DVD's vs. x264 for aTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Blazer5913, May 13, 2007.

  1. Blazer5913 macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    Just a quick question you guys regarding the aTV. I want to have the highest quality movies possible to be playing on my aTV. Therefore, I was wondering what you guys thought about this. For alot of movies, I have downloaded x.264 encodings of them, most in 720p format .mkv. The file sizes are typically around anywhere from 5gb to 9gb. But the quality is usually superb. Still though, I can't stream these to aTV for 1) they are .mkv and 2) they are over 4gb. Therefore, I thought I would use VisualHub to encode them for the Apple TV, but just set the size to 3.99gb and leave everything is at the highest possible quality? Or if I also have the DVD of the same movie, would you guys just rip from the DVD using MTR, then Handbrake like I do for the majority of my movies. My end goal is to have HD-like looking videos playing on my 32" Samsung HDTV. Whatever way you guys think would look better just let me know. Thanks
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Most say that Handbrake at 2500 bit rate gives DVD quality. But DVDs are only 720 x 540 max resolution. Plus, if you encode as Dolby Pro Logic II, that'll add to your file size.
  3. ckent macrumors newbie


    Jan 15, 2006
    Well the inside of the file is H.264 compatible (last time I checked), so the main deal is getting it out of that OMG-let's-make-yet-another-container-format MKV container, and reinserting it into an MP4 container.

    CMIIW, but I think the Apple TV handles 720p at H.264? If not, I'll take everything back.

    The other strange thing is — why can't you stream 9GB files? Pardon my ignorance.

    But if that's all the case, you should have a fairly fast conversion on your hands — just get your favourite chosen software to repackage a 9GB H264 file into another 9GB H264 file without re-encoding. The whole process should take 15 minutes ± 10 minutes.

  4. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    The Apple TV won't stream anything over 4 GB. I'm sure there is some techno-babble reason why but it's a limitation of the device at the moment.
  5. winchest macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2006
    I have been encoding my mkv files with Visual Hub for watching on the aTV. The quality has dropped for sure, but than can be expected since I am taking such large files and making them smaller than 4 GB. It also takes forever.

    What program can one use to change the container from mkv to mp4?
  6. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    FWIW I ripped my DVDs at 2500kbps and get near original quality. Although I am still experimenting with fine tuning. H264 seems to look a little bit better but takes around an hour longer to rip than same bitrate using mpeg encoding in handbrake on my MBCD.

    I am still to determine the optimum settings as I too want the best possible quality but also dont want to spend 6 hours ripping a movie.
  7. winchest macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2006
    I also have been doing my DVD movie rips at 2500, but at 2000 for my television rips. Not sure my justification is except that iTunes content for TV is not that good so my TV shows don't have to be stellar. At 2000 they still look much better than store content to me.
  8. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    1. any compression causes graphic quality loss
    2. transcode a compressed video will cause another graphic quality loss, so obviously you should encoding from original DVD. xxxx*xxxx are all numbers, they means little if u have a bad source. I.E. higher resolution doesn't necessarily means better quality.
  9. zimtheinvader macrumors regular


    Jan 10, 2005
    the capitol
    imo H.264, even at 640x480, looks fantastic, even on higher resolution displays, whereas MPG4 at the same settings does not. H.264 looks highly comperable if not equal to DVD quality in my eyes, though perhaps it is related to my comparatively smaller (but high-res) displays. And H.264, in my experience, has no artifacts and truer colors compared to .mp4, though it kicks the crap out of my computer/ipod to play them, to the point of stuttering and freezing.
  10. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    its all about bitrate, rather than codec, xvid/divx with 2500kbps will be "fantastic" in most ppl's eyes too.
  11. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    You want the highest quality but don't care about surround sound? :confused:
  12. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I'm encoding all my stuff into 1000kbps and I don't really notice much loss in quality. Though I don't sit right infront of the TV or monitor :p
  13. Josh396 macrumors 65816


    Oct 16, 2004
    Peoria/Chicago, IL
    Maybe he just has a high def TV with no surround sound.;)
  14. winchest macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2006
    The choice for bitrate does come down to personal taste and acceptability. Someone might think nothing under 3k is acceptable, others something lower. There is probably a sweet spot between space saved and quality of encode too but I suppose that also is a personal preference.
  15. Cptmiek macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2007
    From the Horses mouth

    If you're going straight from DVD (which I would recomend), the new Handbrake has a fine AppleTV preset. I personally change it to 2800kbps and add two pass encoding. Whatever your choice in settings, this tidbit of info should prove useful:

    "You should be aware that by changing bitrate or adding 2 pass, your are effectively changing to a custom setting, which is fine, but removes the built in HB-AppleTV presets x264 advanced option string. which both improves video quality as well as reduces file size."

    This is straight from the HB developers. According to them, if you want to change the preset options you want to create a new preset with the setting you want and then paste this line of code into the "x264 advanced option string text field"


    I've got movies from before and after I did this, always the same settings exept for the above string. The ones I've encoded after doing this, imo, look just like a DVD does on my TV.

    FYI: One movie takes two days to complete on my old G4.
  16. winchest macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2006
    On the movies that you did before and after that look better...is there a size difference in the files?

    That's good to know. Thanks for the tip.
  17. Cptmiek macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2007
    The longest "no"

    There doesn't actually seem to be any significant size difference. But, At the same bit rate the "after" handles gradients much better than the "before."

    Now, honestly, I haven't tested this as well as I should have, i.e. same movie comparisons (takes too long to encode for me), but I've been watching ALOT of AppleTV lately, and on the "before" there would always be some sort of pixelization on gradients (mainly plain walls lit unevenly, irked me very much). On the ones encoded "after," there is no sign of it (smooth as a baby's bottom).

    Once I get a new machine I could test a little more thoroughly (or someone else who has one could), but then again, cutting and pasting a line isn't so much trouble that it would be a waste if it didn't do anything.
  18. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004

    I'd guess it was FAT32 formatted for Windows compatibility. FAT32 is limited to files smaller than 4 GB.
  19. eddyg macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2003
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Maybe it's because the AppleTV doesn't stream, it just downloads the file into a buffer on the AppleTV, and then plays from there, in parallel to the download. Maybe that buffer (reserved disk?) is only 4Gb in size.

    Cheers, Ed.
  20. Blazer5913 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    Well whoever said anythign about surround sound I'm not really sure what you mean. Of course I want surround sound, but can I not get surround sound from x264? Anyways, it sounds like I should def do the DVD as the source and use Handbrake. I will do the "modified" appletv preset, changing bitrate to 3000 and the two pass on, and adding that string of code. Also, anything else I need to do to make sure the chapter markers and surround sound is still incorporated into the file, just for future firmware updates that will suppport surround sound... Thanks
  21. Cptmiek macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2007

    As far as surround goes. Right now your best surround quality will be the DPL II option, that has been reported to do very good 5 channel surround (not 5.1). At the moment if you go with the 6 channel discrete (AAC) :apple:TV can only do some sort of funky 3 channel mix (it sounds okay when my reciever is in DPL II mode, but it's definately not true surround).

    Of course when/if Apple licences Dolby Digital Live, the 6 channels will be able to be transcoded into 5.1 Dolby Digital for your reciever. If that does happen and you encoded in DPL II, then you're caught with your pants down and a sub-par surround quality. Bet on the future, or live in the now?

    Apple's hi-def trailers all have 6 channel AAC. I'm following suit, dealing with only decent quality, and hoping they do something to get true surround out of it in the near future.
  22. Blazer5913 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    Cpt, thanks alot for your advice. I'll be right behind you in my encoding... Def wanna choose the 6 channel option, b/c it would honestly be stupid for them not to eventually do 5.1 support in the "age of HD" (which has to include surround sound!). So probably around 3000bitrate, 2 pass, appletv settings with that bit of code in the preset, and the 6 channel audio. Anything else I'm missing? I guess just make sure each file is below 4gb and if not change from 3000 bitrate to under 4gb? Is this the easiest way to counter this dumb limit? Thanks

Share This Page