Blu-ray to 1080p MP4 with smooth playback?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hipnetic, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    A while back I made several attempts at getting my Blu-ray MKVs converted to a 1080p MP4 format that would play smoothly on the ATV2. No matter what I did, the files simply would not play smoothly. During this time I had jailbroken a couple of my ATV2's and could play these same files smoothly via XBMC. So I knew that the limitation was with Apple's built-in player and not with the ATV2 hardware (Note: The ATV2 will not *output* 1080p even via XBMC, but it will play 1080p files downscaled to 720p). For anyone wondering, the reason that I wanted to maintain the resolution at 1080p was so that I could have a single version of the movie on my server which could be played at 720p in rooms with and ATV2 and in other rooms with a more capable streaming device/computer at 1080p. I also figured that eventually Apple would get around to releasing an ATV3 with 1080p output capability. So, I was looking to produce a future-proof 1080p MP4 file, so that I didn't have to go through the effort of reconverting these movies again in the future.

    Anyway, as I mentioned, all of my tests with Handbrake failed. The files would play smoothly via XBMC, but have noticeable stuttering and/or reduced framerate when playing the same movie through the native ATV2 UI/player.

    Now flash forward to the release of iOS5 and the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S can record video at 1080p and you can stream those videos over AirPlay to the ATV2 which will play them smoothly (albeit output to the TV at only 720p). Now, I have trouble believing that the iPhone 4S is doing on-the-fly transcoding from 1080p to 720p before sending the video over AirPlay, so I'm assuming that the ATV2 is playing these 1080p files smoothy on its own. This would suggest that there should be a way to encode my Blu-ray 1080p files to a 1080p MP4 format that will play smoothly on the ATV2. But even after the iO55 update, my ATV2 still won't play the encodes I've made smoothly.

    Has anyone else attempted this and had success?
  2. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    If you're using the ATV2 preset in handbrake, the x264 profile will be High@L3.1. The iPhone 4S uses Baseline@L4.1 which is a lot less taxing to decode and encode, but it is a trade off between complexity and quality. Bit for bit, the iPhone video is lower quality.

    While it is a solution to use Baseline, I really wouldn't bother, the quality:size ratio is just too low.
  3. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    Interesting. So you're saying that when the iPhone 4S records video at 1080p with its camera, it's recording it using Baseline@L4.1? Out of curiosity, where do you see that information?
  4. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    You'd need to use an application like Media Info to analyse the file.
  5. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    I'm in the same boat with you hipnetic. I have about 200 BD's converted to 1080p M4V files that I wish I could get to stream perfectly through the ATV2, but it just won't happen. I have a Mac Mini connected to the TV as well and default to it for any 1080p content I need to play. I have some movies I've made 720p copies of, but I also anticipate a 1080p capable AppleTV in the future and don't want multiple copies or have to redo everything again. And with iOS5, I can stream 1080p videos to the iPad directly without issue, but the ATV2 still drops a ton of frames if I play them there.

    Let me know if you find any special sauce that makes things work. For now, I'm going to keep making 1080p files and play them through the Man Mini, but as soon as an ATV3 is announced I'm buying 4 of them and setting them up at every TV.

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