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MacBytes
Apr 27, 2006, 10:29 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Blu-ray, HD-DVD formats doomed from the start? (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060427112948)
Description:: Are Blu-ray and HD-DVD doomed from the start?

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

Multimedia
Apr 27, 2006, 11:31 AM
I have been spending a large amount of my time since January perfecting the art of recording, editing out commercials, then transcoding HDTV Broadcast recordings to managable size, iPod Video compatible, MP4 files for archival purposes. I use an Elgato EyeTV500 Digital HDTV Tuner (http://elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetv500) hooked to a Quad with EyeTV2 Software as the interface to record the full digital broadcast MPEG2 signals from Fox 720p, NBC & CBS 1080p off air coming in a TERK TV5 Antenna (http://www.audiovox.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=14204&langId=-1). No cable - No satellite. I have got to mention what a rave this antenna is. I tried all sorts of other antennas and they yielded zero signals. The TERK TV5 sees them all. $50 at Circuit City.

After editing out the commercials with EyeTV2's excellent MPEG2 editor, I burn DVD images to one of many hard drives I have hooked to the Quad via FW400 with Toast Titanium 7 (http://roxio.com/en/products/toast/index.jhtml). This takes just a little longer than the length of the original recordings. I have the Toast 7 encode settings cranked up to the maximum so that the resulting image is almost as good as the original. Now I know you are going to say well that can only be SD since it is not Blu-Ray nor HD-DVD. But I swear the images look almost identical to the original HDTV Broadcast recordings on my 1920 x 1200 24" Dell monitor and the Audio is digital/analog 5.1 great.

Then I use the FREE French Handbrake (http://handbrake.m0k.org/) mpeg2 to mp4 2-pass encoder to rip each show to an mp4 file that looks almost as good as the original and is also iPod video compatible. I rip one hour HD feature shows that are about 42 minutes after commercials to 351MB (50% of CD size) 624x352 and half hour cartoons & SD Info shows that net about 20 minutes to 100MB (one seventh of a CD size) 512 (sometimes 544 depending on the crop)x400. The quality is fine. The HD shows look just a little soft, but the audio is identical to the original. The SD shows look a little softer but so do the originals. The Handbrake rips are way faster than real time on the Quad. Handbrake lets me crop, de-interlace, size and target either the file size or the bit rate of a show - I keep it below 2500 kbps to maintain iPod compatibility. Normally the 351MB feature hours are around 1000 kbps and the 100MB cartoons and SD shows are around 500 kbps.

I gotta say that I have no problem watching any of these archived size mp4 shows - and none of them are H.264 because the iPod won't let you load anything in that format larger than 320x240. So for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray to be a compelling format, they would have to be CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. For me, there is no economic viability for these higher capacity formats unless the media is priced on par with free CDs and 21¢ single layer DVDs. I am getting too high a quality in too small a file size for those HD formats to matter to me at all.

I have set up Yahoo groups and Blogspot blogs to discuss EyeTV2 and HDTV if you like in more depth. Links to them are in my sig. Thanks for the opportunity to post my experience for you in this important string. :)

qtip919
Apr 27, 2006, 12:59 PM
I have been spending a large amount of my time since January perfecting the art of recording, editing out commercials, then transcoding HDTV Broadcast recordings to managable size, iPod Video compatible, MP4 files for archival purposes. I use an Elgato EyeTV500 Digital HDTV Tuner (http://elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetv500) hooked to a Quad with EyeTV2 Software as the interface to record the full digital broadcast MPEG2 signals from Fox 720p, NBC & CBS 1080p off air coming in a TERK TV5 Antenna (http://www.audiovox.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=14204&langId=-1). No cable - No satellite. I have got to mention what a rave this antenna is. I tried all sorts of other antennas and they yielded zero signals. The TERK TV5 sees them all. $50 at Circuit City.

After editing out the commercials with EyeTV2's excellent MPEG2 editor, I burn DVD images to one of many hard drives I have hooked to the Quad via FW400 with Toast Titanium 7 (http://roxio.com/en/products/toast/index.jhtml). This takes just a little longer than the length of the original recordings. I have the Toast 7 encode settings cranked up to the maximum so that the resulting image is almost as good as the original. Now I know you are going to say well that can only be SD since it is not Blu-Ray nor HD-DVD. But I swear the images look almost identical to the original HDTV Broadcast recordings on my 1920 x 1200 24" Dell monitor and the Audio is digital/analog 5.1 great.

Then I use the FREE French Handbrake (http://handbrake.m0k.org/) mpeg2 to mp4 2-pass encoder to rip each show to an mp4 file that looks almost as good as the original and is also iPod video compatible. I rip one hour HD feature shows that are about 42 minutes after commercials to 351MB (50% of CD size) 624x352 and half hour cartoons & SD Info shows that net about 20 minutes to 100MB (one seventh of a CD size) 512 (sometimes 544 depending on the crop)x400. The quality is fine. The HD shows look just a little soft, but the audio is identical to the original. The SD shows look a little softer but so do the originals. The Handbrake rips are way faster than real time on the Quad. Handbrake lets me crop, de-interlace, size and target either the file size or the bit rate of a show - I keep it below 2500 kbps to maintain iPod compatibility. Normally the 351MB feature hours are around 1000 kbps and the 100MB cartoons and SD shows are around 500 kbps.

I gotta say that I have no problem watching any of these archived size mp4 shows - and none of them are H.264 because the iPod won't let you load anything in that format larger than 320x240. So for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray to be a compelling format, they would have to be CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. For me, there is no economic viability for these higher capacity formats unless the media is priced on par with free CDs and 21 single layer DVDs. I am getting too high a quality in too small a file size for those HD formats to matter to me at all.

I have set up Yahoo groups and Blogspot blogs to discuss EyeTV2 and HDTV if you like in more depth. Links to them are in my sig. Thanks for the opportunity to post my experience for you in this important string. :)

Excellent summary of your activities...I highly enjoyed this post

I agree with your premise, and I am not sure I understand who is really motivating the move to HD and Blueray outside of these companies. I seriously dont care all that much about even higher levels of quality. Im just looking to watch a couple of movies here and there (on demand) and record a few shows ... and be able to take them on the road...especially 'Lost' and 'Justice League Unlimited' - yes, I still watch cartoons ;-)

So for me, it all comes down to portability, convinience and availablity. I just dont care all that much about HD movies in all of their glory. I am much more impressed with a compressed HD movie that is highly portable.

Multimedia
Apr 27, 2006, 01:09 PM
Excellent summary of your activities...I highly enjoyed this post

I agree with your premise, and I am not sure I understand who is really motivating the move to HD and Blueray outside of these companies. I seriously dont care all that much about even higher levels of quality. Im just looking to watch a couple of movies here and there (on demand) and record a few shows ... and be able to take them on the road...especially 'Lost' and 'Justice League Unlimited' - yes, I still watch cartoons ;-)

So for me, it all comes down to portability, convinience and availablity. I just dont care all that much about HD movies in all of their glory. I am much more impressed with a compressed HD movie that is highly portable.Exactly and thanks. That is exactly what I explain how to do above. The quality is amazing. What it amounts to is "soft" HD. And on the iPod it looks totally perfect. Displayed on a TV these files look like they came from a DVD. I think we have reached the upper limit of how high quality needs to be before cost for higher quality is not worth it. The main thing we need now is faster and more cores so that these encodes and transcodes can be done in a few minutes instead of longer than real time. So bring on the 8 core 3GHZ Plus Kentsfield Leopards next Spring. :D

But as far as Blu-Ray or HD-DVD goes, I dont' think we need nor want it.

nagromme
Apr 28, 2006, 11:00 AM
I find iPod 320x240 acceptable for casual use--missed shows, etc.--but about comparable to VHS, and not as good as DVD. Larger video files, or DVDs, are completely acceptable--but there IS better-than-acceptable :)

I'm waiting to start my own movie collection until Blu-Ray is out, because I DO appreciate the difference between DVD and HD.