What Handrake settings should I use for HD files so they can play on AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ArrMikey, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. ArrMikey macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2011
    I have BluRay movies as .AVI or .MKV files, but when I rip them to .M4V with handbrake (the normal settings I use for DVD rip) they don't always play on my apple tv. What handbrake settings should I use for HD files?

    Please help, this is driving me nuts, I have all these HD movies but I can't play them on AppleTV
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Did you try the Apple TV or Apple TV 2 presets yet?

    Btw, the term "ripping" refers to copying content from a medium while removing or circumventing copy protection schemes.
    What you do is called "transcoding" or "converting", as you transcode from one format and codec to another format and codec, but you don't circumvent any copy protection schemes. That was done before the movies were shared via torrent sites.
  3. ArrMikey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2011
    I did (Apple TV) and it doesn't always work.

    Yeah, I mean converting not ripping.

    Any suggestions? What settings are best for converting HD movies to play on AppleTV
  4. TheStork macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2008
    Handbrake doesn't rip protected DVDs as it doesn't bypass/decrypt the encryption on today's commercial DVDs. Once you get the DVD properly ripped, Handbrake works great. Try MakeMKV or one of the other rippers with Blu-ray decrypting.
  5. millar876 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2004
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    Handbrake dose rip Comercial DVDs. But to get it to do this, all you need to do is have vlc installed on your mac. And as for the definition of ripping, I'm not so sure. The term rip, with reference to computers and digital media wasin use before DVDs and I first remember it's use in a 1998-99 iMac advert entitled "rip-mix-burn" and as far as I'm aware CDs don't have any copy protection to circumvent, or I'm prety sure the legal people would have made apple and everyone else take out the rip feature from every major music Pp out there
  6. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    That is strange that after encoding with a preset that worked for DVDs fails to work for HD. Are you using non-standard options like variable bit-rate or something? I'd imagine that while ATV2 can downsample from 1080 to 720, there'd still be a bit-rate limitation. Do you non-ATV2 compatible files play with QT? How about VLC?
  7. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    I'm fairly sure the term "rip" has come to mean the process of creating a DRM free file from a hard media source (i.e. a CD, DVD, BR disc). The OP probably intended to say encode or convert but this also entails ripping the source first, so everybody is right I guess. Hurrah.
  8. newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    Ripping doesn't necessarily mean or involve breaking copy protection. For example, if you make your own DVD from home videos without copy protection, the process of placing it on your computer in a digital file format that can be accessed without needing the disc is called ripping. However, in the process of ripping a copy protected disc, the copy protection must first be removed. Breaking the copy protection is know as decrypting. Handbrake certainly rips and it lets VLC do the decrypting during it's ripping process.
  9. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    If you are using HB's ATV1 preset to transcode a high-def movie, it will downgrade it significantly. So, when setting up a BLu Ray rip to transcode, click the ATV preset but, before starting the process, open the picture settings (command-shift-p), change the anamorphic option to "Custom" and change the picture width / height to 1280 / 720.

    This will result in a file with the maximum vertical resolution for ATV of 720p, and a variable picture width of at least 1280. I do this all the time and they look great on a big screen.

    Occasionally, the coded file will have a bit rate too high for ATV. You won't know this until you've finished processing the file, copied it to iTunes and tried to sync it. If it's in iTunes by won't sync, the bit rate is too high for your ATV. There's no option here but to run the source file through HB again, making the above tweaks, but sliding the "RF" setting a click or two to the left. This will lower the bit rate, and (hopefully) make it work for ATV. If not, do it again but move the RF slide further.

    One last point: make sure you have the latest version of HB (0.9.5) as this includes the ability to make a 5.1 channel AC3 track from a DTS track - which is set up automatically under the ATV preset.
  10. mipilgri macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2011
    best settings (imho)

    Here is a list with optimal settinge (imho). It works fine, same HD-movie on AppleTV2, Ipad, and IPhone 3 and 4. Made from BD and MKV, or only DVD. Don´t forget MacTheRipper before then, but Handbrake may work fine directly with an inserted DVD, but slow.

    I have just only very good experience with the settings below:

    Output Settings
    * Format: MP4 File
    * Large file size: Uncheck (maintains device compatibility)
    * Web optimized: Uncheck (unnecessary)
    * iPod 5G support: Uncheck (we donʼt need to support this for iPad encodes)

    Video Tab
    * Video Codec: H.264 (x264)
    * Framerate: Same as source
    * 2-Pass encoding: Check (leave unchecked if you donʼt mind a very slight quality degradation – see below)
    * Turbo first pass: Check if 2-Pass is checked (the quality difference is unnoticeable)
    * Quality: Average bitrate (kbps) – set to a value between 768 and 1500, depending on quality desired and source (see below)

    Audio Tab
    First Track:
    * Audio Codec: AAC (CoreAudio)
    * Mixdown: Stereo
    * Samplerate: Auto
    * Bitrate: 128 - 192 Kbps

    Second Track: (if there in source)
    * Audio Codec: AC3 Passthru
    * Mixdown: AC3 Passthru
    * Samplerate: auto
    * Bitrate: 448 Kbps
    (2 more tracks available, if needed)

    Subtitles Tab No changes unless you specifically want them and have previously created the SRT from the DVD

    Advanced Tab
    * Reference Frames: 2
    * Mixed references: Check
    * B-Frames: 0
    * Motion Estimation Method: Uneven Multi-Hexagon
    * Subpixel Motion Estimation: 6
    * Motion Estimation Range: 16, 32 or 64 (higher the better, although the difference isnʼt that noticeable)
    * Analysis: Default
    * 8×8 DCT: Uncheck (this is a High Profile feature, so it is not supported)
    * CABAC: Uncheck (offers better compression, and in the Main Profile, but not supported by Apple products)
    * Psychovisual Rate Distortion: Maximum (ensures x264 retains as much detail visible to the human eye as possible)
    * No Fast-P-Skip: Uncheck
    * No DCT-Decimate: Uncheck
    * Deblocking: Default

    Chapters Tab No changes unless you want to.

    One small hint:
    save this customized settings to the Presets, so You have all Your customized settings saved and further versions of handbrake will keep it. For DVD / 720p / 1080p.

    One word about the average Bitrate:
    DVD- that quality you can keep with 1600-1800 kbps
    720p- you will need more than 1900 kbps (best 2100)
    1080p- more then 2000 kbps (Good is 2200 and upwards)

    The filesizes ! IMPORTANT:
    (Make a speedcheck of Your homenetwork before)

    90 min dvd quality with 1700 video and audiotrack stereo 128 and audiotrack AC3 448 = ca. 1,8 - 2,2 GB
    90 min 720p with the same 2 audiotracks 2 = ca. 2.0-2.6 GB
    90 min 1080p with 2 audios = 2,2 - 2.8 GB

    The bitrate of the video and additional the bitrate of the selected audio has to fit your homenetwork ( WLAN b or n, Lan (100 or 1000)
    Don´s forget the source: is Your ITunes -Library on harddisk, fast Firewire/USB or on a slow NAS.

    It makes no sense, to have a 1080p-file with 1 or 2 audiotracks and You try to stream it with a WLAN b for example, from a NAS behind the router.

    Mike Pilgrim
    (now i have the experience of 770 movies, hopefully, i´ll cross the 1200 in march 2011)
  11. sampdoria, Jan 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011

    sampdoria macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    Use MKVTools instead of Handbrake

    My favorite weapon to convert MKV to M4V (which is better than MP4) with (or without) transcoding, in order to watch on ATV2 is: MKVTools. It smartly warns you when something in the original is not going to work by highlighting in red text. You don't always need to transcode the video stream of an MKV file, if it already contains 720p video (use Quicktime with Perian to inspect beforehand). Thus, just repackage it to a format that is compatible with ATV2, such as M4V or MP4, and save loads of time in the process. Here are my simple steps using MKVTools:

    1. Open MKV source file in MVKTools.
    2. Go to the MP4 tab.
    3. Select AppleTV device.
    4a. Select Pass Thru for Video when the source is already 1280x720 or smaller. No transcoding here, thus pretty quick turnaround time.
    4b. Select H264 2-Pass and set the Resolution width to 1280 when the source is larger than 1280x720. This is transcoding the source file, which will take a long time.
    5a. Select Pass Thru for Audio when the source is AC3 (5.1).
    5b. Select AC3 (5.1) when the source is a 5.1 channel configuration (DTS, PCM, AAC). I've read that ATV2 will pass thru the AC3 audio and let the audio receiver decode AC3, which most current receivers can do (I don't have one yet). AAC will also work for ATV2, in fact I was doing a lot AAC before I read that ATV2 downmixes AAC 5.1 to stereo (this needs to be confirmed). I am still learning about AC3 vs AAC.
    6. Click convert.

    Re: Subtitles and Chapters. I haven't been able to mux in subtitles or chapters successfully. Sometimes they show up on my MBP but not ATV2. Or not show up at all entirely. (Update: I've gotten better results for subtitles now using Subler.)

    I then use Subler, to add metadata, artwork, and the HD flag.

    Again, I use Quicktime with Perian to inspect (Cmd-I) the MKV source file which tells me what the video and audio formats are beforehand.

    MKVTools replaces Handbrake in my view for converting (with or without transcoding the video stream) MKV to M4V. I don't think HB does pass-thru video. I've had 100% success with this approach so far.
  12. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    These settings are, I think most HB users would agree, seriously out of date. The current builds of HB are optimised for constant quality encoding rather than average or constant bitrate encoding - the advantage being that a higher bitrate can be used for complex scenes and a lower one for simple scenes, thus preserving quality and reducing file size. For CQ encoding there is no need to do 2 passes, which makes things substantially quicker as well.

    Personally I would start with the HB preset that matches your destination device and, unless you really know what you're doing, not alter anything apart from maybe the picture size if you're using the ATV1 preset for HD sources (see Caveman's "Blu-ray to Apple TV" thread in this forum for details). The HB devs have spent a long time optimising the presets and know much more about the advanced x264 settings than most people: for example, some of the advanced settings you say Apple devices don't support are in fact supported (like cabac, which the ATV2 and other current iOS devices support since they support h.264 High Profile) and are enabled in the current HB presets.

    Currently, neither ATV will play 1080p encodes reliably (without frame drops etc.) AFAIK.
  13. peterjcat macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2010
    I agree that MKVTools is the best tool if you don't have to transcode the video. However, as soon as you need to transcode video Handbrake wins again (eg it can handle MKV subtitles and chapters just fine, plus the video encoding is better, faster or both).

    And M4V isn't better than MP4, it's exactly the same. You can just rename an MP4 to M4V if you want iTunes to recognise eg Dolby Digital tracks in there.
  14. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    To mux subtitles (when not transcoding in Handbrake), just open the file in Subler, click the "+" button above the track listing, find and select your subtitle track, save and it's done. It couldn't be simpler and takes mere seconds.

    For Chapters, I use Meta X. It will pull chapter listings from TagChimp, so you just have to make sure that you have the check mark checked on the Chapters window before saving your tags. Meta X allows you to create your own chapters too, so even if your source does not have the chapter tags, you can create and name chapters as you need.
  15. sampdoria macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    Thx peterjcat. That is why M4V is better or preferable over MP4 (excuse my semantics). There's a thread I read somewhere in this forum about choosing M4V over MP4.

    I'll give Subler a try for subtitles and Meta X for chapters. Thx!

Share This Page