Roxio Crunch: Taking on HandBrake + VisualHub?

General questions or discussion about HandBrake, Video and/or audio transcoding, trends etc.
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Mucx
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Roxio Crunch: Taking on HandBrake + VisualHub?

Post by Mucx »

Have you guys seen the news that Roxio is setting themselves up and ready to release a specially targeted video conversion application?

Granted it will set you back a small amount of change but as a first draft of a software release it is interesting and seems to jump right in where you guys and VisualHub are making ground.

Several websites are comparing it to this project and letting their minds wander: http://www.tuaw.com/2007/05/04/roxio-to ... rsion-app/

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07 ... phone.html

I dont think it will compare to what HandBrake does for you but it should be an interesting app all the same.

Mucx

jbrjake
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Post by jbrjake »

I'd imagine this is more of a concern for VH. Not like we'll be losing any revenue ;P

mrtaber
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Post by mrtaber »

Myself, I am very happy with HB. However, I would be interested in seeing the settings for the iPhone. ::idea::

Mark

Mucx
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Post by Mucx »

True...but I think you might be interested in seeing how it uses presets and the general way they have constructed the way you ready your files for exporting.

It seems you start at a preset page...then if you want you can go deeper, make your own preset, select individual chapters etc you can. So simple interface at first glance and keeps all the crazy tweaks in the background should you need it.

This is how HB should be doing it in the future...simple initial panel, presets only and if you want to 'go deeper' with advanced tweaking or creating a new preset you can. Also notice how people (reading comments) like or really wish they had a better way of visualising or seeing the chapters/titles they are selecting in the HB interface).

Crunch should be worth a look...that in itself should be the only worrying aspect for this project.

mrtaber
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Post by mrtaber »

Agreed. Let's hope they have a trial download :lol:

Mark

baggss
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Post by baggss »

You don't seem to understand the idea behind open source and I don't see how this would be worrying to the HB project. This program exists simply because the dev team feels like doing it. An app that costs $50 and an app that is free are worlds apart. If people are so worried about the HB UI, they can find another app that they find easier (read dumbed down) to use.

If you like how Roxio has laid out the new user interface, feel free to fork over $50 and use it. In the end HB loses nothing and you lose $50.
Last edited by baggss on Fri May 04, 2007 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jbrjake
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Post by jbrjake »

Roxio's interface is disgusting, whether they slap "Toast" on it, "Popcorn," or "Crunch."

I'd certainly hope that a clunky, [Censored] child of broken HIG and obfuscated functionality like that would not be the model for an HB re-design.

Trying to do anything beyond default behavior with a Roxio app is a constant struggle.

mrtaber
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Post by mrtaber »

OK, back, stopping and thinking about things (between bites at a late lunch at work)... Myself, I actually find HandBrake's interface just fine. The only reason I'm interested in seeing Crunch is to glean the settings for the iPhone.

Right now, my main dilemma is not what program to use (HB it is, no question--chapters and subtitles for those Bergman films!). It's "do I encode for multiple devices, giving up some quality, or do I encode for the best quality possible, for the AppleTV." But that's another thread in another forum here :)

Thanks for all your work on HB.

Mark

baggss
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Post by baggss »

I suspect that iPhone compatibility will be added to HB once someone on the dev team has one...

loyalty_anchored
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Post by loyalty_anchored »

meh, crunch this crunch that... i seriously doubt that it will give you any of the flexibility that handbrake gives...

i am definitely not holding my breath on it, it is of interest to check out to waste some time, but ultimately, HB is king, and will continue to get better and better with time.

thats my 2 cents.

:D

deckeda
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Post by deckeda »

Crunch = elgato = Quicktime encoding, not FFmpeg nor anything original. Anyone still interested in H.264 instead of x.264?

Now, what would be smart, is if Roxio returned a favor to elgato and let them include an "export to EyeTV" choice --- it would create the .eyetv package file etc. and in effect take care of EyeTV's glaring omission: an Import function.

realityking
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Post by realityking »

Anyone still interested in H.264 instead of x.264?
h264 is the standard that x264 implements nothing else.

Mucx
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Post by Mucx »

I mentioned the interface because it is always good to see how professional companies go about it. They have taken a route that was talked about on these forums in the past. (albeit the actual look is nasty...but the process of getting from point A to point B is of note)

Wow, come on man...read my post again and you'll see I agree that HB is the way to go, it's free, it's OpenSource and I DO GET IT. Don't let your vanity and bias cause you to feel so wildly defensive...like I said it looks to be an interesting app but to quote myself "I dont think it will compare to what HandBrake does for you".

baggss
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Post by baggss »

Mucx wrote:Wow, come on man...read my post again and you'll see I agree that HB is the way to go, it's free, it's OpenSource and I DO GET IT. Don't let your vanity and bias cause you to feel so wildly defensive...like I said it looks to be an interesting app but to quote myself "I dont think it will compare to what HandBrake does for you".
I have no "vanity or bias" here. I'm not a dev, just a forum mod.

What I DO know is that it's people like you who are starting to wear on and frustrate many members of the dev team to the point that some of them are beginning to wonder if this project is worth all of their effort. At some point they may simply give up and then "Crunch" may be the only option for all of us.

deckeda
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Post by deckeda »

realityking wrote:
Anyone still interested in H.264 instead of x.264?
h264 is the standard that x264 implements nothing else.
Perhaps my point was too subtle. HB and VH use open-source tools, referred to as x.264, to make H.264-compliant files. Apple (and elgato) use Quicktime to make H.264-compliant files. The former is generally faster and perhaps better-performing than the latter.

And so when Crunch comes out, invariably it will be compared in speed and picture quality to HB and VH --- and for some people (mostly here and on the VH forum) it won't compete because of its reliance on Quicktime to get the job done.

For small developers, I understand it doesn't make sense to re-invent the wheel and therefore to use Quicktime or open source libraries for the grunt work. What I don't understand, is why is seems you need to be as big as Apple to write your own H.264 implementation.

I realize Roxio or elgato aren't huge companies --- but geez, this sort of thing is raison d’être. I guess I just expect an alternative to Quicktime that isn't necessarily open source, for a "largish" commercial release. And when people start "complaining" how slow Crunch no doubt is, maybe they will too.

Mucx
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Post by Mucx »

baggss wrote:
Mucx wrote:Wow, come on man...read my post again and you'll see I agree that HB is the way to go, it's free, it's OpenSource and I DO GET IT. Don't let your vanity and bias cause you to feel so wildly defensive...like I said it looks to be an interesting app but to quote myself "I dont think it will compare to what HandBrake does for you".
I have no "vanity or bias" here. I'm not a dev, just a forum mod.

What I DO know is that it's people like you who are starting to wear on and frustrate many members of the dev team to the point that some of them are beginning to wonder if this project is worth all of their effort. At some point they may simply give up and then "Crunch" may be the only option for all of us.
Sorry I dont get how pointing out a similar application is causing that sort of frustration? What exactly is there here that is 'doing anyone wrong'?

Here is an app, it brings some new ideas to the table, even uses some ideas discussed on the forum (which in itself is something to note) but probably wont compare.

Is that enough to cause someone to chuck it all in?

jbrjake
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Post by jbrjake »

I think what's frustrating is that you're telling us we should be looking to Crunch for ideas and inspiration.

There's a great in-depth review of the product up today on AppleInsider:

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07 ... tml&page=1

Despite what you say, in my opinion, this is absolutely *not* "how HB should be doing it in the future" nor is it "worth a look" nor am I the least bit excited about "how it uses presets and the general way they have constructed the way you ready your files."

Here are the highlights of the review, as far as I'm concerned:

* Just a shoddy rebranding to make a quick buck off clueless Apple users:

"Why is the control even there? A decorative holdover from Toast for nostalgia?

"If a user attempts to convert a standard DVD movie, they are presented with a warning that states "The disc you have inserted is CSS encrypted and cannot be copied by Popcorn. [....] It's also confusing for Crunch to refer to itself as Popcorn, and indicates that Crunch is simply a subset version of Popcorn with a couple of new presets which Roxio hopes to sell for $50."

"The iPod screen is 320x240, but the fact that the iPhone is advertised as having a 320x480 display indicates that Crunch currently offers no custom support for the iPhone, despite listing iPhone support as a reason to buy the product."

* No thought behind its user interface:

"Rather than reusing the Toast interface window designed for CD burning, where it is important to know whether selected files will fit on a CD-R before burning, Roxio should have rethought the overall interface to suit the needs of a video converter."

"The "High" quality setting is oddly enough identical to Automatic. Why is it even there?"

"And no, changing the target size using the popup menu control show above did not adjust the Automatic settings to target that resulting size; it had no effect at all."

"This interface is still somewhat confusing"

"The interface is so simple that it isn't clear. "

"The Apple TV conversion presets in Crunch default to "Automatic," with "High," "Fastest," and "Custom" as alternative options. Because Crunch does not specify how these settings will affect the output apart from its estimated file size, it is a matter of experimental trial and error to determine if it's worth it to use different settings."

"Crunch only presents the barest details with no guidance, relying solely on offering a simplistic interface instead. "

"Essentially, Crunch offers a spartan, one click interface to QuickTime."

* Overpriced:

"However, if users have to obtain a free tool like HandBrake to rip their DVDs, why not use HandBrake itself to finish the conversion? That's another problem Crunch faces: everything it does for DVDs can be done for free using other tools."

"[...] does not seem to be worth Roxio's $50 price tag. "

"Unless users are addicted to the Toast interface, it would in many cases make more sense to simply buy the $30 QuickTime Pro upgrade from Apple in order to convert QuickTime file types with a degree of customizability, and use the free HandBrake for converting DVDs. Roxio should either reconsider the price it is asking for this utility, or include some expert support within Crunch to help guide users to customize their conversions.

Unable to match the features of the free HandBrake, with an interface only slightly simpler than QuickTime Pro but offering with less consistent results, Crunch doesn't seem to be worth its $50 price."

* Outmatched:

"Because the output MPEG-4 H.264 conversions Crunch performs are actually done using QuickTime, it can't provide any boost in quality or speed over using iTunes or QuickTime Pro itself to convert files for the Apple TV. Alternative applications, including HandBrake and other open source utilities, do bypass QuickTime to use different video processing libraries that may offer either higher quality settings, faster encoding, or at least more control over how the conversion will be done. When converting for Apple TV, HandBrake uses the open source x264 or FFmpeg libraries rather than QuickTime, for example."

"Using HandBrake, it is actually more difficult and time consuming to strip the encryption off a DVD and then use Crunch to convert it that it would be to simply do the entire job within HandBrake itself in one step. The latest version of HandBrake offers presets for Apple TV and the iPod, in addition to the Sony Playstation Portable. While HandBrake has a more intimidating "expert" interface with more exposed controls for a wide variety of setting options, users who just want one button simplicity can simply select on one of the presets and click start and ignore all the other options."

"Power users have many more options for fine tuning their DVD conversions in HandBrake, depending on whether they want the highest possible quality, the smallest possible file size, or are only interested in how long the conversion will take. Crunch does offer a variety of custom settings in a simpler interface than HandBrake, but presents the user with far less control over the conversion process. This might actually appeal to users who want some ability to play with the settings, without being overwhelmed with lots of technical options."

"However, users who want to convert a number of DVDs for use with Apple TV are likely to be disappointed by the features in Crunch, because free rivals such as Handbreak not only do the entire job for free, but offer a variety of features and options that Crunch does not support. For example, Crunch only offers to convert DVD audio to plain, two channel stereo sound. A recent update of HandBrake now allows users to convert the Dolby Digital Surround on most DVDs to Dolby Pro Logic II stereo surround, which is supported on the Apple TV. HandBrake also offers a variety of options for selecting multiple alternative language soundtracks and for creating QuickTime chapter markers in the resulting movie file; Crunch does none of these things."

* Buggy:

"Even worse, Crunch's conversions do not necessarily work properly."

* Conclusion:

"While HandBreak is more complex and is still offered as beta software, it is also completely free and seems to work well in practice. It is also simply much faster to rip and convert in one step compared to a two step rip and convert using multiple applications, as would be required to use Crunch. This makes it hard to recommend Crunch for use in converting DVD movies."

mrtaber
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Post by mrtaber »

Thanks for the link. Crunch definitely looks like a non-starter to me. In fact, it seems just a bit deceptive; an "iPhone" preset would imply some advance knowledge. Obviously, they have none. I should have known better. Bah!

And, for what it's worth, I *like* HB's interface. Things are grouped logically, clearly marked--what's not to like?

Thanks,
Mark

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