[FFmpeg-user] novice, in need of advice regarding format conversion

Ronald F. Guilmette rfg at tristatelogic.com
Tue Jul 17 01:27:49 CEST 2012


I have a number (20+) of non-encrypted DVDs that I would like to convert to
something (anything) that my recently acquired LG BD670 Blu-Ray player will
play from its USB port and/or via its network connection (via DLNA).

Basically, I'd like to get rid of all of these DVD disks and put all of
the video+audio content that they contain onto a large external USB drive,
which I will then hook up to my LG BD670.  (Actually, due to fortunate
circumstance, I already have an external 200GB USB drive that will work
quite nicely.)  This will be nice, because then I won't have to be
shuffling physical disks around and inserting/removing them from the
BD670 all of the time.  I can just select what I want to watch from
the content on the USB drive.

The actual problem here is twofold.

First, there are only a limited number of formats (codecs?) that the LG
BD670 will allow to be played via either USB or network (DLNA), and these
specifically DO NOT include .VOB files.  (And I have verified that indeed,
the BD670 refuses to play .VOB files via the USB port.)

Second, and more importantly, I don't know what the hell I'm doing.  What
I know about codecs and container formats could fit into a thimble.  I am
also almost entirely ignorant about ffmpeg (the command line tool) and its
multitude of options.  This is really the bigger problem.  I'm hoping that
someone here will take pity on me a send me some enlightenment.

First however, allow me to share two critical pages of documentation from
the LG BD670 manual:


As you can see in the second column of the first table on the first of these
two pages, it is alleged that the BD670 can play files (from USB or network/
DLNA) that make use of the following audio & video codecs:

		DIVX3.xx, DIVX4.xx, DIVX5.xx, DIVX6.xx
			(``standard playback only'')
		H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
		VC-1 SM (WMV3)

		Dolby Digital

Separately, the first column of the first table indicates support for the
following filename extensions:  .avi, .divx, .mpg, .mpeg, .mkv, .mp4,
.asf, .wmv, and via USB only, .m4v files.

All of this stuff is pretty much greek to me.  I really know little or
nothing about these codecs, containers, and file formats.  I don't know
which is best for what I want to do, or why, and more importantly, I know
nothing at all about the plethora of ffmpeg command line options or their
various effects on the conversions I will ultimately perform.  So I could
really use some help & guidance.... like a lot of it.

Given that I don't really care if I have to leave my main machine crunching
all night just to convert (with maximum quality) each one of my input DVDs,
I need to know:

   1)  To which of the BD670-supported formats (USB/DLNA) should I convert
       my DVDs?

   2)  What are all of the ffmpeg command line options I should use for each
       conversion?  (Perhaps it goes without saying, but I would like the
       quality of the output video+audio to be as good as, or nearly as good
       as what is on the original DVDs.)

Regarding question (1), I should perhaps clarify that with regarsd to this
little project, I have absolutely no biases or religious predispositions.
In general, I prefer ``open'' (as in ``open standards'' and ``open source'')
over ``closed'', but for this project, whaever works best is all that I
really care about.  I really don't care which of the BD670 supported formats
I convert to, as long as it works and the quality is good.  (I will retain
the original DVDs, so if in future I decide to re-convert them to some
different/better format, I can always do that later on.  For now, whatever
works is good enough.)

Help in the form of suggested ffmpeg command lines would be much appreciated.

Before closing, I'd just like to also mention two more desires... desires
which may or may not be feasible as part of the conversions I plan to do.

1) It would be Extraordinarily Nice if the converted files contained chapter
markers at the same places as the original DVDs... you know, so that I can
skip around among chapters using the BD670 remote while watching the converted

2) It would be Extravagantly Terrific if the origianl menu system of the
original DVDs could be preserved in the conversions also... but I am guessing
that this is almost certainly asking for too much.


P.S.  As may perhaps be obvious from the foregoing, I am a dyed-in-the-wool
UNIX bigot, and I am vastly more comfortable with a command line, as opposed
to, say, almost any type of GUI.

P.P.S.  On the second page of the two PDF manual pages I put on my web server
(see above) there are some caveats relating to the kinds of files that the
BD670 will play.  I don't understand any of these, but perhaps folks responding
to this posting will understand them, so I have included them for the sake
of completness.

One thing that I do know (and that I already established for myself,
experimentally) is that whereas the BD670 manual says that the thing will
play .wmv files, to be more precise it will actually only play things
that ffmpeg identifies as wmv3 and/or VC-1.  It will most definitely NOT
play things that ffmpeg identifies as wmv1 or wmv2.

P.P.P.S.  Interestingly, another model in this series, the LG BD640, _will_
play .VOB files (from the USB port) even though the BD670, which is ostensibly
a better & more capable model, refuses to do so.  I suspect that perhaps the
MPAA and or some collection of its members may have persuaded LG that it
would not be in LG's best interests to ship a player that could play .VOB
files _and_ which also implemented DLNA.  But then again, I also believe
that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, so readers may wish to take my
opinions with a large grain of salt.

More information about the ffmpeg-user mailing list