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Old Jan 12, 2013, 07:40 PM   #1
photogpab
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Handbrake for ATV3 - best setting

Ripped a few of my blu-rays to MKV files and want to stream them to my apple tv 3. i've been using the ATV3 preset and it puts out a pretty great picture but i'm wondering if i can do better?

would the "high" profile work for apple tv 3? is it better than the ATV3 preset?

is there any way to create an M4V file from my blu-ray rips that would preserve FULL quality but still be able to stream to apple tv? or would the file just be too big for streaming?
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 07:43 PM   #2
Pyromonkey83
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Originally Posted by photogpab View Post
Converting MKV blu-rips for my AppleTV 3 - should I stick to the at3 preset or the "high" profile?

which produces the highest quality file? Ideally i would love to be able to preserve 100% full quality from my blu-ray and stream it to apple tv... but i'm assuming i cant because file sizes are too big for the Apple tv?

so i've been using the AT3 setting and it produces nice video but im wondering if i can do even better? sometimes the files look a bit blurred and not as sharp.
You can use Subler and just remux the blu ray file bit for bit if you like. It will result in a 40+ GB file but it will be playable on the ATV 3.

Otherwise you can change the CQ slider to give yourself a better quality encode.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 07:46 PM   #3
photogpab
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Originally Posted by Pyromonkey83 View Post
You can use Subler and just remux the blu ray file bit for bit if you like. It will result in a 40+ GB file but it will be playable on the ATV 3.

Otherwise you can change the CQ slider to give yourself a better quality encode.
right now the "ATV3" and "High" profile CQ slider is set to RF: 20

if i slide it all the way to 0 would that create a perfect copy of the original MKV file? or is it still compressing?

sorry im new to handbrake and having a hard time fully understanding how to get the highest quality file for streaming to my apple tv 3.

Ive read a few posts now that says "RF 0" is "Lossless" but I'm still unsure if its playable to my Apple TV and if I'm preserving full quality of my original MKV blu-ray rip?

sorry for all the dumb questions!

Last edited by photogpab; Jan 12, 2013 at 07:56 PM.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:04 PM   #4
Pyromonkey83
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Originally Posted by photogpab View Post
right now the "ATV3" and "High" profile CQ slider is set to RF: 20

if i slide it all the way to 0 would that create a perfect copy of the original MKV file? or is it still compressing?

sorry im new to handbrake and having a hard time fully understanding how to get the highest quality file for streaming to my apple tv 3.
The RF slider is something I don't really use, so I'm not in a great position to help you out here. Dynaflash might be able to give you a better explanation, but as far as I know the RF slider is a set of quality algorithms that analyze each frame individually and give it a bitrate designation, then encode the frame. The first time I used the CQ slider, I set it to RF:10 and I went from a 31GB blu-ray rip to a 196GB mp4 file (I'm sure you can imagine my WTF face when I saw that...).

From what I gather, a difference between RF20 and RF18 is a pretty tremendous difference for quality and can be the difference between a ~4,000 kbps bitrate file and ~12,000 kbps bitrate file. If you want a complete bit for bit copy I would recommend not using Handbrake and instead use a Muxing program like Subler or MP4Tools (assuming you are using a mac).

Overall your probably best off just playing around with the CQ slider until you find what you like, but keep in mind that every movie is different. CQ18 might work great for Couples Retreat, but terrible for The Avengers.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:06 PM   #5
photogpab
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i thought this would be much simpler than its turning out. haha. i wish there was a simple way to take my MKV blu-ray rip and create a perfect copy that was playable on my apple tv.

that way i could store my blu-rays away and always have digital copies ready to play but without losing video quality!

i'll check out subler (yes im on a mac) - never heard of it. same deal as handbrake - but better?
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:21 PM   #6
Pyromonkey83
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i'll check out subler (yes im on a mac) - never heard of it. same deal as handbrake - but better?
Not exactly. Subler is a remuxing program instead of a re-encoding program. This difference is that remuxing passes through the video file (copies it exactly) and just changes the container (from MKV to MP4). The video file is already in a h.264 format from a Blu Ray so it doesn't actually need to be re-encoded. Most people just re-encode to reduce file sizes because the loss of quality isnt as important to them.

The Apple TV is not necessarily rated to play such high bitrate files, but if you have a strong high speed network you should be fine. Keep in mind with remuxing that you can never pass through Audio because MP4 containers dont do well with DTS audio, and the Apple TV does not support it.

There are many posts on here on how to use the different programs, and it is up to you which one you want to use.

Personally I use a combination of both. I encode with Handbrake to reduce file sizes and then remux with Subler to add iTunes metadata. Try using handbrake with these settings and see how you like it:

1. Start with the ATV3 preset
2. Change the Video settings from the CQ slider to Average Bitrate
3. Check the 2-pass option
4. Change the bitrate to 9600
5. Check the option for "Web Optomized"

This is what I use for my Blu Ray encodes and the loss of quality for me is almost nonexistent, yet it reduces the file size from 35+GB to about 10-15GB. This will run perfectly with the Apple TV 3 over wired networking or wireless-N networking.

This type of encoding process will take 2x as long to re-encode, but it will work universally with all movies (in my experience).
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:45 PM   #7
photogpab
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Originally Posted by Pyromonkey83 View Post
Not exactly. Subler is a remuxing program instead of a re-encoding program. This difference is that remuxing passes through the video file (copies it exactly) and just changes the container (from MKV to MP4). The video file is already in a h.264 format from a Blu Ray so it doesn't actually need to be re-encoded. Most people just re-encode to reduce file sizes because the loss of quality isnt as important to them.

The Apple TV is not necessarily rated to play such high bitrate files, but if you have a strong high speed network you should be fine. Keep in mind with remuxing that you can never pass through Audio because MP4 containers dont do well with DTS audio, and the Apple TV does not support it.

There are many posts on here on how to use the different programs, and it is up to you which one you want to use.

Personally I use a combination of both. I encode with Handbrake to reduce file sizes and then remux with Subler to add iTunes metadata. Try using handbrake with these settings and see how you like it:

1. Start with the ATV3 preset
2. Change the Video settings from the CQ slider to Average Bitrate
3. Check the 2-pass option
4. Change the bitrate to 9600
5. Check the option for "Web Optomized"

This is what I use for my Blu Ray encodes and the loss of quality for me is almost nonexistent, yet it reduces the file size from 35+GB to about 10-15GB. This will run perfectly with the Apple TV 3 over wired networking or wireless-N networking.

This type of encoding process will take 2x as long to re-encode, but it will work universally with all movies (in my experience).
thanks so much! ok so i download subler and opened the MKV file, "saved as", selected the M4V option, clicked "save" and it seemed to be instant.

then i see it created a new .M4V file of the same movie, but the file is only like 400 kbps in size and it wont open with quicktime, or vlc, etc...

confused. i also downloaded perian as subler instructed me to.

going to also try handbrake with your settings. maybe it'll look better than the standard ATV3 preset, which i agree looks good, but i do see some pixilation and stuff from time to time and it drives me crazy. haha. i just wish i could get a near exact copy (or very close to it) of the original blu-ray mkv file.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:49 PM   #8
Pyromonkey83
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Its actually a bug with Subler thanks to Mountain Lion having screwy audio codecs. Download https://dl.dropbox.com/u/34821905/A5....component.zip and install it in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components and also in YOURUSERNAME/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components and it should work fine.

Also download http://perian.cachefly.net/Perian_1.2.3.dmg and install it normally to be able to decode DTS audio files.

If you get confused or don't know what to do just follow the guide here: http://www.iphonelife.com/blog/87/co...8211;-part-iii
Follow these instructions if you are having an issue with Subler. Also, just FYI since Subler just copies the video track, it takes about 5-10 minutes to fully remux as compared to handbrakes hours.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 11:29 PM   #9
photogpab
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Originally Posted by Pyromonkey83 View Post
Follow these instructions if you are having an issue with Subler. Also, just FYI since Subler just copies the video track, it takes about 5-10 minutes to fully remux as compared to handbrakes hours.
looks like its working. its "saving" now... will let you know if its successful. appreciate all your help!
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 08:33 AM   #10
photogpab
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Originally Posted by Pyromonkey83 View Post
Follow these instructions if you are having an issue with Subler. Also, just FYI since Subler just copies the video track, it takes about 5-10 minutes to fully remux as compared to handbrakes hours.
sorry to be such a pain again... so i followed your instructions above for subler, and this time it actually saved the file correctly. it created an m4v file that was 21gb.

but it still wont play. with quicktime, vlc, anything. odd. am i missing one step somewhere?

i have mountain lion
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 08:51 AM   #11
khollister
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sorry to be such a pain again... so i followed your instructions above for subler, and this time it actually saved the file correctly. it created an m4v file that was 21gb.

but it still wont play. with quicktime, vlc, anything. odd. am i missing one step somewhere?

i have mountain lion
Not all blu-rays use a h.264 encoding protocol. Some (mostly older titles) use MPEG2 or VC-1. The titles that can be re-muxed to be ATV-friendly use the AVC codec, which is H.264.

I transcode mine using Handbrake and a custom preset I made a while ago. Essentially, it is the new ATV3 preset with RF=19 instead of 20. On films that do not have a lot of film grain or noise, a BD will be about 7-10GB in size. On a calibrated 55" Sony XBR LCD, I find the video quality is visually all but identical.

The far bigger issue for me is losing the lossless audio (an ATV problem with no workaround).

Use HB with the ATV3 preset and quit worrying about it. When I have people over that actually care about the A/V quality, I just play the BD instead of the ATV version. For casual watching, the ATV convenience trumps the loss of the HD audio and 5% video quality hit.

What title are you using for your experiment?
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 08:54 AM   #12
photogpab
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Originally Posted by khollister View Post
Not all blu-rays use a h.264 encoding protocol. Some (mostly older titles) use MPEG2 or VC-1. THe titles that can be re-mused to be ATV-friendly use the AVC codec, which is H.264.

I transcode mine using Handbrake and a custom preset I made a while ago. Essentially, it is the new ATV3 preset with RF=19 instead of 20. On films that do not have a lot of film grain or noise, a BD will be about 7-10GB in size. On a calibrated 55" Sony XBR LCD, I find the video quality is visually all but identical.

The far bigger issue for me is losing the lossless audio (an ATV problem with no workaround).

Use HB with the ATV3 preset and quit worrying about it. When I have people over that actually care about the A/V quality, I just play the BD instead of the ATV version. For casual watching, the ATV convenience trumps the loss of the HD audio and 5% video quality hit.
i think im going to go with your suggestion. i wasnt sure what to set RF to, i'll try 19 and stick with it. appreciate it
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 08:58 AM   #13
mic j
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Originally Posted by khollister View Post
Not all blu-rays use a h.264 encoding protocol. Some (mostly older titles) use MPEG2 or VC-1. The titles that can be re-muxed to be ATV-friendly use the AVC codec, which is H.264.

I transcode mine using Handbrake and a custom preset I made a while ago. Essentially, it is the new ATV3 preset with RF=19 instead of 20. On films that do not have a lot of film grain or noise, a BD will be about 7-10GB in size. On a calibrated 55" Sony XBR LCD, I find the video quality is visually all but identical.

The far bigger issue for me is losing the lossless audio (an ATV problem with no workaround).

Use HB with the ATV3 preset and quit worrying about it. When I have people over that actually care about the A/V quality, I just play the BD instead of the ATV version. For casual watching, the ATV convenience trumps the loss of the HD audio and 5% video quality hit.

What title are you using for your experiment?
A sane person!
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 09:15 AM   #14
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A sane person!


I originally built a HTPC using JRiver to play back original MKV's with HD audio. The A/V quality was identical to the BD's, but A) Windows kept crashing and B) I was running out of disk space quickly, even with a 6 bay NAS.

I came to grips with the ATV approach due to stability, practicality as far as storage and the fact that the A/V quality is still better than a Netflix HD stream, iTunes HD downloads or anything on cable (which I dropped earlier this year).

Frankly, if someone just has to have uncompressed BD video, a WDTV Live works fine with MKV's, can stream directly from a NAS and will pass Dolby TrueHD audio over HDMI. It DOES NOT pass DTS-MA (it uses the lossy DTS core). It sucks for audio though for iTunes users since it doesn't play ALAC and the GUI is poor for music compared to the ATV.
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 09:31 AM   #15
mic j
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I originally built a HTPC using JRiver to play back original MKV's with HD audio. The A/V quality was identical to the BD's, but A) Windows kept crashing and B) I was running out of disk space quickly, even with a 6 bay NAS.

I came to grips with the ATV approach due to stability, practicality as far as storage and the fact that the A/V quality is still better than a Netflix HD stream, iTunes HD downloads or anything on cable (which I dropped earlier this year).

Frankly, if someone just has to have uncompressed BD video, a WDTV Live works fine with MKV's, can stream directly from a NAS and will pass Dolby TrueHD audio over HDMI. It DOES NOT pass DTS-MA (it uses the lossy DTS core). It sucks for audio though for iTunes users since it doesn't play ALAC and the GUI is poor for music compared to the ATV.
Yeah, if someone is really adamant about no quality loss, there are other systems that are much better than the aTV. I used to have a Popbox. It would worked well for streaming mkv's from an attached HD. But the UI was...well, bad. Now that I have my entire library converted to mp4 and only occasionally rip a new movie, the process is not a burden. And the aTV UI is great. I view on a 65" from 13ft away, so the "perceived" quality loss is almost non-existent. I think it might me just a tad softer looking than the original. No HD AVR so, that's not a problem for me.
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