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ATV3 n00b. Subtitles and resolution

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by The DRis, May 21, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Hi guys. I've been reading for a week trying to find the answers on my own. I think I have the basics down. But now I have questions that I'm not finding the answers too.

    Basically I want a .m4v file with soft (turn them off and on) subtitles and surround sound audio.

    1) My first couple of DVD-computer I did just using Handbrake. Do these contain subtitle tracks?

    2) I switched to makemkv for the most recent conversions. The Harry Potter series. Obviously with makemkv I saw and selected the audio and subtitle tracks. Now how do I convert them using handbrake and keep the subtitles as a soft option?

    3) I don't have a surround system yet, but I'm planning for the future so I don't have to do all this work again.

    4) I don't have anything blu-ray yet. Are DVD's 1080 or 720? Should I try and create an ATV3 preset or just use the ATV2 preset?
  2. macrumors 68020

    Your options are endless, but I will give you a starting point:

    1&2) HB can only burn in VOB subtitles in the mp4 format. So there are no soft subtitles if you saved as mp4. Soft VOB subtitles are supported in the mkv format. Since you are referring to Apple TV, I will assume you saved in the mp4 container. You have 2 main options for soft subs: 1) download an srt file from the internet or 2) create your own srt file using another app (I use Subler to do that, but there are other options). When you transcode with HB, add the srt file in the subtitles tab and select default. This will add a text file to the mp4 that can be turned on/off with the aTV

    3&4) Select either the aTV2 preset or the High Profile preset. aTV2 preset will be quicker but yield a larger file size than the High Profile preset. Both of these presets will generate an stereo track in the first position and a surround track in the 2nd position. That will give a file that will provide surround sound when you get that.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Awesome, thanks for the response. From what I've read I thought that if I used makemkv the subtitle track would be included in the container. If that is the case when I transcode in HB I just select that subtitle track and default and we are GTG?

    I only used HB on two movies before my reading brought me to makemkv. Since then I have done 5 movies into .mkv and have been waiting to transcode until I knew what my options were.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Makemkv will keep your subtitles in the container. The problem is, that almost all of them are VOB format subtitle tracks (or PGS format for bluray). The mp4 container does not support those formats but the mkv container does. So if you want to work in the mp4 container you have to convert them to a different format, i.e. srt

    So you know, VOB and PGS formats are video overlays while srt is a text file that is "read" and displayed by the software. So to get an srt, it is either creed manually (dialog typed in) or optical character recognition (OCR) software is used on the VOB/PGS track to transfer what it "sees" to a text file. Sometimes it does it very well....sometimes not so well.
  5. macrumors 6502

    So the subtitle tracks I have selected with using makemkv are worthless? There is no point then using makemkv to transcode my DVD's. I should just use HB and then Subler to add the subtitles?
  6. macrumors 68020

    If you use Subler (or some other OCR subtitle app) to generate your srt subtitle file, you will need the mkv with subs to do that. If you decide to download the srt from the internet then there is no need to have the subtitles in the mkv.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Also, it depends on how you are going to be playing the files back. VLC on the computer and some media boxes, like the Western Digital Media Player, will play back VOB subtitles from .mkv and .m4v (I believe, it's been a while). The aTV, however, cannot.
  8. macrumors 6502

    I used Handbrake to make some smaller files from my RAW .mkv rips for my iPads for a trip. I used AppleTV2 setting on one and iPad on another. Both appear the same quality on the ipad, and both suck when viewed on my TV. Reading more and more on here it appears that using Subler instead of Handbrake is prefered.

    I keep reading about only being able to use Subler on the .mkv files if the file is already H.264, how can I tell if it is or not? All of my DVD's from my collection I'm copying to my computer using makemkv.
  9. macrumors 68020

    First off, unless it's a bluray or torrent download, it is most likely mpeg2 and not h.264. Second, uncompressed movies take up a lot of room on your iPad. So think about that. But definitely doable if you have the room. I use an app called Media Inspector to get the codec info.
  10. The DRis, Jun 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    I have a 64GB iPad, so room isn't really an issue. However, I did transcode the movies I wanted to watch into iPad format and kept them in a seperate file. However, now that I'm home I'm more prone to watch them on my new ATV3 then the iPad, hence me looking for a higher quality picture.

    I will check media inspector out.

    If the files are mpeg2 can I still use subler? Or do I need to Handbrake to transcode?

    ETA: mic j, thank you so much for all the help. I'm trying to read as much as I can and figure it out on my own without asking dumb questions. There is just so much to read, and it seems so many ways people get their movies into iTunes.
  11. macrumors 68020

    If the files are mpeg2 they will need to be transcoded. I think the High Profile preset will give you a larger file than the iPad preset, however, the quality is indistinguishable from the original...at least to me. Others may disagree.
  12. macrumors 6502

    The iPad transcode of Tangled was noticably pixelated on my 47" Vizio LED tv.
  13. macrumors 68020

    As you can see from my profile, I watch on a 65" and I see no pixilation using the High Profile preset.
  14. The DRis, Jun 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    I will try that and report back in a day or two. Thanks.

    Last question. I've seen this covered ad nausium but it still doesn't make sense to me. I want to make sure the movie has the stereo (for watching right now) and 5.1 audio channels (for when I replace my broken receiver). Is there anything special I need to check in the HB audio settings or does it do that already under the high quality profile setting?
  15. macrumors 68020

    That is part of the High Profile preset. I always double check that, the RF setting, and that I have selected the correct preset, though. Real bummer to transcode for hours and hours then find out you only have a stereo track.

    Just a note: Per Dynaflash (the local Hanbrake high guru) High Profile preset will be the basis for the aTV3 preset to be in a future HB build. If you want to get even closer to the future aTV3 preset go to picture setting and choose anamorphic: strict on the size tab, detelecine set to off and decomb set to default, on the filters tab. Take the High Profile setting, check web optimization, add the above modification and make that your "aTV3" preset default. When you want to transcode a movie all you have to do is select the file (and maybe title) and hit start. Pretty easy.
  16. macrumors 6502

  17. macrumors 6502

    Started the encode for Tangled (HD). Says it should only take 1hr 50mins. I'll try and wake up early tomorrow and load them both on my iPad to see if there is a difference. Then tomorrow when I get home from work I'll throw the DVD in the Xbox, play a chapter and compare it to the first encode (which I believe I used AppleTV2 preset), then the second encode that I customized per your recommendations.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Sick of me yet?

    Ok, tried out Subler. It is not very intuitive to me.

    I opened an existing file, this file was already in iTunes. I searched and found the correct metadata and artwork. Now what...? I tried sending to iTunes, it didn't work.

    Also when I open the movie in Subler, it unchecks chapters and the surround audio, why is that?
  19. macrumors 6502

    Sorry, I can't help with the Subler question, but I wanted to say that I use the aTV2 preset and have found that, for SD video, that I need to drop the RF value to at least 19.25 to remove pixelation in solid color areas, to my eyes. That may be applicable to animation.
  20. macrumors 601

  21. macrumors 68020

    Only the video and stereo audio streams should have checks. That is sets the default tracks (don't worry about the stereo being default, the aTV will still play the 5.1 track automatically if you have it's dolby setting set to on)

    After adding the metadata, you need to "Save" the file. Then go into iTunes and select "Get Info" for that particular movie. This will update the metadata in iTunes.

    I agree, Subler is not as "intuitive" as some applications and the documentation is not as complete as I would like. Very powerful however and once you get a good feel for it, it will become second nature. Make sure you downloaded the beta version (15beta3) as the regular version (15) crashes a lot.
  22. macrumors 6502

    I will try again tonight.


    Is 720p considered SD?
  23. mic j, Jun 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012

    macrumors 68020

    720p is HD.

    There are other apps to add metadata MetaZ, iDentify, etc. The reason I use Subler for tagging is that that I can add/delete metadata fields. The aTV the Description field has limited size and usually will only display a partial movie description. By deleting some of the fields that the aTV normally displays, you can expand the Description field. Other taggers will allow you to display or not display a field, but it will still be there (just blank) when displayed on the aTV, so you don't gain the Description field expansion. But if that's not a requirement for you, definitely consider other taggers. I have also found that IMDB.com has short movie descriptions which I use instead of the TMDb descriptions which tend to be longer.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Took some screen caps of Tangled in the two formats. Don't know if I upload them to photobucket if they will retain the resolution for me to post here and see what you guys think. Jet lag is a B***h. Was up at 2AM for no reason. Couldn't get back to bed, so I went out and loaded them up on my iPad and tried to compare them. Only thing I didn't get to do is play them on the TV.


    Screenshot 1:


    Screenshot 2:


    You tell me which was the iPad or AppleTV2 encode, and which one is the customized AppleTV3 encode
  25. macrumors 68020

    #2 is the aTV3. Do I get a prize?

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