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  1. Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Posted this in the Ripping forum first by mistake so reposting it over here....

    So up until now I've happily converted DVDs using the Divx Converter program to AVI files to watch on my old 27" tube TV. Everything worked fine and I didn't really care about quality since the TV couldn't show good quality anyway.

    I'm now upgrading to an HDTV and setting up a PC to run XBMC via an HDMI connection so I want to start converting things in much better quality. I'm looking for advice and info on the various options that are out there. I know lots of these questions have probably been answered in other threads but I haven't found all the answers in one place to get a good discussion going.

    This applies to regular DVDs, not Blu Rays as I don't have a Blu Ray Drive.

    So here goes...

    FORMAT
    What is the best format to use for high quality while maintaining low file size? I'm familiar with MP4 and MKV files. Is that pretty much the standard these days? What about AVI files with higher quality settings? Any reason to look at that at all?

    Also, what is the difference between MP4 and MKV files? It's the same file inside with a different wrapper right? So why would I choose one over the other?


    SOFTWARE
    So the Divx Converter program has a setting called Plus HD that creates MKV files. I've also used Handbrake which creates MKV or MP4 files. I've seen people recommend using HB with a setting 19 or so as a good place to start. Does HB do things that Divx doesn't? Are there certain options to set or change to get better quality if time is not a concern? I haven't found an in depth Handbrake tutorial yet...

    Are there other programs people use to do the conversions that I should look into? I'm completely open to anything that's out there.


    I did a test with two DVDs and ran one through Divx Converter with the default settings up top and one with HB with the 19 setting to MKV. The resulting files are:

    DVD1 (Magic Mike)
    Divx - 1.2 gigs - 856 x 360
    HB - 700 Megs - 720 x 362

    DVD2 (Snow White and the Huntsman)
    Divx - 1.5 gigs - 856 x 368
    HB - 1.1 gigs - 720 x 364

    I'm not sure on the best way to compare the quality (can I run two instances of VLC at once maybe?) but the file sizes are obviously different and the resolution are quite different as well. Really not sure why the resolutions are off.

    Anyway, thanks in advance for any info, advice, links, tutorials, etc anyone can offer
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  2. Yes, handbrake will re-encode better than divx.

    If you are going to run from hard drive, you could just leave movie as is by going from vob to mpg (vobtompg).
    Yes, it will be a dvd sized file but never have to question quality.
    I'm to the point now where encoding bunches of movies is a time wasting venture.
    I have the same mindset toward blu-ray, just copy it over to hard drive as is, then add and delete files as needed.
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  3. Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Well, I found I can open VLC twice and play the same movie twice. Wow. The Handbrake one is way more detailed than the Divx one. And the HB file is quite a bit smaller.

    Attaching a sample. Divx on top, Handbrake on the bottom.

    All I did was set the quality thing to 19, set it to MKV for file format, and let 'er rip. Are there any other settings within HB that would give a better final results? There's a ton of things under Advanced that I have no idea what they are...
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  4. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Search Comp PM
    If storage space is not a problem then why re-encode? MakeMKV will put a DVD or BD in a MKV container in a matter of minutes, no loss of quality, no re-encoding.
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn C200 and A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 ~ Yamaha RX-A1030 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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  5. Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Freedonia
    Search Comp PM
    I guessed wrong that with the higher bit rate you might get better results from Divx Converter. Looks like it is just using worse default settings that Handbrake. I explained in your other thread why Divx Converter is not your best choice.
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  6. Member
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    Apr 2003
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    United States
    Search Comp PM
    I tried MakeMKV which worked fine. However, I couldn't really tell much difference between that and the Handbrake file which was about 1/4 of the size.

    I'll wait until I can try it on my TV if FedEx ever delivers the thing.
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  7. Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California,United States
    Search Comp PM
    My opinion: Easiest and quickest method to convert DVD folder to MKV is to use MKVtoolNix[MMG]. Insert the first vob of a title set and it converts it to mkv in seconds. No change in size or quality and you can have chapters and subtitles.


    Rather than using Handbrake to convert to h264[which is much better thanMPG2] I use VidCoder. It is Handbrake with an easier to use Gui. It will usually convert a 4.7 gb dvd to a 1 to 1.5gb MKV without much difference in qual in less than an hour.

    Tony
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