Codec for best quality and compatability? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-11, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Codec for best quality and compatability?

Hi all:
I'm new, so not sure what forum this would best fit:
  • I want to archive all my DVDs to hard disk.
  • I also want to compress the collection but still want to have excellent quality: I need to find a good compromise leaning towards high quality.
    • From what I've read to date compressing a 4.7GB DVD to 1 to 1.5 GB should do the trick. Agreed?
    • What actual size limit would you suggest?
    • What codec would you recommend?
  • Is there a codec/format that I could burn to a DVD or CD and that I could find a DVD player that would support? I Haven't kept up with what current DVD players can support. (Normally, however, I'd be watching these movies on my PC or MAC, or on my TV via a HTPC device - one day)

By the way, I'll be doing this on my iMac, so any relative pointers that are Mac focused would be appreciated (but I also have a PC available too).

Regards, Strathglass.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-11, 11:15 PM
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Strathglass, welcome to the best forum in Canada.

In my opinion it’s best to stay native, without any re-compression, without transcoding codecs. Large hard drives are pretty cheap nowadays and getting larger and cheaper by the month.

There are programs that will copy a DVD into a mirror image called an ISO. There is no generation (quality) loss in doing this.

If you really insist on transcoding and shrinking than I suggest transcoding to DivX. Many newer DVD players will play DivX encoded discs and many home DVD authoring programs will convert DVD VOB files to DivX. But like I said – the best quality is not to transcode. Digital video and audio files do suffer from generation loss unless copied bit for bit without shrinking or transcoding.

Be aware that you may run into copy-protection trying to copy your commercial DVDs.
Also, most commercial DVDs are dual layer (DVD9) 8.5GB

That’s my 2 cents.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-13, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks EFP.

I think I have enough DVDs that I will want some compression: I can always go back to the original DVD if I need to.

And for copy protection: there are legal ways to circumvent that, so I am not worried.

Regards, Strathglass.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-14, 02:56 PM
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Expert I am not but if your looking to keep the quality and use compression H.264 seems to be the way to go. I have some anime using H.264 and it's about 750MB for 30 minutes.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-14, 03:29 PM
 
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When done properly, I believe MPEG4/part2 (DivX, XviD) can compress a 2h DVD to half SL DVD
size (~2.15GB) and MPEG4/part10 (H.264) - to 1/3 that size (1.4GB) without losing quality.

The first can be made playable on DivX-labeled DVD players, the second can't.

PCs will play everything, don't know about Macs.

There are other players (NMT-class) that will play any of those files (and many more) from hard drives.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-14, 06:20 PM
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I use x264/h264.
I find it looks better overall, and gives me smaller filesize for the same quality compared to xvid/divx.
It also works with hardware decoding on my computer, which actually makes it use less cpu than the MPEG2 of the original DVD (MPEG2 hardware decode isn't working for me, for some reason.)
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-14, 08:17 PM
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Do you have a process flow you can describe? I'm looking to put some movie and TV DVD's onto my Popcorn Hour.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-14, 08:52 PM
 
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As one option (for x264), rip the DVD into one file with one soundtrack,
rename the resulting VOB into MPG and use the program in the second link in this post.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-15, 01:02 PM
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granduncle's suggestion works.
I've never used it, though
I use virtualdub-mpeg2 combined with x264vfw
If you're converting an entire file, it's an easy process (just select the video compression codec, and file->save as avi)
You can also add filters, such as deinterlace (if your source video is interlaced, this will remove 'jaggies' or lines visible in the picture if the playback device can't do its own interlacing - e.g. youtube)
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 2009-04-16, 09:54 AM
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Since you're using a Mac I highly recommend the program Handbrake. It will rip your DVDs and transcode using H.264, all with a very nice GUI. It uses all CPUs to do the encoding, so if you have a newer dual-core (or more) system it will do if fast.

H.264 (aka MPEG-4/Part 10) is the current state-of-the-art codec and will give you the smallest files with better quality than other codecs. Handbrake is an open source program so there's no cost for getting it (it works on both Mac and Linux); it requires VLC to be installed on your system too (so that it can decrypt DVDs).

Handbrake: http://handbrake.fr/
VLC: http://videolan.org/
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