Questions about ripping DVDs for Apple TV

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

  1. Steven Jackson macrumors 6502

    Dec 8, 2006
    Lincoln, U.K.

    I don't have an Apple TV yet, but will be buying one soon. I'm trying to get some videos into iTunes ready for that happy day.

    As information is a bit thin on the ground, I thought I'd start with all my 4:3 TV show DVD's. Most of these are pretty old (Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, etc) and the video quality isn't too hot anyway. Lots of them are mono, so I'm happy with the options provided by MediaFork at the moment...

    I'm ripping them in a format compatible with the 5.5G iPod, and the resolution is coming out at 624x480. They look just about identical to the DVD on my 20" iMac and they sync to to iPod without problems.

    However, I'm not going to be happy with this sort of quality when it comes to my film DVDs. So a couple of questions:

    1) I know Apple TV only supports stereo sound at the moment. However, if I use handbrake to rip 5.1 sound, will this file still work on the Apple TV (in stereo, of course)? Is this a way to future-proof my rips.

    2) The tech specs on Apple's web-site lists a couple of different resolutions for H264 video. Are these "up to" resolutions, or are there only two options? In other words, can I rip DVDs in their native resolution (whatever that may be) or am I forced to reformat to one of the available Apple TV resolutions?

    Any help much appreciated.

  2. mattscott306 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2007
    My suggestion would be hand-brake, but I'm not sure this thread will stay open; as you can't really prove you own the DVD's.
  3. Chiggs macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2007
    I'm currently converting many of my DVD's to to media files to play through my Apple TV. I'm using Mediafork which is the current version of Handbrake.

    My preferred settings are an average bitrate of 3500 and a framerate same as source. I'm encoding using the standard Mpeg-4 video. Many other use the H.264 codec but I find that codec takes much longer to encode on my machine and I can't tell any difference between the quality of the two. The H.264 file will be smaller but I'm not too concerned with the size of my media files. I use 48 Hz and 192 kbps for the audio settings.

    These settings work very well for movies but I have had limited success with TV shows on DVD. Some work very well with these settings while others work better when maintaining these settings and adding the the deinterlace setting.

    Hope this helps...
  4. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Handbrake Tutorial On How Best To Rip For AppleTV & Video iPod Compatability

    I use Handbrake and do not like MediaFork which is now merged with Handbrake's author. I wrote a tutorial in my post #345 of the Ripping DVDs to 5G iPod thread that also applies to AppleTV if you want to keep your file sizes down and still also be compatible with a Video iPod. I use the Max Dimensions/Min bit rate after which if you raise the bit rate you will not be able to see/hear the difference.

    SD Max is 800kbps
    HD Max is 1000kbps

    I think using a bit rate like 3500kbps not only makes the file incompatible with Video iPods (that's a fact — not what I think, 2500kbps is the maximum Video iPod compatible bit rate) and will not look any better than the Video iPod compatible 1000kbps version (my perception). Many more details in my Tutorial.
  5. n-abounds macrumors 6502a


    Mar 6, 2006
    I'd say use Handbrake/Mediafork's Constant Quality setting @ about 64%.
  6. Steven Jackson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 8, 2006
    Lincoln, U.K.

    I think the original question has got a bit lost here. What I really wanted to know about was the resolution. Can I rip the DVDs in their native resolution and still have them play on the Apple TV (remember, these are 4:3 PAL or NTSC TV show episodes; so no widescreen or anamorphic) or do I have to encode them at an artifical resolution of less than 640 x 480 (as for video iPod? I don't care about them being compatible with iPod, but I do want them to look as good as possible on Apple TV.

  7. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    The :apple:tv should work fine with DVDs ripped at the native resolution.

    As for bitrate, I don't know what Multimedia's smoking but I can see a marked difference in banding and detail between a video at 768kbps and one at 1.5mbps.

    I use ~1250kbps for ripping DVDs.
  8. RustyM macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2004
    The best DVD to AppleTV tutorial I've found is at Using this method you'll get the highest quality results.

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