Transcoding optical media in Linux

Obstacle Course


HandBrake and MakeMKV are two full-fledged applications for Linux that support Blu-ray disc and video DVD transcoding for commercial media – if legal at your location. HandBrake is ahead in terms of functionality, whereas MakeMKV offers an easier to use interface (Table 1).

Table 1

Comparison of Transcoders

Feature HandBrake MakeMKV
License GPL Freeware
Container format Matroska, MP4 Matroska
Media DVD, Blue-ray DVD, Blue-ray
Presets Yes Yes
Device-specific presets Yes No
Video codecs Theora, VP8/9, H.264/265, MPEG-2/4 Depends on source
Audio codecs Vorbis, AC3, MP3, AAC, MPEG-4 Depends on source
Select audio tracks Yes Yes
Select subtitle tracks Yes Yes
Command-line variant Yes No
Hardware Support
Nvidia CUDA support No No
AMD app support No No
Nvidia Nvenc support Yes No

MakeMKV impresses with low system load and is therefore suitable for use with older hardware. On the downside, it only supports Matroska as the target container format. HandBrake lets you choose between many container formats and uses a variety of codecs. The software also offers numerous presets for special hardware, such as gaming consoles, which makes it easier to get started with the software and does not require extensive preparatory work on the part of the user. Finally, the output quality in both applications is excellent.

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