Searching for the Perfect Handbrake 0.94 Settings

{Updated with more test settings. These are not scientific, but more of trial and error process.}

After Handbrake released it’s newest update, I had some issues. I went back to the previous version so I could continue the march toward finishing the rip of my entire DVD library. But I have also been testing out new settings.

I have one simple requirement, that it look good on the Apple TV and work on my iPod and iPhone. By good I mean almost as good as an SD DVD. And the file size should be smaller than a DVD.

The results have been baffling. Not because of Handbrake, but because I discovered what others may have already known. The iPhone 3Gs can handle higher quality video than the iPod Touch. I have never been able to load video with wider than 720 pixels onto my iPod (or even my iPod 3G from before). When using the Apple TV preset in Handbrake ( something I thought required in the new version if you want watchable video for your Apple TV) you must always turn off the “animorphic” setting which allows the video to be wider than 720. If you are ripping a 4:3 aspect ratio video you must limit the resolution to 640×480, or the iPod won’t play it.

But today’s results were intriguing.

These settings are built using the Apple TV preset in the 0.94 version of Handbrake.

Apple TV Preset, No changes: Good on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone 3Gs, Did not work on iPod

Removed “Large File” check: OK on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone, Did not work on iPod

Removed “Large File” check, No “animorphic”: Not good on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone, I had trouble with the iPod but don’t know why.

Removed “Large File” check, No “animorphic”, added iPod atom: Not good on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone, I had trouble with the iPod but don’t know why.

Left in “Large File”, Set to 65% constant quality, No “Animorphic”: Average on Apple TV (Some obvious artifacts) Not compatible with iPod

Left in “Large File”, Set to 70% constant quality, No “Anamorphic”: Good on Apple TV, No go on ipod. But file size significantly larger

If my goal was just good looking video on the iPhone and Apple TV, I would just continue to use the base Apple TV preset. But 0.93 allowed me to rip video that looked good on all 3 of my devices, as well as my wife’s iPod Nano. trying to limit the Apple TV preset was getting me nowhere. I was ending up with large files that still didn’t work on my iPod.

So, I decided to change approach. I fully expected this to fail, because the forums for Handbrake are all abuzz about how the h.264 codec is now different than what the Apple TV expects. And if you don’t select Apple TV as a preset you will get “blocky” video. The Apple TV preset turns off a new setting which fixes this issue. But, I decided to use the iPod Touch preset a a base.

iPod Preset:

Constant quality at 60%, 720 width: Works on ipod and iphone. Decent on Apple TV.

I was surprised. I was sure that the “blocky” video would be back. But I saw decent video that worked great on my iPod. But the video isn’t as good as the 0.93 version rips. So, I am still working.

I have ripped another test clip with similar settings at 70% constant quality, but the file size sugests a 180 minute film will weigh in at 3.5GB. I have not had time to check the quality yet. I am going to try another test at 65% to see if the file size can drop a bit. Ideally, each movie would be under 3GB.

Hope to update again soon.

[Update Comparing Settings]


2 thoughts on “Searching for the Perfect Handbrake 0.94 Settings

  1. Pingback: Searching for the Perfect Handbrake 0.94 Settings « Scott Link Blog – iPod Central

  2. Pingback: Settings for Handbrake 0.94 « Scott Link Blog

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