Frequently Asked Questions

These are some Questions we are Asked Frequently, culled from support emails as well as forum posts.

If your question isn't answered here, consider dropping by the Forums and asking for help. There are plenty of people there who might be able to lend you a hand, including RiffTrax Support staff. If you have an emergency you can always email us at support at rifftrax dot com.

Q: What is RiffTrax?

RiffTrax are comedic MP3 tracks that you play in-sync with your favorite movies. Written and performed by the stars of the award-winning TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, RiffTrax brings the unique humor of "Satellite of Love" partners Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to Hollywood's hit movies.

Q: Where can I receive technical support?

Please contact us through our Support Department or the Community Forums.

Q: How do I Synchronize my RiffTrax?

Each RiffTrax contains verbal instructions to help you synchronize it. Alternatively, you might try using our free RiffTrax Player.

Q: What is RiffTrax Presents?

RiffTrax Presents are RiffTrax that are officially sanctioned by Mike, but feature other Mystery Science Theater 3000 alums, comedians and special guest celebrities.

Q: What is an iRiff?

An iRiff is a home-made audio commentary that you can upload to the RiffTrax Store and sell to our thousands of daily visitors. You'll make 50% of the net revenue your iRiff generates, paid in quarterly installments on balances over $25.

Q: Can I riff with Mike?

Yes! The creators of the best iRiffs will be invited to work with Mike on an official RiffTrax Presents.

Q: What do I need to know about Video on Demand?

When you purchase a Video-on-Demand title, you receive pre-synchronized video files, with the commentary "baked into" the video - as opposed to an audio file that you must synchronize yourself. Video-on-Demand Shorts are provided as DRM-free DivX, .mpg and .wmv files, suitable for your portable media device. Feature-length VOD titles are available as DRM-free DivX files, and may also contain the additional file formats listed above.

Q: How can I learn about other RiffTrax titles?

You can sign-up for the RiffTrax Mailing List to be notified of all new releases, upcoming events and to learn about special discounts! We'll also announce our new releases (along with contest giveaways and ticket contests for RiffTrax Live) on our Facebook page and our Twitter stream!

Q: I've downloaded the burnable content... what now?

Our download-to-burn content is served as a single .iso file, which is a DVD image that can be readily burned to a DVD! (Note that some of our DVD images require a dual layer burner.)

For Windows users, it should be as simple as dragging the .iso file into your favorite DVD-burning software (note that you'll want to use the "Burn image" option) and clicking the Burn button!

However, If you don't already have image-burning software (such as from Roxio or Nero) download and install the free program ImgBurn (click here to download it from the ImgBurn website). 

Mac OSX users: you can easily use Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility) to burn your image. After launching Disk Utility, go to File > Open Disk Image and browse to your downloaded .iso file. (Of course, you can always use Toast or your favorite DVD-burning application.)

Q: What do the different formats, NTSC and PAL, mean?

The short answer is that NTSC files are for people in North America, including the United States and Canada. PAL files are for users in regions other than Region 1, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. The long answer has to do with technical specifications of each format. NTSC and PAL have different framerates - meaning a PAL video actually is a bit faster than its NTSC counterpart, making it somewhat shorter. It's difficult to notice unless you have two versions of the same movie (or audio file) playing side-by-side; but eventually you'll notice the PAL version being ahead of the NTSC version. Sometimes the difference is as much as a few minutes! If you find that your mp3 file is constantly out of sync with the DVD you're watching, first make sure that you've downloaded the correct format of mp3 (NTSC for Region 1, PAL for elsewhere) and then check other things, such as the DVD version (Collector's Edition, Director's Cut, etc.) is correct for that mp3 file. These details are usually found on the product page. For more information on NTSC, as well as a list of countries that use it, click here. For PAL information use this link.

Q: What kinds of RiffTrax can I enjoy?

There are several different ways to enjoy RiffTrax.  We have riffs of feature length movies available for download in mp3 and .riff format, we have merged video downloads riffing on hilarious educational shorts and select feature titles, we have guest riffs of feature titles, and we even have your own riffs available in our iRiffs section! 

If you’d like to watch on your TV, we also have DVDs available, including compilations of our Shorts, a growing collection of feature length DVDs, and live tapings of our RiffTrax Live events!

 

Q: I got a gift certificate! How do I use it?

 It’s easy!  If the certificate is already attached to your account, all you have to do is log in, select the products you wish to purchase and add them to your cart, then select Pay with Gift Certificates in the check out screen!

Q: I need to attach my gift certificate code to my account! How do I do that?

 Go to My Account and select My Settings.  Once in the editing screen, scroll down until you reach the Gift Certificates field and enter your code into the box.  Save the page and your certificate is attached!

Q: Can the new player play old RiffTrax Player (.riff) files?

No. The .riff file spec was essentially the mp3 combined with sync information in different formats, and encrypted. It made updating the file, and adding new information to it, extremely difficult. Our new .sync file format is completely different in that it's simply a text file containing timing data for maintaining sync. The two formats (and players) are not compatible with each other.

Q: Do I need to redownload all of my zipped mp3 files?

No way! We've made it easy - you can download individual .sync files here: http://rifftrax.com/riffplayer

Q: Can I play any Riff with the RiffTrax Player?

Not yet!  .Sync Files are still being compiled.  You can find a current list of available .sync files here.

Q: I tried to open a RiffTrax and received an error message: no corresponding .sync file found! What do I do?

Make sure you've saved your MP3 riff and the corresponding .sync file in the same folder. Be certain the name of the sync file matches the name of the mp3 (i.e.  EmpireStrikesBack_RiffTrax.sync and EmpireStrikesBack_RiffTrax.mp3).  Remember, not all Riffs have .sync files yet, there may not be one available for the DVD you're trying to play! You can check the list of available .sync files here.

Q: There's no .sync file for the movie I want to watch! Can I still play it with RiffTrax?

Sure you can!  You can always sync a RiffTrax the old fashioned way, by playing the MP3 in your MP3 player and following the verbal instructions to sync it to your DVD.

Q: Are there any DVDs that just won't play?

Yes, unfortunately. As of this writing (March 31, 2011), the following discs are not yet playable by the Riffplayer:  Casino Royale, Last Airbender, The Dark Knight, Star Trek (2009). We hope to resolve this in a future update.

Q: The player crashed, but I still hear the riff / movie!

In Windows: Go to Task Manager (ctrl + alt + dlt, select Task Manager) and under the Processes tab, close all instances of mplayer.exe and riffplayer.exe.

For Mac: Open a terminal window, and type "ps -A | grep mplayer", hit enter.  Then kill the mplayer processes by typing "kill -9 PID" where PID is the ID of the processes listed in the first step. Do these steps again, but replace "mplayer" with "riffplayer"

Q: How do I change my DVD drive?

Go to the Options menu and select Preferences, then go to Drives on the left. In the right hand panel, select the correct drives for DVD and CD playback from the pull down menus.

Q: I changed something in my preferences and now nothing works. How do I reset my preferences?

Close Riffplayer.

In Windows: Go to your Application Data directory (In Windows XP, it's usually Documents and Settings > username > Application data; In Windows 7 and Vista, browse to your User folder at C:\Users\username). There you will find a folder named .riffplayer. Open this folder and rename your preferences file (riffplayer.ini) to riffplayer.BAK (or something similar). When you next run riffplayer, the preferences file will be recreated with the default values.

In OSX: Open a terminal window and then cd /Users/YOUR USERNAME/.config/riffplayer/ and delete or rename riffplayer.ini, then restart Riffplayer.

Q: Video playback is choppy, what should I do?

First, try running the player by itself (close any other open programs.) If your video is still choppy, try changing the audio drivers: in the Options menu, select Preferences, and click General in the left panel. In the right panel, select the Audio tab, and in the Output driver pulldown, select a new audio driver. The default is dsound, and win32, sdl are known to work.

Click Apply, and then OK, and then restart the Riffplayer for the changes to take effect.

If that doesn't work, you might also try changing your Video drivers. Same steps as above, but choose the Video tab instead. In Windows, the default is Directx (fast); Directx (slow), gl, gl2, and Direct3d are known to work. In Mac, corevideo and coreaudio are the known defaults.

Q: When I run Riffplayer, the screen blinks and my gui changes. Is this normal?

When using Directx in Windows 7 / Windows Vista, DVD programs set the Window color scheme to Basic (and turn off Aero). This is completely normal.

Q: I really want to use the player for a DVD that has no .sync file yet. Can I create one?

Please do! .sync files are just text files. Some instructions on creating a .sync file are here: http://www.rifftrax.com/riffplayer/creating-sync. Note that the process is a little complex and requires doing some math. You can submit your .sync files at this forum thread.

Q: Does the player support Blu-Ray or video files?

At this time, no - SMPlayer (which the Riffplayer is based on) does not currently offer support for Bluray; as far as video files, such as the ones you might download from iTunes, we do not currently support syncing these up, though that is something we hope to support in the near future.

Q: What do I do if the program crashes or won't run?

If the player crashes (these things happen) sometimes it's handy to see the logs from your player. We need the Riffplayer logs, available under Options > View logs > Riffplayer. Save them as a text document, and email them to player-bugs@rifftrax.com.

You might fill out a bug report, which you can do at this link. You might also check the Known Issues page.

Q: Can I watch PAL DVDs with the RiffTrax Player?

Yes! We have a few .sync files that can be found on the RiffPlayer page.. But since it's hard for us in North America to make PAL .sync files, we are always looking for more contributors! If you'd like to help, see the "creating sync files" instruction page at http://rifftrax.com/riffplayer/creating-sync and give it a shot. You can contribute your .sync files by emailing them to us at player@rifftrax.com.

Q: How do I watch RiffTrax Video (VOD) content on a PlayStation 3?

Our recommended method for watching our movie downloads on a PS3 is the following:

1. Download the mp4 for Tablets and TVs file from your Library.

2. Load the file onto a USB drive.

3. Insert the USB drive into one of the PS3's front USB ports.

4. Go to your main screen ("X-Kross") and go to Video. Scroll until you see your USB Drive.

5. Press the Triangle button on your remote or gamepad and select "Display all".

6. Browse to your newly-downloaded file and hit Enter to start watching!

 

You can also use DLNA-type media servers - such as PlayOn, Plex, Playstation Media Server, etc. - to stream your RiffTrax content from a computer to your PlayStation or other DLNA-capable device. Of course, this requires 3rd-party software (such as Plex).

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