All You Should Know about HandBrake
By Yvonne

A free and open-source transcoder for digital video files is HandBrake. Eric Petit created it at the beginning in 2003 to facilitate DVD ripping to a data storage device. The program HandBrake integrates numerous third-party audio and video libraries, both codecs (such FFmpeg, x264, and x265) and other elements, like video deinterlacers, into its backend, which has surprisingly little original code (referred to as "filters").


These are gathered in a way that makes their use more efficient and available (for instance, preventing users from having to transcode a video's audio and visual components separately or using difficult-to-use command-line applications).

There are HandBrake clients for Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Features of HandBrake

  • Associated Resources
  • Unencrypted DVD images and genuine DVDs, the VIDEO TS folder, the BDMV folder (which must be handled externally with third-party software and libraries), and others.
  • .TS and VOB files
  • Any multimedia file can be read and decoded using libavformat and libavcodec, respectively.
  • Outputs
  • File types: MKV and MP4
  • Video: 1 or 2 passes of constant quantizer/rate encoding or MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora
  • AAC, HE-AAC, AC3, MP3, Vorbis, FLAC (16-bit, 24-bit), or AAC, MP3, AC3, DTS, and DTS-HD pass-through are the audio formats available (supports encoding of several audio tracks)
  • Additional characteristics
  • Chapter choice
  • Support for soft subtitles includes DVD/VobSub, Blu-ray/PGS, SRT files, SRT/UTF-8, ASS/SSA, and TX3G/3GPP in MP4 (DVD/VobSub, Blu-ray/PGS, and ASS/SSA subtitles can also be burned-in the image).
  • picture scaling, cropping, and deinterlacing
  • Grayscale compression

Hardware acceleration features

Dedicated hardware for video encoding and decoding is present in some GPUs, including GPUs that are physically integrated with CPUs (referred to by AMD as APUs), such as Intel's Quick Sync Video, Nvidia's NVENC, or AMD's Video Coding Engine/Video Core Next. This equipment is typically offered for applications like videoconferencing and streaming video where rapid and energy-efficient compressed video is required.

Since its compression efficiency is rarely as good as an optimized software encoder for the same codec, it is used less frequently for transcoding like that carried out by HandBrake, but it is still an option available to those who have compatible hardware and are willing to make the necessary compromises. Version 0.10.0 added Quick Sync in November 2014, while Version 1.2.0, released in December 2018, added support for NVENC and the VCE. (Even if VCN hardware is present or a codec is being utilized that is too recent to have VCE support, HandBrake simply acknowledges the older VCE by name in its interface.)


By changing the bit rate, the maximum file size, or the bit rate and sample rate via "constant quality," users can personalize the output. Scaling, detelecine, cropping, and adaptive deinterlacing are all supported by HandBrake.


Through its graphical user interface (GUI) and command-line interface, Batch HandBrake offers batch encoding (CLI). For this purpose, third-party scripts and user interfaces such as HandBrake Batch Encoder, VideoScripts, and Batch HandBrake are available. To support the queuing of many files in a single directory, they all employ the CLI.


Handbrake can convert audio and video from almost any format to a few contemporary ones, but it cannot remove or get around copy protection. DVD-Video that is saved on a DVD, in an ISO image of a DVD, or on any other data storage device as a VIDEO TS folder is one type of input. The open-source library libdvdcss, which decrypts DVDs encrypted with the Content Scramble System (CSS), was taken out of HandBrake in version 0.9.2 by its creators.

Installing VLC, a media player program that comes with the libdvdcss package, made it easy to remove digital rights management (DRM) from DVDs using HandBrake. Only when libdvdcss is installed by the user can Handbrake remove DRM.

The decryption of Blu-ray Discs is not natively supported by HandBrake, just like with DVDs. However, if DRM is first eliminated using a third-party program, HandBrake can be used to encode a Blu-ray Disc.