Over the last couple of days, I’ve been working with the newest version of DVDRanger and their CinEx HD module for removal of Cinavia DRM. Earlier editions of the software did actually remove Cinavia detection, but at great cost to the sound quality of the audio stream. That is no longer a problem with CinEx HD.
For those of you who might not know, Cinavia is a watermark placed in the audio stream of Blu-ray movies (and a tiny number of commercially made DVDs). It is designed to be detected by newer Blu-ray stand-alone players, and by any software player that is certified by the AACS consortium, which oversees encryption for Blu-ray. Detection happens almost immediately, but playback on commercially made discs continues for about 20 minutes, at which point a warning appears on the screen and the audio is muted. Cinavia is officially part of the AACS encryption, but is not mandatory. Many studios do not use it as of yet because of licensing costs.
For movies that do have Cinavia, it is most definitely an issue for making fair use backups and playing discs from Blu-ray players or the certified software players. DVDRanger has come up with a means to prevent detection of this form of DRM.
If you wish to go through the step-by-step examination of the program by members here and replies from the developers, take a look at this long thread: http://club.myce.com/f62/dvd-ranger-releases-cinex-hd-promises-unsurpassed-sound-quality-335484/
I will do a quick outline of my experiences with the program here. An early version of DVDRanger CinEx HD had some problems, especially in using their database information and with truncating video. This was quickly corrected in the newer version 184.108.40.206.
In order to break Cinavia, you must download a database executable file and run it. This places the necessary information for your particular disc in a folder that the DVDRanger program can access. After that, you select the type of output you want…I was making HD MP4 files with the highest stock resolution and bitrate available.
The movie I was working with was This is the End, which surprisingly, was not a Sony release, but rather from Columbia Pictures. The MP4 file I made using AAC audio had very good sound quality, and no distortion that I can detect, though my ears are not good enough to judge these things well. Playing from the file on the hard drive, Arcsoft TMT 6 could not detect Cinavia in this file. I had already made certain that TMT 6 would detect it in the original ripped Blu-ray, so this was and is a great success for DVDRanger.
The MP4 file I made using AC3 audio was not a complete victory however. TMT 6 would not play the audio at all, nor would PotPlayer. Three other players, including PowerDVD 13, VLC and MPC-HC had no problems playing the audio. I tried changing formats with tsMuxeR, but this file crashed that program. So I eventually had to demux the audio and video streams using My MP4Box GUI, then introduce those into tsMuxeR to make a Blu-ray video. This Blu-ray played with no problems from the hard drive using TMT 6, and playing from a burned BD-RE disc, PowerDVD 13 played it just fine. No Cinavia messages appeared in either program.
My conclusion for the file using AC3 is that their program has some small bug/glitch in muxing AC3 audio in an MP4 container. Not a big deal, and probably something they can easily fix if they ever get a free moment to do so.
So what’s the catch with this program? Well, there is a big one. The CinEx HD section of the program relies on databases derived from individual copies of Blu-ray discs. Each database has to be developed by the DVDRanger programmers, and then posted on their site for download. At the time of this article, only 10 movies have databases available. And the database for your movie may not work. There are variations in the movies that are distributed. DVDRanger has set up a way of checking and possibly cross-mapping your version so that it will work with the database. The instructions for this are set out clearly on their site, though it is not a dead simple process: http://www.dvd2hd.com/database-and-cross-mapping/
So, my conclusion is that the program is working in its intended manner, but only for a few movies at this point in time. As they write more database files, this program will become a valuable asset for anyone concerned with the removal of Cinavia.
I’ll be posting some sample clips in a following post for those who wish to hear the sound quality produced by DVDRanger CinEx HD.
Edit: Many thanks to Adbear for continued testing of this program, revealing what it actually does. Also thanks to Pelvis Popcan for letting me know of the latest developments.