One Library for AppleTV & iPhone?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by macfaninpdx, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. macfaninpdx macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2007
    I have almost completed converting my DVD collection into MPEGs and added them to my iTunes library. I have the :apple:TV, and it is my goal to have my entire movie library available to me from my :apple:TV. So it makes sense that I use the AppleTV preset on HandBrake, which gives me full-resolution video and reasonable file-size.

    But I also have an iPhone, and would like to be able to grab a movie now and again when I am away from home. The AppleTV preset will not sync with the iPhone because it uses 2500bps, which is too high for the iPhone.

    So I guess I have two options, and I am wondering if anyone else is doing anything similar:
    Option 1) Re-encode my entire collection using the iPod High Quality setting, wihch seems to be a decent compromise. It will still look good on my HDTV, and it will sync with the iPhone. On the other hand, it is not taking advantage of the full-resolution that the DVD has for display on the HDTV, and it is a much larger file than it needs to be for playback on the iPhone.
    Option 2) Encode a second version for the iPhone. This can be a smaller size, and smaller bitrate also. The downside to this is that I will have two entries in my iTunes library for each movie, which is a pain to navigate from the :apple:TV. I could use two separate libraries in iTunes, but I am not sure how this would affect which library the :apple:TV sees, and which would be available for streaming.

    So I put it out to you. Does anyone out there do anything similar? Who out there has the :apple:TV and an iPod or iPhone? Any suggestions?
  2. Peter Kim macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2003
    New York, NY
    I'm curious to see if anyone has any crafty solutions to this problem as well...
  3. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    You could create a new user on your computer and have iTunes library of that user have iPhone movies.
  4. sonictonic macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2006
    Central Coast, California
    This dilemma is gettin' kinda old. Maybe I'm ignorant, but I don't understand why Handbrake, iSquint, and similar programs can't make an option that works great on both devices... iTunes purchased content works good on both. Or wait, is this only because this is "option 1" you speak of? Is the HQ ipod setting similar to the specs Apple has on their store content? Hmm.
  5. macfaninpdx thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2007
    This is a good idea since I already have another user account for my wife. But assuming I use her iTunes library to store the mobile version and mine to store the full-size versions, then I would have to sync my iPhone on her login to get movies onto it, but then I would also have her calendars and contacts (which I don't particularly want). The same would be if we reverse the libraries, since she would have to sync her iPhone on my login to get movies onto it (yes, we have two iPhones).

    Yes, the iPod High Quality is probably very similar to the store. They are both 640px wide, and they both look good on both devices. My only issue with this is that if I am going to box up my DVDs once they are "digitized", I want to get all the resolution I can out of them. I suppose it is a workaround for the time being.
  6. drater macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2005
    Boston, MA
    I use visualhub and it gives me an iPod, iPhone and :apple:tv option. However it also give me an 'ALL' option. Works pretty well. You can use the program for free if you want to try it out, its only 23 bucks. I think its worth it, very simple and very reliable.
  7. MikieMikie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    iPhone synching: you do not have to sync her calendars and contacts. You can synch each thing you want to synch. Use the checkboxes on each tab.

    Since we're hobbyists, I have taken to almost enjoying the many steps involved in supporting the as-of-yet-unfinished Media Server (aka iTunes). I pick a movie or two I might want on my iPhone, tell iTunes to make an iPod version, and then *POOF*, like magic, a mere day later (I start this process before bedtime), there it is, in the iTunes Movie Library. I use the "get info" to see which movie is 640X480. I then rename it, specifiy it as a movie I want to to sync from the iPhone device tabs, and there it is.

    I won't comprimise the :apple:TV quality just to have one version that works on both my iPhone and :apple:TV.

    -- Mikie
  8. macfaninpdx thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2007
    If you use iTunes to "Convert for iPhone", will it create a copy leaving the original untouched? If so, I imagine this could be automated with an AppleScript. Also, do you have any idea how the quality compares by doing it this method, versus converting the original DVD to iPhone size in the first place?
  9. macfaninpdx thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2007
    Yes, but if I sync my iPhone on my login and check all the boxes (except movies), then when I sync it on her login it remembers all the boxes were checked. Likewise when I uncheck them all on her login, they remain unchecked when I sync it again on my library. It becomes pretty tedious to change them all the time.
  10. mcvaughan macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I encode a second time for my iPhone, and add those to a playlist called iPhone Movies. I have iTunes sync this playlist for any movies I want on my iPhone. When I encode, I name the movie with a "_iphone" on the end of the filename or "_atv" for my AppleTV movies. Similarly, I have a playlist for all my AppleTV movies and only sync that.

    This is what I do, but it may not work for you. Disk space is cheap nowadays so why not encode specifically for each device?
  11. macfaninpdx thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2007
    Disk space may be cheap but I have the 40GB :apple:TV. So I can't sync my iTunes movie collection to the :apple:TV, and hence need to stream. When viewing the streamed iTunes library, I would see both versions of every movie. Until they support Playlist or Genre browsing support on the :apple:TV, this can make for some long menus.
  12. SthrnCmfrtr macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    I encode everything for the iPod, which is 640x480 or so iirc. It looks great on my Apple TV/720P HDTV, looks great on my iPhone, and will likely look good on my new nano.

    If you do encode multiple times, I recommend getting this little toy. Encodes in real-time or slightly faster on a Mac mini CD @ iPod (Best) quality. Nice queue, stable software, works efficiently, leaves machine free for other uses.

    Considering the stats of the three formats, I don't see very much reason to encode everything to the Apple TV preset, especially since (*ahem*) most of my video files are not 800x600 or above. DVD resolution is, iirc, 720x480, so you're not losing much by having it scaled down a bit.

    I also have a metric butt-ton of movies and tv shows (I've given away my DVD player), so for me the simplicity of library management, the saved time by only encoding once, the saved disk space, and the fewer problems I have with synchronizing the metadata of two different video rips greatly outweighs the small drop in resolution. It all looks good to me.
  13. brett4got macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2006
    Little known secret about ipod specs

    A little known secret about the iPhone and iPod touch is that they are capable of higher resolution than 640x480. You can use 720x400 for instance on both of these devices which gets it pretty close to having one video file for both the ipod and ATV..
  14. MikieMikie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    One at a time

    My approach is to convert (Handbrake) the entire collection for :apple:TV, and then have iTunes make an iPhone clone on an as-needed basis.

    I see no value in having my entire collection available in both formats -- when I need a movie for my iPhone, I'll convert it the night before.

    I won't sacrifice any resolution from the :apple:TV setting in Handbrake just to have a multi-format, least-common-denominator version.

    Why would you?
    -- Mikie
  15. ebony macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2007
    I find it unbelievable of Apple that they haven't already delivered a solution to this problem.

    You should just have to have one listing in itunes that can have multiple files stored behind it, one for Apple TV, one for ipod touch/iphone, one for nano. When you sink a device it picks up the correct associated file intelligently or a manual over ride can be set.

    I also find it hard to understand why photo Events are not part of Apple TV, ipod touch/iphone or nanos.
  16. JonHimself macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    I think that when this becomes an issue for me I will have my full resolution (or highest quality copy) in my main library then keep iPhone-compatible copies of (probably only movies) on an external drive. Then like others have suggested, use iSquint if I need TV episodes or something.
    Reason being that movies would take a little longer to convert if I needed them relatively quickly. TV episodes only take like 5-7 minutes or something.
  17. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    The bit rate can be important, however. Notice how :apple:TV supports 5mbps vs. 1.5mbps for the iPhone/iPod.
  18. whistler72 macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2007
    Good question. I've been wondering the same thing...
  19. pedz macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2007
    I created a TV Show called 'iPhone Movies'. I use a program to convert any movie i want to a format friendly version for the iPhone and add it to the iPhone Movies TV Show. I have my iPhone set to sync with the iPhone Movies show so anything i put there makes its way onto the phone.

    I also do not want to sacrifice the tv quality (i have a 60" plasma) for the iphone compatibility. I don't watch that many movies on the phone so i don't mind converting. I may try using the ipod setting in itunes but i hear it is very slow.

    TV Shows seem to be a commonly overloaded function for dealing with unsupported needs. I also have a TV Show for 'Kid's Movies' and 'Home Movies' so I do not clutter my primary movie collection.

  20. cowm007 macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2005
    I found out that the iPhone is able to play videos wider than 640px. The iPhone specs say it is capable of 640x480 video @ 1.5 mbit so I naturally encoded all my files at 640 width and let the height auto adjust. One time I screwed up an widescreen DVD and encoded at 720x400 and it played just fine on the iPhone and on the Apple TV.

    I'm no expert, but I think the 640x480 limit means that there is a 307,200 pixel limit to your videos (that's the product of 640 and 480). So any video that stays under that (720x400 = 288,000) plays just fine.

    I find this to be a perfectly acceptable trade-off between resolution, quality, and size so it's my preferred method.

    So to sum up, my settings are 640x480 for standard size video. 720 width for widescreen video (let the height fit the aspect ratio). Audio I do 128kbps and encode english and spanish tracks if available (then use "Dumpster" to enable one track or the other). Works like a charm.
  21. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you have a LOT of DVD's you've already ripped for ATV, you may just want to cue them all up and let VisualHub convert them all in a row over a couple/few days for your iPhone (so a second copy of each for iPhone.)

    I assume all your movies are together on an external HD, so this way you don't have to take out all your individual DVD's and do them one at a time. A second pass shouldn't make that much of a difference in image quality, since you are downrez'ing quite a bit. To me it's a matter of how much spare time you have for this, and whether you absolutely require 100% optimal rips. IMO you're not going to notice any difference whatsoever on your iPhone screen. And you keep your max high quality rips for your ATV and HDTV, where it makes a difference.

    If you had an iPod Classic, then big hi-res files is not as big of a deal. But I would imagine to maximize your 8GB you would encode at the iPhone's native resolution, along with an appropriate video bitrate (say 500 to 800 kbps depending on how picky you are.) If you have a fast Mac it will chew through that reasonably quickly (faster than real time).
  22. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I noticed the other day that you don't have to add movies to iTunes, before copying them to an iPod/iPhone. What you do is mount your iPod, and then drag movie files directly from Finder onto your iPod in the iTunes window. I might have had to mouse around a bit until I got that green plus sign, but I was able to do it.

    So keep your iPhone encodes in a folder, but don't add them to iTunes so it doesn't clutter your ATV. But you can still 1-step copy to your iPhone (or should be able to.)
  23. dixonbm macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2007
    Does anyone have any new perspectives on this problem?
  24. refulgentis macrumors regular

    May 14, 2006
    Other than it becoming clear that separate conversions are quite clearly necessary now that Apple TV supports 720p content, no. :/
  25. RumMunkey macrumors 6502a


    Nov 3, 2006
    Here's a good thread from Handbrake's forums.

    I use a combination of the settings in post #8 & post # 25 on this page to get perfect videos that play on tv & my iPod touch. They look great on both.

    And, when I feel like it, sometimes I even encode the second audio stream if there's a commentary I might want. tv doesn't support them yet, but iPod (and iTunes) does; and if they ever add that to tv I'll be ready.

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