I ripped my DVD's to my portable HD in ISO format. This was fine, but I now have over 3TB's of movies and am running out of disk space.

As a solution I wanted to encode to MP4 to both save space but also to watch on AppleTV. (I have a PC but GF has a MAC.) So I was looking to reduce to about 1.5GB per movie.

I have TMPGEnc Express and have been trying a few settings but am not too sure if I am doing the right thing and am getting varied results.

Currently, I set the bit rate to 2000kbps but leave everything else as is. However not all the input files are DVD's. Some are films I have bought and downloaded in various formats.

My goal is to encode to a good quality and standard video size, (Any file size is ok as long as it is less than 2.0GB or so.)

However, I didn't know if I need to do anything with size/aspect ratio when encoding to ensure that all my DVD rips and other formats I have all convert to the same output / aspect ratio I want. (16:9)

At the moment I am not getting a standard output. i.e. some are in 4:3, (But are 'squashed') some have the black bars top & bottom, which are taking up file size etc.

So I am looking for any recommendations to minimise file size, maintain quality and ensure the right output aspect ratio and video size. (e.g. is 720, 576 best or something else.)

Any help would be much appreciated thanks.