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Old 3rd December 2015, 20:57   #1  |  Link
kit90
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DVD/Blu-ray Like Menus and Multiple Titles in MKV/MP4

I'm sorry if this question has been asked before. I would like to know if we could have a menu screen inside an MKV/MP4 file as we see on DVDs and Blu-rays where we can choose the audio/subtitle tracks and chapters using buttons. Also, would it also be possible to include multiple titles in a single file? It is true that all of these can be done from the software player's GUI, but a custom-designed menu would be great. I checked several options, but none seemed to work for me.
  1. For MP4 files, I checked MP4Menu and MP4MenuGUI, but these apps crashed when I input my files.
  2. For MKV files, I used DVDMenuxtractor with a DVD. It finished execution, but when I used MKVMerge to process the intermediate files, it failed to generate output. I later used ChapterEditor. In this case, when I opened the first file, I could access the other files' chapters through the software player's GUI. But it also didn't give me a menu screen with buttons to choose chapters, audio or subtitles. Also all input files should have the same number and types of audio and subtitle tracks for it to work.
  3. I finally found out about a format called PGMX, which is a proprietary variant of MKV. It supports DVD-like menus and multiple titles inside a single file, but can be played only on TMPGEnc PGMX Player. Also it supports only AVC for video, AAC for audio and SRT and S_IMAGE/PGMX for subtitles.

Since PGMX implements DVD-like menus and multiple titles, wouldn't it be possible for MKV and MP4 too? In the Matroska website, a draft menu specification is given. Also MKVToolnix seems to support DVD VOBButtons, according to its source code. Would it be possible to support the more feature-rich Blu-ray HDMV IGS buttons too, inside an MKV?
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Old 4th December 2015, 11:04   #2  |  Link
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I didn't even know MP4 allows for menus.
Whereas MKV could in theory hold a structure, pretty much like the DVD one, but it's difficult to make it work and I am not aware of any player supporting these features.

Any reason why not keeping the DVD/BD as they are?
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Old 4th December 2015, 13:04   #3  |  Link
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Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
Any reason why not keeping the DVD/BD as they are?
Hi, thanks for replying. The reason I prefer MKV / MP4 over Blu-ray ISOs is that few players support Blu-ray menus. MPC-HC and mpv don't support them, whereas Kodi and VLC have very buggy support for HDMV IGS menus and none for BD-J menus. These players support DVD menus however, but then DVDs have only SD video. Since MKV and MP4 have more player support, they support a variety of codecs inside them, and their specifications support menus (MKVToolNix source code explicitly supports muxing DVD VOBButtons, which can be demuxed from DVDs with DVDMenuXtractor), I thought I'll try them.

By the way, MP4Menu and MP4MenuGUI have their threads at Doom9. (http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=411318, http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=117574) But they are always crashing for me.

Last edited by kit90; 4th December 2015 at 13:09.
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Old 4th December 2015, 21:55   #4  |  Link
hubblec4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kit90 View Post
...
I later used ChapterEditor. In this case, when I opened the first file, I could access the other files' chapters through the software player's GUI. But it also didn't give me a menu screen with buttons to choose chapters, audio or subtitles. Also all input files should have the same number and types of audio and subtitle tracks for it to work.
...
Hi kit90

Nice to see that it works, and yes, thats all what LAV can do with Matroska files.

The limit is the LAV Splitter, no support for menu features, track set or other Matroska features.
Only nested and ordered chapters and segment linking is implemented.

I was looking for the same thing like you, and DVDMenuExtractor is a very old unsupported tool.
The output of this special "chapter.xml" is not correct.
I found issues in the timings, but you can't check this, cause no splitter is able to handle this "chapter.xml-structure".

The Matroska menu needs an info.xml too, but LAV Splitter can't handle this structure and then you need the vobbutton handling too.

I think this is too much for nevcariel.

So we must wait and prey.

Last edited by hubblec4; 5th December 2015 at 10:51.
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Old 6th December 2015, 06:13   #5  |  Link
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Originally Posted by hubblec4 View Post
...
I was looking for the same thing like you,
...
Thanks, hubblec4. I hope one day MKV supports everything a DVD / Blu-ray can do. By the way, have you seen PGMX file? It is a proprietary version of MKV that supports menus and multiple video titles inside a single file (http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/tpxp.html). The player is freeware and the creator is trialware. There are some sample PGMX files that can be downloaded from the website. I checked one file with MediaInfo and found many XML and PNG files as attachments. I have attached the MediaInfo result. Perhaps we can get some clues from these files on how to implement menus in MKV?
Attached Files
File Type: txt elephants_dream.pgmx.txt (13.6 KB, 83 views)
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Old 7th December 2015, 08:50   #6  |  Link
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A similar approach (only for DVD, for only these were available back then) was called RatDVD. As you can see even google has some troubles in finding relevant information. Dead and forgotten.

The point is why "inventing" a new format that mirrors and existing one? RatDVD had an excuse, it further compressed the DVD to 50% (lossy). The same rationale MP3 had - the HDDs were comparably smaller back then. What would be the purpose of MKV mirroring the BDMV? For there is already a format mirroring the BDMV one, the ISO (the image).
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Old 7th December 2015, 17:08   #7  |  Link
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What would be the purpose of MKV mirroring the BDMV? For there is already a format mirroring the BDMV one, the ISO (the image).
If only the free players like MPC-HC and VLC supported all the features of BD ISOs, including but not limited to, HDMV and BD-J menus.
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Old 7th December 2015, 17:12   #8  |  Link
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If only the free players like MPC-HC and VLC supported all the features of BD ISOs, including but not limited to, HDMV and BD-J menus.
That argument is quite moot because they don't support any sort of replacement format either, and adoption of one would be even less likely than BDMV, since it comes with the same complexity but much less users.
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Old 16th December 2015, 22:27   #9  |  Link
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That argument is quite moot because they don't support any sort of replacement format either, and adoption of one would be even less likely than BDMV, since it comes with the same complexity but much less users.
I know I sound like arguing , but IMHO the BDMV is a proprietary format and creating a menu-driven Blu-ray ISO file requires very expensive tools ranging from EasyBD to Scenarist. These programs are out of the reach of ordinary people. Its playback requires proprietary (but less expensive) players like PowerDVD.

Whereas Matroska is an open-source format and so are the players MPC-HC, VLC, Kodi and mpv, which are commonly used to play it. They are more accessible to the general public and anyone can create and play MKV files. Unlike BDMV, no one would need to buy expensive software to create and play these files. For this reason, if there were a menu system for MKV, I think there would be a good adoption rate and user base for menu-enabled MKV files.

I understand that there is a lot of complexity in implementation of menus, but can't we adopt the menu system of DVDs and Blu-rays, using the code from libdvdnav and libbluray, into libmatroska?

Quote:
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What would be the purpose of MKV mirroring the BDMV?
MKV has been mirroring everything since its creation . First it was muxing DVD VobSub subtitles, DVD chapters, then Blu-ray lossless codecs (TrueHD / DTS-HD MA), Blu-ray PGS subtitles, and so on, which most other containers don't support. Unlike other containers, MKV has been created for our convenience.

As for RatDVD being forgotten, it was not open-source either. Once its developer stopped working on it, no one else could it take it forward since its source code wasn't available. Also it supported only SD video, and now HD video has become far more common. None of it applies to Matroska as it is open-source and adaptable as per our requirements.

Sorry for the long post, but I feel that there should be at least one universally accessible video format, that is also fully featured.

Last edited by kit90; 17th December 2015 at 07:43.
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Old 17th December 2015, 08:34   #10  |  Link
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So, if I understand it correctly, you're asking some people to provide you a free tool for you not to pay those expensive tools? I mean to work for free for you?
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Old 17th December 2015, 10:08   #11  |  Link
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So, if I understand it correctly, you're asking some people to provide you a free tool for you not to pay those expensive tools? I mean to work for free for you?
No, not for me only. For the world at large. That is the point of open-source software. If the developers thought the same way you're thinking now, there wouldn't have been open-source software in the first place. If monetary compensation is the only thing people want, there would have been no Linux, no GCC, no VLC, no MPC-HC. I just politely gave my suggestion on one of these softwares, and defended (again politely), on why it would not be a bad idea, but if you (or anyone else) thinks this way, then fine. I will shut up.

May be I am an idiot to think that open-source software would be a collaborative community movement after all.
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Old 17th December 2015, 13:46   #12  |  Link
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Hi kit90,

no, you are not an idiot, and I fully support your request. I am used to make DVDs with nice custom menues, and like you I also miss something similar for HD content.

So far I am not really into HD (yet) so I did not not check out all the stuff which is available. Did you check out MultiAVCHD?
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.ph...ght=multiavchd

It supports different output formats with strong menu capabilities. I'd like to know how open source software players like MPC-HC and VLC handle the MultiAVCHD output.


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Old 17th December 2015, 16:19   #13  |  Link
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It still is my opinion that mirroring the content of DVD/BD as such in MKV or MP4 will not solve the problem of cheap players, is redundant and leaves the door open for software/file bugs. In other words it does not brings a solution but it causes additional issues/bugs/problems.
Why keeping the files as such is not an option? The native format of VIDEO_TS and BDMV provide all the functionality one needs (even more than this) and has the largest compatibility.
On the other hand I have learned about some issues with MKV and some HD audio streams, I know that players that can read the subtitles from the MKV itself are rarer than hen's teeth (almost all need a separate SRT file) and so on....
DivX created before the introduction of supporting DVD players are not guaranteed to be played by them...
Shall I continue?
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Old 17th December 2015, 17:17   #14  |  Link
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I'd say it's something to think about, not shut down, but as Raymond Chen always says, new feature ideas start with -1000 points and have to clear that hurdle first. In the meantime, the tools to author blurays are likely to improve as well, so there's a limited window to put up or shut up.

The existing formats are overly complex, proprietary, have very limited codec support, and are impossible to keep in a single file. Those are all good reasons to at least fork the formats, and if you're going to do that, you have the opportunity to re-envision it however you like. Take BPG: It's 95% HEVC and 5% special sauce, with some unnecessary features removed and new ones added. HEVC itself is 50% AVC, 50% new stuff, because something better was needed.

Arguing that something isn't worthwhile because it'll take a while to get traction is silly; you bring up DivX which had no support for years, and then suddenly almost every player supported it. MKV subtitles are supported fine on all the recent hardware I've used, like both my new TV and bluray player, even if it took a while to get there. If enough people want them, eventually they'll come.

I definitely think a forked format is the way to go instead of starting from scratch, unless someone designs these things for a living. Clean-sheet formats fail much more often than not, if they're not outright abandoned or ignored they usually don't get it right until the second or third try anyway.
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Old 18th December 2015, 09:04   #15  |  Link
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DivX was "suddenly" supported when Rovi took over and granted licences. It was not a customers' move but an official one. It would have stayed a computer format till Doomsday if it would have been only in the power of the customers.
While I understand the need for new formats that would reflect the needs for people - this is how MKV appeared, I do not understand the urge to modify existing and implemented formats to accomplish this. Big players do this and are criticized for implementing "technology obsolescence".

This is one of the standing facts that prevented the implementation of MKV into real players - the manufacturers were unsure that while they develop the firmware, the creators won't change its format (again).

AFAIK, MP4 allows for a sort of rudimentary menus, like DVD ones, but as I understood it only at simple navigation level (sort of the currently implemented file browsers in the hardware players). Far from BD menus, and noticeably simpler than the DVDs.
Free authoring suites for DVD/BD exist, also cheap alternatives with more options, and up to professional suites (that few people master anyway).
If one wants to do a BD or a DVD, he has many solutions.

The BD/DVD formats are maybe complex, but they are definitively not difficult to be kept in a single file, a lot of HW players as well as SW ones recognize the ISO (disc image) format, either as a file or, in exceptional cases, mounted via simple and free/cheap discmounting programs. Where is the problem?
Besides, java menus are not becoming simpler if one puts them into a single file. Only more compact, but what becomes simpler from the point of view of the operating system, increases in complexity inside the file - practically the complexity was shifted from the OS to the FileManipulationRoutines, and the file handling shifted from the OS to the "format" parser. And AFAIK there is no software that would transform a java menu into a BDMV one, although theoretically possible.

And finally, if one needs menus to change the audio or subtitle track, isn't this already implemented in the "format" parsing subroutines? Why complicating things for no gain?

But I also understand why the OP wanted this. I simply won't say it loud.
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Old 18th December 2015, 11:09   #16  |  Link
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Plenty of hardware players supported MPEG-4 SP/ASP and many were even Divx certified long before Sonic and Rovi got involved...

For anyone interested this forum still offers a Stand-alone MPEG-4 (DivX, XviD...) Player Buyers Guide topic that dates back to 2005.

I personally tested around 40 MPEG-4 SP/ASP hardware playback devices that were sent to me from multiple manufactures (even DivX). I had a big clear out a few months ago took all of them to a recycling centre. Most of them were still on their original boxes
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Old 18th December 2015, 11:40   #17  |  Link
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My point was that no manufacturer would have dared to launch a product supporting a codec/format/file whose legal status was uncertain. And certainly, most AVIs created before comprising divx video, as well as divx files created before divxn provided a licence basis, would not play (correctly) on those players, and they have to be reencoded to specs.

In other words, if I would have created an MKV off my hobby video, discarded the originals, convinced that this file would play onto the players at that date, and today, because the MKV changed its specs, won't play anymore, I am stuck. The old, compatible players might be broken, so I have to reencode the file or whatever other manipulation, that might affect the quality, my storage space and my time.

That is the danger of forcing upgrades to "stabilised" formats.
I hope it'^s clear now.

It does not concern those that "save space" allegedly ripping BDs into a space saving MKV of 2 or 4 GB. They should have the initial files at hand, as well as the time to do whatever they want. It concerns people that invested into a format.
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Old 18th December 2015, 12:51   #18  |  Link
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To have a 1:1 copy of a BD or DVD menu is in my opinion not necessary. If someone need this you should use BD or DVD in original.

My hope was that i can play all episodes of a series with one double-click by opening a "root"-file and then change audio and subs easy in the player.
(a playlist is not what i want)
With my Matroska Menu I almost achieve this.
In MPC-BE you have two buttons to change the audio and subs with one click.
One button is missing: change mkv editions.
Ok, you can all do this with the MPC popup menu(right click in the screen) -> select filters -> LAV Splitter
or you use the tray icon of LAV Splitter.

But my favorite player is MPC-HC and there are no such buttons.

The good old Haali Splitter has the TRACKSETEX function, with it is very easy to change audio and subs with one click.

The Matroska Specs for menu feature are not finished and we could add more stuff, I think.
When the ChapterProcessCodecID is set to 0 (default) the native Matroska processing system is used and there are only one command at the moment.
We need more commands there.
A secret for me is the Control Track, which is needed for the communication between the xml-features and the user inputs.

Last edited by hubblec4; 18th December 2015 at 18:12.
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Old 19th December 2015, 20:27   #19  |  Link
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It's not about 1:1 bluray menus, even for new homegrown menus something like BD's might be preferable since tools to create, parse, and play them already exist. No one's going to stop a parallel effort at a native processor, if anyone wants to build it, but so far no one's stepped up to fully do it.
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Old 21st December 2015, 15:35   #20  |  Link
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Simplistic menus are not needed as the operating system and the hardware players provide rudimentary "selection procedures" (not true menus) for both audio/subtitle as well as file selection.
A chapter selection (index marks) may be useful, provided the information is sufficiently well presented. Not essential because most players (all that I've seen but I do not want to exclude any player that doesn't do this) have SKIP NEXT/PREV ( << >> ) buttons. Of course, the file should have indexes (chapter marks).

I believe that MKV provides this basic functionality.
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