Handbrake is a file conversion software. It will take your source DVD and converts it to MKV or MP4 format, perfect for watching on your Roku or Apple TV.
The application is free. You can get it from the vendor’s website, or I have a download available in the download section of this website. Once installed you will have an interface similar to this.
The features in this application are many, far more than MakeMKV. MakeMKV is an excellent program but I had trouble making all the files work with Roku, so I tried Handbrake. I still use MakeMKV for my other encoding, but to ensure I get what I need for Roku I switch to Handbrake.
The application has multiple different settings which you may want to play with in the future. For the purpose of this article make note of the items I have pointed to with the green arrow (not the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow, but an actual green arrow).
(You can click on the pictures to get a better view)
1) The first setting is the Preset. For here select Regular: High Profile. This will by default get you 95% of what you need to make the video work with Roku.
2) Change the file type, if it is not already set, to MP4. Roku works with both MP4 and MKV but I have seen better picture quality with MP4 and you can use the same file with your AppleTV, iTunes, iPhone and so on.
3) Change the anamorphic drop down to none. This will then allow you to click the Keep Aspect Ratio check box. This is a personal preference. I prefer widescreen because that is how the movie was filmed, but there is another reason to keep Apsect Ratio. Handbrake will have to change the format of the film if you don’t. It is possible you will see stretch and distortion. Give it a try for yourself and see what you like best.
4) Click the source button and choose where your video file is. It can see what is in your DVD drives as well. If you are working with a VOB (ripped DVD movie) then select the main folder where all the files are kept on your computer. Once selected you can use the File Destination section and browse button to decide where the file will go and what it will be named. The auto-naming by default uses the same name as the source but ads a dash 1 (-1) to the end of the file before the .mp4 or .mpv file extension. I don’t like having that -1 at the end so I changed the options for Handbrake to the settings indicated below. You can find these settings under Tools and Options.
5) Once you have the settings click on the Start button. The processing time is dependent on your computer, where the source files are located, what else you may be doing on the system and various other factors but for the most part this is a quick and easy process which takes about 15 minutes for me on average.
Also note that as long as Handbrake is open any special options you have choose will remain. You can also save your presets so that you can come back to them when you like. You do this by setting up the options you want and then choosing the Presets menu and then Save Presets. Give your preset a name and there you go.