Best settings for multiple devices

Discuss encoding for devices and presets.
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Z_Everson
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Best settings for multiple devices

Post by Z_Everson »

I just picked up an iPhone and AppleTV and am wondering what the best format is to rip videos that I'll watch through both devices.

Thanks!

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

*sigh* Okay please do a search first. But I am going to say it again here and sticky this so all people will see it and we dont have to keep repeating it.

When encoding for multiple devices, you encode to the lowest common denominator. Period.

So, for example, if you are encoding one encode to play on both the iPhone and the AppleTV, you obviously have to encode for the device with the most limited playback capability, which in this case is the iPhone.

So, you would choose the iPhone preset. Or create your own iPhone compatible settings. Period.

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

I also changed the title of this topic to address any multiple device encode.

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

Just to be clear, the same philosophy applies in the case of the iPod and AppleTV, you would encode for the iPod.

Z_Everson
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Post by Z_Everson »

Let me ask a follow-up then, as I haven't started to rip:

I know results will vary, but how poor will the quality of a video be if it was ripped for an iPhone or iPiod but is being watched via Apple TV?

Thanks!

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

Depends on how close you get to the maximum of the iPods/iPhones capabilities (true in all lowest common denominator cases).

Example: if you use the iPod Lo Rez preset, it will look just great on your iPod/iPhone screen. Now stretch that across a 42" lcd screen with your AppleTV and it will look quite horrible.

However, use the iPod Hi Rez setting and you will be likely surprised at how decent the quality is considering your encode will also work on the iPod.

I know because I do this myself quite a bit for some movies that I use on both devices. Realize however that an AppleTV only encode will look much better on the AppleTV as you can take advantage of the AppleTV's greater decoding capabilites without worrying about iPod compatibility.

Its all about tradeoffs. Ultimately only your own testing with your setup will answer your question satisfactorily.

I would recommend starting with our iPod Hi Rez preset for an iPod. For the iPhone, the only drawback is the iPod Hi Rez preset will start to quickly eat up your storage space. So, you might want to use the iPhone preset for an iPhone as its designed with the iPhones neutered storage capacity in mind.

Again, its all about tradeoffs and whats important to you. If your not sure yet, why not set up some single chapter test encodes using the same chapter and test them on the various devices and see what you like best ?

Have fun testing :)

knifehandchop
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Post by knifehandchop »

I've just been tinkering around with a lot of this sort of thing myself, and I've found that using the iPod Hi-Rez setting as your base is the best start.

What you should be aware of though is that the iPod 5G with video will now play movies with an average bitrate of 2500kbps, so you don't have to limit yourself to Handbrake's iPod setting. You can change the target bitrate from 1500 to 2500 and watch the resulting movies on your iPod, AppleTV and Mac. It's a sod, but at the moment I'm having to re-encode loads of my content for this happy medium, and as mentioned you'll be surprised at the resulting quality.

Further to the iPod Hi-Rez setting though, I have (with success but no technical know-how to back it up, so anyone, please jump in and clarify) been encoding with the iPod Hi-Rez setting, modified to a constant quality of 60% (you may choose more, I think 60-64 is the accepted sweet-spot), but with the advanced options string modified so that the encode doesn't go over 2500kbps. This benefits me because the resulting encodes look good, play on iPod and AppleTV, and don't take up unnecessary disk space that a constant 2500kbps encode would (many coming in with averages of 1000-1600). This is what I did:

Code: Select all

keyint=300:keyint-min=30:bframes=0:cabac=0:ref=1:vbv-maxrate=2500:vbv-bufsize=2000:analyse=all:me=umh:subq=6:no-fast-pskip=1
So I changed the vbv-maxrate from 1500 to 2500. This recent upgrade in the iPods apparent video capabilities is a real boon, though I suspect it is just the new version of iTunes allowing the movies to go across.

As mentioned though, you gotta do your own testing, this is working for me, but it might not for you!

NB Make sure you keep an eye on the size (gotta be under 640 wide) and choose a decent de-interlace![/code]

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

knifehandchop wrote:Further to the iPod Hi-Rez setting though, I have (with success but no technical know-how to back it up, so anyone, please jump in and clarify) been encoding with the iPod Hi-Rez setting, modified to a constant quality of 60% (you may choose more, I think 60-64 is the accepted sweet-spot), but with the advanced options string modified so that the encode doesn't go over 2500kbps. This benefits me because the resulting encodes look good, play on iPod and AppleTV, and don't take up unnecessary disk space that a constant 2500kbps encode would (many coming in with averages of 1000-1600). This is what I did:

Code: Select all

keyint=300:keyint-min=30:bframes=0:cabac=0:ref=1:vbv-maxrate=2500:vbv-bufsize=2000:analyse=all:me=umh:subq=6:no-fast-pskip=1
So I changed the vbv-maxrate from 1500 to 2500.
Using crf encoding, even with those vbv buffer settings, is extremely dangerous. Realize that you have little to no control over the average bitrate, which may go dangerously high depending on your source. The vbv buffering is designed to limit short bitrate spikes, not control your overall bitrate. The iPods video buffer is extremely tight, and going over one bit will cause it to drop frames quickly. Changing the vbv-maxrate to 2500 does not put a max ceiling on the encode of 2500 kbps. It is used in conjunction with the vbv-bufsize to compute a maximum bitrate to match a specific devices video buffer which also involves a specified buffer length. Assuming a crf encode that produces a movie with an average bitrate of 2500 kbps, your vbv buffer settings will allow a local spike of 6500 kbps for 0.50 second(s) with a vbv buffer length of 0.80 second(s). Which I believe is longer than the spec'd iPod buffer length.

In short, it is a risky way to encode for the iPod, so with each source, ymmv.

knifehandchop wrote: NB Make sure you keep an eye on the size (gotta be under 640 wide) and choose a decent de-interlace!
Only use deinterlace on interlaced sources.

knifehandchop
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Post by knifehandchop »

Thanks for the heads up, I knew this way was too good to be true. I reckon I'll just stick it on at 2000kbps and have done with it. I tell you though, you could spend a lifetime tinkering with this lot and not be satisfied. I think I'm just gonna have to do it and forget about it, and resign myself to just buying bigger disks.

Cheers!

Bobbbo
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Post by Bobbbo »

dynaflash wrote:*sigh* Okay please do a search first. But I am going to say it again here and sticky this so all people will see it and we dont have to keep repeating it.

When encoding for multiple devices, you encode to the lowest common denominator. Period.

So, for example, if you are encoding one encode to play on both the iPhone and the AppleTV, you obviously have to encode for the device with the most limited playback capability, which in this case is the iPhone.

So, you would choose the iPhone preset. Or create your own iPhone compatible settings. Period.
I do not agree. It should be the highest common denominator if you want to preserve the highest quality video. For example, my iPod touch plays at a screen of 480x320, but I would like to watch the video on a TV set through composite cables from my iPod when I am traveling. The iPod preset of iPod high-res (640x480) can be recorded on to my iPod though it takes more memory, the video quality when played on a Apple TV or through the iPod to a TV is far superior. The lowest common denominator will insure that you video quality is the poorest on the largest screen you plan to view the video.

So what you need to do is look at is the specifications for the 2 or more devices for the highest quality, highest resolution video that each device can play back in common and use that setting to convert your DVDs. In the case of the new iPods and Apple TV that would be 640x480 or the preset of iPod High-res. As stated earlier it will take a larger amount of memory from your iPod than needed, if you don't you will probably not be happy with the Apple TV viewing.

Personally, I would rip the DVD twice at the best quality of each device without excessive memory needed on each device. Though it will take a lot more time and will take more memory on your computer, but Hard Drive memory so so cheap. Why compromise your viewing experience on any device.

rhester
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Post by rhester »

I believe you both just said the same thing. The LCD suggestion was about compatibility with the least-capable device, but surely not advocating its minimum capabilities but the maximum.

Rodney

Bobbbo
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Post by Bobbbo »

The lowest common denominator is not the same as the highest. If I use the lowest common denominator for an iPod and Apple TV that would be 480x320, which would result in a poorer picture on the Apple TV. The highest common denominator would be 640x480. It would look the same on the iPod but better on the Apple TV.

Bobbbo
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Post by Bobbbo »

Actually rather than calling a common denominator, you should look at the display resolution of the best device. Then rip your DVD to that screen resolution as long as the lower quality display device can play that higher format.

hawkman
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Post by hawkman »

Bobbbo wrote:The lowest common denominator is not the same as the highest. If I use the lowest common denominator for an iPod and Apple TV that would be 480x320, which would result in a poorer picture on the Apple TV. The highest common denominator would be 640x480. It would look the same on the iPod but better on the Apple TV.
Actually, the lowest common denominator would be the lowest resolution, lowest bitrate mpeg4 video, with the lowest bitrate and sample rate aac audio that HandBrake can output.

Or, we can stop being pedantic and agree that semantics aside, the same thing is being recommended by everyone here. [edit: and that is, encode for the iPod!]
Last edited by hawkman on Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

This is, without a doubt, the stranges thread I have ever read.

So that we do not confuse everyone that reads this.

By lowest common denominator, I mean the device with the lowest maximum specs. As logically, if you encode above that, your encodes will become useless on that device. Whew, things really got convoluted. It is a very simple concept.

Bobbbo
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Post by Bobbbo »

I think anyone reading this thread will get the correct answer. The problem was is using the term "lowest common denominator" that got people in the wrong direction. Everyone should be on board now.

DocTauri
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Post by DocTauri »

I have about 200 dvd's that I ripped through HandBrake with the settings for my AppleTV. I just bought an iPod touch, but don't look forward to that whole ripping process again. ? It doesn't appear that HandBrake will open an mp4, so can someone tell me the best way (speed and quality) for converting these to an iPhone preset mp4?

Thanks,
Doc

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

Tbh, I would start a second round of encoding with HB. Any other process may take just as much time.

Bobbbo
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Post by Bobbbo »

DocTauri wrote:I have about 200 dvd's that I ripped through HandBrake with the settings for my AppleTV. I just bought an iPod touch, but don't look forward to that whole ripping process again. ? It doesn't appear that HandBrake will open an mp4, so can someone tell me the best way (speed and quality) for converting these to an iPhone preset mp4?

Thanks,
Doc
I might be wrong but I think these videos you have already ripped may play on your iPod touch. Test it before you start all over, they will just take up more memory space than necessary. The AppleTV file output is over the 640 x 480 limit but the Anamorphic is slightly under at 636 x 480.

dynaflash
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Post by dynaflash »

Bobbbo wrote:
DocTauri wrote:I have about 200 dvd's that I ripped through HandBrake with the settings for my AppleTV. I just bought an iPod touch, but don't look forward to that whole ripping process again. ? It doesn't appear that HandBrake will open an mp4, so can someone tell me the best way (speed and quality) for converting these to an iPhone preset mp4?

Thanks,
Doc
I might be wrong but I think these videos you have already ripped may play on your iPod touch. Test it before you start all over, they will just take up more memory space than necessary. The AppleTV file output is over the 640 x 480 limit but the Anamorphic is slightly under at 636 x 480.
Yep, not only will anamorphic make it incompatible, so will x264 main profile. Your ATV preset encodes will *not* work on your ipod touch.

tubby_bartles
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Back to first question

Post by tubby_bartles »

So I have the same issue - an iPhone and an AppleTV.

Up until the latest version of Handbrake, I just records 1200 bitrate MP4 using ffmpegx. It worked great on both devices, looked good on both, everything was happy.

With this release of Handbrake, the defaults have changed. Even switching to ffmpegx instead of H.264 doesn't fix it - it works on *neither* AppleTV nor iPhone now. Instead, I have to select the presets for AppleTV or iPhone. Now AppleTV doesn't run on iPhone, and iPhone looks bad on AppleTV.

What settings should I use that look great on both? I know it's possible, because that's what the old version of Handbrake did - how do I get those settings that were on Handbrake 0.90 instead of the 0.91 ones?

jbrjake
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Re: Back to first question

Post by jbrjake »

tubby_bartles wrote:Up until the latest version of Handbrake, I just records 1200 bitrate MP4 using ffmpegx. It worked great on both devices, looked good on both, everything was happy.
So...if you were happy using ffmpegx, go back to using that. No one's holding a gun to your head, forcing you to use HandBrake for video encoding.
With this release of Handbrake, the defaults have changed. Even switching to ffmpegx instead of H.264 doesn't fix it
There is no way that downloading a new copy of HandBrake would make ffmpegx stop working. HandBrake does not interfere with other applications.
What settings should I use that look great on both?
By using the iPod High-Rez preset, as has been suggested several times in this thread?
how do I get those settings that were on Handbrake 0.90 instead of the 0.91 ones?
By using the Classic preset. As is explained in the tooltips and the documentation.

tubby_bartles
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iPhone & AppleTV

Post by tubby_bartles »

Hm, I think I was misunderstood. This is a very snide thread for some reason.

1. I have always been using Handbrake. The encoder setting within Handbrake was ffmpeg rather than H.264.

2. I did use the handbrake classic, and it does work (thank you). However, my real question is why Handbrake classic mode appears to work at great resolution on both AppleTV and iPhone, but the H.264 must be set to only one device or another.

Ideally - is there a way to set the H.264 encoder settings such that I have a high quality video that will play on AppleTV *and* work on iPhone like I used to be able to do with ffmpeg as the encoder?

jbrjake
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Re: iPhone & AppleTV

Post by jbrjake »

tubby_bartles wrote:Hm, I think I was misunderstood.
Misunderstood? Try "misspoke." You said you were using ffmpegx when you weren't.
Ideally - is there a way to set the H.264 encoder settings such that I have a high quality video that will play on AppleTV *and* work on iPhone like I used to be able to do with ffmpeg as the encoder?
I can't help you if you won't read the answers you're given. I already told you in the post right above, and it had also already been asked and answered earlier in the thread. Use iPod High-Rez.

tubby_bartles
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Post by tubby_bartles »

I'm not trying to argue. The answers are helpful. However, let me try one more time on the question. I did read all of the previous postings, and it doesn't quite answer this.

The iPhone or iPod Hi-Rez options both change the resolution to below the original. When I get a DVD, it was 720x480, but those change the resolution to 640x272 (actually even less for the iPhone). This is much worse on the AppleTV.

Under "classic" mode, it leaves the resolution at 720x480, but still works on both AppleTV and iPhone.

Even if I use "classic" mode but just change the encoder to H.264, suddenly it no longer works on the iPhone. Something about the H.264 encoder no longer allows the iPhone to work with the full original image.

Yes, I know the easy answer is "just use classic mode and it will work great on both devices", but I understand the H.264 encoder is higher quality, so I'd like to see if there is a way to use that and still have it work on both devices. I was hoping somebody here had some experience with it.

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