AppleTV, Xbox 360, Handbrake and Movies

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Jovian9, May 26, 2007.

  1. Jovian9 macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Location:
    Planet Zebes
    #1
    I bought an :apple: TV this week. I am definitely pleased with it thus far. Here is what I am doing (I'll start off with hardware/software):

    MacBook Pro Core Duo 1.83GHz 1.5GB RAM
    iMac G5 iSight 1.9GHz 1.5GB RAM
    :apple: TV
    Xbox 360
    Connect 360 3.1
    Handbrake 0.8.5b1
    MactheRipper 3.0-R14d

    With the Xbox 360 Spring Update came the ability to play Mpeg4 and H.264 videos on the 360. Within a few days Nullriver updated Connect 360 to be able to stream these videos. But it wasn't working properly. When using Handbrake to export in its preset :apple: TV format the 360 would see it but not play it. Recently Nullriver has updated Connect 360 to 3.1 and this now works.

    I ripped several DVD's via MactheRipper onto my FWHD. I then used Handbrake to convert these into the preset :apple: TV format (H.264). After this was done I streamed both movies to my :apple: TV and my Xbox360. The streaming was flawless and there were no hiccups. The video looked outstanding on both my Magnavox 37" LCD HDTV and my Panasonic 53" Projection HDTV (the :apple: TV is connected to the LCD and the Xbox 360 is connected to the Projection....both using Component). It did look better on the LCD TV than the projection though. Also, the file sizes seemed to be around 1GB per hour of movie.

    The only problem, and it is a major one, is that Handbrake is not working properly. 80% of the time it will only use a small amount of the processor power (30% on my iMac and 70% out of 200% on my Core Duo MacBook Pro). The other 20% of the time it works the way it should (70% on my iMac and 180% on my MacBook Pro). The movies took nearly 16 hours to process on my iMac and 5 hours on my MacBook Pro....though if it had utilized both cores properly they would have only taken 2 hours or so. While reading on the Handbrake forums I found that when this happens it also leads to audio drop outs in the movie. Sure enough, both of my movies that I put through Handbrake had large chunks of audio missing.

    In summary; I think that the movies look great and the streaming is excellent to both machines, but Handbrake isn't worth using right now. Losing audio is not acceptable for this application. Maybe an earlier version would not do this but I do believe the earlier versions of handbrake didn't support multiple core processors so encoding would take way too long (like it does on my iMac G5).

    I am about to purchase Roxio Crunch and see how it works. I'll post back with more information when I've spent some time using Crunch for these movies.
     
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #2
    When I get the low fps, I just reboot my mac and it gets up to 40 fps (Mini) to 60 fps (macbook). Sometimes the audio drops and the folks who work on Handbrake are trying to address these issues.

    Nonetheless, when I reboot and re-encode with Handbrake the audio issue usually is resolved.

    For free, I think Handbrake does a great job and it'll only get better as the volunteer developers mature it.
     
  3. Jovian9 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Location:
    Planet Zebes
    #3
    I have been rebooting, before each time I use Handbrake. I've even deleted and reinstalled. Often it does start off with using the processors as it should, but that never lasts.

    It IS a great application, especially since it is free. But this is a major bug and if you're encoding in H.264 it leads to a lot of wasted time on the users behalf and a lot of wasted energy from the computer when the end result is not useable. Lots of people seem to be having this problem according to the Handbrake forums. Once they get the audio/processor usage issues worked out I think this application will be perfect for movie files to stream to the :apple: TV and Xbox 360. Right now though it's not appealing to me to let my computer run from 4 to 15 hours straight processing video only to have a file that doesn't work properly.

    I'm not bashing Handbrake as I've used it for years now. I'm just pointing out that anyone wishing to take lots of their DVD collections and encode them with the latest build for streaming to the :apple: TV and/or Xbox 360 should hesitate to rely on it right now.

    I just started a movie with Roxio Crunch. I'll post results when it finishes :)
     
  4. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #4
    If you can't manage with the current status of Handbrake, try VisualHub. I've been using VisualHub for a few months now and it was the first 3rd party app I tried on my MacBook. It just works and the files work great with the 360. It is shareware, however, so if you're sincerely stuck on the freeware stuff it might not be a good choice.
     
  5. blackbones macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #5
    The newest version of Handbrake has major audio issues. You can check their forums and read about it but as of now there is no work around.

    I have had some good luck by ripping (with MTR) title sets rather than the full disc or movie only. Also, though i cant figure out if its just random luck, turning off HandBrakes "create chapter markers" and changing from the default sound settings seem to work sometimes.

    The bummer about visual hub is the inability to include subtitles. Also, i feel like Visualhub has givin me very short "blips" between where it would link the VOB files.
     
  6. blackbones macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #6
    I had heard Crunch was only for unprotected DVDs?
     
  7. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    London Town
    #7
    Hmmm...well, I only downloaded the new build of Handbrake yesterday and have started messing around with it today. I've not noticed any audio issues, but then again I've only ripped one movie. I have already ripped my entire movie collection a few months ago with the old build, and there were only a couple of movies that the audio messed up on no matter what I tried to do to get round it.

    I am actually going to re-rip everything later this summer into a lower bitrate in order to squeeze everything onto an MBP hard disk, so I'm hoping they'll have sorted out the audio issues by then :confused:
     
  8. Jovian9 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Location:
    Planet Zebes
    #8
    Crunch worked. Audio and video were fine, but the video was not as good as using the latest Handbrake build. But it took FOREVER. I don't think it utilizes multiple cores so it took as long as the older builds of Handbrake but it doesn't seem to have as many features, plus it costs $. I would not recommend Crunch.

    So I took soLoredd's advice and got VisualHub. I took a comedy movie that I had already ripped from my DVD and used VisualHub. I used the standard AppleTV presets and changed nothing other than the Quality Bar to 'High' instead of 'Standard' (there's also a 'Go Nuts' setting above 'High'). You can also go into Advanced settings but I left that alone. This movie is around 94 minutes or so. The encoded H.264 file ended up being 834mb. It took around 90 minutes to encode. I then streamed it to both my :apple: TV and Xbox 360. Both streams were flawless and the movie looked great. I watched the movie and there were no audio problems or any other problems that I noticed.

    Keep in mind this is a comedy movie and is not highly visual....so the settings worked fine. However, if I were to rip a movie that is a lot more visual I will change those settings. I'll most likely do the first "high-visual" dvd by changing the Quality Bar to 'Go Nuts' and see how that looks before I try the 'Advanced' Settings (which allow changes in bitrate, audio quality, cropping, size, etc.).

    So far I think I've found a winner in VisualHub. It also costs money though (compared to a free Handbrake). But I don't mind paying $24 for something to help me convert all these dvd's for streaming. I'd pay that for Handbrake as well if it didn't have the audio issues. The Handbrake menu is easier to navigate and set up than VisualHub, but the outcome is what matters.

    The only problem I am having with VisualHub is trying to get Xgrid Encoding working. It utilized both processors on my MacBook Pro (running at 180% consistently) but I can't get it set up to use my iMac G5 over my network as well. I downloaded the script created to enable this in preferences. I also downloaded Xgrid Admin from Apple, but can't get it to connect to my MacBook Pro so it can act as the controller. I'm curious as to how much this would cut off of the time of encoding if I can get it working and allow me to utilize my MBP and iMac G5 to encode each movie.
     
  9. Jovian9 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Location:
    Planet Zebes
    #9
    I ripped my Pan's Labyrinth DVD first with the newest build of Handbrake to see how the quality was and to try the subtitles. It wasn't until there was 25 minutes left in the movie that the audio cut out (and didn't come back). Also, I believe this is an advantage of Handbrake over VisualHub....VH doesn't seem to support subtitles. But I'd rather have sound :)
     
  10. eddyg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    #10
    I use the latest SVN of Handbrake which I compile myself, have encoded over 100 of my DVDs and haven't had a single audio dropout.

    I mostly use the HandbrakeCLI, but 10% of the time use the GUI (mainly for foreign films and those with odd Audio settings).

    Cheers, Ed.
     
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #11
    Does VH transcode 5.1 to 5-channel surround (i.e., DPLII) like HB does (when it works properly)?
     
  12. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    London Town
    #12
    Sounds promising. How long did it take with VH compared to HB? Do the rips look as good as HB's? (Though, given that I'll be watching it on a 17" MBP screen, quality isn't that much of an issue for me)
     

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