Apple HD Movies on the ATV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by carlcosby, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. carlcosby macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    #1
    Hi all,

    Hopefully I get a reply to this one.

    How come apple's 720p HD purchased movies play perfectly and look great on the ATV but the same movie downloaded from certain sites, with the same 720p resolution doesnt play so good on the ATV. What size are their HD movies because ive been reading on here that large file sizes cant be processed fast enough, Apple's movies must be quite large, right?

    There's a lot of technical knoweledge here to be learned!! :confused:

    Regards
     
  2. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #2
    Apple TV can only play back files within these specifications:

    H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

    iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels, 640 by 480 pixels, 720 by 480 pixels (anamorphic), or high-definition 720p
    MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

    720p is just the resolution. The bit rate and encoding method also matter.
     
  3. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #3
    Thank you for the reply jaw04005,

    Im still a bit confused though, if i purchase a HD movie from apple on the ATV, it plays lovely. If I download the same movie in H.264, 720p which is being carried by .MKV and the file size is 5.16 Gb, the ATV doesnt like it. So, I convert to m4v but the finished file is 1.5 Gb, the quality is no longer there, but I want the quality to be there. How do I get round this please.

    Note: As im typing, im using handbreak to change the 5.16 Gb .mkv file into m4v. Ive used normal settings but changed a few things like:

    1. Large file size, selected
    2. Target size, entered the same as source (hoping that my newly converted m4v file wont loose pic quality)
    3. Frame rate, same as source
    4. Video codec, H.264 (x264)
    5. Pic settings - anamorphic none (but dont know how to keep it 720p?? as pointed out by somebody on another thread)
    6. Added this ":weightp=0" to the advanced settings menu at the bottom.

    Sorry if i seem dumb, but I am new to all this stuff as only recently purchased ATV and hacked it.

    All I want is to have the same quality of HD movies you get from the purchased content of apple, as I would from my downloaded HD movies. If you could advise me of the correct procedure then that would be great!!

    Thanks again


    Regards
    Carl.
     
  4. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    AR
    #4
    Is there some reason you're not using the Apple TV preset? You're transcoding. You're always going to lose some picture quality. Use the Apple TV preset, turn anamorphic off, add weightp=0 if it's not included in the Apple TV preset (it was at one point accidentally left off, not sure if the Handbrake team has fixed it yet) and leave the target size alone.
     
  5. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #5
    Confused

    What do you mean? Within handbreak?

    If so, dunno? Seen what other people have written on here to be honest. I take it the ATV preset would be the better option then? Would I get a compressed version of the original file, of say 1.5Gb which originated from a 5.16Gb file? If so that would mean losing pic quality, which I dont want.


    Regards
    Carl.

    Edit: Sorry, just read your reply in full. I understand and I will give that a go instead, thank you for your replies, your the only one who has so far!!

    How do I turn anamorphic off, just have 4 settings to choose, do you mean to set it to none?
     
  6. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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  7. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #7
    Thanks

    Thanx for that, ive just played the converted file on the ATV, and the audio is a bit out of sync and the pic is choppy. That was encoded the way i showed above. Doing it the ATV way now.

    Im off to bed, 02:30 is too late for me!!
     
  8. paol macrumors member

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    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #8
    The reason the .mkv files don't play on ATV is that they are usually encoded in High@4.1 which is more demanding than the ATV can handle, Main@3.1. Mediainfo for mac can show the encoding level.

    Use the latest HB or the snapshot from the forum. The ATV preset is fine. You can change the resolution from 960*540 to 1280*720 and save it as a new preset if you like. 1280*720 will not play if the fps is larger than 25, and usually it isn't.

    I don't think you need to change anamorphic, but it is no harm in turning it off for HD.

    The built-in presets include weightp=0. If not, update HB or the built-in presets.

    The quality slider controls picture quality, lower RF-value means better quality, but too low will give a bitrate higher than ATV can handle. I suggest you start with the value in the preset. Normal filesize for a movie is 2,5-4,5 Gb after reencoding in HB.

    Good luck.
     
  9. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #9
    Hi paol, thanx for info. A couple things if I may;

    or the snapshot from the forum - what's the snapshot, I'm new here?

    You can change the resolution from 960*540 to 1280*720 and save it as a new preset if you like - How do I do this then because the 540 value won't go any higher for me?

    Normal filesize for a movie is 2,5-4,5 Gb after reencoding in HB - Ive been getting less than 2Gb, around 1.7 to be exact. I'm doing something wrong somewhere then, unless I'm not choosing the right file type to rencode, i've been doing mkv's, is that right?

    I downloaded the latest HB, will do an update just to make sure though


    Thank you for your input


    Carl

    Edit: The source pic size is 1280 x 544, I cant seem to make the 544 change to 720. I assume it cant be done because of the settings of the source?
     
  10. paol macrumors member

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    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #10
    You can get the latest snapshot from the Handbrake forums, here: http://forum.handbrake.fr/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=13969

    It is unsupported code, not as tested but newer. It is working excellent for me.

    Just change the 960 to 1280. The other number (544) will be set correctly for you depending on source if "maintain aspect ratio" is checked.

    The AppleTV preset will make an m4v file. AppleTV can't play mkv unless hacked and then only mkv in SD.

    With this preset you should get larger files for a normal movie. I have AC3 passthru on which makes the files approx 600 Mb larger, if you don't I guess you could end up with a 2 Gb file.

    Edit: Yes, your last assumption is correct :)

    If you still have trouble, please paste your activity log from HB after trying a reencode with the AppleTv preset.
     
  11. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #11
    I will paste the activity log once done thanx. My ATV is hacked, it plays the mkv files but they are very jumpy and they are over 7Gb too. they seem to play better but not perfect when opened in XBMC. Ive also purchased the broadcom HD thing off ebay which apparently lets the ATV play 1080p through XBMC, but i dont know how to do this yet, hopefully somebody will tell me if they read this.

    Thanx and speak soon!

    Carl.

    Edit: Instead of doing all this encoding which takes ages, I might just download DivX/Xvid Blu Ray rips, saves doing all this encoding stuff, i could have a movie in 30min, from downloading to loaded on ATV, with the same quality. Think that could be an avenue worth going down dont you think? It seems at the moment the only true HD movies you can actually watch are purchased ones from the itunes store?
     
  12. paol macrumors member

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    #12
    Cool :). You will not need HB then.

    I encode Blue-rays and mkv:s in HD for my AppleTV with HB. Sure, it takes a couple of hours per movie but quality is excellent and its not hard. I just queue up a few movies and let HB work when I am away or during the night. I don't think the quality of the DivX is comparable. The AppleTV version is to my eyes very similar to the original mkv or Blue-ray. The Broadcom chip will of course be both easier and give you best possible quality. I only have a 50" screen and can hardly see any difference between 720p and 1080p so transcoding works excellent for me.
     
  13. carlgo macrumors 68000

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    Dec 29, 2006
    #13
    Whoa! Dude, just use it as it was intended. ATV is a great device used that way, but if you want it to be a different device then you are off into techno-hack land and you better know what you are doing and you and your family had better enjoy all that hassle and trouble.

    Much better to get a mini if you want it to function like a powerful do-everything computer. Or, a game console if you want it to be a game console. You get the idea.

    Why put yourself through all this if you have no intention of using the device as it was designed? Can you even enjoy a movie after going through a ridiculous amount of work and frustration?

    Does anyone watch the movies with you? Are they happy? Can they actually now work the device or do they now need you to operate it for them? What a thrill that must be for them. I'm sure they are really happy and look forward to movie night where they get to watch a movie after two hours of tense attempts to hook it all up. I guess I just don't understand any of this...
     
  14. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    How is this done then?
     
  15. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #15
    Ive watched a few movies, paid and not paid. Not as bad as you make it out to be?
     
  16. paol macrumors member

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    Sweden
    #16
    There is this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=748615

    In some cases the Blue-ray or DVD can be downloaded in its entirety. I do this sometimes even if I have the disc since its so much simpler. Some Blu-Rays are 49 Gb so they can take a little while to download. But its worth it, a clean source gives the best end result in HB and the smallest file.

    Usually the Blue-ray includes AC3 too, mkvs often only have dts which need to be converted to ac3.
     
  17. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #17
    thanx paol!!

    Anyway what do you mean you only have a 50inch screen? That's big enough isn't it?
     
  18. paol macrumors member

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    #18
    50" is ok, not as big as I thought it would be. Viewing distance is 4 m (13 foot) which makes it perfect for 720p but it is doubtful that I'd see any difference between 720p and 1080p at that distance. So, what I meant is that 1080p is not that useful for me since I don't get better picture from it than the ATV native 720p resolution.

    And then my TV is only 1368*768 so 1080p can not be seen in its entirety in any case. When I get my 70" Full HD in 20 years, 1080p will be great :p
     
  19. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #19
    I was only joking paol, I knew what you meant.

    I looked at the link you provided briefly, can I download a full blu ray movie, load it into HB and use the ATV settings to convert it? Or do I need extra software, sorry for not looking at the link with detail, mrs has just got in from work.

    Carl
     
  20. paol macrumors member

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    Sweden
    #20
    You need makeMKV which is free for now. I think that's it. ATV settings can be used for any source.
     
  21. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #21
    You need makeMKV which is free for now - I downloaded it and it only has 60 days until it expires, as stated in the notes?

    ATV settings can be used for any source - So i dont need makeMKV then?

    Thanx for your time Paol



    Carl.
     
  22. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #22
    Basically, I find that Handbrake's "recommended" settings don't always work, especially with 720p, which is entirely hit and miss here. Some movies like Star Trek VI took me like 4 encodes before I got one that didn't stutter when the Praxus moon blew up and these are at rates that SHOULD work FANTASTIC with AppleTV from all the chatter about the maximum rates ATV can handle, etc., BUT they don't work anywhere near those rates because there is no way that I can see to set peak limits. That explosion scene creates a problem because you can only set AVERAGE limits and it just cannot handle it until the average is so low that you wonder if the overall quality will suffer during the rest of the film. And yet other films like The Matrix, which has all kinds of motion going on play perfectly fine here after encoding at a much higher average rate. There's something happening there that's not easy to analyze and re-encoding a half dozen times for a giant HD movie to try and get it to work is a royal PITA.

    Handbrake can be aggrivating at times and it often feels like the Handbrake developers couldn't care less about Apple TV (latest development version I'm using which is a couple of months old at best doesn't even HAVE the M4V option listed anymore; I have to manually type it in EVERY TIME now. With DVDs, the % option defaults for Apple TV usually work well, but with 720P all bets are off. Plus I have yet to find a good setting for VIDEO transfers (i.e. 30fps, interlaced no 3:2 pulldown). In short, when I transfer something like my Red Dwarf DVDs to Apple TV, I'll get all kinds of weird choppy/tearing issues on long scrolls (like pans past the ship) and this is seemingly caused by it being video, not film (which pans perfectly all the time). I KNOW it CAN be encoded without those issues (Quicktime conversion doesn't cause things like that), but it's not obvious how to get Handbrake to do it. Quicktime is bad, though because it's very VERY slow and doesn't normally handle things like 5.1 audio.

    I would gladly BUY many of these movies straight from iTunes to get perfect working 720P files (I've never seen a hiccup with Apple HD movies except when the wireless network itself burps; which is easily shown by replaying a scene and whether it does it every time or just when the network burps once in a blue moon) but as most of us know, Apple has been insanely slow to roll out HD movie sales. Their HD rental selection is pretty good at this point (better by FAR than going to Blockbuster on the whole, but probably still less than Netflix) and it's instant gratification (takes about 50 seconds here before the movie is ready to play on my 5Mbps connection). The problem is you cannot buy MOST of those movies. $12 for T2 and $17 for Top Gun aren't too bad of buys given most Blu-Ray movies are still in the $27-32 range.

    As for quality, all my rentals from iTunes look great on my high quality (rated as one of the highest when it came out) 720P projector and 93" screen from 8 feet unlike what some of the Blu-Ray folk would have you believe about using cheap 1080P sets at 3 feet away because the eye CANNOT resolve 1080p on a 50" set at 8-9 feet; 720P is the maximum resolving ability at that seating distance with that screen size, so MOST snobby comments by Blu-Ray fans are just total 100% BS; I have a 93" screen at 9 feet and that is large enough to see 1080P and I'm saying 720P still looks darn good unless of course you have a two-bit crappy scaler in your tv/projector. Basically, cheap crap = cheap result. This is easily proven with computer monitors. Less expensive monitors have cheap scalers and so most look very bad when showing resolutions that aren't NATIVE to the display and so looking at 720p with text will show you a blurry/softer display than at 1080p if 1080p is the native resolution. But with a really good scaler, it's virtually indistinguishable from 720p on a 720p monitor). I have two 24" LG monitors in my den. One cost $600 (connected to my PC) and the other cost $300 (connected to my MBP when docked). The scaler is the biggest difference between the two. The $600 model looks great at any screen resolution thrown at it. The $300 one looks like crap unless it's at its native resolution (which the MBP is happy to oblige it with so it makes little difference there, but COULD make all the difference if you're feeding it more than one resolution. I think this is where a lot of the ATV looks like crap comments come from. The users have cheap (i.e. cheap scalers) 1080p sets that cannot show a decent picture with anything but 1080p and so when they feed it 720P, it looks inferior. My Panasonic projector has a high quality scaler. 480P is indistinguishable from a 480p native display, for example and 1080i looks MUCH better scaled by the projector than having the cable box (poor scaler once again) feed it 720P for everything. Most people are blissfully ignorant of all these details and so they shoot their mouths off about things they know virtually NOTHING about on a technical level. I would venture most people on here watching a 720P ATV movie on my setup would never in their lives guess it wasn't 1080p Blu-Ray they were looking at because they've never seen a 93" picture at that quality level at home before. Yes, 1080p would look better yet, but that doesn't make 720p "crap". And frankly, all the belly-aching about ATV's bit-rates, etc. is pure BS. I can freeze frame any given scene on a 720P movie and I would like to see anyone point out the so-called distortions created by those bit-rates. People give H264 compression far too little credit for what it can do with a good encoding. It's like saying a JPEG at a 90 setting is crap compared to the JPEG at the 100 setting becauese it saves like 3x the space. Yeah, like you'd ever even notice the difference.

    I saw AppleTV on MacWorld's list of 10 biggest decade blunders by Apple and I think that's just plain ridiculous. AppleTV is basically a playback component on a household level audio/video system. Not everyone has X10 automation set up in their house, let alone set up properly and to be useful. Does that make X10 automation "crap" because it doesn't sell like hotcakes ? No, it does not. I spent the last year converting ALL my media to iTunes digital formats from hundreds of CDs to hundreds of DVDs to dozens of laserdiscs and VHS tapes, weeks worth of home movies (ranging from VHS to Hi8 and digital camera files to convert) to around 5000 photos (half of which had to be scanned with either a negative scanner or from photo album prints and then all cleaned up one at a time with Photoshop. *ALL* that video media is 480p or less and yet still needs to be preserved. The photos are scaled automatically for display so there's no issue there either. I can now view/listen to that media all over the house and it can easily be dumped onto a 3rd generation iPod Touch to view/listen or onto other media (like my 8GB micro-USB stick to play in the car with the equivalent of 100+ CDs). THAT is the point of iTunes and Apple TV. It's an extension of the media playback experience. It lets me watch any movie, tv show, photo or listen to any song with a simple navigation menu or iPod Touch interface anywhere in the house I have one. THAT is the point of it, but like so many other devices, if it's done half-arsed, it's going to suck.

    If Apple TV handled 1080p, there should no complaints, what-so-ever except from those that want this or that software (which hacks seem to handle). But I guarantee even IF Apple releases updated hardware this year at some point, you will STILL get the whiners that say that 1080p from iTunes SUCKS HARD compared to Blu-Ray which has far less compression and is therefore the superior format, blah blah blah. Yeah, have fun shuffling Blu-Ray coasters guys on your cheap 50" HDTV sets. I, for one, *HATE* animated menu systems, advertisements and movie previews, FBI warnings, etc. (that often FORCE you to sit there and watch them EVERY SINGLE FLIPPING TIME) that just WASTE MY TIME on disc formats. I'm not getting any younger. How many days of my life have been wasted to being forced to watch retarded FBI warnings over the years that we all know and have seen thousands of times over. Thankfully, those all disappear when I convert my DVDs or BD discs over to Apple TV or when I rent or buy a movie from iTunes. The movie just plays! It's like a miracle! I mean it too!

    What I find really funny is how people get all uppity about Blu-Ray and supposed massive quality differences (despite all the above) and yet these same people didn't mind listening to 128kbps MP3 files (often less) for the past decade on ultra-cheap two-bit ear-buds of all things. We're talking about real differences here. These same people today will often either just listen to the cheap speakers on their flat-screen TV (i.e. total garbage) or some cheap-o $399-800 "all in one" speaker outfit with 3" drivers and some fart box they call a "subwoofer" that sits behind recliner somewhere with the speakers all arranged around the furniture instead of the other way around for proper imaging. Apparently, a good picture is important but sound is a waste of time with these people? That won't stop them from arguing on about how you NEED Dolby True HD (Dolby Digital or regular DTS won't due) and then play it back on $50 a speaker fart cans. When I say funny, I mean I'm practically on the floor sometimes with the sheer IGNORANCE about what is quality and what matters and what doesn't. And it doesn't even matter if you show someone what true quality is at your own home, they will still go home and buy fart cans and hide them behind potted plants and what not because the aesthetics of a living room is more important to most spouses than proper sound or even a straight line of site to the display! How many houses have you been to where the couch is in the middle of the back wall and the TV is in the corner of the room? You're craning your neck the entire time trying to watch a show and this is normal. Often, fireplaces screw up rooms, but with drop-down screens and flatscreens you can mount over the mantle, this should not be a problem these days, but it happens just the same. Throw the left speaker next to the TV in the corner, the right speaker on back right wall and the surround speakers in the bathroom down the hallway. Yeah, "home theater". But it has a Blu-Ray player! And Boze 1.5" drivers! It's GREAT. Apple TV *sucks*. :rolleyes:
     
  23. carlcosby thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2009
    #23
    Hi Magnus,

    That must of taken some time to write!! :)

    Apple HD movies are flawless, all I want to do is play HD movies that ive downloaded in the same way, but dont seem to be able to. The pic quality of the movies encoded with HB are good, but like you say there are still visual issues. Maybe when i fit the broadcom HD thing, i will then have no problems and I can give encoding a miss, especially that its supposed to let ATV play 1080p movies??

    Thanks for your input ;)

    Carl.
     
  24. NightStorm macrumors 68000

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    Jan 26, 2006
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    Whitehouse, OH
    #24
    That is kinda funny... Actually the number of Handbrake developers and moderators that actively encode for and use the AppleTV is rather significant (when compared to other media devices, sans iPod/iPhone). I'm not sure where your problems lie as I have had zero problems encoding both DVDs and HDDVD/Bluray sources for playback on the AppleTV (using either the early versions of what became the Universal preset, or the current AppleTV preset, slightly modified and outlined in various other places on this and the HB forum).
     
  25. paol macrumors member

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    Jun 7, 2008
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    Sweden
    #25
    The latest version of HB is not several months old and it is working great for me. I do restrict the maximum bitrate in the encodes, using vbv which I have added to the default preset. But it is usually not necessary.

    I am sorry your experience with HB has been bad. I'd recommend that you check Dynaflash settings on this or the HB-forum. He has shared them several times and they are very good. I use them myself with the addition of vbv.
     

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