iTunes playing Handbrake encodes (x264+divx) only at 640x360 (while QT would play higher)?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Cox Orange, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. Cox Orange, Mar 26, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016

    Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010

    it is probably known, that iTunes is not good at playing videos. I never bothered, because I used Quicktime and VLC (I know there are things like mplayer or XMBC, etc.), now I had to discover HOW bad iTunes actually is.

    My mother can only handle iTunes, where she can pick the videos from the list and I couldn't encourage her to use VLC and/or QT. I had to convert some small movies for her (actually cartoon for my niece and nephews).

    On my iBook G4, 1,33GHz, 1,5GB RAM (1024x867 resolution) I discovered, that not the profile/level used in x264 is important, but the resolution. Actually in the beginning I even tried divx (or xvid?) and even there the movies won't play, if larger than 640x360.
    I found that pretty interesting and couldn't really believe it. I also wondered, why other encodes, that I didn't do myself and downloaded from the internet were playing nice. Having a closer look, I saw that there are files with high@3 and even they play, but!!! they are 640x360, too. I never actually cared much, because with QT/VLC I never had a reason to bother (they play higher resolutions and also just drop frames, if it is too much, other than iTunes, which hangs up and does big jumps).

    I asked in the Handbrake forum and even there the single guy that answered (with a MDD single 1,25GHz) said, that usually mp4v2 divx should play at higher resolutions with bitrates of 700-3000kbps. (None of anything I tried in that range would play properly, as long as I didn't restrict the size to 640x360). He didn't test it though, but said that he "remembered" that this should work. So,... (I mean, my assumption was that divx shouldn't be a problem, since it is less demanding anyway.)

    Later I tried different sound codecs (within the movie files) in iTunes and I found out that only AAC would be playable (not MP3, which I thought should work, since iTunes plays music mp3s. Not AC3). (That is under 10.4).

    I wonder, if this issue might be related to Handbrake. I used version 10 (encoded on my Intel Mini). I have yet to test, if maybe Handbrake 9.0.4 would produce playable stuff for iTunes at higher resolutions. I also didn't test, if Avidemux or Mpegstreamclip will yield different results.

    Why do I think it is Handbrake? I read that Handbrake encodes have been trouble for AppleTVs ever since, even though there is an actual AppleTV-preset.

    There are also the video FAQs in this forum here, that don't even mention iTunes, probably because the problems are known.

    Did you have similar experiences? I mean, why wouldn't it even play simple divx/xvid?
    (please post your machine and OS, when you answer)

  2. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2014
    Lincolnshire, UK
    Handbrake 0.9.4 has become unusable for me - every rip had missing audio. 0.9.5 works fine although the option to make divx/xvid has gone.
    It shouldn't hamper playback but have you gone into playback prefs in iTunes and selecting default video playback as HD?
  3. Cox Orange thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    iTunes -> preferences -> playback

    there is a check box "play videos in standard Definition". THat was checked, I unchecked it now, but still nothing bigger than 640x360 would play.

    I find it astonishing, that the resolution has such an influence, while it doesn't seem to matter, if I choose main@4 or high@3 etc.
    I haven't used Handbrake 9 for a long time, but good to know. I wonder thogh, how can the audio suddenly be missing, if there has been no update to 9.0.4 itself, or is it that the encoders were updated systemwide, when you installed 9.0.5?

    I use Handbrake, because I found the available x264 codecs for mpegstreamclip are not as good as that in Handbrake. With Avidemux I always feel overchallenged, so I only use that for cutting *ts files and copy 1:1
  4. Cox Orange, Mar 30, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016

    Cox Orange thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    In case someone wants to try what I stated.

    (a, b = divx.mp4, c, d = x264.ts)
    a) 640x360 plays on above mentioned machine Testmovie mpeg-4 avrg bitr1000 2pass 640x346.mp4
    b) other resolution, plus uncomplex encode mpeg-4 av bitr1000.mp4
    and Testmovie mpeg-4 QP18.mp4 and Testmovie mpeg-4 QP25.mp4
    c) original (testbit) Testmovie

    another less complex movie (cartoon) test sample (zip file with original and two encodes, both won't play, because the resoltuion is to high (didn't include the working one). Look at the tree, when it fades, if you want to have a point to judge quality.
    longer bit of the same movie HD cartoon-Test longer version.ts

    Even less complex cartoon (no, that's not what the kids are allowed to watch ;) Oh, now that sound like porn, but no it is just cartoon with swear words and semantics) sample.ts
  5. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2014
    Lincolnshire, UK
    All of these files play in iTunes on my Quad (apart from the .ts files which are incompatible with iTunes).
    However, test conni rf21.mp4 and test conni rf22.mp4 are h264 files - the most CPU intensive codec for PPC (and they're 720P) - my 12" Powerbook couldn't play these in iTunes, neither could VLC or mplayer, that's because all these files are running at around 50FPS - it's a lot to expect for a PPC to handle - I always go for 25 FPS.
  6. Cox Orange, Mar 31, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016

    Cox Orange thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    Thank you very much for going through all the files!

    So the divx/xvid files (the farm documentary) all played on your Powerbook, too? On my ibook only the 640x360 resolution farm documentary plays.

    The conni_crf21/22.mp4 is 1280x720 and as you say x264, it plays on my ibook in iTunes, if the resolution is lowered to 640x360. So this proves that the bigger resolution doesn't play on the small TFT and small CPU Macs (since it plays on your Quad). - I forgot to upload a 360p version of it. It runs and is x264.
    If you have time, try this on one of your 12" Powerbooks crf22 360p.mp4

    Well, I expected, that x264 is hard to play on a PPC Mac, but I was wondering why the resolution has a bigger influence than the chosen profile/level. It will play at high@4 as well, as long as I don't go over 360p. (I expected restricting the number of reference frames would help via the profiles).
    A good hint by you to use 25fps! I expected iTunes to just drop frames with 50fps and still have enough left during playback, so that stuttering or jumps would not become visible.

    PS: I included the ts files, in case you wanted to compare or "analyize" the source.
  7. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2014
    Lincolnshire, UK
    Yes, the 360P version plays fine in iTunes on the Powerbook. The key difference is that file has a data rate of 900 kbits/s whereas the 720P ones are over 2000.
    I've heard it said that the data rate doesn't make any difference but in every instance I've encountered it does.
  8. Cox Orange thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    THanks for your hint, I didn't look into the files sizes (in combination with h.264), because with divx I could use insane bitrates and they would always play as long as the res. was 640x360, if I went for 700kbps and chose a res. of 1024x876 (ibooks native res) I didn't play. So I wrongly assumed that the bitrate would have a miner impact in h.264, too.

    I did a test and tried a 640x360 h.264 file with 1900kbps and in fact, as you said, this doesn't play on my ibook.

    I wanted to try a low bitrate plus 1280x720 in divx again, but the encode hangs at 99.7%, so I will have to test this another time, once I can come back.

    Also, there is some sort of shimmering with straight lines or roof tops and fences. I will try, f your sugguestion of using 25fps will eliminate this too (decomb didn't). It is actually a strange phenomenon, because giving the source, there should be no flickering. Strange.

    Thanks for now!
  9. Cox Orange thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    Did another test. I tried divx with a big resolution, which my thesis was, wouldn't work, but this time combined it with a bitrate as low as 700kbps... and it played. OK so, my initial observations were wrong :)

    I did however still forgot to reduce the fps to 25. Up my list.

Share This Page