Recommendations for converting LD for AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Non-Euclidean, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Non-Euclidean macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Houston, TX
    OK, I had an Apple Xmas, got myself an iPad4 then an AppleTV. I ordered a refurb Mini mid-2011 2.5MHz in May, and upgraded it to 8G RAM yesterday. I have been having a great time using, converting, etc.

    I recently converted (Handbrake) a bunch of LD (Low definition stuff), namely some Star Trek: The Animated Series with Handbrake on the AppleTV3 setting. It looks horrible given the quality of the source. I have other 70 or even 80s era stuff which cant stand up to high definition. I am assuming I should use some other preset that wont create such a high quality output file.

    Any recommendations?
  2. Non-Euclidean thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Err, after doing some more research, I see some replies about turning de-interlacing off for cartoons/older tv. And of course, double checking with the preview window...
  3. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    SD (standard definition) not LD (I read that as laser disc in the title)

    I belive handbrake will not upscale, so an SD file (480) will stay 480 even if you select a preset with a higher resolution.

    You could try iphone4 preset wich is 480

    There are also some more advanced settings you can play around with. Look for animation in the following page.
  4. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Agreed, the correct terminology is everything.
  5. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    The AppleTV preset does not use deinterlace, it uses decomb and will only deinterlace frames that show combing. That is not your problem. As well, "upscaling" the source with HB ( which can only be done via the cli) will not do anything but make a bigger file size. Plus, the AppleTV 3 upscales SD anyway to your tv. So that is not your problem.


    Since we have no clue what your source is its pretty hard to tell what the issue is. But its nothing mentioned here provided you are in fact using the AppleTV 3 preset.

    Where did you get the source and what is it ? A pastebinned activity log (via from HB linked here would tell us everything.


    Correct *but* that atv 3 preset allows * up to * 1080p however will go above the sources resolution.
  6. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    Yes, don't try to upscale the file. Just use the aTV3 preset and it will make most of the appropriate decisions for you. The aTV does a very good job "upscaling" 480 content.

    For old TV use Decomb (instead of Deinterlace). If the image looks ragged around the edges, Decomb will do the job.

    Many old video sources also benefit from Detelecine. If the image appears to flicker or stutter oddly, Detelecine may solve the problem.

    It would be helpful if you describe the way in which the converted video "looks horrible". This will help direct us to making suggestions to improve the product. To start, though, you should be using the aTV3 preset, which it doesn't sound like you are using if you have Deinterlace selected. Animated video should look quite excellent if converted properly.
  7. Non-Euclidean, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013

    Non-Euclidean thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Sorry for the belated response and thanks for the replies.

    What I was trying to convert is my Ren and Stimpy DVDs. I ripped them a few years ago to PC with the free version of WinX DVD Ripper. Output was/is AVI.

    Now in particular, I was looking at the handbrake converted output in the Black Hole episode (to Apple3 preset). There are some transitions, and the animation looked horrible. I believe this is more due to the source then the conversion. This was a very early episode.

    I tried reconverting it 3 times, with Universal settings:
    Universal Default
    Universal Decomb Default On
    Universal Deinterlace Default On

    In all cases, the source looked pretty appalling at the part I was checking, this is 2 minutes in after they get pulled through the black hole. No matter the conversion, that scene looked horrible. I then skipped forward to a few other spots, and what I see isnt nearly as bad.

    If I look at the same scene, using the unconverted AVI in VLC, its just as brutal at that 2 minute point.

    So my conclusion is this is a source issue.
    I will try a one pass rip/convert with Mac DVD Ripper pro, and see if I get better results.
    I will also skip to one of the later season episodes, and see how that converts.

    FYI I am not using the CLI with Handbrake, just the GUI/main app, and almost always not touching anything other than the presets. Given some other searches on Handbrake and animation, I read about Decomb/Deinterlace/Detelecine and as described above, made some changes in the Picture Settings to experiment. Otherwise I have been just selecting a preset, adding items to the queue and letting it do its work.

    I have noticed the PC version will go insane with memory after a period of time, so I have been telling it to shut down after each batch.

    So that about covers the animation.

    Now, I also have some older 70s era DVDs. For example, Jerry Anderson's UFO series.
    With older material like that, is it worth the space/size to use the Apple3TV presets?

    I have seen some people arguing in places that the Universal setting is a solid default to use, and it wont produce files as large as the Apple and the quality difference is non-existent with more limited source.

    Thoughts? And again, I'll do some more reading..

    I upgraded my Mac Mini to Mountain Lion and as a result had to get Caffeine to keep Handbrake running unattended.

    Other than that I have been reading the sticky at the top here, regarding automating the process.
  8. Legios macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2012
    I think one of the issues for the less than stellar quality is that you are converting from an AVI which will limit the quality. Basically a copy of a copy. I dont think you will have much success with those files in making them look much better unless you work from the source material.
  9. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Quality at best out of Handbrake cannot exceed the quality going into Handbrake. However the source looks on your TV is about as good as you can get.

    Old TV stuff is going to be interlaced and the resolution is going to be well below HD and DVD. Anything converted from old VHS is going to have resolution well below DVD. In all of these cases, scaling it up to a large HD screen is going to be ugly... the old "garbage in, garbage out" rule.

    In Handbrake, that "High profile" or :apple:TV3 preset is going to try to deliver something that looks as close to the original as possible. If the stuff is interlaced, try the decomb filter as it will try to mitigate some of the comb (horizontal lines that can look like jaggies during playback).

    Then, it's all on the TV in terms of how well it can handle SD quality video. Old CRTs were still interlace so they would tend to handle the oldies pretty well. Some plasmas seem to do a pretty good job. I've found LCD/LED (which includes computer and iDevice screens) has the hardest time with low-res and interlaced video.

    If your old home movies are shot on film, you can send them to services that can scan the film and deliver near HD quality video. Film- even the old home movie kind- can hold a pretty high resolution.

    Any VHS is way below DVD so when you scale it up to an HD screen, you are asking the system to invent a lot of pixels. It's not just pixel doubling but much more than doubling. I think VHS was something like 320 x 240 while "Full HD" HDTVs are 1920 x 1080. That's a lot of pixels to invent in some upscaler.
  10. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    In what way does it look "horrible"? Pixelated, stuttering?

    Have you tried Decomb and Detelecine? That can be required to get a good and smooth image some video sources.
  11. Non-Euclidean, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013

    Non-Euclidean thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Houston, TX
    What I was seeing was intermittent double lines around the characters during a specific scene, as if they were drawn there. They werent fixed, the character was talking and they would go in and out, but were consistent over the course of a specific segment. The lead into that segment was pixellated/blocked in a specific animation, then during the scene for 20 seconds? the lines. The next scene was fine or better, the extra lines werent there. During the episode the amount of grain varied from portion to portion, sometimes heavy, sometimes light.

    I think I did try Decomb and Detelecine.
    Quick spot checks of other episodes on the other discs did not show problems, in fact the video overall was cleaner and clearer. I really am pretty convinced it was source.



    OK. I did rerip everything from disc using Mac Ripper Pro. As suggested earlier.

    I finally decided to double check, given that I was replying here, and would feel stupid not double checking and reporting how it looked after doing that.

    Looking at the same scene, it looks fine. None of the problems I mentioned are there.

    I now must say it had to be the original rip to AVI/the AVI source itself.

    Lesson learned.

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