Converting files (handbrake), adding meta data, and using plex

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Brm-G, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Brm-G macrumors member

    May 5, 2011
    Hello everyone,

    I have just ordered a ATV2 for my parent. I have loads of 1080p movies of about 10GB each, all of them are MKV's.

    Now I have installed handbrake to convert files so I can put them in iTunes. Handbrake seems to be a nice program but I am not sure what the best Apple tv settings are. The is a ATV2 preset, however, at the botom it says: "Picture size: Source: 1920x816, Output: 1280x544, Anamorphic: 1280x544 Loose, etc"

    I thought the apple tv could output 720p? so why do only 544 in the preset?
    What is the best setting for keeping the highest possible quality of the movie for playing on the Apple TV?

    Another problem is the file has no meta-data on it, so it probably won't have cover art, genre, etc... Now I found another program called MetaZ. I found out it works nicely together with handbrake. You can send the file directly to metaZ after it is completed converting.

    Now the problems/questions are:
    1) I will have to convert all my movies, which will take ages (i only have core i5 MBA)
    2) I will have to add the metadata manually, which will take ages too...
    3) What are the best settings in handbrake when converting movies to apple tv format if you don't want to loose much quality

    But the is more. I know you can jailbreak the Apple TV, my parent however are not sure about it yet whether to do it or not. I know all the nice add-ons when jailbreaking the apple tv, like plex, XBMC (with Icefilms) and other stuff.

    Now I have been using plex for quite a while on my mac and I really love it. So maybe I will install this for my parents and create a plex server on their iMac. However I read about some problems with the audio when using plex? Any of you having problems with 1080p MKV. AC3.DTS movies?

    Thanks for any comments on this!
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    With Plex, you don't need to convert and Plex will add metadata and artwork automatically. I'm not sure how Plex handles things on a jailbroken ATV2.
  3. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    May 5, 2011
    Jup I know Plex will do the job. However, the apple tv is not mine, my parents bought it for themselves. They don't want me to jailbreak it at first so no plex at this point. Plex will come later probably.
  4. ajohansson macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2011
  5. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    May 5, 2011
    Does it find the metadata automaticly? With MetaZ I have to copy/paste everything myself.
  6. peterjcat macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2010
    Because Handbrake doesn't encode the black bars at the top and bottom of a widescreen movie. You'll see that of your 1080p original, only 816 lines are actually the movie, the rest is the black bars. This translates to 1280 x 544 when you put that into a 720p frame.

    To preserve more quality, you can use the Custom Anamorphic setting and increase the 544 back to 720. This will create a 1280 x 720 image with non-square pixels that the ATV2 will scale down to 1280 x 544 for display, but that a computer or in all likelihood the ATV3 will scale out to something like 1700 x 720 for slightly more vertical resolution.
  7. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    May 5, 2011
    thanks! Well than I just leave the standard settings.

    Converting movies takes sooooooooo long! I am now converting a 1080p MKV (11Gb), which takes about 4,5 hours on my 2011 13" i5 MBA.

    Is this normal?
  8. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    May 5, 2011
    I have a problem with my subtitles. The subtitles were already in the MKV file before encoding.

    In handbrake I could choose the subtitle language and so I did. The problem is, in the finished product it only shows the first line of the subtitle.. The second is gone, in both iTunes and Quicktime. Haven't tried it with the Apple tv yet but on my computer it doesn't work.
  9. mac.jedi macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    The O.C.
    It sounds to me like you should consider automating the process … at least for the tagging. I wrote some Automator actions that will allow you to batch tag mp4 files from files selected in the Finder. If your encoding, the Batch Encode action has an option to automatically tag the encoded files when it's done. The thread is in this forum:



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