MakeMKV Beta Review (Rip DVD/Blu-Ray to MKV on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux)Written by John Thompson on November 10, 2010 · Filed under Review, Software
I’ve always hated clutter, but always loved technology, and the media that comes along with it. Quite often these ideals can be somewhat conflicting; after all, we all have nightmares about the spaghetti junctions in and around our desks, and that’s before we even get to the rest of our media. CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays. They all take up space. You have to question why we still have them around though, with terabytes and terabytes of available hard drive storage the necessity for these kinds of media is dwindling.
The one reason that I’ve kept the CDs and movies that I own is because when I watch a film, I like it to be in the best quality that it possibly can be. If you transfer a DVD or Blu-Ray disc to your hard drive, you’re often going to have to re-encode it, compress it, put it in a container such as .AVI or .MP4, and this all loses quality.
MakeMKV promises to change this, because it will allow you to take the content off a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, and put it on your hard drive with no major compression or re-encoding, meaning that you keep the vast majority of quality from the source. If you aren’t short on storage (and trust me, you won’t want to be short on storage), then this could be a viable way to finally get all that content on your hard drive and take it off your shelves.
Currently in Beta, the installation of MakeMKV doesn’t take long at all, and you should be good to go in most cases after a minute or so. The interface of the application is really simple; when you insert a DVD or Blu-Ray disc it will attempt to read it. In most cases it will read it no problems, but in other cases it may have to scan the contents of the disc in detail before offering you video and audio tracks to transfer to your hard drive. This only takes a few minutes, so it isn’t an issue.
If you’ve ever ripped a DVD before using software such as Handbrake or Daniusoft Media Converter, you’ll know that it’s a fairly long process, and if you’ve ever ripped a Blu-Ray disc before, you’ll know what it feels like to watch paint dry before your eyes for hours on end. The good news here is that when using MakeMKV, it doesn’t take long to rip the content at all, because your CPU isn’t working its ass off to re-encode your content, simply putting it in to an MKV container so you can view it easily with your media centre software.
When ripping a DVD on an averagely powerful machine (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM), it didn’t take longer than 3 or 4 minutes from the word go to an end file that I could use with my media centre PC. Of course, it took a little longer to rip a Blu-Ray for obvious reasons, and I also did this on a far slower machine (Intel Atom CPU overclocked at 2.1GHz, 2GB DDR2 RAM). Still, I had my file ready and waiting only around 40 minutes after beginning the transfer, which is a very impressive rate.
Since testing MakeMKV, I have ripped my entire DVD collection, and a few of the Blu-Rays that I have lying around as well. You can expect an average DVD to weigh in at anywhere between 3-7GB, and you’ll have to make a bit more room for the average Blu-Ray, some can come in at up to 40GB in size depending on the film. Whilst in beta, MakeMKV is completely free, although when it comes out of beta, you will have to pay €50 for the privilege of using it.