Handbrake settings for best ATV quality?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by pprior, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I know, I know, but despite searching I can't seem to find a simple answer- most seem to be concerned about ipods, etc.

    I only care about being able to watch the best quality on my front projection system. I will likely eventually have a scaler, but right now it's ATV only.

    I ran the ATV preset, but note that hte Average bitrate is set to 2500, and have seen people talk about higher - higher is better, right? 5000??

    Would greatly appreciate a list of the important things to set to optimize my setup, if the wife sees that it looks like crap, she's going to be irritated that I bought this thing since we already have a HTPC that looks good, but is a pain to administer.
  2. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    An average bitrate of 5000 from a standard DVD source is wasteful in my opinion.
  3. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    So stick with 2500? I don't want to start ripping and then find out later I screwed up :)

    Other settings to change or just use ATV preset?

    (for example I noted that ATV preset didn't have AC3 + AAC as default, had to change that).
  4. r12ski macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2008
    With the :apple:TV preset turned on, when I import a movie I own using MacTheRipper, then convert it using Handbrake, I get a file that is 3-4 GB. Is this the "ideal" file size for a SD DVD? If I buy a movie from iTunes it comes in around 1 GB.

    Is there a way to make my files smaller while still maintaining appropriate :apple:TV quality?
  5. mikenike192 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2008
    i encode all my movies at 2000kbps at regular mp4 (for compatibility purposes with ps3 and other devices and speed of encoding) i personally think this is great quality and a good size file around 1.8gb each.
  6. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    Did you update your presets after upgrading to .9.2 (under presets in menubar)? The preset has AC3+AAC by default.

    IMO, the best things you can do for quality is to look into CRF.
  7. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    For most movies 2500 will get you pretty close to the original DVD. I rip most faster Action films at 2500. For older movies and comedies I tend to use 1500 bitrate, the image and artifacting isn't a whole lot worse but you save alot of space. The best thing about HB is that it lets you rip a chapter. So try various setting and the same chapter of a movie and compare, that's How I came upon the settings I use. Everybody will be different, some can live with lower bitrates others cannot, there is no "Best" it's subjective.
  8. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    No I didn't know about that - thanks for the tip.

    Sorry, but what is CRF?
  9. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH

    Basically it allows the encoder to use as much/little bitrate necessary to reach a certain quality. The benefits of this are just that: scenes that don't need a higher bitrate to maintain quality use a lower bitrate where more complex scenes are able to use a higher bitrate than you would likely use with ABR.

    The downside of this is you lose all ability to accurate estimate the size of the file (which is primarily why it is not used in the built-in presets). Dirty sources can lead to very large encodes. Conversely, pristine sources may result in a significantly smaller file.
  10. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Ok I read that and while I think I understand the principle at least on an elementary level, on a practical level I'm not sure how to implement this.

    Is this the "constant quality" slider that is under the Average bitrate option? I'm not really that concerned about file sizes, as all my movies are currently ripped as video_TS and I'm converting, so they're 4-6 GB apiece.
  11. RayR macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2008
    I'd do what Scarpad suggested and try a few different settings to see for yourself what you're happy with. I did that with;

    1. Apple TV preset,
    2. CRF at 75%, and
    3. ATV preset adjusted for AC3 sound and two-pass encoding (no turbo first pass).

    The ATV preset was definitely a lesser quality than the other two but I really couldn't tell these two apart - and that's on a projector with a 77 inch screen. In the end I went for option 3 as the file size was smaller, sometimes over half a gig and there was no discernible difference in quality.
  12. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    h.264 with two pass encoding and anamorphic picture will give you the best quality. I'd take one short scene from a movie (say two minutes), then encode it with 1000KBit, 1100KBit etc. Then you decide which quality is good enough. 1000KBit/second is plenty for watching a movie on a MacBook, maybe not for watching on a large TV.
  13. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    CRF at 75% is wicked high. Generally 70 - 72% is considered "Transparent" to the dvd source, with the law of dimishing returns setting in extremely rapidly.
  14. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    That's exactly the info I was looking for. I'll try 72% and compare. Remember I'm looking at a 9 foot wide screen, not a macbook so quality is the only thing I'm concerned about - a couple GB of space is not an issue (movies to be stored on a TB NAS).
  15. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    I understand, but I really doubt you will see the difference between say 70% and 75% however you could expect almost 80% higher file size and bitrate depending on your source. Remember you are limited at all times to the quality of your source. HB cannot make something out of nothing.
  16. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Wow, I didn't realize that 5% difference would result in 80% larger file size! I mean I'll try the 72% and try compare to ATV preset and see which looks better to me. I dont' have time to recreate the wheel, so I appreciate the advice very much.
  17. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    DynaFlash turned me onto CRF and I now use it for most of my encodes. For most movies I use 65% but for a few I use 70%. I have done several side by side comparisons and found that anything over 70 is a diminishing return in quality vs size.

    One point to keep in mind is that CRF sometimes leads to wildly unpredictable sizes. The problem for me is that low quality source material often results in large files as it attempts to preserve the flaws in the source. For these movies, I use average bit-rate of 1500 or 2000 instead of CRF.
  18. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Jan 30, 2008
    Click on the AppleTV preset, then go to advanced options and change everything so it matches this screenshot. On the "video" section use constant quality at anywhere between 66-70% (I use 66%) It will take longer but the encode will be higher quality and have a lower filesize. Enjoy.

    Attached Files:

    • shot.jpg
      File size:
      132.2 KB
  19. hotshotharry macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2007
    The following is a copy and paste from http://forum.handbrake.fr/viewtopic.php?t=1238


    The AppleTV preset built into HB is designed to be a compromise between quality, rip speed and file size.

    We took into account that it needed to be at a low enough bitrate to stream fairly well due to the AppleTV's rather limited hard drive. 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.

    So, what you might want to try is, lets say you want the AppleTV Preset but 2 pass.

    1. Click on the HB-AppleTV Preset
    2. Click on 2-pass
    3. Click the "+" button in the presets drawer
    4. Name the preset
    5. check use picture settings in this preset
    6. in the x264 advanced option string text field paste this line:

    Code: Select all

    7. Click Save.

    You now have created shiny new duplicate of the HB-AppleTV Preset but using 2 pass.

    Of course, you can just click on the AppleTV Preset from HB then click on 2 pass, but you will not be taking advantage of the options that are turned on using that string. You can try both and be the judge.
  20. hotshotharry macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2007
    So i just checked this out and it seems as though recent releases keep the preset info if you select it before you select 2pass.
  21. Alx9876 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2008
    Out of curiosity why would you not use "Turbo first Pass"?

    It goes hand in hand with two pass encoding. If I can learn something new here then let me know. Thanks to whoever can explain this to me.:)
  22. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I did my first rip with Handbrake about a month ago and used two passes. As that one took nearly 4 hours, I started making do with only one pass. The resulting MP4 files have been perfect. The files aren’t terribly small, about 2.5 gig, but they look and sound as good as the original DVDs. Better yet, the process of ripping DVDs, converting them to MP4, copying them to iTunes, and syncing to Apple TV has been trouble free and easy to do.
  23. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    This was back in the 0.9.0 days. The advanced options carry from preset to preset now so creating your own preset is much simpler. Just click 2 pass and save it as a preset. The advanced options will be preserved as they were.
  24. RayR macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2008

    I just assumed that it would provide better quality. If it's not, why have it as an option? I may be wrong, of course, but quality is particularly important to me as I'm watching it on a large screen so I'm erring on the side of caution. I may try with turbo and see what happens.
  25. eziggy3 macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2008
    Washington, D.C.
    Large screen quality

    I tried every suggestion in this stream and nothing seems to improve the quality I get on my 58" plasma. Even when I view Apple HD content it is not as nearly as good as my DTV HD. I think the ATV is going back.

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