs I want to receive the bits I'm going to free up. Select the first VOB-ID and click the View First Cell button. The video for the first cell for that VOB-ID will play. If it's set to Half D1 it will only have half the horizontal resolution. Don't worry about this as the aspect ratio will be correct once encoded to MPEG-2. If you want to reduce the bitrate (or keep it the same) uncheck the Autosized checkbox. Repeat for each VOB ID until you've looked at all of them.

    Now you can go back to each one you want to reduce and adjust the slider under Reduction. The percentage of bits for that VOB-ID (compared to the original DVD) will change as you move the slider, and any parts that still have Autosized checked will increase accordingly.

    I automatically reduce the bitrate of any VOB-ID that's being encoded at Half D1 resolution to no more than half what it had on the original DVD. If this doesn't make sense to you, you may want to go back and read the paragraph on Resolution And Bitrate earlier in this guide.

    Finally, if you want to increase the bitrate of any titles that you previously left Autosized checked for, you can do this now.

    Tweaking Individual Cells


    Each chapter will start and end at cell boundaries, so if your movie (or extra) has specific chapters you want to sacrifice bitrate on (just the credits for example), RB-Opt can do that for you. Select the VOB-ID containing the cell you want to reduce and make sure Autosized is unchecked. This will enable the Tweak Cells button. Click the Tweak Cells button and another window will appear, similar to the main window, but with a list of cells in the selected VOB-ID. Select the cell you want to adjust and uncheck the Autosized checkbox. Adjusting the bitrate works just like adjusting it for an entire VOB-ID. The percentage of bits for the cell will change as you move it and Autosized parts of the DVD will be adjusted automatically.

    I normally set the credits to the lowest possible bitrate whenever I tweak with RB-Opt, but I always use the View Cell button to preview first. Not all movies have credits in a separate cell so make sure to check before you make any changes.

    Edit AVS Files


    In addition to the tweaking CCE settings, RB-Opt has the ability to edit AVS files. Unlike Rebuilder though, changes are made by individual VOB-ID instead of all AVS files in the project. If you want to apply the same filters to every AVS file, it's normally easier to use DVD Rebuilder's built in AVS editor. To edit the AVS files for a VOB-ID, select the one you want to change on the left side and click the AVS Editing button. This will open the editor where you will see the VOB-ID listed at the top and the current script below it.

    To add a filter, find the line you want to insert your filter before, and select the corresponding line number in the dropdown labeled Insert statements in line #. Type the line you want to add and click the Add Line button. To delete a line, select the line number from the Line # dropdown and click the Remove Line button.

    You can add a line to your Favorites by typing it in to add it to the script and clicking the Add Line To Favorites button before the Add Line button. Once you've added it to your Favorites you can select it later instead of retyping it. To add lines from your Favorites, click the arrow button next to the text entry box you would normally type it into, and select a line from the dropdown.

    When you're done with your editing, use the Test Script button to make sure it works. If you don't do this, RB-Opt won't let you go back to the main window. See the beginning of this guide for more information on AviSynth filters.

    Finishing Up


    Once you have all your changes made, use the Save Settings button to save them to your project. At any time during the process you can use the Reset Bitrates button to return all bitrates to their original values. If you try to save and the new size for the DVD would be higher than DVD Rebuilder's original settings would have made it, you'll get a warning but if you want you can still save. If you've made a lot of changes, but need to get the size back down to its original level, it's often easier to reset everything and start over. Once you've saved it you can encode normally using DVD Rebuilder.

    Building Your Own Render Farm


    Okay, it's not actually a render farm, but because of the way DVD Rebuilder divides DVDs into individual cells to be encoded separately, it's possible to encode different segments with different computers simultaneously. Doing this requires a small amount of Windows networking knowledge and the ability to write a batch file to set it up. Both are easy, but essential to RBFarm.

    If you have the computers available, and can set it up, you can greatly improve overall encoding speed. I've encoded with as many as 4 PCs at the same time and managed to cut encoding time by 2/3. If you have extra PCs that are reasonably close in encoding speed to your main PC (ie don't use a Celeron 400 to help a P4 3GHz) you can get a noticeable speed increase. Adding a mobile Celeron 1.7GHz and an Athlon 900MHz to a P4 2.4GHz nearly doubled my speed, which was originally around twice real time for each pass. With 4 computers I get it done at about three times that speed so it gets done in anywhere from 35% to 50% the playing time of all the video being encoded instead of 95% to 120% of playing time.

    Make sure there's a copy of RBFarm on each PC you will be using to encode. Each PC also needs to have a copy of CCE Basic, as well as AviSynth with MPEG2DEC3dg.dll and any other plugins you want to use. If you don't want to install DVD Rebuilder on the remote PCs you'll also need to make a couple of slight changes to the setup from the basic Rebuilder guide. MPEG2DEC3dg.dll needs to be in AviSynth's plugin directory instead of the same one as DVD Rebuilder.

    I recommend starting RBFarm with a batch file, at least on any PC you want to use for other things while encoding. Starting it with a batch file will allow you to run it at Idle priority, which in turn will start each instance of CCE at idle priority. This has a negligible effect on encoding times, but will free up quite a bit of CPU time for other programs. Just don't try to run anything else that's CPU intensive. To start RBFarm this way, create the following batch file (OldMacdonald.bat) in the same directory as RBFarm:


    start /low RBFarm.exe

    Set CCE Location


    Now start up RBFarm (if you're using the batch file run OldMacdonald.bat to start RBFarm otherwise use RBFarm.exe) and click the button next to the 'ECLCCE path (or CCE Basic)' field. Browse to the directory CCE is installed in and select cct2.exe. When you get back to the main RBFarm window you'll need to manually edit the text field you just filled, and add cct2.exe to the end. Repeat this on each PC.

    Before you can do anything else with RBFarm, you need to get your network set up

    Setting Up The Server


    The PC you would normally use for encoding will become the server for RBFarm. In order to allow other computers to access DVD Rebuilder's files to encode them, the the source and working directories need to be accessible on your network, and all PCs need to access them through the same drive letter.

    On your server you'll need to share whatever drives or directories are going to be used for the source and working directories. For example, if your source files are going to be in C:\Rebuilder and your working directory is going to be D:\Rebuilder, you would share each of those directories. I recommend changing the share name to something like RB-Source and RB-Working. The client PCs can map these shares to common drive letters, but if you do that on the server it will take twice as long to run the Prepare and Rebuild phases. Instead, on the server, create a batch file with the following lines:


    subst Y: D:\Rebuilder
    subst Z: E:\Rebuilder

    Replace the paths I listed for each drive letter with the paths to the folders you shared for source and working directories. By using the subst command instead of Windows networking, you eliminate the slowdown that results when preparing or rebuilding with mapped drives. You can copy this batch file into your Startup folder if you want it to run automatically when you log in. Otherwise you'll need to run it to before you use RBFarm if you've rebooted (or logged out) since it was run last.

    Setting Up Clients


    You need to map drives to access the files stored on the server. Make sure that you map the drives to the same drive letters you used in the subst command in the batch file on the server. This way Y: and Z: are the same on all PCs and DVD Rebuilder's settings will be correct for all of them.

    Start Encoding On The Server


    Once you have all the programs installed and drives setup on all your PCs, you can run Prepare on your server. Make sure the directories you set are on your Y: and Z: drives so the client PCs will have the correct drive letters. Once Prepare is finished, if you want RBFarm to start Rebuild automatically, you're done in DVD Rebuilder, but leave the window open when you start RBFarm. If you're going to run Rebuild manually it doesn't matter if you leave Rebuilder open or not, but you should save the project.

    Start RBFarm and click the button with the folder on it next to the d2vavs directory field. Browse to the d2vavs directory for your project and select it. Check the Auto Rebuild button if you want RBFarm to start DVD Rebuilder's Rebuild phase automatically after encoding is finished. Click the Encode button and it will start encoding.

    Add The Clients


    On the client PCs, start RBFarm and set the working directory as above. Make sure you don't have Auto Rebuild checked on any clients. After you've started a client manually once to make sure everything's set up correctly, you may want to start using the Auto Encode option (checkbox) which makes RBFarm keep checking the working directory until another PC starts encoding and then start automatically. I also recommend using Remote Desktop if your client PCs are running Windows XP Pro. You can start every PC without getting up out of your chair.

    Each PC will now be encoding segments from the same working directory. Each time a segment is finished, the computer checks to see if there are any more to encode, and if there are it starts another automatically. If there are no more segments, RBFarm will display the number of segments encoded and the time elapsed. When all PCs have finished their final segments, the server will start the Rebuild phase if that option was selected. Otherwise you can manually start Rebuild.

    Encoding Multiple Projects


    As of version 1.7, you can give RBFarm a list of project directories to encode. This is useful for encoding multiple projects when you'll be away from your computer, like overnight or while you're at work. If you're encoding more than one project at a time, you can't use Auto Rebuild.

    To encode multiple projects, set the path to the first project normally, and then repeat for each additional project. When you're done, start encoding and when the first project is finished, the next one in the list will be started automatically, then the next, etc, ... When the projects have been encoded, Rebuild each one with DVD Rebuilder.

    Other Useful Programs


    Since DVD Rebuilder is designed only for full disc backups, it doesn't include any tools for altering menus or removing features. That just means you need to have any major changes to the disc structure made before you start it. I've used different combinations of VobBlanker, DVD Stripper, and DVD Shrink on most of my movies before encoding with DVD Rebuilder and never had a problem. I've also used IfoEdit to strip all extra angles from a 3 angle movie to get Rebuilder to back it up.

    Although I haven't done it personally, you could also use DVD Shrink to put 2 reauthored movies on a single disc (with no compression) and then use DVD Rebuilder to compress. Right now I'm working on learning DVDRemake to do even more. The possibilities are really only limited by your own experience and imagination. There's even another helper program (RB-Keeper) with even more useful tweaks in it and yet another AVS editor. I'll include instructions for that program in my next update, after I've had time to play with it a little.

    The Future Of DVD Rebuilder


    Once all (or almost all) the bugs have been worked out of DVD Rebuilder, the author has said he will be adding some advanced features, including incorporating at least some of the tools that have been written to work with it. Eventually you should be able to do everything in this guide with just Rebuilder.

    If you want to make sure this happens it wouldn't hurt to make a donation. If you want to request a feature it's pretty much mandatory. You can donate at PayPal

    Acknowledgements


    I'd like to thank the authors of DVD Rebuilder and it's associated helper applications for making these fine tools. Without you guys none of this would be possible.

    I'd especially like to thank jdobbs, DVD Rebuilder's author, for helping me double check my facts and Quantum for indulging my inner geek with RBFarm. And let's not forget our own Ketola for taking the time to get my guides and updates online.

    Finally, I'd like to thank all of the knowledgeable posters, here at AfterDawn and on Doom9 in particular, but also on a number of other forums, without whom I wouldn't know half of what I do now.
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 4:10 AM

Answers

  • I hope this guide help you guys .
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:10 PM

All replies

  • I hope this guide help you guys .
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:10 PM
  • where do u get all these informations they r really useful...
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 1:52 AM
  • i like to publish these informations :) whenever i search the net, and i find something new, and that may be useful for others, i keep a note of it and then try to put it here :) so that others also can take benefit :)

    if everyone thinks this way, then we can really get good knowledge from each other :)
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 5:17 AM
  • nice useful info...........i never knew this before..
    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 3:32 PM
  • well can u elaborate me on the blue ray disk technology
    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 3:34 PM
  • A Blu-ray Disc (also called BD) is a high-density optical disc format for the storage of digital media, including high-definition video.

    Overview

    The name Blu-ray Disc is derived from the blue-violet laser used to read and write this type of disc. Because of this shorter wavelength (405 nm), substantially more data can be stored on a Blu-ray Disc than on the common DVD format, which uses a red, 650 nm laser. Blu-ray Disc can store 25 GB on each layer, as opposed to a DVD's 4.7 GB. Several manufacturers have released single layer and dual layer (50 GB) recordable BDs and rewritable discs.[1] All supporting studios have either already released or have announced release of movies on 50GB discs.

    Blu-ray Disc is similar to PDD, another optical disc format developed by Sony (which has been available since 2004) but offering higher data transfer speeds. PDD was not intended for home video use and was aimed at business data archiving and backup.

    Blu-ray Disc is currently in a format war with rival format HD DVD.

    [edit] Technical Specifications

    • About 9 hours of high-definition (HD) video can be stored on a 50 GB disc.
    • About 23 hours of standard-definition (SD) video can be stored on a 50 GB disc.
    • On average, a single-layer disc can hold a High Definition feature of 135 minutes using MPEG-2, with additional room for 2 hours of bonus material in standard definition quality. A dual layer disc will extend this number up to 3 hours in HD quality and 9 hours of SD bonus material.
    Physical size Single layer capacity Dual layer capacity
    12 cm, single sided 25 GB (23.3 GiB) 50 GB (46.6 GiB)
    8 cm, single sided 7.8 GB (7.3 GiB) 15.6 GB (14.6 GiB)

    [edit] Laser and optics

    The Blu-ray Disc system uses a blue-violet laser operating at a wavelength of 405 nm, similar to the one used for HD DVD, to read and write data. Conventional DVDs and CDs use red and infrared lasers at 650 nm and 780 nm respectively.

    [edit] Profiles

    The BD-ROM specification defines four profiles of Blu-ray players. All video-based profiles are required to have a full implementation of BD-J.

    [edit] 1.0

    This is the basic profile that all current players are based on. Players based on this profile are only required to have 64 KB (0.064 MB) of application data area storage.[2]

    However all players in this category will be considered obsolete after June 2007, when profile 1.1 becomes mandatory, since they will be unable to handle all interactive features that new disks released after this date will contain. They will still however be able to play the main feature of the disk as they do now.

    [edit] 1.1

    Profile 1.1 adds a secondary video decoder (for PIP), secondary audio (for commentary) and local storage of 256 MB. Compliance with this profile will be mandatory for products introduced to the market after June 2007, but existing products will be unaffected. There are no players currently compliant with this profile.

    [edit] 2.0 (BD-Live)

    Profile 2, also known as BD-Live, adds network connectivity to the list of mandatory functions and increases local storage to 1 GB. There are no players currently compliant with this profile.

    [edit] Audio Only

    The final profile is meant for an audio-only player and does not require video decoding or BD-J it is referred to as profile 3.

    [edit] Hard-coating technology

    Because the Blu-ray Disc standard places the data recording layer close to the surface of the disc, early discs were susceptible to contamination and scratches and had to be enclosed in plastic caddies for protection. The consortium worried that such an inconvenience would hurt Blu-ray Disc's market adoption.[3] Blu-ray Discs now use a layer of protective material on the surface through which the data is read.

    Both Sony and Panasonic replication methods include proprietary hard-coat technologies. Sony's rewritable media are sprayed with a scratch-resistant and antistatic coating.[4]

    TDK also announced a way to remedy the problem in January 2004 with the introduction of a clear polymer coating that gives Blu-ray Discs substantial scratch resistance. The coating was developed by TDK and is called "Durabis". It allows BDs to be cleaned safely with only a tissue. The coating is said to successfully resist "wire wool scrubbing" according to Samsung Optical technical manager Chas Kalsi. It is not clear, however, whether discs will use the Durabis coating or if the use of the coating will prove too expensive.

    Since the claims of Chas Kalsi, several videos have appeared on YouTube of people testing these claims, usually on copies of Talladega Nights included as freebies with some PS3 units. The results seem to support Kalsi entirely with the disc undergoing extensive steel wool scrubbing and vicious attacks with pens and pizza cutters and still achieving normal playback on the PS3 console.

    Verbatim announced in July 2006 that their Blu-ray Disc recordable and rewritable discs would incorporate their hard-coat ScratchGuard technology which protects against scratches, abrasion, fingerprints, and traces of grease.[5]Devil

    [edit] Ongoing development

    Although the Blu-ray Disc specification has been finalized, engineers continue working to advance the technology. Quad-layer (100 GB) discs have been demonstrated on a drive with modified optics. And TDK announced in August 2006 that they have created a working experimental Blu-ray Disc capable of holding 200 GB of data on a single side, using six 33 GB data layers.[7] Such discs would almost certainly not work on some of today's Blu-ray Disc players, as these devices are only designed and tested on discs that meet the current specification.

    [edit] Paper based Blu-ray Disc

    On April 15, 2004, Sony Corporation and Toppan Printing, a large Japanese printing company, announced the development of the first paper-based Blu-ray Disc.Music Compared to normal Blu-ray discs it contained 51% paper, could store 25GB of data, and was developed with environmental concerns in mind as it used less raw material per unit of information during manufacture. Sony and Toppan said they would continue to develop the product for practical use.

    [edit] Software standards

    [edit] Codecs

    Codecs are compression schemes that can be used to store audio and video information on a disc. The BD-ROM specification places requirements on both hardware decoders (players) and the movie-software (content).

    For video, ISO MPEG-2, H.264/AVC, and SMPTE VC-1 are player-mandatory. (This means all BD-ROM players must be capable of decoding all three video codecs.) MPEG-2 video allows decoder backward compatibility for DVDs. H.264, sometimes called MPEG-4 part 10, is a more recent video codec. VC-1 is a competing MPEG-4 derivative codec proposed by Microsoft (based on Microsoft's previous work in Windows Media 9). BD-ROM titles with video must store video using one of the three mandatory codecs (multiple codecs on a single title are allowed).

    Initial versions of Sony's Blu-ray Disc-authoring software only included support for MPEG-2 video, so the initial Blu-ray Discs were forced to use MPEG-2 rather than the newer codecs, VC-1 and H.264. An upgrade was subsequently released supporting the newer compression methods so the second wave of Blu-ray Disc titles were able to make use of this. The choice of codecs affects disc cost (due to related licensing/royalty payments) as well as program capacity. The two more advanced video codecs can typically achieve twice the video runtime of MPEG-2. When using MPEG-2, quality considerations would limit the publisher to around two hours of high-definition content on a single-layer (25 GB) BD-ROM.

    For audio, BD-ROM players are required to support Dolby Digital AC-3, DTS, and linear PCM (up to 7.1 channels). Dolby Digital Plus, and lossless formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD are player optional. BD-ROM titles must use one of mandatory audiotracks for the primary soundtrack (linear PCM 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1.). A secondary audiotrack, if present, may use any of the mandatory or optional codecs.[9] For uncompressed PCM and lossless audio in Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio formats, Blu-ray Discs support encoding in up to 24-bit/192 kHz for up to six channels, or up to eight channels of up to 24-bit/96 kHz encoding.[10]

    For users recording digital television broadcasts, the Blu-ray Disc's baseline datarate of 54 Mbit/s is more than adequate to record high-definition broadcasts. Support for new codecs will evolve as they are encapsulated by broadcasters into their MPEG-2 transport streams, and consumer set-top boxes capable of decoding them are rolled out. For Blu-ray Disc movies the maximum transfer rate is 48 Mbit/s (1.5x) for the combined audio and video payload, of which a maximum of 40 Mbit/s can be dedicated to video data. This compares favorably to the maximum of 36.55 Mbit/s in HD DVD movies for audio and video data.[11]

    [edit] Java software support

    At the 2005 JavaOne trade show, it was announced that Sun Microsystems' Java cross-platform software environment would be included in all Blu-ray Disc players as a mandatory part of the standard. Java will be used to implement interactive menus on Blu-ray Discs, as opposed to the method used on DVD video discs, which uses pre-rendered MPEG segments and selectable subtitle pictures, which is considerably more primitive and less seamless. Java creator James Gosling, at the conference, suggested that the inclusion of a Java virtual machine as well as network connectivity in BD devices will allow updates to Blu-ray Discs via the Internet, adding content such as additional subtitle languages and promotional features that are not included on the disc at pressing time. This Java Version will be called BD-J and will be a subset of the Globally Executable MHP (GEM) standard. GEM is the world-wide version of the Multimedia Home Platform standard.

    [edit] Region codes

    The Blu-ray movie region codes are different from the DVD region codes.[12] The following are the region codes for Blu-ray discs:[13]

    Regions for Blu-Ray standard[14]
    Region code Area
    A/1 North America, Central America, South America, Koreas, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
    B/2 Europe, Greenland, French territories, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
    C/3 India, Nepal, Mainland China, Russia, Central and South Asia.

    [edit] Digital Rights Management

    Blu-ray Disc has an experimental digital rights management (DRM) feature called BD+ which allows for dynamically changing keys for the cryptographic protections involved. Should the keys currently in use be "cracked" or leaked, manufacturers can update them and build them into all subsequent discs, preventing a single key discovery from permanently breaking the entire scheme. Blu-ray Disc also mandates a Mandatory Managed Copy system, which allows users to copy content a limited number of times, but requiring registration with the content provider to acquire the keys needed; this feature was originally requested by HP.[15]

    The lack of a dynamic encryption model is what made standard DVD's Content Scramble System a disaster from the industry's perspective: once CSS was cracked, all standard DVDs from then on were open to unauthorized decryption. However this controversial technology, together with Self-Protecting Digital Content (SPDC), can allow players judged "bad" to be effectively disabled,[16] preventing their use by their purchaser or subsequent owners.[17] See Advanced Access Content System (AACS).

    The Blu-ray Disc Association also agreed to add a form of digital watermarking technology to the discs. Under the name "ROM-Mark", this technology will be built into all ROM-producing devices, and requires a specially licensed piece of hardware to insert the ROM-mark into the media during replication. All Blu-ray Disc playback devices must check for the mark. Through licensing of the special hardware element, the BDA believes that it can eliminate the possibility of mass producing BD-ROMs without authorization.

    In addition, Blu-ray Disc players must follow AACS guidelines pertaining to outputs over non-encrypted interfaces. This is set by a flag called the Image Constraint Token (ICT), which would restrict the output-resolution without HDCP to 960×540. The decision to set the flag to restrict output ("down-convert") is left up to the content provider. According to CED Magazine, Sony/MGM and Disney currently have no plans to down-convert, and Fox is opposed to it as well. Warner Pictures is a proponent of the ICT, and it is expected that Paramount will also implement it.[18] Other studios releasing Blu-ray Disc content have not yet commented on whether or not they will use down-conversion. None of the titles released as of Dec 2006 include the use of the ICT. AACS guidelines require that any title that implements the ICT must clearly state so on the packaging.

    In January 2007, it was reported that the AACS portion of the DRM protection had been cracked using technique similar to one used against the implementation of the same system on HD-DVD. [19][20]

    [edit] AnyDVD HD

    SlySoft have released AnyDVD HD which allows users to watch Blu-ray movies on non-HDCP compliant PC hardware. The movies can be decrypted on the fly direct from the Blu-ray disc or can be copied to harddisk. AnyDVD HD also automatically removes any unwanted logos and trailers. They have stated that AnyDVD HD uses several different mechanisms to disable the encryption, and is not dependent on the use of compromised encryption keys. They have also stated that AACS has even more flaws in its implementation than CSS, rendering it highly vulnerable, but they will release no details for obvious reasons. [1] Users at Doom9 claim that the program makes use of the host certificate of PowerDVD version 6.5, but SlySoft have confirmed that the program would be unaffected by the AACS revocation system.

    [edit] Applications

    [edit] Compatibility

    While it is not compulsory for manufacturers, the Blu-ray Disc Association recommends that Blu-ray Disc drives should be capable of reading standard DVDs for backward compatibility. For instance, Samsung's first Blu-ray Disc drive can read and write CDs, regular DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs. All other Blu-ray Disc players released support DVD playback as well. This includes Sony, Panasonic, Philips, LG, Pioneer and PC-based players from Alienware, Sony, and Dell. LG has also produced a player that is capable of playing both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats.

    JVC has developed a three layer technology that allows putting both standard-definition DVD data and HD data on a BD/DVD combo. If successfully commercialized, this would enable the consumer to purchase a disc which could be played on current DVD players, and reveal its HD version when played on a new BD player.[21] This hybrid disc does not appear to be ready for production and no titles have been announced that would utilize this disc structure.

    [edit] Stand-alone recorders and game consoles

    VidaBox MAX Dual Blu-ray Disc+HD DVD System

    The first Blu-ray Disc recorder was demonstrated by Sony on March 3, 2003, and was introduced to the Japanese market in April that year. On September 1, 2003, JVC announced Blu-ray Disc-based products at IFA in Berlin, Germany.

    In June 2004 Panasonic became the second manufacturer to launch a Blu-ray Disc recorder to the Japanese market. Launching in July the DMR-E700BD was one of the first few units to support writing to existing DVD formats, and to single-side dual-layer Blu-ray Discs with a maximum capacity of 50 gigabytes. The launch price of the recorder was $2,780 USD, with 50 GB disc costing around $69 USD and the 25 GB disc costing around $32 USD.[22][23]

    The home video game console system PlayStation 3 (Sony) is shipped with a 2x Blu-ray Disc drive. The drive is read-only as is the case with most game console optical drives. According to Sony's press releases, it supports DVD (8x), CD (24x), and SACD (2x) formats in addition to BD-ROM, BD-R, and BD-RE.

    On January 4, 2006, at the Consumer Electronics Show Philips announced their first Blu-ray Disc consumer product to the U.S. market.

    On April 13, 2006, Panasonic announced its first Blu-ray Disc player for the U.S. market, the DMP-BD10 would be shipping together in late 2006 along with their first commercially available plasma 1080p HDTVs.[24]

    On September 13, 2006, Panasonic announced a Blu-ray Disc (BD) recorder capable of playing back BDs. The Blu-ray Disc DIGA DMR-BW200 and DMR-BR100 can record high-definition imagery on BD-RE rewritable discs and dub from the built-in hard-disk drive.[25]

    On October 18, 2006, VidaBox announced the first Dual HD player / media center capable of playing back both Blu-ray Disc (BD) & HD DVD formats. The VidaBox MAX and VidaBox LUX can have both drives upgraded to play both high-definition formats up to their native 1080p resolutions at 24-bit color.[26]

    On December 4, 2006, Sony launched their first standalone Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-S1, to the U.S. market for $1000 USD.

    In December of 2006, Dell introduced its XPS M1710 laptop with a BD-ROM player and burner at a base price of US$3,599.

    On Jan 8, 2007 Samsung announced their second generation Blu-ray player BD-P1200 and is expected to retail for $799 and will be available by March 2007.

    One Feb 26, 2007 Sony announced their second generation Blu-ray player BDP-S300 and is expected to have all the feature of the BDP-S1 along with CD playback in a smaller shell to the U.S. market for $599 USD.

    [edit] PC data storage

    Originally, Blu-ray Disc drives in production could only transfer approximately 4.5 MB/s or 36 Mbit/s (54 Mbit/s required for BD-ROM), but 2x speed drives with a 9 MB/s or 72 Mbit/s transfer rate are now available. Rates of 8x (288 Mbit/s) or more are planned for the future. First devices used AT Attachment but newest ones support Serial ATA.

    [edit] Corporate support

    The Blu-ray Disc has gained a large amount of support in the corporate world,[27] with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Apple Inc., Dell, and Panasonic supporting it. Blu-ray Disc was first developed [28] by Sony Corporation in 2002 as a next generation data and video storage format alternative to DVD.

    In a recent interview with Gamespot, when quizzed on the new LG HD DVD/Blu-ray combo players, Sir Howard Stringer CEO of Sony had this to say: "It's an expensive way of showing Universal discs. The three biggest box-office winners of this year were, in order: Sony, Disney, and Fox. Those are the three Blu-ray players. When you consider that those three successful studios will be delivering last year's successful box office in home video this year, then that's an enormous advantage. The fourth is Warner, and they release in both formats, so it doesn't hurt. If you are going to be buying discs, you are going to be buying an awful lot of Blu-ray discs going forward—if you want Pirates of the Caribbean or James Bond or Da Vinci Code or Spider-Man. Universal is the only one with HD DVD. I don't feel terribly intimidated."

    [edit] Blu-ray / HD DVD comparison

    The primary rival to Blu-ray Disc is HD DVD, championed by Toshiba, NEC Corporation, Microsoft, and Intel. HD DVD has a lower theoretical disc capacity per layer (15 GB vs 25 GB). However the majority (over 80%[29]) of Blu-ray titles are in 25 GB single layer format while almost all (over 90%[30]) HD DVD movies are in 30 GB dual layer format. The Blu-ray Disc version of the Adam Sandler movie Click was released on October 10, 2006 as the first ever dual-layer release. Sony's goal is to use 50 GB dual-layer discs to store up to nine hours of HD video content. Alternatively, studios releasing movies on Blu-ray Disc can choose to use VC-1 or H.264/AVC instead of MPEG-2 as an alternative way to put four hours of high-definition content on a (single layer) BD.

    In terms of audio/video compression, Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD are similar on the surface: both support MPEG-2, VC-1, and H.264 for video compression, and Dolby Digital (AC-3), PCM, and DTS for audio compression. The first generation of Blu-ray Disc movies released used MPEG-2 (the standard currently used in DVDs, although encoded at a much higher video resolution and a much higher bit rate than those used on conventional DVDs), while initial HD DVDs releases used the VC-1 codec. Due to greater total disc capacity, the Blu-ray Disc may choose in the future to utilize a higher maximum video bit rate, as well as potentially higher average bit rates. In terms of audio, there are some differences. Blu-ray Disc allows conventional AC-3 audiotracks at 640 kbit/s, which is higher than HD DVD's maximum of, 504 kbit/s. Nevertheless, Dolby Digital Plus support is mandatory for standalone HD DVD players at a maximum of 3 Mbit/s, while optional for BD players with support at a bitrate of 1.736 Mbit/s.[31]

    Both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc support the 24p (traditional movie) frame rate, but technical implementations of this mode are different among the two formats. Blu-ray Disc supports 24p with its native timing, while HD DVD uses 60i timing for 24p (encoded progressively, replacing missing fields with "repeat field flags"). Decoders can ignore the “flags” to output 24p.[32] There is no impact on picture resolution or storage space as a result of this, as the HD DVD format uses the exact same video information — it simply adds notational overhead.

    Currently, five Hollywood studios support exclusively Blu-ray Disc: Columbia Pictures, MGM, Disney, Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox (Columbia Pictures and MGM are owned by Sony Pictures). Four Hollywood studios support both Blu-ray and HD DVD: Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema (the former 2 are owned by Viacom, and the latter 2 by Time Warner). Two Hollywood studios support exclusively HD DVD: Universal Studios and Weinstein Company.

    A Table Comparing The High Definition Optical Media Formats

    DVD included for comparison

    Disc Blu-ray Disc ROM HD DVD-ROM DVD-ROM
    Laser wavelength 405 Nanometers 405 Nanometers 650 Nanometers
    Numerical aperture 0.85 0.65 0.6
    Storage capacity single layer 25 GB 15 GB 4.7 GB
    Storage capacity dual layer 50 GB 30 GB 8.5 GB
    Playback time in Standard Definition with MPEG-2 at 5Mbits/s 22.2 hours 13.3 hours 3.8 hours
    Playback time in High Definition with AVC or VC-1 at 13Mbits/s 8.5 hours 5.1 hours -
    Playback time in High Definition with MPEG-2 at 20Mbits/s 5.5 hours 3.3 hours -
    Video codecs MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) / VC-1 / MPEG-2 MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) / VC-1 / MPEG-2 MPEG-2
    Audio codecs lossless (mandatory) Linear PCM Linear PCM / Dolby TrueHD Linear PCM[2ch]
    Audio codecs lossless (optional) Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD Master Audio DTS-HD Master Audio N/A
    Audio codecs lossy (mandatory) Dolby Digital / DTS / MPEG Audio Dolby Digital Plus / Dolby Digital / DTS / MPEG Audio Dolby Digital / MPEG Audio (Europe)
    Audio codecs lossy (optional) Dolby Digital Plus N/A DTS / MPEG Audio (North America)
    Maximum data transfer rate 54.0 Mbit/s 36.55 Mbit/s 10.08 Mbit/s
    Maximum video rate 40.0 Mbit/s 29.4 Mbit/s 9.8 Mbit/s
    Secondary video decoder (PIP) Optional Required N/A
    Video resolution (maximum) 1920×1080 24p progressive or 50/60i interlaced HDTV 1920×1080 24p progressive or 50/60i interlaced HDTV 720×480 and 720×576 50/60i interlaced SDTV
    Content protection system Advanced Access Content System (AACS-128bit) Advanced Access Content System (AACS-128bit) CSS 40-bit
    Protective Hardcoating Required Optional Optional

    Note: Playback times are quoted for dual layer disks, for single layer disks divide by two. Also all HD DVD players are required to be able to decode Dolby TrueHD to two channels, however all current players handle 5.1 decoding. [35


    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 5:51 PM