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I have a bunch of DVDs that I've already ripped into a VIDEO_TS directory containing .IFO and .VOB files.

I have a cheap primitive video player that will accept .mpg files.

I've tried two different solutions for converting formats, but neither give totally acceptable results. The first is Handbrake. It has a magical ability to zero in on the content I want, but it insists on re-encoding everything it touches. This makes it take forever to create a file, and the result is noticeably inferior to the original.

The second is ffmpeg. It can quickly convert the format with no loss whatsoever, but it can't process multiple input files and thus requires you to manually concatenate the .VOB files before you start. It also doesn't know when to stop - I have one example where the last VOB consists of 2/3 of the end of the movie and 1/3 of the start of a making of documentary. I'd like to lose the documentary. The command line I use is:

ffmpeg -i temp.vob -target film-dvd -vcodec copy -acodec copy "movie.mpg"

I'd like something that combines the convenience of Handbrake with the lossless quality and speed of ffmpeg, preferably free or with a trial at a minimum.

Edit: I'd also be happy with finding the options for Handbrake or ffmpeg that would allow them to do what I want. At the moment it looks like I'll need to use another utility to find the length of the segment that I want to keep, then pass that parameter to ffmpeg - hardly a streamlined operation.

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Does you player only support specifically the ".mpg" file extension/container or does it have certain codec restrictions (such as needed MPEG2 video with MP3 audio or something similar)? – Turix May 24 '12 at 16:04
@Turix, the documentation isn't the greatest. It says it supports the following video formats: RM, RMVB, AVI, MPEG1(VCD), MPEG2(DVD), MP4. It has been a matter of trial and error to see what works. The player is this one: – Mark Ransom May 24 '12 at 16:15

Based on the information you've provided in the comments; I would suggest that you try the following Handbrake settings:

Container: MP4 File (Leave all three boxed unticked) Leave everything on the Video Filters, Chapter, Subtitles, Advanced tabs blank Video Tab - Video Codec: MPEG-2 (FFMpeg), leave quality factor as it is, default is fine Audio Tab - Leave it as the default to begin with, if that doesn't work try changing the audio codec to MP3 (lame)

Based on what I can tell, those settings should work with the player in question - maybe a little of trial and error with the audio codec, but MP3 is pretty universally supported.

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He clearly wants to avoid transcoding. Your solution will result in transcoding, and therefore, loss of quality. Worse, you're suggesting he transcode into a poor-quality and large-file-size format. – Mark Jun 4 '14 at 23:50

Your best bet is to strip out the extraneous data of the VOB -- after all, it's already in MPG format. You can use Project X for this. It does many other things, but will strip the audio/video out into MPG, with the added benefit of not transcoding -- this way you'll have video and audio that's identical to the original (no loss due to additional compression). Not to mention it's dramatically faster to strip out the unnecessary data than to re-encode.

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Thanks for the suggestion. The documentation states it works with the DVB format, but I'll take your word that it can do VOB also. What would make it a better choice than ffmpeg? – Mark Ransom May 24 '12 at 17:55
Well, I guess only that it's a couple quick clicks instead of hashing out a command line. Apologies, though, I didn't pay close enough attention to your ffmpeg script -- I thought you were re-encoding. I see now, however, that you're just doing a copy. In that sense, there's really no difference. – Uninspired May 24 '12 at 18:19

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