Backing up my DVD / Blu-ray collection with MakeMKV

I have a large movie collection, one that has been growing since my early college days, and I have been wanting to convert all of my old media to a digital format for a long time. About a year ago, I started using Plex.tv to play movies, but the problem I quickly ran into is that the conversion process can be tedious.

Enter MakeMKV, a free (for DVD) solution for ripping discs to MKV format. The developer’s description says it well:

MakeMKV is your one-click solution to convert video that you own into free and patents-unencumbered format that can be played everywhere. Additionally MakeMKV can instantly stream decrypted video without intermediate conversion to wide range of players, so you may watch Blu-ray and DVD discs with your favorite player on your favorite OS or on your favorite device. MakeMKV is one of the few programs that can read Blu-ray discs protected with latest versions of AACS and BD+

Quite simply, it makes pulling video files off discs a breeze. As I mentioned, it is free for DVD use, but it does cost $50 for Blu-ray functionality (after a 30-day trial.) In the settings, it is possible to exclude video tracks that don’t meet a minimum length, so it’s easy to automatically strip out menus, previews, etc. I have mine set to a minimum of 2500 seconds (about 42 minutes), which covers me for all movies and most comedy discs that I have. Occasionally, I need to lower this number (for a TV show, e.g.) but usually this can stay as-is.

MakeMKV minimum title length setting

It makes processing a large video collection even easier, as it allows multiple instances to run in parallel, so I can pull from both my DVD and Blu-ray drives simultaneously.

MakeMKV Multiple drives setting

With this setting enabled, the user is prompted at application start to choose which drive to use for this session. Otherwise, it locks all drives and only one instance can be used at a time.

Keep an eye out for a future post (soon) in which I will outline and share code on how I automated this process using PowerShell to auto-detect disc insertion to either drive and start the process.

Thanks for reading, and please let me know if you have any questions. Already know about MakeMKV, and are ready to buy? Use this link, and help me out. Thanks!

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