DVD Ripping and Nero Recode

Steve Makofsky turned me on to some software I already use: Nero Burning ROM, but more specifically, Nero Recode 2, which is a part of their expanded "ultra" Nero suite. I've long considered Nero the definitive DVD and CD burning software; I had no idea they also offered a DVD ripping solution.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2004/12/dvd-ripping-and-nero-recode.html

By network do you mean 100baseT or something slower, like WiFi?

I’m on a gigabit lan actually. Wifi wouldn’t of surprised me, but 100baseT and up I’d figure would of been fine.

I just copied one 700mb, 1:29 movie to my server, and there were no issues playing it back on this PC via WMP. Seeks were very fast as well.

That’s not a very high bitrate, though… what bitrate (file size / length) files are we talking about?

I was playing with a 2GB file, and running through MCE.

I also recommend checking out VobBlanker. The one thing that irks me about Recode is when you ‘remove’ a section, you get a blank screen (or bmp), but you have to hit ‘skip’ to go past it. Vobblanker actually provides a seemless playback.

This, of course, is only really useful when re-encoding an entire DVD.

My latest procedure is to ‘rip’ to the HD, use VobBlanker to remove content, then Recode to reencode the DVD

One other question: Have you tried playing these Mp4’s over a network? I have seen some wierd slowdowns when I store the .mp4 on my home server, and playing them from my theater.

OK, I had some more time to test this. There should be no difference between playing in WMP vs. MCE, since MCE just drives WMP to play stuff anyway. I use WMP because it’s faster to fire that up for quick testing of video things than the full blown MCE interface.

I ripped Iron Giant special edition to two formats using Nero Recode. For better quality I used 2-pass encoding, which was AMAZINGLY fast-- the 1st pass just flies through at about 250-300fps!

  • 700mb, 720x300, 128kbps AAC
  • 2gb, 720x300, 128kbps AAC

The image width is identical to the DVD, just cropped for widescreen. No pixels were harmed in the making of these files. The only difference between the two is the bitrate. I then copied these two files to my home server.

100baseT: On my desktop PC, both files play back perfectly. No hitching whatsoever over the wired network.

802.11b: The HTPC is connected via WiFi. The 700mb file plays back perfectly. The 2gb file plays well most of the time, but seems to hitch at random every few minutes when there’s a dropout in the wifi performance. I could replay the “problem” sections and they’d be fine, so it’s not something specific to the way the file was encoded. Just seemed to be random. Probably because this bitrate is too aggressive for 802.11b…

As for quality, judged on the 42" plasma HTPC setup:

  • the 700mb file had a bit more artifacting, but was still AMAZINGLY good for that filesize. Totally watchable even on a large screen; I doubt a casual viewer could see the difference between this and the DVD, although I did notice it mostly around the hard edges of the animation lines.

  • the 2gb file was nearly perfect. I think we’d have a hard time distinguishing between it and the original DVD. Very little artifacting.

Oh yeah, and random scrollbar seeks were surprisingly fast on either WiFi or wired, for both files. I was surprised, actually, how well seeking worked on the WiFi. Just a few second pause at most, no matter how deep I set the scrollbar into the video.

Regarding MPEG4 and Nero…

Are you using the “ASP” MPEG4 creation for your Recode files (Using the profiles labeled “Standard”, etc), or are you creating “AVC” advanced files for your MPEG4s (Using the profiles which are labeled “AVC-Standard”, etc)

I have had success in getting ASP-based files encoded and playing back on machines, but the AVC-based encodes don’t play back in anything other than Nero Showtime (which, as you say, is unacceptable!)

So I guess the question is - are you using the AVC encoding process and having success! If so, I may need to borrow your brain for a day or so to figure this out!

Are you … using the profiles labeled “Standard”, etc

Yes, I use “Standard” most of the time, I did use “High Definition” for the 2gb Iron Giant encode.

I have had success in getting ASP-based files encoded and playing back on machines

Yeah, my encodes play back, as long as I get the 3ivx audio and video decoders installed via the K-Lite codec pack.

Sorry, I guess I haven’t tried the advanced (AVC) profiles. What are those for?

The AVC (Advanced Video Coding) profiles use the new h.264 codecs being developed for MPEG4. h.264 is the encoding that is slated to be used on the next generation DVD players (Blu-ray, etc.)

The PROBLEM is that Nero has engineered their AVC system to ONLY be playable using their Showtime player. Apparently the codec is NOT DirectShow compliant, even though AVC/h.264 is an agreed upon standard.

That leads users to have to use the ASP (Advanced Simple Profile) codec versions. This profile is the one Nero Recode2 uses whenever a profile without the AVC tag is selected. This ASP codec is more compatable with other viewers.

AVC codecs have been tested to provide superior image quality at the same bitrates as ASP profiles can. While ASP beats out Divx/Xvid in test runs, AVC beats them ALL! (doom9 ran a comparison).

All told, this is why I asked - I’d STRONGLY prefer to use the AVC profiles for my encoding, but because it is incompatable with other viewers, it won’t suit my needs when I move the file to my Home Theater PC and try to play it there.

Here’s to hoping Nero opens up their AVC decoders to DirectShow, so that all sorts of applications can take advantage of the codec.


OK, I decided to give this another whirl, and WHOA something is wierd after the latest Nero upgrade.

It wanted to take 260 minutes to mp4 a 2 hour movie.

What do you guys use for settings, etc?

Mostly I use the standard profile, with all default settings as chosen by Nero. I may tweak the cropping, or the start/end frames, but that’s about it.

For the stuff I’m encoding-- full length movies with no extras, between 1:30 and 2:00 in length-- I get encode times of around 30-45 minutes. I do have the latest version of Nero because I downloaded it (rather than installing) after I received the key I purchased on eBay.

I’ve been flirting with double-pass encoding since the overall increase in encoding time is pretty negligible (maybe +10 mins, roughly 25% of the total time). But other than that, I don’t tweak the advanced encoding settings at all… and what I love about Recode is that I don’t have to!

Ok - I was encoding on HD format - which was why it was taking so long. On Standard, it took about 40 minutes or so.

I need to try it over the network - Im wondering if the hidef encoding was why I was seeing problems.

Download mp4 plugin from 3ivx site http://3ivx.com/download/windows.html and play the mp4 video!

That’s what I’m already using on my MCE box - 3ivx.

I am having the same problem as the guys above…When I use Recode2, I cant get the disc to play on anything…Not only that but it locks up my system and even using ctrl-alt-del. I cant get it to release my dvd drive…So I am having to reboot my computer anytime I try to play a recoded dvd…

Intel p4 3gig
1.5 gig ram
256 mb video card

I wouldnt think that I should have any hangups or lockups, and also it is takin my upwards of 2.5 hrs to recode a 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hr. dvd…Any help guys???..oh and I also have the latest update to ultra…

I Have a Philips DVP642 stand alone player that say’s it will play all video codecs that comply with specifications of ISO-MPEG-4 simple profile. I have the latest Nero Recode2 update and still can’t get a burned CD-R to play on anything but my computer-NeroShow time and Windows media player. My stand alone will play DivX ok but Nero MPEG-4 is much better quality any ideas on how to get MPeg-4 to play on stand alones? It’s a great format.

any ideas on how to get MPeg-4 to play on stand alones?

  1. Modify an xbox

  2. Install XBOX Media Center

  3. Insert large HDD

…and you got yourself a movie/music jukebox that is capable of playing practically any format of sound or video (including Nero Digital). You can find very helpful tutorials and forums at xbox-scene.com, just make sure if you get a drive over 120GB to format it with 32k clusters… I had some problems with that.

I admit this isn’t a solution for someone who doesn’t want to get their hands dirty, but if you want to put in the work there really isn’t any other device that can compare. You can access iTunes shares, stream over a network or store your media locally…