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dvn
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Are you sure you're not talking about MPEG2 - the codec used for DVDs, for example? There is a difference; MPEG2 format for video is just that - the 2nd version of the MPEG standard. MPEG (MPEG1) is used in VCDs. When a better compression was needed for the higher resolution used in DVDs (720 x 480 typically in NTSC countries) MPEG2 was used. There is no real use for MPEG3 - the next video codec was/is MPEG4. MP2 is MPEG1, layer 2 and is an audio codec only. Maybe it is just semantics with your compression software.

 

I'm starting to sound like Tim from BYOB podcast. Not that I could ever reach that pinnacle, but you know what I mean. :)

 

Regarding codec of choice for video encoding - that depends. MPEG4 and MPEG2 are both lossy codecs, so if you don't plan on encoding the files again, it really depends on what devices you intend to play them on and what file size you want. For any given file size, MPEG4 will give you a *visually* more identical to the original file than MPEG2 will. However, MPEG4 also takes longer to encode (require more CPU power), requires significantly more CPU power to decode, and is historically recognized by less players. Not so true these days, as most portable media players (PMPs) are designed to read and play (if not record) MP4 format.

 

I choose MPEG4 - it gives the best quality to size ratio. But I use MKVs as the container.

 

IF, however, you intend to do any NLE (near-line editing), MPEG2 is MUCH easier to edit because of the frequency of keyframes and the relatively low complexity of the codec. If you want to go down that path, we can discuss. I'll spare you the details for now. I'll just add that if you intend to do any further editing, and thus re-encoding of the file, you really don't want to use any lossy format, or at least as low-loss as possible (i.e. MJPEG if you must compress due to file size, or my favorite HuffyUV for lossless compression.)

 

EDIT: Addition - MP4 is better for streaming (relative to MPEG2) as well both due to lower bit rate relative to quality of video (if MPEG4 codec is used), and because the MP4 container has built-in streaming hinting as part of the makeup. Again, MP4 is a CONTAINER that is supposed to use MPEG4 as the video codec. MOV from Apple is another container that uses MPEG4. DIVX files are another container that use MPEG4. AVIs are another container that *can* use MP4, but can use other video codecs instead. So when you say encode to MP4 or MP2, you should really ask encode to MPEG4 or MPEG2, and then what container to mux the audio and video into (i.e. MKV or MP4 or MOV or AVI or, or, or...)

 

Duh! I did mean mpeg2/4. Thanks for all the details though.

 

I would never use the mpeg2/4 files to re-render as I always keep the original in AVCHD. I do this just for streaming, youtube, etc where I need the bitrate and/or file size lower.

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Duh! I did mean mpeg2/4. Thanks for all the details though.

 

I would never use the mpeg2/4 files to re-render as I always keep the original in AVCHD. I do this just for streaming, youtube, etc where I need the bitrate and/or file size lower.

 

Just FYI, AVCHD is MPEG4 already. :)

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Just FYI, AVCHD is MPEG4 already. :)

 

 

It comes off my camcorder as .mts or .mt2s. So those are the same as mpeg4? I haven't taken the time to figure out all these different file formats.

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It comes off my camcorder as .mts or .mt2s. So those are the same as mpeg4? I haven't taken the time to figure out all these different file formats.

 

Actually, .mt2s can be either a variation of the MPEG2 video stream that was made for BluRay (and other systems as well), or MPEG4 when used in BluRay disks. However when used in AVCHD format, .MT2S must be MPEG4 (h.264 specifically) and AC3. Actually, I believe uncompressed (PCM) audio can be used in the AVCHD standard as well but I don't think any camcorder does or would use it due to the high bitrate it would require.

 

So, yes the AVCHD files using the .MT2S (aka BDAV) transport stream are encoded using MPEG4 (h.264) for the video.

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  • 3 weeks later...
High profile is a good choice if your player of choice can play it. PMPs such as Zune, iPods, and even Xbox360 can't natively play high profile video however.

 

First, you are killin it in here. Lots of great information and either you have a background in this or have an issue with trying to read everything on the internet. Either way, thank you.

 

Now, I am fairly new to the whole archiving of my movies and just started about a month ago when I rebuilt my server to something that could actually stream to my PS3. When I use Handbrake I use the High Profile and dial the CQ to 18 or 14 depending on the movie. To be honest, I only did it for experimentation. The PS3 will play those files though and it is more dependent on bandwidth from what I can tell.

 

Now, I know you didn't include the PS3 in that list of pmp's but are those other devices hampered in a way that the PS3 is not? I have to encode into mp4 because the PS3 doesn't play mkv without some sort of transcode at the server so is that the difference?

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First, you are killin it in here. Lots of great information and either you have a background in this or have an issue with trying to read everything on the internet. Either way, thank you.

 

Now, I am fairly new to the whole archiving of my movies and just started about a month ago when I rebuilt my server to something that could actually stream to my PS3. When I use Handbrake I use the High Profile and dial the CQ to 18 or 14 depending on the movie. To be honest, I only did it for experimentation. The PS3 will play those files though and it is more dependent on bandwidth from what I can tell.

 

Now, I know you didn't include the PS3 in that list of pmp's but are those other devices hampered in a way that the PS3 is not? I have to encode into mp4 because the PS3 doesn't play mkv without some sort of transcode at the server so is that the difference?

 

Regarding the first part, thanks - I think. I'll admit to both conjectures.

 

Regarding PS3 capability, I do not have one so I do not know from experience what settings are functional for native play (i.e. presumably AC3 audio but not DTS, etc.) but I do know it accepts a much wider range of h.264 profiles than any other current game or portable media player. The 360 is certainly more capable than an iPod, Zune, or PSP, but still will not play an MP4 encoded using PS3 preferred settings natively. Makes sense, given the PS3 is considerably more powerful than the 360.

 

CQ is exactly as you stated - purely bandwidth (bitrate, to be more specific) and file size relevant. All other things being equal, the more complex a profile you use, the more accurate an encode (to human eyes) h.264 can make using a set bitrate. That manifests itself two ways - if you are using a VBR (variable bit rate) encoding, then the total size of the file remains constant, but the quality will improve as you increase the complexity. Of course, that means more horsepower and/or time to encode, and more horsepower to decode. Hence some players can play certain levels, some cannot. If you are using CQ (constant quality) then the quality remains, err, constant (*cough*) but the file size will DECREASE as the profile complexity INCREASES because the encoder can reach the CQ level with a lower bitrate.

 

This is why I use CQ. I don't care if the encode ends up being 1GB or 1.5GB as long as it meets my standard of visual accuracy. If I can use a higher profile to save space, then sure, why waste hard drive space? At this point most of my players have the video on-the-fly transcoded anyway since I am using MKVs for the container, but the 360 will play them straight up if the media center is set up correctly. iPads and iPods require transcoding of course.

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First, you are killin it in here. Lots of great information and either you have a background in this or have an issue with trying to read everything on the internet. Either way, thank you...

 

Agreed - lots of useful info here... good job, timekills!

 

@dvn - RE: subtitles, you can use SubDownloader or Sublight along with SubDude - works great.

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Thanks. I'll take a look. And these subtitles, will I be able to turn them on and off?

You should be able to - guess it all depends on what you're using to play your files with...
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WMC. At least I'm trying to stay with Media Center. At some point I may just give and move to XBMC or some other. Actually, I should see if I can get my WMC remote working with XBMC. I hear it's possible.

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