In a continuation of my ongoing Apple posts (believe it or not I am a working editor!) I came up with a problem that seemingly had no solution. After sitting down a few nights ago to watch the second part of the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (freshly ripped from my extended Blu-Ray set – edging ever closer to a disc-free life!) I found that tvOS 10 would no longer play the movie. In fact, a large number of my Blu-Ray rips no longer worked, but some did. It was perplexing, and a call to Apple support didn’t turn up any answers, just “send a feedback ticket”. The files which played in tvOS 9 and on the AppleTV 3 no longer played via Home Sharing under tvOS 10. They did, however, still play in third party apps like AirVideo HD, and we made do in the interim.
After installing macOS Sierra however, things took a downward turn. Whereas El Capitan’s Quicktime and iTunes played them, under Sierra macOS simply refused to open the files. VLC would do the job, but Quicktime and iTunes saw them as corrupted. Using VLC’s media inspector I found the source of the trouble – in my foolish attempt to future proof my rips I used Handbrake’s ATV3 settings, with a stereo AAC track, a 5.1 AC3 track, and a DTS-HD track sitting benignly alongside the others. Whereas previous versions of Quicktime (and AVFoundation) ignored the DTS-HD track, as of Sierra and iOS 10 the DTS-HD track’s presence indicated a corrupted (or at least non-standard) file.
Immediately I was dismayed at the idea of re-ripping and re-encoding 100+ Blu-Ray rips. Ripping Blu-Rays is slow and consumes a lot of storage, and transcoding them is energy consuming (I have a Mac Pro 2008 currently on render duties). However, I discovered a solution which saved the day (to my enormous relief!)
Using the application subler I was able to open each .m4v Blu-Ray rip and strip out the DTS-HD file. Simply select the file, hit edit, select the DTS track and delete, then save (command+S or hit close and the dialogue will appear). It’s a little slow (saving takes 15-30 seconds) but it’s a better solution than long and slow renders, especially in my case where I’ve got rips of movies I’ve done for the sake of completeness (they came in box sets) but which I don’t have any particular desire to waste any more time or energy on…*cough* Jurassic Park 3 *cough* Alien Resurrection *cough*