Ending ATV Media Server

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by thunderclap, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

    thunderclap

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    While I love the user interface of the ATV and having access to all my movies and television shows with a few simple clicks, I finally stopped digitizing my DVD's after a week of experimenting with different compression techniques. I've tried Handbrake and VisualHub but neither give me the quality that satisfies me. I know some people can't tell a difference between a DVD and their converted ATV version but my eye definitely picks up on the softer colors and image quality the recompressed ATV version plays. It's disappointing since I wanted to clear off the 200+ DVD's on my bookshelf but I can't in good conscience go digital completely if I'm going to be criticizing a movie or tv show and not be able to enjoy it.

    I'm not 100% sure I'm going to keep the ATV but I'm pretty sure I will since I'd rather buy digital downloads in the future instead of DVDs. And with Blu-Ray disc prices still high I don't need every movie I buy in HD so assuming it comes out or is available on iTunes I'd rather just get it that way.

    Maybe in the future they're will be a better method of converting DVD's to preserve the quality or maybe the ATV will have an upconvert feature that helps. Until then converting my DVD's is not an option.
     
  2. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    The Bamboo Forest
    #2
    Sounds like you should have bought something like this instead.
     
  3. mallbritton macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    #3
    Just out of curiosity what versions of Mac OS X and Handbrake are you using and what HB pre-sets were you using?

    What each person will find acceptable is subjective, but for me I've found that the default AppleTV pre-set in HB produces an acceptable video experience. I have a modest size ,32", Samsung Hi Def TV with a home surround sound system and I encode my video exclusively for the :apple:TV. Are you encoding your video exclusively for the :apple:TV or are you wanting to make one file that "looks good" on multiple Apple devices?

    I'm not trying to convince you to keep digitizing your entertainment media and using :apple:TV but perhaps I can offer some suggestions that you might find useful. You sound like you want to keep doing this.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  4. thunderclap thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thunderclap

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    I have OS X 10.5.2 with Handbrake 0.9.2.

    I would rip the DVD using MactheRipper 3.0 R14 then selected the ripped VIDEO_TS directory in Handbrake. From there I created a preset using MP4 h.264 as the encoder (AC3 Passthru for 5.1, AAC for 2.0), framerate same as source and an average bitrate of 2500. I would use the 2-pass encoding (first fast), anamorphic strict and vfr encoding occasionally using deinterlacing if interlacing was present. My file sizes would average between 1.8GB and 2.7GB.

    Just the ATV which is connected to a 42" HD LCD television via HDMI.

    Please do because I'm out of ideas. I think being the videophile I am it's going to be hard to please my senses now that I've experienced Blu-Ray and upconverted DVD's which look damn good. I would love to go to ATV exclusively and put my DVD's into storage.
     
  5. mallbritton macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    #5
    It sounds like you're not doing things too much differently than I am. I do have a couple suggestions for you to try that you might not have tried yet.

    1. I started with the "AppleTV" pre-set in HB and made modifications from there to come up with a a custom pre-set. So I suggest you first update the built-in pre-sets by clicking the gear icon in the lower right of the pre-sets drawer, load a source video_ts folder, choose the AppleTV pre-set and make mods from there.

    2. You might also try changing from an average bit rate to a constant quality bit rate, say about 65%, which I think is the default. Alternatively you could choose the Constant Quality Rate pre-set and make mods to it to come up with your own custom pre-set.

    This is about the same procedure I went through when trying to find a good balance between file size and picture quality. I settled on using the default AppleTV pre-set.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  6. Maynerd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    #6
    I'm with mbuhmann in that I want to go digital with my dvds but so far I've been not that impressed with the quality of the dvd rips that I've made. I'm all for suggestions on how to make things look better.

    BTW I'm using component vs HDMI is there a BIG difference between the two on the ATV?
     
  7. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    Whitehouse, OH
    #7
    You'll always have this problem when converting MPEG2 -> MPEG4. Converting from one lossy format to another will always result in a degradation in quality. For me, it is more about convenience than anything; if I really want the quality, I'll put the DVD in my player and watch it.

    Only thing I could suggest is using CRF instead of ABR. CRF=70% is considered by most to virtually indistinguishable, just don't do something crazy like set it to 100% thinking it means identical to the DVD.

    CRF is enabled by default now in Handbrake (can verify in the preferences pane)... you do not want to switch it to CQR (?).
     
  8. Maynerd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    #8
    CRF is better than ABR eh? That's good to know. when you say 70% is indistinguishable you are saying it looks just like a dvd?
     
  9. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #9
    I have not noticed a big difference in quality between the two. For the type of question you're asking I always suggest use what looks best to you. Use both types of video connections for a little while and make your decision then.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #10
    But isn't that what (s)he wants?
     
  11. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #11
    Just in case anyone is ripping any animated films I always set deinterlace to "slow" which gives me good results.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  12. Maynerd macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2007
    #12
    What does this mean? Not setting it to slow. But what is it doing?
     
  13. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #13
    Check out this entry in the Handbrake FAQ:
    http://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/SupportFAQ#winsomelosesome

     
  14. mallbritton macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    #14
    The Handbrake Wiki can explain it much better than I can:
    http://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/DeinterlacingGuide

    The results that I see is that I no longer see those white bands in the video when scene changes happen quickly.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  15. thunderclap thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thunderclap

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #15
    I've spent hours going through the Handbrake FAQ to come up with my custom presets. I will try the constant rate to see if that helps at all but I realize one lossy format to another is going to lessen the quality. I just wish it wasn't as drastic as I'm seeing. (Again, I'm probably much more picky than most.)

    And I'm a "he" kingjr3. :)
     
  16. Maynerd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    #16
    I see that makes sense now. Why not use the slower option? Does this add to file size or something?
     
  17. Maynerd macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2007
    #17
    Be sure to post your results. I'm still trying to find the right balance between quality and size.
     
  18. thunderclap thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thunderclap

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #18
    Will do. I probably won't have time until tonight or tomorrow to experiment though. But if I find something that I find suitable I'll be sure to let everyone know.
     
  19. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #19
    It doesn't add file size that I've noticed. I use Slow just because it seems to be a good middle ground and doesn't add too much time to the encode. Also I've just not found a reason to use "slower."

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  20. cohibadad macrumors 6502a

    cohibadad

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    #20
    I mostly have my DVDs digitized on the :apple:TV for convenience of my kids. They barely notice if the audio is out of sync. Personally, the quality is fine for me although I am not the most demanding viewer. Thanks for the deinterlace guide. I usually set it to fast and seemed to work fine.
     
  21. thunderclap thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thunderclap

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #21
    So I ran my experiments this morning using "Jurassic Park" "Serenity". I did this to test an older DVD as well as a newer. For each I ran six different encodings. The things that remained the same in each was:

    Frame Rate = Same as source
    AC3 Passthru
    Anamorphic = Loose
    VTR = Checked
    Deinterlace = Slow

    Trial 1
    2-pass + turbo first pass
    Average Bitrate = 2500

    Trial 2
    2-pass
    Average Bitrate = 2500

    Trial 3
    2-pass + turbo first pass
    Average Bitrate = 3000

    Trial 4
    2-pass
    Average Bitrate = 3000

    Trial 5
    Constant Quality = 65%

    Trial 6
    Constant Quality = 70%

    The first five trials, and for both films, the quality was virtually the same. I only encoded one chapter each and the file size differed at most approx. 30MB.

    I then did a comparison of the DVD upconverted on my PS3. While the picture quality was a little sharper the big difference was saturation. The ATV version had colors that were more dull, more muddy, while the upconverted version remained vibrant and rich.

    Trial 6 seemed to have more vibrant colors but playback wasn't very good as it streamed from my Mac Pro. The video stuttered and quite regularly.

    All I can think of is if Apple or Handbrake adds an option to "Sharpen Image" will it get close to an upconverted DVD. So there are my results. Hope it helps others.
     
  22. Maynerd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    #22
    mbuhmann - Thanks for the info. When you say 30mb difference can you give an idea of % instead of a raw number? reason being is if one of the files is 30 megs and one is 60 megs it's only a 30 meg difference but % wise it is 100% larger.

    Also, take a look at this thread at handbrake.fr

    http://forum.handbrake.fr/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5129

    It's hard for me to personally follow as they are getting technical. I'm trying a couple of variations of their suggestions.
     
  23. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #23
    Which Handbrake pre-set did you start with? I'm guessing "AppleTV" but you didn't mention it so I thought I would ask.
     
  24. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #24
    IIRC the Handbrake devs recommend anamorphic strict for ATV encodes. Not sure that it will make a big difference (it shouldn't affect colour AFAIK), but it might be worth you trying.

    One other thing - were your PS3 and your ATV connected via the same input to your TV? I ask because my TV has separate colour saturation settings for every input, so if they're on separate inputs that might explain some of the colour difference.
     
  25. thunderclap thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thunderclap

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #25
    It's hard to say without doing a full encode of the film. If there is someone more mathematically inclined I'm sure they could figure it out. In any event, I only did about 10 minutes.

    You're corrected. I started with "AppleTV" and went from there.

    Before I did this experiment I was using Strict 99% of the time. From memory it doesn't look like using "loose" lessened the quality.

    I have two HDMI inputs on the television and three HDMI devices: Tivo, PS3 and ATV. I'll look into your recommendation and if it works maybe I'll just go back to using Component inputs for the ATV. I'll keep you posted.
     

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