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Old Apr 26, 2011, 12:59 AM   #1
SquishyNoodles
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Best Handbrake setting?

Hey guys,

Long time reader, first time poster here.

I'm writing because recently (after a total of over a year ) I have discovered that I can place video files onto a USB stick, plug them into my TV, and then watch them.

I've been told it's relatively simple to do it with an external hard drive too which is great - it will mean that I'll have 320GB at my fingertips to watch on the bigger screen and with the surround sound. Exciting!

The only thing is, I just finished watching a small amount of "Easy A", which I converted to an MKV file in Handbrake (so that my TV could read it). It had no skipping, freezing, or sound issues - but I did notice the quality had diminished quite significantly - it was rather pixelated. I'm posting in the hope that someone else has used HandBrake for similar purposes and could advise me to the best settings for great quality (file size isn't really an issue) to watch on a larger screen.

While I like HandBrake and it's easy, familiar interface if anyone feels there is a better program to suit my needs, please don't hesitate to let me know about it.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 01:06 AM   #2
larrylaffer
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Location: Los Angeles
This question gets asked pretty often, and unfortunately there is no simple answer. Personally, I always use HandBrake's "High Quality" preset. It makes pretty good looking video for me most of the time. Did you use a preset or adjust all the values yourself?

The thing is, you need to know what the constraints of your media device are. I have a Samsung TV from about 2 years ago with a USB port, and it can handle clips produced with the High Quality preset. However, if I wanted to achieve maximum quality, I'd adjust values in HandBrake. The problem is, the TV can't handle an H.264 stream thats overly complex. The H.264 standard has quite a bit of legroom of turning all kinds of settings way up, like the number of B frames in each GOP. In English, that means the number of incomplete frames between full frames. The more of those you have, the more quality you can jam into a given bit rate. But also, the more of those you have, the more work it is for the decoder to build each frame during playback.

Anyway, words words words. Try the High Quality setting and see if that works well for you. If it doesn't, adjust the RF slider in Handbrake to the right a couple of a ticks and try again. Don't try sliding it all the way to the right; that will just make a monster file that your hardware will struggle with.
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 01:16 AM   #3
SquishyNoodles
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Well that seems simple enough. I'll give it a go when I've got a bit more time on my hands.

I hadn't realised it had been posted before, but I must admit I didn't look all [I]that[I] much. It makes sense though, I'd say a few people are looking to do the same or similar things.

Do you mind my asking what means you use to play the video through the TV, is it stored on an external hard drive, or have you come up with something different?
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 01:21 AM   #4
SquishyNoodles
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OH! I almost forgot!

I burned an exercise DVD I borrowed from a friend this morning, and when I play it on the TV, it's in a 4:3 style ratio. I think I've said that right, basically, it doesn't fill up the whole screen, the height is fine but the width is significantly reduced, considering the DVD plays in widescreen usually.

Is there a HandBrake setting I should be aware of that should rectify the problem?
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 01:22 AM   #5
larrylaffer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SquishyNoodles View Post
Well that seems simple enough. I'll give it a go when I've got a bit more time on my hands.

I hadn't realised it had been posted before, but I must admit I didn't look all [I]that[I] much. It makes sense though, I'd say a few people are looking to do the same or similar things.

Do you mind my asking what means you use to play the video through the TV, is it stored on an external hard drive, or have you come up with something different?
When I say the question is asked a lot, I mean outside of MR. Trying to pick a good encoding profile is an age-old question with no simple answer.

I actually don't use my TV much anymore, since I have a PlayStation 3, and can stream to that wirelessly. It's just more convenient that way. When I did use my TV, I used an 8GB SD card with a built in USB connection. Using a hard drive would be just fine, and probably better than what I did for situations where you want to scrub through the video (this was horrible with my slow SD card).
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 01:25 AM   #6
larrylaffer
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquishyNoodles View Post
OH! I almost forgot!

I burned an exercise DVD I borrowed from a friend this morning, and when I play it on the TV, it's in a 4:3 style ratio. I think I've said that right, basically, it doesn't fill up the whole screen, the height is fine but the width is significantly reduced, considering the DVD plays in widescreen usually.

Is there a HandBrake setting I should be aware of that should rectify the problem?
That's weird. I think HandBrake preserves whatever aspect ratio it finds in the source video. Is it a 16:9 (widescreen) DVD? If so, and HB doesn't preserve that, you can go to Windows -> Picture Settings and force the aspect ratio. You would probably want to do 1920x1080 for your TV.

If the DVD is in fact 4:3, you don't really want to stretch it out to fill your TV. That will just look unnatural.
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 01:38 AM   #7
SquishyNoodles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrylaffer View Post
When I say the question is asked a lot, I mean outside of MR. Trying to pick a good encoding profile is an age-old question with no simple answer.
Oh, I'm glad. There's nothing that frustrates me more than reading through the same question time and time again. I get that enough on my University's blackboard.

That's pretty cool about your PS3. I currently have a PS2 and a Nintendo 64. When my DVD player through a hissy last year I sincerely considered getting a PS3 for Christmas, I really like that it does so many things for the price of one console (and you've just added one other!). It's just a matter of convincing my partner it is worth buying one, because as he says, I hardly use what I have now. :/
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 01:43 AM   #8
SquishyNoodles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrylaffer View Post
Is it a 16:9 (widescreen) DVD?
I couldn't answer that accurately, as I'm currently buried under Psychology articles and the DVD is in another room, but I am assuming that it is - considering it plays in widescreen (even without those annoying black bars you get on most modern movies) normally. It's probably something I've done, though. I had to fiddle around with Audio and Visual codecs to find something my TV would accept, so I may well have pressed the wrong button.

I'm very grateful for those numbers! I did see an area where I could manually size/crop it, but I wasn't confident to what size. I can't wait to experiment with it now that I have a little more knowledge.

Tell me, any way in cropping Sylvester Stalone out of the Expendables? I might find it less torturous that way :P
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