How to Rip Blu-ray Discs to Your PC: A Comprehensive Guide

June 25, 2024
Justin Lumiere

Ripping Blu-ray movies to your computer can be a convenient way to back up your physical media and make it accessible for streaming. Here are the key steps and considerations to follow:

Necessity of a Blu-ray Drive

To rip Blu-ray movies, you will need an optical drive that can read Blu-ray discs. Many modern laptops do not come with built-in disk drives, so you may need to purchase an external Blu-ray drive or install an internal one in your desktop.

HTPC Blu with 56-in-1 Card Reader
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4K UHD Blu-rays

For ripping 4K UHD Blu-rays, a regular Blu-ray drive that is "4K friendly" is required. Most 4K Blu-ray drives have enhanced copy protection which limits their ripping capabilities, so opting for a compatible drive is essential.

Using MakeMKV

MakeMKV is a highly recommended free program for ripping DVD and Blu-ray discs into MKV format. To avoid interruptions, use the latest beta key when prompted or purchase a license. For some drives, you may need hashed decryption keys, which can be downloaded and added to the MakeMKV preferences.

Ripping Process

Once MakeMKV scans your optical drive, it will present the disc information. You can then choose the movie title to rip. The process can take some time, depending on the size of the movie and the speed of your player.

Compression of Video

HandBrake, a free program, can compress video files to reduce their size. While this is handy for managing large file sizes, be aware that it may result in some loss of video quality. Adjust HandBrake settings to balance between quality and space savings.

Final Output

After ripping and optionally compressing the video, you will have a smaller file that can be stored on your computer, and transferred to other devices, or shared for viewing. Utilizing a media server like Plex can enhance streaming capabilities across your home network.

External vs. Internal Drives

If you are deciding between external drives and internal drives with enclosures, consider your setup and portability needs. An external drive offers versatility and ease of use across different devices, whereas an internal drive may offer better performance and integration if you're using a desktop setup.

Key Tools and Equipment for Ripping Blu-ray Movies
StepRequirementDescription
1Blu-ray Drive

An optical drive capable of reading Blu-ray discs. Options include:

  • External Drives
  • Internal Drives
24K UHD-Compatible Blu-ray Drive

Specialized Blu-ray drive that can handle 4K UHD discs. Important for those looking to rip 4K content.

3MakeMKV Software

A free program used to rip DVD and Blu-ray discs into MKV format. Requires:

  • Latest beta key or a purchased license
  • Hashed decryption keys for some drives
4HandBrake Software

An optional free program used for video compression, helping to reduce file size with adjustable quality settings.

5Media Server (e.g., Plex)

Enhances streaming capabilities across your home network, offering better management and playback of ripped content.

Ripping TV Series

Ripping TV series follows the same process as movies. MakeMKV allows you to select individual episodes and ignore special features if desired. This ensures you only rip the content you want.

Recommendations and Considerations

For those with a large collection, investing in a reliable external or internal Blu-ray drive is crucial. Popular recommendations for drives include the LG WH16NS40 for internal use and the Pioneer BDR-XD07B for external use. Ensure your chosen drive is compatible with MakeMKV for seamless operation.

Ultimately, ripping Blu-ray movies to your computer enables better management of your media library and ensures your physical discs are backed up. Following these guidelines will help you achieve high-quality rips and a practical media setup.

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