6.2. Selecting input file or device

MEncoder can encode from files or directly from a DVD or VCD disc. Simply include the filename on the command line to encode from a file, or dvd://titlenumber or vcd://tracknumber to encode from a DVD title or VCD track. If you have already copied a DVD to your hard drive (you can use a tool such as dvdbackup, available on most systems), and wish to encode from the copy, you should still use the dvd:// syntax, along with -dvd-device followed by the path to the copied DVD root. The -dvd-device and -cdrom-device options can also be used to override the paths to the device nodes for reading directly from disc, if the defaults of /dev/dvd and /dev/cdrom do not work on your system.

When encoding from DVD, it is often desirable to select a chapter or range of chapters to encode. You can use the -chapter option for this purpose. For example, -chapter 1-4 will only encode chapters 1 through 4 from the DVD. This is especially useful if you will be making a 1400 MB encode targeted for two CDs, since you can ensure the split occurs exactly at a chapter boundary rather than in the middle of a scene.

If you have a supported TV capture card, you can also encode from the TV-in device. Use tv://channelnumber as the filename, and -tv to configure various capture settings. DVB input works similarly.