Any advantage to H.265 for 1080p?

WebHead

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Based on a quick check, HandBrake doesn’t appear to have an Apple device preset for H.265 with a 1080p source.

Is this due to a lack of real benefit over H.264, or simply a lack of demand?
 

cynics

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h265 (HEVC) is a more efficient video compression standard than h264 (AVC).

So the advantage is its better at what its designed to do. A video using h265 can have higher quality with similar storage size or similar video quality using less storage space....OR anywhere in between when compared to h264.

I grabbed a random video out of my photo library and ran it through Handbrake using both h264 and h265. I used all the default settings for both so its a MKV container using the avc1 and hevc compression standards.

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 9.11.04 AM.png
(click image)

With no noticeable quality difference the h265 is using ~27% less storage space.

The disadvantage is compatibility. The above HEVC plays smooth as silk with VLC on my iMac which does not have hardware support for HEVC.

However the same file played using VLC has too complex of an encoding for the AppleTV4 to decode. This is a screenshot through quicktime of my AppleTV4 output signal attempting to

AppleTV4
Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 9.32.58 AM.png

iPhone 6S (no true hardware support for HEVC) plays the HEVC video file fine in VLC.

iPhone 6S
IMG_6784.PNG

On the AppleTV4 screen grab aside from the obvious compression blocks its playing at 5 fps with long pauses. This is especially bad since that is using the main profile, low resolution and only 30fps.

The real disadvantage about that is consistency. I'm assuming VLC isn't optimized very well for tvOS 13. Or there is some other limitation there. I question the optimization of HandBrakes h265 implementation too. Relying on 3rd app devs to optimize their apps so your videos play isn't a good situation to be in.

Another disadvantage is the time it takes the transcode the video using h265. Seems to take my MacBook about 2x as long with hardware support but it takes my iMac 5x as long without hardware support.

My opinion on the matter, we've been working with h264 and 1080p for so long that we've made appropriate accommodation for its file size. Now with 4k HDR we need something more efficient and that is where h265 comes in...

EDIT: The AppleTV 4 playback problem is VLC. I can see it dropping a couple frames but Infuse can playback that 1080p HEVC at a level that I would consider "watchable".
 
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WebHead

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Thanks for the extensive rundown! I’ve pretty much decided to encode all 1080p in H.265 going forward, as compatibility will only improve. I guess my dilemma is whether to go back and re-rip the content I already have in H.264.
 

priitv8

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Thanks for the extensive rundown! I’ve pretty much decided to encode all 1080p in H.265 going forward, as compatibility will only improve. I guess my dilemma is whether to go back and re-rip the content I already have in H.264.
Coultd be prohibitively expensive. You will notice that the cost of better efficiency is the enormously increased encoding complexity/time. Would only be manageable if you can achieve hardware encoding on your computer.
 
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steve23094

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Thanks for the extensive rundown! I’ve pretty much decided to encode all 1080p in H.265 going forward, as compatibility will only improve. I guess my dilemma is whether to go back and re-rip the content I already have in H.264.
I agree with your plan. Once done, it's done. Otherwise you will always wonder if it's worth going back to re-encode a few years from now.
 

WebHead

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However the same file played using VLC has too complex of an encoding for the AppleTV4 to decode.
Just to clarify, you're using VLC on tvOS, not AirPlaying? Is the performance any better on the tvOS Computers app?



I agree with your plan. Once done, it's done. Otherwise you will always wonder if it's worth going back to re-encode a few years from now.
That's my thinking - though I guess one day there'll be a H.266 🤦‍♂️
 

priitv8

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Just to clarify, you're using VLC on tvOS, not AirPlaying? Is the performance any better on the tvOS Computers app?
From my experience (I do not use VLC anywhere), HEVC 1080p encodes play without problems via Computers app (AirPlay/Home Sharing).
 

WebHead

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Thanks, did you encode with Handbrake? What settings?
 

archer75

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I encode all movies to h.265. DVD, bluray, 4k, doesn't matter. I have well over 1000 of them. Loaded up in my plex server and played on whatever I want.
 

WebHead

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Do you use Handbrake's "Apple 2160p60 4K HEVC Surround" preset and it just stays at whatever the source resolution is?
 

archer75

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Do you use Handbrake's "Apple 2160p60 4K HEVC Surround" preset and it just stays at whatever the source resolution is?
I don't use the presets. I setup my own. I don't change the resolution. I let it keep whatever the source is.
I rip forced subtitles and if they exist I burn them in. For audio I set that to passthrough and I always keep the HD audio track only. So TrueHD or DTSMA passthrough. AC3 passthrough for DVD's.
I use an MKV container.
I use H.265 10bit. The CQ setting I use varies by the content. 20 for DVD, 18 for most bluray, 20 for animation. 16 for 4k. I've done frame by frame comparisons against the original to ensure I can't see a difference and these settings work for that.

The speed I use depends on the computer I encode on. My PC uses an Intel 5820 6 core processor and my 2018 Mac Mini has the Intel 8700 6 core. Obviously the mini encodes much faster and with better video quality even at identical settings. So I use slow on the PC but fast on the mac. I almost always just use the mac now as the results are better.

I'm not at my computer right now so I can't check but I do change some other settings. I'd have to tell you those later.

I use plex media server running on my mac mini for serving all the content and it shares both inside and outside the home. On my ATV's I use infuse to watch content and on everything else I use plex to watch. Playback is flawless everywhere. I can even play full 4k disc rips, full size, not re-encoded, with infuse(served via plex) without issue.
 
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Ritsuka

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Hardware HEVC encoders are worse than the x264 H.264 encoder usually. So I wouldn't reencode anything with them.
 

HDFan

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hanks for the extensive rundown! I’ve pretty much decided to encode all 1080p in H.265 going forward, as compatibility will only improve.
If you are saving DVD/Blu-Rays why are you encoding? Why not just keep the original files (.MKV or .t2s) and not have to worry about quality, dependent upon your player? That way you can always re-encode when a better encoder comes along or you discover some better encoding settings. Penalty is of course disk space, but disks are relatively cheap now. 16 TB drives prices are dropping.
 

steve23094

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Hardware HEVC encoders are worse than the x264 H.264 encoder usually. So I wouldn't reencode anything with them.
You‘re correct, the software encoding is better. In my case I was processing on a NAS which had hardware encoding. The difference in speed was massive and I couldn’t justify the small variance in results versus the huge amount of time saved. Different story if you’re encoding on a desktop with a decent CPU though.
 

archer75

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It's also worth mentioning, that HB does not upscale (ie. 1080 -> 2160 is not possible), only downscales.
PS on your 8700-Mini, you should be able to use hardware encoding already?
hardware encoding on the mini(videotoolbox) doesn't support 10 bit which I need. A movie encode with my settings is only 2 hours on the mini(12 on my PC) so I'm not worried about it. The T2 chip could do it but as far as I know only apples software can access that for encoding.
 
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priitv8

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hardware encoding on the mini(videotoolbox) doesn't support 10 bit which I need. A movie encode with my settings is only 2 hours on the mini(12 on my PC) so I'm not worried about it. The T2 chip could do it but as far as I know only apples software can access that for encoding.
Don't know about T2, but the i9 inside my iMac can also do 10-bit HEVC encode in hardware. The Coffee Lake inside your Mini does as well. It's the apple VideoToolbox that does not yet take advantage of it. (Haven't upgraded to Catalina yet, btw).
Looks like you are encoding for HDR10?
What settings do you encode with and from what source material?
 

archer75

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Don't know about T2, but the i9 inside my iMac can also do 10-bit HEVC encode in hardware. The Coffee Lake inside your Mini does as well. It's the apple VideoToolbox that does not yet take advantage of it. (Haven't upgraded to Catalina yet, btw).
Looks like you are encoding for HDR10?
What settings do you encode with and from what source material?
10 bit isn't tied to HDR. It reduces or eliminates banding in the picture. Also provides a better picture even from 8bit source material. And a smaller file size. So it's a good idea to use 10 bit encoding for everything.
Handbrake doesn't support 10bit in videotoolbox. It's noted in their docs.

Most of my encodes are from bluray. Some are from UHD discs. Some are DVD.
I use MKV for the container.
I rip forced subtitles and if there are any I burn them in the picture.
Audio I only rip DTS-HD or TrueHD and set it to pass through.
Video encoder is H.265 10bit
Framerate is same as source and set to variable
speed is fast
tune is none
profile is main 10
level is auto
quality is set to constant quality. I use 20 for DVD or animation, 18 for bluray, 16 for UHD
For additional options I have strong-intra-smoothing=0:rect=0

I am on Catalina and I just grabbed the handbrake nightly build and there's no change to videotoolbox. Still no 10bit.
 
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cynics

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Just to clarify, you're using VLC on tvOS, not AirPlaying? Is the performance any better on the tvOS Computers app?





That's my thinking - though I guess one day there'll be a H.266 🤦‍♂️
Yes, I was playing the HEVC file natively (hosted on a NAS) via VLC on tvOS. If the video is transcoded client side on a client that can transcode it properly anything will play fine. You will run into the same problem if the client can decode it either though (my NAS for example is for storage only and can't decode HEVC).

My point was to use caution, that was just 1 example but there are quiet a few variables. For example you can use HandBrake to encode a h264 video (AVC1) that is so complex that only high end desktops can decode the video in real time (1x playback speed).

Mobile devices is a issue too. Its more power intensive to decode h265 and without hardware decoding its just a straight battery killer.

Apple took this very seriously when it came to the iPhones using HEVC due to the negative implications. When you send (airdrop, message, etc) an HEVC video with an iPhone it will "convert" (transcode to h264) unless its a known device that is whitelisted to play HEVC. In most cases its converted to h264.

I'm not trying to dissuade you (or anyone) from using HEVC however just keep the caveats in mind and test all possible scenarios out before converting an entire library.
 

BODYBUILDERPAUL

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From reading all of this, I pray that I never become an AV enthusiast when I get older. It sounds never ending with not much in the way of fun or even enjoyment.
For the very few films that I watch, for now i'll stick with iTunes and Vimeo and my streaming options.

If like you guys, I liked 4K BluRay or BluRays, i'd rather watch them on a Panasonic 9000 or Pioneer player rather than doing all of the IT route.
Not sure why anyone would want to rip DVDs though - surely even a iTunes HD download would be a better experience - even in the USA where at least the audio plays at the correct speed/pitch from that old disc.
 

HDFan

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Not sure why anyone would want to rip DVDs though
With DVD's probably not much of a quality difference. However iTunes has relatively primitive organizing options. A media server adds a whole lot more - collections, playlists, display by date added, viewed, plays, bitrate, .... . Maybe not an issue with a just a few titles, but when your library grows into the hundreds or higher iTunes becomes unmanageable.

For Blu-Rays (regular and 4K) it makes a quality difference. If the soundtrack is high-res (DTS-MA, for example) it is crippled.