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Best quality to ATV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ahmadof, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    I am trying to get my DVD collection onto my computer (just like everyone else). I want to know if I am doing this right. Quality is my primary concern, space is readily available. I have apple tv. After reading the forum and sticky, I decided on using ripit. It is extremely easy to use. I would like to know if this is an exact copy of the DVD quality wise? My plan is to use ripit to make a copy of the DVD, store that on a HD and then I use handbrake to encode (universal setting) and it shows up fine on apple tv. It seems I can use Vidalin to make it look prettier. Am I getting the best picture here and 5.1 surround? I don't want to start in earnest until I know I have the best copy from ripit and then I have the best quality / sound in handbrake. Would I be better off using ATVFlash and streaming the original ripit file? I know this sounds like the same thing everyone is asking, but I haven't really seen a clear answer on the quality and surround sound issue. I know it works. DVD-> ripit->handbrake-> ATV, I just want to know if it the best way to go about it.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Yes quality wise RipIt will give you an exact copy of the DVD all RipIt does is remove the copy protection.

    If your only interested in using the encodes on the AppleTV then use the AppleTV preset as it will give you better quality than the universal preset.

    I also like to turn on the No Fast-P-Skip and the No DCT-Decimate options. The No Fast-P-Skip option will help prevent banding on solid colors and the No DCT-Decimate will stop the encoder from destroying subtle detail such as filmgrain. Both of these options will increase encoding time and file size but I think its worth it.

    I also like the set both Deblocking values to -1 as I think the default values of 0 make the resulting encoded file to soft/blurry.

    I also use a CQ value of RF:19.5 61.76%

    These are my own personnal opinions as to what settings work best for me. Just play around with the settings and find values that look good to you:)
  3. macrumors 6502

    You haven't seen any one answer to this question because "best quality" is a subjective measure. What I think looks best may look poor to you. So the "best" you can do is read the many posts and try a few options. Experiment a little and decide what meets you needs.
  4. macrumors member


    thanks for the help. I tried the settings you suggested and I have a couple of questions. Is there an easy tutorial on what the settings do?
    is the audio 5.1 in a conversion?
    I only tested one movie, but the apple tv setting does appear better than universal, and your suggestions do make it a bit better than apple tv settings to me. It still does not appear just like the DVD though. Am I expecting too much?

    Will the ATVHack allow you to play the dvd copy from ripit? (via nito TV i think)? If it does, will this be better quality? This would be the only reason I have to hack the ATV, so I don't want to go through the trouble unless it delivers better picture quality. Thanks again for the suggested settings.
  5. macrumors regular

    Thank you for posting that detailed information. I'm just starting to use Handbrake and I will experiment with your values.

    Handbrake is a very complicated program. For example, when I transcode 1920x1080, the Apple TV preset will create output of 960x544. I would have expected 1280x720, since that's the "max" that the Apple TV can handle. But probably the Handbrake people did some experimenting of their own and came up with somewhat smaller values.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    The AppleTV preset is optimized for SD material so if you want to encode 1080 material down to 1280x720 then you just need to go into the Video tab and enter the correct size ie 1280 width 720 height.
  7. macrumors member

    The reason the ATV preset does sub-720p is that Handbrake doesn't have the ability to modify the preset based on the frame rate of the source.

    Add to this that the ATV can have issues with any source over 24fps at 720p and you get the reason for the scaled down ATV preset.

    If your source is 24fps then by all means bump up the pixels if you want, but if you do it with a source that is over 24fps you may find your video won't playback on ATV.
  8. macrumors member

    It seems every thread about ATV encoding pretty much ends with "test it out"

    I would say I have to agree. It would be nice just to have a "plug and play" set of values, somewhat similar to audio, but I have tested one chapter of a movie with numerous settings and there are subtle differences that may not make a difference to everyone.

    Correct me if I'm wrong , but the optimal quality wise (and less user friendly) is just to use ripit and a mac mini attached via HDMI to your television. Everything else will be a step down.
  9. macrumors member


    The problem here is that unlike audio pretty much any source you're going to be considering (be it DVD or Blu-Ray or other) is already a lossy compressed source (as opposed to CD audio which has parameters but isn't compressed within those parameters). So all of the "lossless" compression you could do has pretty much already been done and all there is left is to start cutting out information.

    Now good, high bit-rate .264 compression is probably indistinguishable for most people in most circumstances; but unfortunately there isn't the equivalent of just deciding "screw it, I'm gonna go FLAC/ALAC safe in the knowledge I can't possibly be losing anything and always re-create the original file". Only way to do that is simply not to transcode the original video, i.e. a straight ripit ("other ripping utililties are available") pull of the (massive) mpeg2 stream.

    That means no iTunes, no iPhone compatibility and a lot of expense on HDDs if you have a decent sized collection (moreso if you're going to keep a backup or two to save re-ripping the whole lot).

    Personally I'm pretty much decided on handbrake-ing my DVDs to about the best quality its reasonable to put on my iPhone (likely a high quality, slow encode, variation of the ATV preset).

    That makes everything availble for me now and if (/when) I transition to hi-def at some point in the future I can worry about how to rip my blu-rays then, safe in the knowledge that my DVDs should still be pretty much DVD quality.
  10. macrumors 68020

    Very much correct. The atv has two different resolutions it supports, up to 1280 x 720 at up to 25 fps, and 960 x 544 at 29.976 fps. So to be safe the built in preset uses the lowest common denominator for its resolution, 960 x 544 since due to variable framerate HB can not base the preset resolution on the "announced" framerate of the source as its often inaccurate to the final encode.
  11. macrumors 68020

    You are right, there will be nothing from HB with the exact same quality as the source. Even HB's excellent x264 video encoder is a lossy encoder. Having said that though, the idea behind good compression is you remove bitrate in areas the human eye can not perceive. Lets face it, if you can not see it who cares ?

    If you are looking to get a bit better quality for the appleTV than the stock handbrake preset you could take a look here as a starting point, keeping in mind your sources fps to set resolution http://dynaflashtech.net/2009/11/06/handbrake-appletv-hi-profile-setting/.
  12. macrumors regular

    Your comments suggest an interesting compromise for DVDs (and perhaps HD recorded OTA). I may experiment to see how much disk space it saves.

    If I understand correctly, DVDs and HD OTA are basically MPEG-2. And H.264 is regarded as "more efficient". So doesn't that suggest simply transcoding from MPEG-2 --> H.264 while leaving everything else (such as resolution and frame rate) unchanged? You then store H.264 on your hard drive, instead of the original bits.

    How much quality would you lose if you later went and re-transcoded for iPod or iPad or whatever? I.e. a double conversion: MPEG-2 --> H.264 --> iPod, instead of the more obvious conversion MPEG-2 --> iPod?

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