DVD to Apple TV - Quality suffers?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by FatGolfer, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. FatGolfer macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2006

    I am considering getting a 160GB Apple TV and would like to know if I can rip my DVD movies to it and if so, can I rip them at the same quality? I have a 40 inch TV which I would like to hook it up to and use as a movie base.

  2. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000


    May 30, 2004
    Madison, WI
    If you use Handbrake and the :apple:TV preset, it will look almost identical to DVDs. I actually use an iPod comptable format on my 60" TV and it looks amazing.
  3. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Any lossy-to-lossy transcode will result in quality loss. Heck, a DVD is lower quality than the source it came from.

    That said, at a high enough bitrate the two will be functionally equivalent for most people.
  4. speakerwizard macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2006
    with the appletv preset in handbrake i personally cannot tell the difference.
  5. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    As the HD rentals are highly regarded as being higher quality than DVD, I would expect its possible to rip at DVD quality for the Apple TV.

    However as you are changing data from one format to another which isn't lossless the quality will always drop a little.
  6. Jeff Hall macrumors regular

    Jeff Hall

    Apr 10, 2006
    I ripped The Kingdom using Mac The Ripper and then ran the VIDEO_TS through Handbrake using the AppleTV settings. I could not the the difference (audio or video) between the M4V file vs. DVD on my 65" screen.

    It is every bit as good as the physical media as far as my eyes and ears are concerned.
  7. KakaduDreamer macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2008
    Porterville, California USA
    For those of you who are using Handbrake to encode from the VIDEO_TS folders, are you using the "2-pass encoding" option to achieve the DVD quality results? What other options are you typically using? I'm only interested in getting my videos (movies and TV shows) to run on Apple TV, so I use the Apple TV preset all the time.

    I always select the Apple TV preset (2500 bitrate default) but then use a 2-pass option. I have achieved very good results overall. Having said that, I do occasionally see some slight "fuzzi-ness" with some movies, in some scenes. This has led me to conclude: 1) there can be a noticeable loss in quality inherent between the DVD rip/re-encode to H.264, or 2) I'm not setting something correctly in HB to achieve optimal output. I have experimented a bit between 2500 - 3000 bitrate to see if there is a noticeable difference, and I haven't really seen it. Is there something else in HB that I can set/tweak to achieve those DVD quality results?

    BTW, I am using a Windows PC with a quad core processor and 3GB of memory so I can't imagine my hardware is a problem for encoding...

    I use AnyDVD for ripping my DVDs to the hard drive prior to using HB to encode.
  8. Jeff Hall macrumors regular

    Jeff Hall

    Apr 10, 2006
    Here's my complete workflow:

    1. Rip DVD with Mac The Ripper v3.014M (entire disc)
    2. Encode with Handbrake 0.9.2:
      • Apple TV Preset
      • 64 Bit MP4 enabled (if it's a movie over 2 hours -- just in case the 5.1 AC3 pushes the file size beyond 4GB)
      • Two Pass encoding (turbo 1st pass)
      • De-interlace in slow mode (required on most Animated shows, but not on most newer movies -- use the preview mode to see if there are lines across the screen in fast motion scenes)
      • Select desired audio track (e.g., Japanese if encoding Anime)
      • Select subtitles (if applicable)
    3. Start the encoding process...
    4. Handbrake hands the file off the MetaX
    5. Use MetaX to tag the file, add artwork, etc.
    6. Write the tags with MetaX
    7. MetaX hands the file(s) off to iTunes
    8. iTunes imports the file(s) to my external library
    9. Apple TV is synced
    10. Put popcorn in microwave for 2 minutes :D

    The only problems I'm having is that when putting multiple episodes of a TV Season in the queue, Handbrake tends to crash on me. So I just do one chapter (episode) at a time for now.
  9. JonHimself macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    Does it really though? I'm not saying you're lying or anything I'm just curious. I encode with the AppleTV preset, 2-pass, and even though it looks really good and I am comfortable using it instead of DVDs, I can still see the difference using a 42" lcd. I suppose I should just encode a DVD using the iPod present and see how it looks...
  10. mechamac macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2003
    I used to do 2-pass rips until I discovered that I can't tell the difference between a 1 and 2 pass rip on my 23" TV. 2 pass rips are a little sharper and less noisy (especially near contrasty edges) on my iMac, but I no longer think it's worth the time to rip 2-pass.

    To my eyes, Handbrake rips look about 95-98% as good as DVDs. Certain types of shots, like a bright flashlight cutting through smokey darkness, look noisier and more posterized when ripped vs. the original DVD. However, on my TV--which is calibrated "well enough" to a THX test on an Indiana Jones disc--even these scenes are far, far, far from being objectionable enough to offset the convenience of movies on Apple TV. To my eyes, anyhow.
  11. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    With the 40GB version I got, I can't tell much. I'm using files ripped at 640x480 (or less than 480 for widescreen) at 1000 kbps average bitrate in HandBrake. I watched these on a 1080p 61" Samsung DLP hoss (with LED-backlighting) through *component video* cables. I could tell some minimal quality issues, like slight blocking on white backgrounds occasionally. But I don't mind that since I targeted these files for use on iPods. The AppleTV preset would clog up my external hard drives (and iPod disk) in a hurry.

    Long story short, HandBrake is pretty darn good. Now they just need HandBrake HD and some Blu-ray drives! :)
  12. toddngina macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2008
    I think it's all purely subjective, and how picky you are on the details. I rip using the ATV preset, with 2 pass encoding, and generally it looks great. Especially considering you are taking a 5-6 GB orginal and compressing it down to 2-3 GB. There will be some loss, there has to be. The only quality issues I notice at this setting are some slight blockiness/grading issues with scenes that have large areas of low-contrast, such as night scenes or scenes with a lot of a similiar color (grey clouds for instance). I'm sure there's a way to encode at the original level of detail, but then you're left with those large 5-6 GB files. It's all a trade-off, and my realtively picky eyes are just fine with the ATV preset!
  13. kagharaht macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2007
    Source quality is important

    I ripped my DVD of Fifth Element in Superbit format. ATV preset, 2 pass and I swear to you it is so close to a high quality DVD that you really have to try hard to see the difference. For kicks, I dropped the rate to 2000kbs - 2 pass, and it looks gorgeous on my 42" Sony. File size 2.16GB. If only all DVDs come in superbit, all HB rips would look even more amazing. :)
  14. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    So very true. what is really amazing is when you start feeding HB HD program streams from say, an eyetv. Using constant quality, you can set it to 60% and get a better looking encode than sd dvd set at 70% at nearly half the file size. The quality of the source is very important indeed.
  15. mrrory macrumors regular


    Nov 13, 2005
    United Kingdom of America
    I have a cheap DVD player, and after ripping with Mactheripper and converting with the AppleTV 5.1 preset in Visual Hub, I believe the quality is improved. This is most likely because my DVD player is cheap, and connected as composite, so in the case you have a similar setup, my advice is go for it.

    Renting movies is great too!
  16. jpcos macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2006
    I find the Apple TV setting to be very good, but it is a softer image to my eyes.

    As a newbie to this, I ripped Star Wars into Apple TV, but I left out the subtitles. When we got to the cantina scene with Greedo, I realized the subtitles were missing, so we switched to the DVD. This type of switch showed me that there was a clear difference in sharpness. I have an Oppo 980, which does a nice job upconverting. Sharpness on the TV and player are set to zero.

    Apple TV just seems soft to me. OTOH, maybe I just need to add sharpness to the Apple TV in general. When I rent SD movies, I have to increase sharpness on those in order to feel as though the image is not blurry.

    Anyone else think that ripped SD DVDs are kind of soft?
  17. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern California
    Not to be critical, but I have a problem with your work flow.

    Does your popcorn pop everything at 2 minutes? Cause mine takes a little bit longer with some shaking.
  18. KakaduDreamer macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2008
    Porterville, California USA
    I think you have to utilize the 2-pass encoding option in order to assure that each and every popcorn kernel is popped, allowing for optimal consumption quality. :D
  19. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Or alternatively you could always use Constant Quality, faster than two pass and every kernel is popped the same. (sorry, couldn't resist).
  20. imacericg macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    What is your time spent doing this? What machine are you using? I thought handbreak does it all, you need Mac the Ripper also?
  21. Jeff Hall macrumors regular

    Jeff Hall

    Apr 10, 2006
    The reason I use Mac The Ripper to rip my DVDs is because there is simply no better program available for the Mac to break protected DVDs. Handbrake rip will many titles, but not nearly as many as MTR can handle, especially the newer protection schemes. Additionally, MTR rips the master DVD files to a VIDEO_TS folder that I can use Handbrake with to re-encode for other devices.

    My MacBook Pro is a 2.16GHz Core Duo (1st gen model). It takes anywhere from 8 to 30 minutes to rip the DVD depending on how heavy the protection scheme is.

    It takes probably 2-3 hours to encode a 2 hour movie, and then another hour to upload it over my 802.11g network to my AppleTV.
  22. imacericg macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007

    Last question. Do the movies you rip work with the process above work on your iPhone?
  23. kagharaht macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2007
    Hmm I'm going to give CQ ( CRF x264 ) a try with the superbit and see how it looks.
  24. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I also noticed that some rips seem a bit soft but nothing I can't live with.
  25. Jeff Hall macrumors regular

    Jeff Hall

    Apr 10, 2006
    I don't own an iPhone. The only other device I would need to encode would be for the Xbox360 (I used Connect360 to stream certain kinds of files to the 360 which Apple TV cannot play).

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