Making sense of LibreDrive and the 4K UHD HDR world - is it worth it?

Discussion of LibreDrive mode, compatible drives and firmwares
Post Reply
HankRearden
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:32 pm

Making sense of LibreDrive and the 4K UHD HDR world - is it worth it?

Post by HankRearden » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:23 pm

First, MakeMKV is awesome. I finally upgraded to the paid version to get my modest BluRay collection into Plex a few months ago and it's been working great. My basic setup/process is this:

MakeMKV > Handbrake (1080 HQ Preset) > Plex > Roku 3/Roku Express (1080p devices) > 1080p TVs (2)

Side note: In that setup you'll notice I don't have 4K HDR viewing capabilities, but some of my Plex users do. Plus, I assume I'll upgrade at some point.

The other day I upgraded my MakeMKV version and happen to catch something in the release notes that said something like "For you poor souls not on LibreDrive..." That sent me on a journey to learn about LibreDrive, particularly since I noticed in MakeMKV a line that said: "LibreDrive: Possible but not enabled" or something like that. What was I missing out on?

Incidentally, a neighbor recently gave away some of their movie collection, and I got a handful of their movies, including 3 UHD movies (Forrest Gump, John Wick 1, 2). This was before I knew anything about libredrive and I tried ripping them at the time and they failed.

So with what I learned yesterday about libredrive, I decied to give it a shot. I flashed the drive, it worked, and I was able to rip the three UHD movies. (Another side note, the flash went to 100%, but then said it failed, however it behaves as if it works).

Then, with my fresh rip of Forrest Gump from MakeMKV, I discovered the color muting problem. In reading about it and UHD rips in general here and in Plex discussions, it seems like the world is not as simple as "get the highest quality copy into Plex and let it downgrade to whatever an individual player needs."

I'm continuing to study the forums, but it's hard to tell what's current information and what isn't, so I wanted to throw out some basic questions for anyone who cares to venture an answer. I realize some of these questions are not black and white and bleed across topics/products. I'm just looking for your opinions and advice as I try to piece all this together.
  • What have a gained with LibreDrive? I know I can now rip UHD discs, but what about my "unrippable" stack of blurays? When I ripped my regular blurays (before libredrive) there were a few that I couldn't get to rip. Should I go back to the unrippables and try them again with LibreDrive, or is that functionality unchanged?
  • What is the Handbrake step like in the UHD HDR world? Once you have a fresh 4K rip from MakeMKV, what do you do with it? How does Handbrake affect the color muting problem (if at all)? Are there presets you use/recommend for getting your rips Plex-ready?
  • What is the best practice for Plex users serving a mixed user base (some with 4K HDR capabilities, others without)? Posts I've seen talk about ripping multiple versions, separate libraries, etc. But some of that seems dated. Is that still the best option? Is there not a capability today to just put the highest quality option (e.g. the 4K HDR rip) into Plex and let it down-convert as needed?
I realize this isn't a Plex or Handbrake form, and I can post some of these same questions there. But this community seems involved in the whole ecosystem so I'm hoping you could offer your own experience and opinions.

In short: I'm trying to figure out if it's worth trying to rip UHD content at this time. Any input you have will help in that effort!

st4evr
Posts: 633
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:38 pm

Re: Making sense of LibreDrive and the 4K UHD HDR world - is it worth it?

Post by st4evr » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:33 pm

HankRearden wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:23 pm
  • What have a gained with LibreDrive? I know I can now rip UHD discs, but what about my "unrippable" stack of blurays? When I ripped my regular blurays (before libredrive) there were a few that I couldn't get to rip. Should I go back to the unrippables and try them again with LibreDrive, or is that functionality unchanged?
Libredrive does not equal the ability to decrypt (a.k.a “rip“) UHD content or other that is protected by AACS encryption methods. You gained UHD ripping support because of other aspects/“features” of the firmware you used to flash your drive which are specifically made available in this forum (and has spread to others as well) for this purpose. Not because it’s Libredrive capable/compatible. UHD BD content (as well as standard BD content for that matter) decryption was possible even before Libredrive was available.

So, in very short that is not how this process works or what is for. Libredrive is only responsible for the handling very specific part of AACS as it relates to certificate revocation. For the long and drawn out explanation Mike himself (owner/developer of MakeMKV) goes into great detail on what Libredrive is in the sticky post at the top of this Libredrive subforum. And this topic has been beaten to death outside of that as well in the past 2+ years. The forum search function and Google can provide many of those more detailed discussions if you would like to dive deep into those technical discussions. Although Mike’s post on it provides pretty much all that is needed.

Your “unrippable” stack is simply “unrippable” due to other reasons. However, retrying them against the newest version of MakeMKV with the possible newer firmware you just flashed could result in better ripping/reading stability and might be worth a shot again regardless of Libredrive.

In regards to your other points/questions, as you noted this isn’t the Handbreak or Plex forums. And although there are some discussions on those here, they are often limited and/or outdated because again this forum is focused on MakeMKV. Some may be able to advise, but do not be surprised if they don’t or can’t. Again, simply because those subjects are more often better discussed with the subject matter experts at their respective support forums.

HankRearden
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:32 pm

Re: Making sense of LibreDrive and the 4K UHD HDR world - is it worth it?

Post by HankRearden » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:47 pm

Thank you @st4evr - a very thoughtful reply to a post largely out of scope. I'll seek those Handbrake and Plex answers at the appropriate sources.

Regarding Mike's post that you referenced, I have read that and it was very useful. And I see your point now. I couldn't rip UHD discs in the past. I flashed the firmware which enabled libredrive and was then able to rip UHD discs. I mistakenly attributed this new capability to libredrive specifically, when it's really the firmware that did the trick.

Thank you!

Post Reply