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Old Apr 16, 2012, 07:45 AM   #1
rgomes
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Once and for all: MKV to MP4

What's the best tool to convert MKWs to MP4s (to be played on ATV2)?

I've used Handbrake for years and it works well but it seems long to encode.

I tried MP4 Tools and that was quicker but not sure if I am choosing the correct settings.

From MP4 Tools:

Should I be choosing "Pass-Thru" under the audio section even though it is solid Red? "If Red, the option is not recommended".

If I choose AC3 5.1 I don't get an audio.

I've been selecting Pass- Thru and it seems to work okay but just wondering if I am losing any sound quality....

Thanks for any help!
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 07:51 AM   #2
hafr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgomes View Post
What's the best tool to convert MKWs to MP4s (to be played on ATV2)?

I've used Handbrake for years and it works well but it seems long to encode.

I tried MP4 Tools and that was quicker but not sure if I am choosing the correct settings.

From MP4 Tools:

Should I be choosing "Pass-Thru" under the audio section even though it is solid Red? "If Red, the option is not recommended".

If I choose AC3 5.1 I don't get an audio.

I've been selecting Pass- Thru and it seems to work okay but just wondering if I am losing any sound quality....

Thanks for any help!
iFlicks or iVI depending on which one you like better. That's it. No more answers required.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 09:46 AM   #3
dogbertd
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I tried all sorts of things to convert MKV to MP4 and, like you, I found Handbrake to be good, but incredibly slow.

I then found Subler, which, rather than re-encoding, simply remuxes the video & audio. This can convert an MKV into an Apple TV2-ready MP4 file in a few minutes. It's not terribly intuitive (recommend reading the online manual at http://code.google.com/p/subler/wiki/UsingSubler ) but this is worth trying.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 10:21 AM   #4
Seamaster
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Elgato's Turbo.264 HD is faster and simpler to use than Handbrake. Handbrake produces slightly better quality conversions, but the difference is so marginal is not worth the additional time and complexity, IMO.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 10:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dogbertd View Post
I tried all sorts of things to convert MKV to MP4 and, like you, I found Handbrake to be good, but incredibly slow.

I then found Subler, which, rather than re-encoding, simply remuxes the video & audio. This can convert an MKV into an Apple TV2-ready MP4 file in a few minutes. It's not terribly intuitive (recommend reading the online manual at http://code.google.com/p/subler/wiki/UsingSubler ) but this is worth trying.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamaster View Post
Elgato's Turbo.264 HD is faster and simpler to use than Handbrake. Handbrake produces slightly better quality conversions, but the difference is so marginal is not worth the additional time and complexity, IMO.
Have either of you tried iVI or iFlicks?
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 10:50 AM   #6
lhjelm
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iFlicks or iVI

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Originally Posted by hafr View Post
Have either of you tried iVI or iFlicks?
I agree with hafr, iFlicks or iVI is the way to go.

I use iFlicks since it's less strict when it comes to converting XVID files. iVI fallback to re-encoding if it can't convert with 100% certainty.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 06:16 PM   #7
rgomes
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Originally Posted by hafr View Post
iFlicks or iVI depending on which one you like better. That's it. No more answers required.
Okay, thanks for the links.

Downloaded the trial version of iVI and liked the interface. Wasn't crazy about the interface of iFlicks but didn't give it that heavy a look.

I tried a test conversion of a 60min MKV (720p) file into MP4 format using iVI. It took approximately 32 minutes on normal default settings.

I tried the same MKV file in MP4 tools and it was done in less than 7 minutes.

Not sure what the time difference is.

I know Handbrake would have taken about the same time as iVI.

What is one doing that the other is not?

My goal is to output the highest audio/picture quality on Apple TV 2.

Any input is helpful....
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 07:05 PM   #8
dynaflash
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In terms of encoding speed vs. quality things seem somewhat clouded in this thread.

Here are the facts:

elgato turbo : has a hardware accelerator that worked well on macs up through g4 maybe g5 in terms of a speed boost (offloaded the encoding to the turbo h.264 device). however .... the biggest boost is that its software uses very watered down h.264 options which make the settings very fast. Basically iirc in a nutshell using the same settings on a C2D mac ... elgato vs. HB (again "Same Settings") the HB x264 encoder was as fast or faster just using the c2d's cpu. Any setup better than a c2d hb (x624) is faster again, same options and therefore quality.


iVI uses the HandBrake CLI for h.264 encoding (albeit an older one than HB 0.9.6) therefore ... same settings .... at best a wash on speed vs. quality.

IFlicks, not really sure in terms of transcoding.

Subler: Written by one of the best HB devs ritsuka. Fantastic but does not transcode video. But is a fantastic remuxer.

Any of these programs (besides HB) when it is just remuxing (remixing the video and audio track into a new container) is *much* faster than actually transcoding video (which is what slows HB down as its only a transcoder, not a remuxer).

*If* you can be sure your MKVs Video and Audio tracks are compatible for the device you want (atv3, iPad 3, etc etc.) and *just* need to be in an mp4 container ... then just remux via subler ,etc. it will be much faster than actually re-encoding the video.

If you want to re-encode the video and properly sync it to the audio and have it compliant for sure (including framerates and decombing any combed frames). There is no shortcut. And I can GUARANTEE you that all settings being equal there is no faster h.264 encoder than x264 used in hb. ... and yes, that definitely includes any QuickTime based encoders.

Remember the old addage for video encoding : Speed, Size, Quality .. Pick two.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 07:23 PM   #9
mic j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynaflash View Post
In terms of encoding speed vs. quality things seem somewhat clouded in this thread.

Here are the facts:

elgato turbo : has a hardware accelerator that worked well on macs up through g4 maybe g5 in terms of a speed boost (offloaded the encoding to the turbo h.264 device). however .... the biggest boost is that its software uses very watered down h.264 options which make the settings very fast. Basically iirc in a nutshell using the same settings on a C2D mac ... elgato vs. HB (again "Same Settings") the HB x264 encoder was as fast or faster just using the c2d's cpu. Any setup better than a c2d hb (x624) is faster again, same options and therefore quality.


iVI uses the HandBrake CLI for h.264 encoding (albeit an older one than HB 0.9.6) therefore ... same settings .... at best a wash on speed vs. quality.

IFlicks, not really sure in terms of transcoding.

Subler: Written by one of the best HB devs ritsuka. Fantastic but does not transcode video. But is a fantastic remuxer.

Any of these programs (besides HB) when it is just remuxing (remixing the video and audio track into a new container) is *much* faster than actually transcoding video (which is what slows HB down as its only a transcoder, not a remuxer).

*If* you can be sure your MKVs Video and Audio tracks are compatible for the device you want (atv3, iPad 3, etc etc.) and *just* need to be in an mp4 container ... then just remux via subler ,etc. it will be much faster than actually re-encoding the video.

If you want to re-encode the video and properly sync it to the audio and have it compliant for sure (including framerates and decombing any combed frames). There is no shortcut. And I can GUARANTEE you that all settings being equal there is no faster h.264 encoder than x264 used in hb. ... and yes, that definitely includes any QuickTime based encoders.

Remember the old addage for video encoding : Speed, Size, Quality .. Pick two.
Thank you for that summary!!!

There really is no better transcoder/remuxer/metadata tagger combo out there than Handbrake/Subler. Believe me, I've tried most of them and all of the ones mentioned above (a few multiple times, thinking I just did not get it). And on top of that, both are free and easy to use.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 07:40 PM   #10
dynaflash
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Originally Posted by mic j View Post
There really is no better transcoder/remuxer/metadata tagger combo out there than Handbrake/Subler.
Well, its quite possible. Realize this, ritsuka is a HB dev, did a lot of work on HandBrake and when the project decided to stop scope creep at massive tagging and remuxing and concentrate on its best attribute, encoding ... ritsuka was good enough to fill in the blanks as it were with a small but wickedly powerful app of his own ... Subler. It originally picked up where HB left off (though HandBrake does have chapter title capabilites) with advanced subtitle muxing (hence the name) but as he went on and with some input from others (including other HB devs) it became *much* more than a subtitle muxer. Including phenomenal tagging and remuxing almost any mkv track into a *compliant* mp4. Both Subler and HandBrake user the libmp4v2 muxer for mp4's. Subler kind of takes off where HB leaves off. As it were.

Just a bit of background ... not that it really matters.

Edit: for those that don't know though ... Subler is mac only.

Last edited by dynaflash; Apr 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 08:31 PM   #11
rgomes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynaflash View Post
In terms of encoding speed vs. quality things seem somewhat clouded in this thread.

Here are the facts:

Any of these programs (besides HB) when it is just remuxing (remixing the video and audio track into a new container) is *much* faster than actually transcoding video (which is what slows HB down as its only a transcoder, not a remuxer).

*If* you can be sure your MKVs Video and Audio tracks are compatible for the device you want (atv3, iPad 3, etc etc.) and *just* need to be in an mp4 container ... then just remux via subler ,etc. it will be much faster than actually re-encoding the video.

If you want to re-encode the video and properly sync it to the audio and have it compliant for sure (including framerates and decombing any combed frames). There is no shortcut. And I can GUARANTEE you that all settings being equal there is no faster h.264 encoder than x264 used in hb. ... and yes, that definitely includes any QuickTime based encoders.

Remember the old addage for video encoding : Speed, Size, Quality .. Pick two.
I guess that's where my ignorance sets in -- not knowing the difference between what transcoding vs encoding vs remuxing is.

I simply want to convert MKVs (x.264) into something that I can watch through my ATV2. I suppose I just need to "remux" and in that case MP4 Tools or Subler should suffice?

I am not sure when I would need to transcode video?

Thanks for enlightening us! (or at least me!)

So, my new question might be -- what's the best Remuxer? Stick with Subler?
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 09:12 PM   #12
Alrescha
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So, my new question might be -- what's the best Remuxer? Stick with Subler?
If all tracks of the MKV file are Apple TV-ready, then Subler could be your solution. If you need anything else*, then I've found MP4Tools to be excellent.

A.

* Anything else: You need a DTS audio track to be converted to AC-3. You need to add an AAC track to go with the existing AC-3 track. You need to do both of the above, etc.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 09:14 PM   #13
dynaflash
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I am not sure when I would need to transcode video?
Encode == Transcode for this purpose.

Apple devices in general cannot playback DTS audio. Most MKV's found in the wild have DTS. Depending on the IOS device (atv3, iPad3, Ipod Touch, Iphone) they will all playback h.264 video ... but ... that does not mean at the "level" that is found in your MKV. So, basically if your want to just remux (remix) the existing audio and video into a new mp4 container ... you must take your chances or know what the tracks are in your source ahead of time and know that they will work for your target device/platform.

Or you can transcode (encode) it so you know it will work.

Most advanced users can tell but still it can get tricky. Depends on what your source is and where it comes from.

Pretty much a subject for another thread. I painted with *very* broad strokes.
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 05:25 AM   #14
hafr
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Okay, thanks for the links.

Downloaded the trial version of iVI and liked the interface. Wasn't crazy about the interface of iFlicks but didn't give it that heavy a look.

I tried a test conversion of a 60min MKV (720p) file into MP4 format using iVI. It took approximately 32 minutes on normal default settings.

I tried the same MKV file in MP4 tools and it was done in less than 7 minutes.

Not sure what the time difference is.

I know Handbrake would have taken about the same time as iVI.

What is one doing that the other is not?

My goal is to output the highest audio/picture quality on Apple TV 2.

Any input is helpful....
Why do people try software once without even going through the settings first? You need to activate pass thru video conversion in iVI.
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 03:45 PM   #15
muledogus
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I'm new to this stuff too and still don't know what all of the technical stuff is but what works for me is simple. Remux with Subler and test it on my Apple TV. If that didn't work, I run it through handbrake. Then sometimes I can't change metadata on a file in iTunes without a crash and corruption so in that case I'll use Subler again for metadata changes.
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 08:58 PM   #16
GarrettL1979
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I'm still a little confused about which audio setting should be selected within make mkv when ripping a blu ray. If I just have a stereo setup, should I select DD 3/2+1? Or something else?

I plan to convert the mkv using handbrake for viewing on an apple tv 3. Any advise would be much appreciated.

Last edited by GarrettL1979; Apr 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM.
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 10:18 PM   #17
rgomes
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Originally Posted by GarrettL1979 View Post
I'm still a little confused by which audio setting should be selected within make mkv when ripping a blu ray. If I just have a stereo setup, should I select DD 3/2+1? Or something else?

I plan to convert the mkv using handbrake for viewing on an apple tv 3. Any advise would be much appreciated.
You can rip Blu-rays on a MAC? I thought MACs didn't support Blu-rays. Man am I out of it. I am assuming you need some kind of external burner? What are people buying and using these days?
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Old Apr 18, 2012, 12:37 AM   #18
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You can rip Blu-rays on a MAC? I thought MACs didn't support Blu-rays. Man am I out of it. I am assuming you need some kind of external burner? What are people buying and using these days?
Macs don't natively play Blu-Rays, but yes, with an external drive and a program like MakeMKV, you can rip a BD to an MKV file and play in on the Mac, encode it to put into iTunes and play on ATV, etc.
Here's the drive I bought a couple months backhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/cr/B004ZCHULQ/ref=aw_d_cr_electronics?qid=1334723673&sr=8-7
Note: Any negative reviews are mostly from people who thought they were buying a drive that would play BDs, not simply one that reads them.
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Old Apr 18, 2012, 10:09 AM   #19
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I use Bigasoft Total Video Converter. Very simple process and ive had zero issues. Doesn't take too much time and file size remains about the same
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 08:31 PM   #20
rgomes
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I tried iVI and found the same problem -- it always wants to transcode instead of remuxing. I did have the Pass-Thru option enabled. I ended up sticking with MP4 Tools. $4.99 to register it and it works like a charm. Remuxes when it can, and transcodes when it has to. Tagging is not the greatest though.

Still not sure how to tell if a MKV found in the 'wlld' needs to be transcoded or only remuxed? How can you tell?

PS - Can I remux in MP4 Tools and then tag in iVI?
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 10:41 AM   #21
Dhelsdon
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I REALLY like iVI, I purchased it and have used it to convert my .avi's to .mp4
Best part is all the glorious meta-data included.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 03:56 PM   #22
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I have a few dumb questions:

1) What happens if you rip a 3D BluRay? I have a 3D TV, will it show up 3D or is the movie actually 2D?

2) Is there an ideal bitrate for HD? In handbrake Im using the default AppleTV2 preset and a movie like Dark Knight was a 2500 bitrate, but kiddie movies that I dont necessarily need the highest quality of (High School Musical 3, Chipmunks: Chipwrecked) were default encoded at 4800. Both "look" okay but Dark Knight is the lowest bitrate in my entire collection so far which seems odd so im wondering if I should do it again and force a higher bitrate. (Obviously im not understanding what bitrate means to the overall quality)

Thanks again. Im afraid im going to wear out my mini because its been chugging away at my collection for 3 days straight.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 06:41 PM   #23
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I tried them all and to be honest, the fastest one for me (rMBP) would be AnyVideo Converter HD.

It is extremely quick even on the retina MacBook pro.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 06:31 PM   #24
iHailCarlo
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Handbrake and iFlicks is all anyone needs.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 07:16 PM   #25
mic j
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Handbrake and iFlicks is all anyone needs.
Why do you think that?
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