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Old Feb 19, 2008, 07:13 PM   #1
cowm007
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Lightbulb HandBrake ripping compatibility tests

I don't know how many of you are in the same situation as me, but I have a few Apple devices I'd like to play my media on. I'd also like to have only 1 file that plays across all the platforms and has the best quality/size ratio possible. I've looked online for such a solution but found mixed results so I've decided to run my own tests using the newly released HandBrake version 0.9.2

I'm testing the files on various devices. They are as follows:
  • iTunes 7.6
  • Apple TV Take 2
  • iPhone with 1.1.3 Firmware
  • 3g iPod nano with 1.1. Firmware

My hardware is a MacBook with a 2Ghz Core 2 duo and 3GB of RAM. I'm ripping chapter 1 of the "Groundhog Day" widescreen DVD which has 5.1 audio and multiple languages. For quality, I always do 2-pass encoding as it helps immensely with fast scene changes. For benchmark purposes, I get 60fps average on the 1st pass and 19fps average on the 2nd pass at the 1500 kbps bitrate.

Alright here's my results placed into a nice easy to read chart. Basically what I can gather is that the HandBrake team has done a great job in terms of compatibility and that Apple has understated the iPhone/iPod's potential. I'm happy to find that both my iPod and iPhone were able to handle the full sized anamorphic DVD rip with 4 audio tracks (AAC and AC3).

The settings I choose were based off the "iPod High" preset. My rationale for the tested resolutions is based off Apple's published iPhone/iPod specs. http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html According to them, the max resolution the iPhone can handle is 640x480 @ 1500kbps. I found out what this actually means is that the max pixel count the iPhone can handle is 307,200 pixels (640 times 480). So the 720x400 was the highest you can get a widescreen rip (non-anamorphic) and still be under the max pixel count (288,000 px).

Surprisingly though, the iPhone/iPod were able to handle the full resolution 708x466 (329,928 px) without complaints. Since the resolution limit was higher that I expected, I decided to test other bit-rates as well. I tried both 2500 and then 5000kbps. The results are as follows.

Important note: You HAVE to choose the iPod/iPhone preset first and crank up the setting from there if you want to get these high quality cross-device files. If you choose the Apple TV preset and go from there they won't work. I'm guessing it's got something to do with the advanced flags. Also, it didn't matter if I checked the "iPod Atom" flag or not. I'm not sure anymore what it's for, maybe some older iPods require it but I don't have any to test with.

Here's the results:

Extrapolating the data, the average sizes for a 90 minute movie file should be as follows:
  • All@1500kbps, 2x AAC: 1,188 MB
  • All@1500kbps, 1x AAC, 1x AC3: 1,360 MB
  • All@1500kbps, 2x AAC, 2x AC3: 1,620 MB
  • Anamorphic @ 2500: 2,340 MB
  • Anamorphic @ 5000: 4,000 MB

OK so conclusions. Looks like the devices can handle much more than I thought they could. I've done tests before and it used to be I couldn't get the anamorphic or the higher bitrate files to play on my iPhone. So it looks like I can start upping the quality of my rips and not worry about compatibility. On the downside, my previous rips now feel old and outdated lol.

The settings I'll probably use on movies from now on are the Anamorphic Strict setting for the highest resolution possible and 2500kbps video. I did always feel 1500 was lacking clarity on the Apple TV so it's nice to be able to increase that. 5000kbps seems like over kill to me since I can't really notice a difference between that and 2500kbps. It's also pushing the 4GB file limit people seem to run into trouble with. I'll leave the 5000+AC3 for my HD rips, those can really benefit from it.

Still not sure about audio since it only benefits the Apple TV. The size jump is also quite high for the high quality AC3 tracks. I'd rather have 2 different languages than the 5.1 surround sound with the added size penalty. But that's just personal choice.

The results are not conclusive as I have yet to try a full screen DVD and one of those ultra widescreen DVDs, but given the iPhone/iPod outperformed, I think I'll find similar results with those.

Last edited by cowm007; Feb 19, 2008 at 09:31 PM. Reason: Added results
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 07:26 PM   #2
cohibadad
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cool. look forward to your results. But it sounds like you are talking encoding tests, not ripping. Ripping refers to extraction from DVD and wouldn't directly effect compatibility with iPhone, etc.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 08:17 PM   #3
eddyg
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The ATV Preset turns on some advanced H.264 features that the iPods don't know how to handle.

That's why you should start on the iPod preset instead.

Cheers, Ed.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 10:05 PM   #4
cowm007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddyg View Post
The ATV Preset turns on some advanced H.264 features that the iPods don't know how to handle.

That's why you should start on the iPod preset instead.

Cheers, Ed.
Ah that makes sense, thanks for the info.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 11:09 PM   #5
student101
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Wait a minute... you're saying that a 5000kbps video played on your iPod?
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 12:15 AM   #6
cowm007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by student101 View Post
Wait a minute... you're saying that a 5000kbps video played on your iPod?
Yup, iPod and iPhone. Here's screenshot of the file info and the file playing. You can see the 5000kbps and the AC3+AAC audio tracks.



And here's screenshot of the file on my iPhone and the file playing.

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Old Feb 20, 2008, 12:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowm007 View Post
Also, it didn't matter if I checked the "iPod Atom" flag or not. I'm not sure anymore what it's for, maybe some older iPods require it but I don't have any to test with.
Correct. That iPod Atom checkbox is for 5 and 5.5 G ipod compatibility.

Oh, btw, nice post. sums it up very well.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 01:05 PM   #8
rWally
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So will the appleTV output 5.1 audio from these files?
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 02:17 PM   #9
eddyg
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So will the appleTV output 5.1 audio from these files?
Yes.

Note - always choose AAC + AC3, not just AC3 pass-through. That way there is an AAC track for the iPod, and also for the ATV if not connected to a Dolby Digital receiver (e.g. when connected via HDMI direct to the TV).

Cheers, Ed.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 03:47 PM   #10
rWally
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Will this play on a ps3 as well with 5.1 audio?
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 04:18 PM   #11
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Wow, great, informative thread.

Thanks for all of the hard work here!
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 08:52 PM   #12
Superman07
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How are you manually adjusting the settings?

If I chose iPod/iPhone and enter your resolution settings my boxes turn red.

Also, I've produced two .mp4 files (AAC+AC3) and Quicktime won't open them. Some old threads suggest that the error is due to .mp4 not being compatiable with AC3, but I thought that's what this was supposed to fix...

I did have two .mkv files work, but I didn't have 5.1 setup so I don't know if that portion of the file worked. One ended up around 3.2G and the other 1.75G. The 3.2G was clearly better, but I had used the ATV preset, so I couldn't get it to work on the iPhone (per your statement up thread - although I read that after the fact ).
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 01:51 AM   #13
eschulist
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Does m4v or mp4 make a difference?

Last edited by eschulist; Feb 21, 2008 at 03:58 AM.
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 06:39 AM   #14
nicoska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowm007 View Post


Here's the results:

Extrapolating the data, the average sizes for a 90 minute movie file should be as follows:
  • All@1500kbps, 2x AAC: 1,188 MB
  • All@1500kbps, 1x AAC, 1x AC3: 1,360 MB
  • All@1500kbps, 2x AAC, 2x AC3: 1,620 MB
  • Anamorphic @ 2500: 2,340 MB
  • Anamorphic @ 5000: 4,000 MB
Those settings actually don't work when sync to my iPhone.
What resolution are you using ?
Thanks

nico
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 12:56 PM   #15
cowm007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicoska View Post
Those settings actually don't work when sync to my iPhone.
What resolution are you using ?
Thanks

nico
Did you choose the iPhone/iPod setting and then increase the resolution and bit-rate from there? I found that this was key to getting the videos to work. Also are you using the latest HandBrake (0.9.2) and latest iPhone firmware (1.1.3)?
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 01:51 PM   #16
nicoska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowm007 View Post
Did you choose the iPhone/iPod setting and then increase the resolution and bit-rate from there? I found that this was key to getting the videos to work. Also are you using the latest HandBrake (0.9.2) and latest iPhone firmware (1.1.3)?
No, i was using AppleTV setting.
Now with iPhone setting, then incrase resolution and bitrate it works.
Thanks

Nico
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 02:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by eschulist View Post
Does m4v or mp4 make a difference?
Yes - if there is an AC3 audio track then the file extension *must* be m4v otherwise it will be deemed an invalid mp4 file.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 09:36 AM   #18
Superman07
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Any updates here? I tried a show at iTouch defaults, then changed to AAC+AC3. The one I tried with 2500kbps, and the other at 1500kbps. I felt that the former was significatly better, but it was 1GB for a 45 minute episode, which amounts to a LOT of HD space when you have a lot of individual episodes. The second came in at 650mb...I may try 2000 and see where at gets me, but it's taking an hour a pop so it's becoming very time consuming just to tinker around with.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 10:10 AM   #19
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I haven't found any reason not to use m4v always. m4v gives you the automatic chapters for TV. Are there some devices that aren't compatible with m4v that are with mp4 extension? FWIW you can just change the extension from mp4 to m4v at any time without needing to reencode a movie.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 10:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddyg View Post
Yes.

Note - always choose AAC + AC3, not just AC3 pass-through. That way there is an AAC track for the iPod, and also for the ATV if not connected to a Dolby Digital receiver (e.g. when connected via HDMI direct to the TV).

Cheers, Ed.
How much space are you saving by selecting just the AC3 pass through vs both on a typical 2 hr movie. I only play my rips to the ATV, not on my iMac and I rip at 480x res and 400bitrate for 500MB files for my phone (only select movies anyway) and since I have my ATV going directly into my receiver via optical I thought I would reduce the file size by not adding the AAC audio track. I hadn't thought about possibly needing it in the future for 2 Apple TVs hooked up to 2 different TVs and 1 maybe not having DD.

Also, I know the preset uses 2500 bitrate, what is the advantage of this. I have a 46" Samsung DLP and I can't see any difference between a 1500 and 2500 encode. So I started with the Apple TV preset, set it to AC3 only, 1500 bitrate, 2 pass and turbo 1st pass.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 08:34 PM   #21
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Wow!! Updated

First off, thanks for spending the time putting this together. It is a life saver so I can have high qualify encodes for all devices I use.

My custom settings in Handbrake:

Base Setting = iPod High-Rez
Changes = 70% Constant Rate, No iPod Atom, Audio 160kbps, Codecs AVC/H.264 Video AAC+AC3 5.1, Strict Anamorhpic, 64Bit (Only if movie ends up greater then 4Gb), delete ":vbv-maxrate=1500:vbv-bufsize=2000" from advanced settings.

My Devices: Quicktime, iTunes 7.7, iPhone 2.0.1, ATV 2.1 and PS3 (64Bit does not work for PS3).

NOTES:
1) 64Bit Movies now work for iPhone 2.x.x software. YESSSS!!
2) IMO My Settings = DVD Quality and have not seen any dropped frames on iPhone.
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Last edited by bacaramac; Aug 16, 2008 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Updated Custom Settings
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 08:49 PM   #22
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64bit mp4 setting breaks iphone. It will sync, but gives error saying it cannot play. I tried settings all the way down to 1500 bitrate with this turned on and still a no go.
I was just wondering that. Now that TV2 can handle it, perhaps iPhone is coming next.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 09:04 PM   #23
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I was just wondering that. Now that TV2 can handle it, perhaps iPhone is coming next.
I am thinking they may add it to the iPhone, but doesn't really impact me yet since my Encodes are staying under 4GB at the moment. Guess I will have to wait and see how big the 2hrs+ movies are with these settings.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 10:37 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by cohibadad View Post
I was just wondering that. Now that TV2 can handle it, perhaps iPhone is coming next.
With all due respect, I wouldnt hold your breath. > 4GB video files on an iPhone ? I cannot imagine its a priority to apple as they will likely never let you rent HD on an iPhone. Otoh, who knows ?
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 11:06 PM   #25
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question cowm007, you encoded with multiple language audio tracks. Is there a way to choose which of those tracks plays on TV?
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