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Friday, July 24, 2009

Guide: Demuxing and Remuxing MKV for the PS3

I had purchased a 160gb PS3 a month back, not just for gaming, but for its media-related features as well. Though I do stream (via wifi or ethernet) a bit to the Playstation 3, I tend to load its hard drive with High Definition (720p and 1080p) videos which, initially, were in MKV and WMV-HD formats.



Now the PS3 will not play files in the MKV Container as is. So don't try putting them directly on the HDD. I'd like to share my experience with muxing and demuxing these files and WMVs for the benefit of others in the similar situation.

First, MKVs.

As an example, I will be using an MKV with x264 video and DTS 5.1 audio. Transcoding to a different codec might make this file more compatible with the PS3, but the problem is any sort of transcoding operation WILL decrease video quality. So all we're aiming to do is demux and remux, and convert the audio alone. And I'm not going to deal with subtitles either.
Applications required:
  • MKVToolnix (MKV-extract GUI in particular)
  • WinFF
  • TsMuxer GUI




Load up your MKV file in MKV Extract GUI. The list of tracks contained in the MKV is displayed. Here select just the MPEG4/ISO/AVC and DTS tracks (check the boxes) and hit extract. The destination directory will contain the output in the form of a .264 and .dts file. The .dts file is the audio portion and I downmix that to 2.0 AC3 using WinFF. Open up WinFF and drag and drop the .dts file into it. Select Audio from the drop down menu and AC3 384kbps from the subcategory. The end result after you convert this will be a .ac3 file.

We now have all we need to make the m2ts output that will play on the PS3. Start up TsMuxer GUI. Drag and drop both the AC3 and the X264 parts into TsMuxer. There is one alternative way to do this too, without extracting the video (x264) from the mkv. TsMuxer can directly read the MKV and it will list the DTS track as well as the video track. Leave the video selected, uncheck the DTS audio and add the AC3 audio to the list of inputs. Check the box next to the AC3 track too.



Click on the track that says H.264. If the number next to "Change level" is greater than 4.1, enable the option "Change level" and choose 4.1 from the drop down menu. Else it won't play on the console. Choose "M2TS muxing" as the output option. Also, if your video is greater than 4gb, you won't be able to put it on a FAT32 formatted drive (whether it be a pen drive or an external HDD). And the PS3 cannot read NTFS formatted media.

So use the split and cut tab to choose the "Split by size" option and enter a value less than 4gb. Then go back to the Input tab and hit start muxing. Your output file will be a .m2ts file (or two or three of them if you had a large video to begin with). Copy these to the FAT32 formatted media, and enjoy HD awesomeness on your LCD or Plasma via the black box (assuming you have a HD ready or Full HD screen that is).

I'll post on how to rectify the WMV-HD video for playback on the PS3 in another post.

Till then, I hope this helps. And do note that the tools mentioned are all freely downloadable.



UPDATE: Please note that I'm downmixing 5.1 DTS to AC3 2.0 in the above example. However if you wish to convert the DTS 5.1 to AC3 5.1, just Popcorn MKV AudioConverter (links to tutorial and download), its a free utility. Then use the converted AC3 5.1 audio equipped MKV directly in TsMuxer.

The reason I'm not directly using 5.1 DTS is because the latest version of TsMuxer gives me an output with only video when I use the MKV directly with DTS. Might just be some problem with my computer and TsMuxer not getting along well but thought I'd suggest an alternate.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the guide.....and there is a way of preserving the dts or dd 5.1 stream in ac3 format....not free though

The Lone Wolf said...

^^ You're most welcome. There is an inexpensive way to the do the same too. Popcorn MKV Audio Converter is a free utility. I'll update the post with that info.

gollumkid said...

dude iv tried all da crazy stuff 4 muxing da mkv files to play on da ps3.....all dis stuff takes a lot of time....i'll tell ya sumthing....download dis software....."mkv2vob" yup dats da correct spelling.....its 1ly a few Mbs & u can convert mkvs to b played on da ps3 within 15 mins.....seriously....u just select da mkv folder......u just have 2 select file splitting->fat32(4gb) & even if da mkv is 8gb or so......it splits da movie into parts of 4gb.....it also accepts dts (no need 2 transcode).......its da best software for muxing or wateva.......do try it & let me kno....(btw dint kno u wrote dis blog till now......oderwise wud have told u earlier) & btw i hope u understand all da technical stuff i told u :P :P

gollumkid said...

how much time do u take converting da movies......mkv2vob takes just 10-15 mins....usually i download bluray rips dat r arnd 4.37gb or arnd 6gb.....4got 2 tell u......dis software even unrars ur mkv...if its in a rar file........so its just select & click....nothing more dan dat.....i use a optic cable btw......so after converting da movie..if it has dts.....wen playing on da ps3 u have 2 press triangle....select audio options->left+right.....& keep da volume in normal.....in da movie playback screen.....actually ur receiver detects it as linear pcm.....but its actually playing dts....i hope dis helps....used 2 waste a hell a lot of time figuring out how 2 watch hd movies :P :P

The Lone Wolf said...

@gollumkid "I hope you understand all the technical stuff" - I'll kick your ass da....

I've tried mkv2vob already long back da, it will sometimes output video in the wrong aspect ratio, which is CERTAINLY A BIG ISSUE. As far as creating vids with subtitles goes MKV2VOB is better, but i prefer tsMuxer...

gollumkid said...

i use tsmuxer 2 mux my DBZ episodes widout da Jap lang....sum retard set it as da default lang...I like da Funimation voice acting much b8r....so i had 2 sit & remux every episode...lol

The Lone Wolf said...

idiot, don't keep explaining connections and all as if I'm a dunce.... I've been doing for a long long time even when your mum was afraid to send you a to a friend's house cos the auto driver might kidnap you ;) .

And as long as you know what you're doing with files, tsMuxer is faster. Takes around 8 minutes for me at max. MKV2VOB is easier for one click conversion. It sometimes does a bad job at DTS conversion too.

Besides the guide is meant to help people with non-surround setups and not using optical out or HDMI receivers.

gollumkid said...

btw wats ur tv model & size?? i download 1ly 720p movies....i use vuze torrent!! u have any original BDs??? btw y doesnt ur blog contain a lsit of da PS3 games u own or played.....im curious u kno....

gollumkid said...

atleast i read ur blog 4 a starter....how many of subscribers uv got eh?? who understand any of dis???

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