I'm Going Mad! DVD to Apple TV Windows?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by liketom, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. liketom macrumors 601


    Apr 8, 2004
    Running a PC as well as my Mac's and thought i'd put the PC (Core 2 ) to good use converting some of my home movies on dvd.

    Normally use Handbrake on the Mac but unable to get it going on the beta version for windows, what is the better program to use on windows ? google search just brings up crappy software that are just rubbish

    and yes i am already using my Mac's - but might as well try to use the PC for something other then my work
    this is what i am up against :(
    Core 2 1.83 2GB 600GB Vista (and Xp Pro)
  2. Ladybug macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    I'm looking to do the same thing with my old pc. In my search for possible software I ran across Videora, which is to be used along with DVD Decrypter. Both apps are free. Check the guide out as well, since its a two step process.

    I'll be testing this combo later today...will report back and let you know how well it went. I should mention that I don't have my :apple: TV yet so I won't be able to comment on how well it looks on the big screen.

  3. omnirune macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
  4. Diode macrumors 68020


    Apr 15, 2004
    Washington DC
    If you use Windows version you need to download and install .net 2.0 (google it).

    Works perfect on my Xp SP2 box^^
  5. Bressler macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    I am also running the beta version of Handbrake on my XP SP2 box. I am running with h.264 main, 2250 bitrate and 2-pass encoding. (And DVD43, of course) When I encode chapters of a DVD, the results are great. When I encode an entire DVD, sometimes Handbrake runs to the very end (which on my machine is sometimes 7 hours later), and then dumps a stackdump. If I reboot before each DVD, it seems to work better. Maybe someone isn't freeing up resources properly?
  6. Bressler macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    I'm trying that now - what settings are you using? I tried the HighDef profile, but that produced a file that quicktime can't read.
  7. Bressler macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    I just ran an encoding session of Independence Day with Nero using Cinema AVC, 2250Kbps and 2-pass. Took 6 1/2 hours but it sure is beautiful. Now it is time to start backing down to see how quick I can get it without losing quality.
  8. mark-itguy macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2007
    NERO Recode, [Part of NERO 7.x for Windows users], is an excellent solution that, being commercial, works without that cheesy feel some of the buggy free stuff causes... Recode can convert DVD's either by individual title, chapter, or the whole main title. It can also convert files, such as AVI, etc...

    In Recode there are two pull downs to the right, I forget their exact names but that are for profiles\presets. Stay away from the ones whose title startes with NERO, those are their profiles, and are only compatible with PC's or NERO certified devices.

    For QuickTime\iTunes\iPod 5.xGen\Apple TV, the top one needs to say iPod, then the bottom one can say iPod Video, or, iPod Video AVC. iPod Video is MPEG-4 640x480x2500. iPod Video AVC is H.264 320x240x768, and is much better for a video that will only be watched on an iPod 5.xGen.

    ** As of like one week ago, the top pull down gained a new one called Unsorted. Selecting that allows for a lone option on the bottom one called iPod 5.5 Gen AVC [or similar]. This is best for Apple TV; it uses H.264 640x480x1500.

    Of note, all profiles, for some odd reason, default to AAC audio at only a 64-bit bitrate. For each video\DVD imported, you have to highlight each one and hit the audio button. If you change the radio button to custom you cal select up to a 128-bitrate. Do that! It will still sync with an iPod\Apple TV, but obviously sound better.

    Good Luck!
  9. omnirune macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
    I've settled on HDTV Profile, 1800 bit rate, 1 pass, 5.1 aac at maximum selectable bit rate, and maximum image dimension (auto cropped, auto-size) and have been happy with the results. The resulting file size for a 2 1/2 hour movie is about 2 GB. Honestly, I have not noticed a perceptual change from 1 pass to 2 passes at this image size and bit rate (after comparing several completed encodes)

    More impressively, these settings were able to handle lightning and fast movement in dark scenes without blocking up.

    EDIT: Saw the above post. I am using Nero AVC format, and have not had any difficulty playing the resulting file on my mac or the appletv, with one caveat: it seems that itunes cannot tag files that contain 5.1 AAC audio at this time. I am also not striving for ipod compatibility, and your needs might differ.
  10. liketom thread starter macrumors 601


    Apr 8, 2004
  11. mark-itguy macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2007
    Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are saying the NERO presets do work on the Apple TV, which is cool. And the NERO presets may also play on QuickTime. My situations where the NERO presets would fail were importing into iTunes [which sometimes worked anyway], and the syncing with my iPod 5G, [which would always fail with the NERO presets].

    The early versions had presets and manual setting options. I think they realized the manual options were too confusing for most users and scrapped them. Since we can't see the specifics of the presets, I guess it's hard to say, but I suspect the presets labeled iPod have whatever the baseline profile the iPod 5.xG's want, where as the presets labeled NERO have another. If this is correct, that is on par with the Apple TC specs, which cover the same as the iPod 5.xG's, and then some better specs too.

    It's funny people like us will spend way more time than the DVD is worth just to do this! I don't have an Apple TV, [yet?], but my driver was to get DVD's into my iPod 5G because I was on an airplane every Monday & Friday for 7 months...
  12. Bressler macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    Here is some data for you guys - I'm just not sure what conclusion it supports. First if you go to the Nero website it tells you that Cinema is 720p resolution and HDTV is 1080p. In Recode on the Burn Settings page, select Nero Digital Settings and check expert. It confirms those settings.

    Last night I watched the Independence Day encoded as I mentioned above. Unfortunately, I found a few scenes that showed blocks of distortion (There is a name for that, I think). So this morning I re-encoded just that chapter at several different settings. This is all on a PC running XP SP2. All settings are in Nero Digital AVC:

    1. Cinema, 2270Kbps file size 34.4MB (just 1 chapter)
    2. HD, 4550Kbps file size 66.9
    3. Cinema, 2500Kbps file size 51.9
    4. Cinema, 3000Kbps force 2-pass file size 44.8
    5. Same chapter using Handbrake with CRF and quality set at 75% file size 39.7

    Going back and forth I could see minor differences, but they all looked pretty good.

    I don't know what to conclude and I don't know why my full encoding of the movie had those video artifacts. My problem with Handbrake on Windows has been that half the time it gets all the way to the end and then terminates with an error condition (and no movie).

    Hopefully one of you understands this better than I do.
  13. omnirune macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
    After playing with this more, I have made the decision to move away from Nero Recode.

    I was using the encoding settings I mentioned previously above, and have noticed an oversight on my part: while the movies would work perfectly on my Macintosh and PC, it was exceptionally more blocky on the AppleTV. I don't know if it cannot handle 1800 bit rate h264 files created by Nero Recoder... but I have discovered scenes that would block up.

    Case in point: I have encoded the fox logo (first 30 seconds of the movie) from my Castaway DVD, using Nero Digital AVC HDTV profile @ 1800 bit rate with dimensions 720xsomething... (don't quite remember, as I am typing from work). The logo will consistently block up. I noticed that reducing the GOP down to 15 would mostly eliminate this, but the overall picture quality suffered.

    Nero Recode with MP4 does NOT have any problems with the AppleTV, but I find that the resulting picture is significantly darker and not as clear.

    I am using another program, DVD Fab Platinum, that is encoding H264 files at the same bit rate and have had no problems with the AppleTV on this particular scene. I'll continue to post my findings. DVD Fab downmixes audio to stereo, however...

    Sorry for the bad Nero Recode news.

    EDIT: I read about some possible tweaks for Nero Recode this afternoon. I'll try it out and report back tonight.

    EDIT: Nero Recode WILL indeed work for the AppleTV. Make sure to TURN OFF "weighted prediction" prior to encoding your video. This will remove the macroblocking problem that is plaguing the AppleTV when using Nero Recode.
  14. Bressler macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    Is Quicktime Pro (on windows) an option? Or will it not read the format on a DVD?
  15. omnirune macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Finalized "Optimal Settings" for Nero Recode

    My expectations are for my encodes to be compatible with Macintosh and PC computers, as well as with the AppleTV in its current state. The below settings are set up in a way so that, if Apple chooses to update the AppleTV software, the files will eventually gain 5.1 AAC surround and subtitles without re-encoding. Currently, the below settings merely output stereo audio, do not have subtitles, and cannot be tagged within iTunes. Hopefully, this will all change.

    Below are the settings I use for Nero Recode that I have settled upon as being most optimal for encoding my personal DVDs:

    Nero Digital Category: Nero Digital AVC
    Nero Digital Profile: HDTV - AVC
    Fit to Target: Disabled
    Video Quality: 1.79 Mbps
    De-Interlace: Disabled, unless interlaced source file exists
    Crop: Automatic
    Resize: Automatic, Letterboxing (Square Pixel) enabled. Typical dimensions are around 7XX x 3XX.
    Audio #1: 5.1-channel Surround, Automatic Settings, Standard Volume
    Subtitle: 1: (Select Correct Subtitle File)
    Nero Digital Settings: Expert Mode
    AVC Encoder: Auto
    Rate Control: Fast Encoding (1-Pass)
    Min Quantizer: 0
    Max Quantizer: 51
    Decision Quality: Best
    Maximum Vector Range: -32 to 31.75
    Max Reference Frames: 1
    Max GOP size: 300
    Max B-frames: 3
    CABAC: Enabled
    Bidirectional Prediction: Enabled
    Macroblock Partitions: Enabled
    8x8 Transform: Disabled
    Deblocking: On, -2 strength
    Visual Enhancements: Picture Level, Macroblock Level, Advanced, and Enhanced Chroma Prediction turned on

    Why did I use the above settings?
    1. Embeds 5.1 AAC audio and Subtitles, for possible future AppleTV updates that might enable this functionality. The AAC track and subtitles will be accessible from any computer with the proper decoder.
    2. Damn-close to DVD quality on my LCD HDTV. With H.264, brightness and sharpness are preserved, versus MP4 files that appear much darker.
    3. Encoding time averages about 2-3 hours a movie, and the end result is quite good.
    4. Output files are between 1 - 2 GB, resulting in many movies I can squeeze on my 400 GB hard drive. This drive is streamed to my AppleTV via 802.11g.
    5. Output files are 100% compatible with my Windows XP-based computer, my iMac G5 1.6, and my first-edition AppleTV.
    6. My encoding PC is an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6, 1 GB RAM, Windows XP SP2. Nero Recode version
    I hope this information might help someone.
  16. bryan1010 macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2007
  17. robPOD macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2006
    Nreo Recode works great for me , I think it costs, though there are ways to get it for free.
  18. polishmacuser macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    why dont you guys just use dvd shrink its free and works with pc's very well for ripping and decrypting :D
  19. Bressler macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    I've been following all the Handbrake on windows development and it is still not quite there yet, but they are working hard on it.

    I have had great success with Nero Recode, although I use slightly different parameters than above. Since I am only going to rip once, I am willing to invest the time to use 2-pass encoding for the slightly better quality. Also, I up the bit rate to between 2500 and 3000, also for the quality. It generates a bigger file, but disk is cheap. Of slightly more concern is the network bandwidth required for those higher data rates. If you need to use a G network, best to stay under 2000. If you have moved up to N, the higher bandwidths work fine.

    I've also discovered that Recode works better with DVD43 than with AnyDVD, although I don't know why.
  20. Seha macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2007

    I have been following these settings to the letter and it generates the file fine and I can view it in Nero's viewer but I can't import it into ITunes for the life of me. When I either drag it in or go through add file to library command nothing happens.

    If I encode it with one of the "ipod" settings it works fine and can be imported into ITunes. I hope I'm just missing something simple and obvious.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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