iso or mkv? Pro's and Con's
I'm a complete newbie to XBMC. I recently ripped all my SACD and DVD-Audio discs to a file server. The convenience of playing my favorite tracks is tremendous. So I thought I would try the same with my concert DVD & Blu-Rays. This is what brought me to XBMC. But I'm not sure which format is best - MKV or ISO? What are the pro's and con's or each type of structure. I'm leaning towards ISO since it's one simple file rather than the directory tree of the MKV's (maybe I'm doing it wrong?).

Any advice is appreciated by a newbie who's about to start ripping concert videos.
(2014-06-21, 23:00)HamDog Wrote: Any advice is appreciated by a newbie who's about to start ripping concert videos.

This is really up to you, but I would suggest that you try both. If you do not (re)encode, then there is really no difference in regards to video or audio quality.

MKV's flexibility is its biggest benefit to me and it is why I prefer it to ISOs. I have been able to get out of some tough spots in regard to encodes and audio streams. This is especially true of concert videos where some funky refresh rates and audio encodes are used.

For example, NIN Closer in Time is VC1 60i and Dolby Digital Plus from HDDVD. I could never get it to work properly on XBMC (Frodo) until I re-encoded to x264 and multichannel flac. I had similar issues with my BluRay Rush disk. Without MKV, these concerts were not watchable on Frodo in ISO format. Both of these concerts now play perfectly on XBMC via MKV.

These examples are certainly corner cases and the vast majority of ISO will have no problems, but it's nice to have the ability to hack a disk if you need it. MKV gives you that ability.
ixnu, thanks for the input. I've started testing by making a couple of iso and mkv files from my Blu-Rays. I think I'm siding with the mkv files as they load faster. I still have to watch the FBI warnings with the ISO discs, then go through the menu system. Maybe it's my computer, but it seems to hang-up sometimes with the ISO files.

BTW, I only rip concert Blu-Rays and DVDs. With MKV, there may be multiple MKV files (for the extras). Often times, these extras are actual additional concert tracks, so they're useful, as opposed to movie extras. Makes it a bit of a pain to have to change files to watch these additional tracks. But I guess with ISO's, you'd have to navigate the menus.

Since I'm very new, I could be doing things incorrectly. I'm absolutely overwhelmed with all the options and settings. So any and all feedback is appreciated!
(2014-06-23, 20:40)HamDog Wrote: Since I'm very new, I could be doing things incorrectly. I'm absolutely overwhelmed with all the options and settings. So any and all feedback is appreciated!

Don't be overwhelmed, just start making mistakes and you will eventually discover most of them Rofl

Regarding rips, a large number of tracks can sometimes be a real pain. At least XBMC does HD audio very well now, so you don't need multiple audio tracks. Google is your friend and somebody will often list which tracks you need.

Regarding separate files - what I do depends on what the extra tracks are.

If they are additional tracks from the concert, they most likely have the same encoding. I use MKVMerge from the MKV toolkit ( to combine the tracks and append them to the end of the concert. I also add chapters with the names of the songs to the MKV file.

If they are various extras like music videos or interviews, I create a separate title with a custom NFO that is just extras. I then take the concert art and add a simple "Extras" text at the bottom of the poster. Finally, I rip all of the extras and just name them something like Rush.R30.Extras.CD1...CD2...CD3 In this way, they will all play together and can be different video and audio codecs (something you can do with MKVMerge).

What are some of your favorite disks?

Some of my favorites:
Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night
Joe Bonamassa Live From The Royal Albert Hall
Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Lso St Luke's, London
Sting: Live in Berlin
Français Pour une Nuit
Gotan Project Tango 3 0 Live at the Casino De Paris
Thank you so much for the help! You just helped me take a big leap forward with the MKV toolkit (never knew such a thing existed). Currently, I'm working on David Gilmour's "Live At The Royal Albert Hall" Bluray, where disc 2 contains additional tracks from the concert as well as other things like interviews, background, etc. I can now merge the additional concert tracks to disc 1 (even though that would make a tremendously huge file at about 40-50 gigs).

How about concerts that come in two full discs? Such as Eric Clapton's Crossroads 2010? Merging the two discs could result in an 80 gig file. Is there a limit I should stay under? Would it be better to keep it as two separate smaller files (titled disc1 and disc2)?

And I had no idea you could add custom chapters with names. That would really simplify identifying tracks. You've pointed me in the right direction with the MKV toolkit. I have more studying to do now.

Roy Orbison's Black and White is one of my favorites as it puts the listener on stage. It uses all of your speakers - something I enjoy, but most audiophiles despise. Other than Eric Clapton's Crossroads and David Gilmour, I have The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Concert (great recording), Concert for George, Zeppelin's Celebration Day, Santana Live at Montreux, Elton John's Red Piano, and a few discs from AIX Records (Ernest Ranglin's Order of Distinction being my favorite - has tracks for both audience and stage perspective).
The only limiting factors are the file systems you'll be using and their respective maximum file sizes.
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As have been pointed out, you'll want to check that each disc/segment is encoded with same resolution, type of audio track etc. If this is the case, they should merge without issues. In regards to file size: I don't think there are any file systems available today, with a file size limit between 4GB and 2TB. In pretty much any "real case" of today, this means if you can create a file larger than 4GB, you can create "as big as you want". There is always a minutely larger risk of "losing" more data, with 1 large vs 2 smaller files (in case of a file system failure - but that really shouldn't need to be a thing of every day worry. If, as you say, you're ripping discs - then if the worst should happen, you can always re-do the rip. Beyond that, just go with whatever you find more practical / comfortable.
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