I have a few series on my DVR that I am able to save to an external format. I can save to DVDs but now that I have a blu ray burner wit 25gb disc storage I'm thinking that I can store a dozen or so episodes per disc in file format. It appears that mpeg4 may serve this purpose with relatively small file size. Avi is probably better quality but with large file size.
Any suggestion as to best file format with small file size?
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People looking for smaller file sizes often choose H.264 in an .mkv or .mp4 container at present. (.avi is not a popular choice for H.264.) H.264 is now well-established and well-supported.
I use MPEG-2 in an .mpg container myself, because MPEG-2 is the original format for my captures and I don't care all that much about having smaller file sizes.
The best would be to simply copy your recorded DVR streams to an external hard drive -- perfect copy, no increase in size. Most likely you would need to use the same DVR to play it back.
But you haven't told us anything about the files, your DVR, how you "saved" to DVD previously, or how you intend to use this archive.
You have told us you don't know the difference between a codec and a container and how they're related. So maybe fill in some of the other details so some useful suggestions can be forthcoming..
Plus there's the whole DRM/encryption hurdle which needs to be ironed out, if possible. Though, if you've successfully saved to DVDs before, odds are now in your favor.
AVI is bad for SD content as it doesn't support anamorphic aspect ratios natively, you can remove the anamorphic manually but make sure you use a bloody good resizer and don't scale down.
If you really don't want to simply remux the original video and MUST re-encode them to make them smaller then h.264 is the only option as far as codecs are concerned, anything beyond that is down to simple preferences. Do you want to de-interlace them to progressive or keep them interlaced? What kind of quality hit are you willing to live with? I use MKV containers, but MP4 has better compatibility with more devices at the moment. What do you plan on playing these file back on? We can't give you a definitive answer without knowing how the resulting files will be used.
Thanks for all the help. first, you're right in that I don't know the difference between a codec and a container - I guess I'm talking about a container. What I've done in the past is to copy from the DVR to a DVD-RW, use video editing software (Pinnacle Studio) to edit out commercials, then burn a DVD-R to archive special movies and such. In this case, I want to archive an entire TV series. Then I can watch the MPEG-4 on my DVD player that recognizes that format - also AVCHD, but that's a large file. Also, if someone wants to watch an episode or two that they missed, I can copy that to a DVD for them.
I'm aware that I can keep the original lossless file on my Dish 722 recorder EHD, but I've already lost one HDD hooked to the system and I'm looking for a hardcopy medium - a 25GB BD-R.People looking for smaller file sizes often choose H.264 in an .mkv or .mp4 container at present. (.avi is not a popular choice for H.264.) H.264 is now well-established and well-supported.
Again, I appreciate all the help.
You can keep the original picture and sound and just shift them to a different container. Broadcast TV is just MPEG2 or H.264 video with MP2/3 or AC3 sound, all of which can be contained in an MKV and played back on almost anything. There's no need to re-encode if you don't have to and you'll be losing quality trying.