I'm in the process of converting home videos to mp4 x264codec. My library is made of vcd, svcd, dvd, vhs-c, DV, HDV. I'm using Any Video Converter for ease of use and large volume of discs and tapes. My goal is to play all of these videos off of a WD TV Live player. What are the best settings in mp4 format to maintain the same quality and not degrade the already low quality of my older videos? I'm not too worry about my DV and HDV. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. What bit rate, what frame size and what sound format should I use? Thanks,
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Unless you want to re-encode to possibly "improve" the quality at the same time through various filtering, your best bet might to be not to re-encode at all. Even if you do want to apply filtering, which often requires a lot more time (and experience) for irreplaceable stuff such as home videos it's probably a good idea to keep the original video anyway. You might want to re-encode it differently later on.
MakeMKV will extract the contents of DVDs to MKV files. No re-encoding involved. Your WD player shouldn't have any problems with those. In fact you could simply copy the contents of each DVD to a separate folder on your hard drive. I think the WD will play DVD video that way, although I don't own one myself.
I don't know much about the other formats and the best ways to extract them losslessly and/or which containers to extract them to. I'm sure someone else will come along who can help.
For encoding with the x264 encoder, it has quality based encoding called CRF encoding. You pick the quality and the bitrate will be whatever it needs to be. It'll probably vary quite a bit according to how hard each video is to compress, but the quality relative to the original will be pretty much the same for a given CRF value. It's really the best way to do it, but I don't think AnyVideoConverter has a quality based x264 encoding option. You'd need to use a different program for that. HandBrake or Vidcoder are pretty easy to use. They'll definitely re-encode DVDs or MKV/MP4/AVI etc. I'm not sure about other file types.
That player will handle almost anything except DV avi, so DO NOT convert any, VCD, DVD,HDV just play them as the are. As For DVD you can play VIDEO_TS or you might extract one long mpeg file using VOB2MPG or that makeMKV.
HDV you can join losslessly in videoeditor.
DVavi you might re-encode, there is perhaps no hardware player out there that can play DVavi. HTPC and such will play those. Use double frame deinterlacer and encode or keep it interlace, do not simple deinterlace. Keep originals.
S-VHS-C capture is topic on its own, depends what devices you have, always use device that has TBC:
-capture lossless - (possible fix) - re-encode to H.264
-capture DVavi - re-encode to H.264 (without fixing image)
-or just crude capture to mpeg2 or something and be done with ...