View Full Version : using handbrake to convert all hd movies (720p, x264, .mkv) to an apple friendly file

November 26th, 2008, 09:16 PM
after collecting a crap load of [720p x264 .mkv] movies that were at least 4gigs each file (movie only, no bonus features), i find out after personal experience and forum readings that these files were not atv/boxee compatible (something about the x264 part....). or at least not-watchable for me because of its laggy playback.

however, since handbrake can now have .mkv files as a source, i can convert it to whatever settings/format i want it to be. having that said, i have NO idea what settings i should use. so can anyone recommend a settings configuration that will allow me to convert my almost-perfect 720p mkv files to perfect 720p atv/boxee-friendly files? and something that will output with almost the same file size AND the exact same quality? i have all these .mkv movies that are perfectly 720p quality, and i really dont want to have to delete them. basically, i just want to watch these hd movies on boxee on my apple tv. it obviously plays perfectly on my macbook pro, but id much rather play it on my 42 inch hdtv with surround sound.

also, i know "google is my friend," and so is the search function, but ive seriously googled and searched everywhere and i havent come up with anything [that i would understand]. so please, anyone, dont reply with just the url: "google.com" or send me links to other forum threads that are 10pages long because i might have already read that and/or it may just be too confusing to me. this is a help forum for a reason.

basically, im hoping for responses made for people [like me] with no or little knowledge in the video codecs, or whatever, hobby. or something.

thanks in advance. and happy thanksgiving.

November 26th, 2008, 09:19 PM
Huh, I guess all those pirated movies aren't working for you, huh?

Handbrake has presets. Choose AppleTV, or to be more versatile, choose Universal.

November 26th, 2008, 09:23 PM
would setting the preset to 'apple tv' take away the 720p quality? im just worried about the quality, and it being hd.

oh and pirated movies?! um, i would never!!!!!!! absolutely not!

November 26th, 2008, 09:53 PM
You shouldn't worry too much about the quality. You stole the movies.

November 26th, 2008, 09:58 PM
You shouldn't worry too much about the quality. You stole the movies.

ok thanks! thanks for the help. it is this kind of high quality contribution to the help forums that others greatly benefit from. keep it up larry!

November 26th, 2008, 10:01 PM
Why should people go out of their way to help a thief? I gave you a tip, take it or leave it. Try the Handbrake forums for help on converting.

Boxee gives us awesome access to all kinds of FREE content. Why spoil it by stealing content?

November 26th, 2008, 10:13 PM
youre exactly right. why would one help out a thief? i was just wondering on how to play my non-illegally-downloaded movie files on my apple tv. so thanks for your generous tip, i took it and am very grateful. your help is, again, much appreciated. thanks.

and thanks to boxee for providing a free service that allows its users to view other free services and contents.

November 27th, 2008, 03:44 PM
MKV != Illegally downloaded. It's just a popular format used by many torrent groups.

There are tons of movies out there in 720p/MKV format that fall into a "gray" area, such as fansub anime. These would be movies/TV shows you cannot even purchase in places like the U.S; so there is great demand for that kind of stuff.

Generally, once those shows are made available commercially, the fansub groups remove their versions from torrent sites.

There is a real need for being able to play 720p/MKV files, but until Boxee has access to the GPU, it's not going to happen. Unfortunately, Handbrake cannot convert subtitles from an MKV source. So that makes it kind of pointless with Anime unless you speak the language.

AppleTV hardware is optimized to play 720p/MP4.

November 29th, 2008, 09:16 AM
Make sure you use the Apple -> Legacy -> AppleTV legacy preset.

The new one downconverts the resolution from 1280 x 528 to 960 x 400. The legacy preset keeps the resolution. I tested out an encode yesterday and it is definitely in HD. On the appleTV it has the "HD" icon next to the title. Good luck.

November 29th, 2008, 09:18 AM
I forgot to add, i did not actually play the file in Boxee. I added it to iTunes to keep in my appleTV library.

November 29th, 2008, 11:07 AM
People that treat downloading illegal movies as stealing ( and I'm talking about ethics, not the law... because according to the law, well, it is) are a bunch of demagogues who choose to sides with billionaire megacorps that whine about making LESS ridiculous amounts of money because people are watching movies without paying. Boo-hoo. That's a stupid dogma.

The capitalist model, although the lesser evil, is far from perfect and fair regarding distribution of wealth, and especially cultural wealth. People shouldn't be denied access to culture because they don't have enough money. Period.

And before you accuse someone of stealing movies, you should ask, not just assume.

Anyway, for those with both legal and illegal mkv files out there that want to play them on ATV I recommend converting the 720p mkvs using Visualhub ( which I may or may not have downloaded legally... hum...) with the settings ajusted to plain "Apple TV" , and with the the sliders set to maximum.

It converts to a 4Gb file that looks the same as the mkv. It takes about 4 hours to convert a full feature film, using a macbook intel core 2 duo with 2GB ram. Then, if you want to add subtitles you can use Submerge, which is great and very easy to use. You can buy/steal them easily from the internet as well.

November 29th, 2008, 11:52 AM
Handbrake presets are your best option for simplicity and easy of use. As mentioned above, there are the new and legacy presets you may want to look into.

If the presets do not achieve what you want you can experiment and modify them yourself. This will require more work on your part.

The Apple TV does support 720p encoded in H.264 up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC). However, this is with hardware acceleration for decoding media. Boxee does not use hardware acceleration for decoding media so it wont be able to match the Apple TV's native capabilities.

Moral of the story, you'll have to reduce the video bit rate (an/or resolution) to something Apple TV can handle without hardware acceleration.

I have successfully played the following HD file with Boxee. You can use Mediainfo to get the same details about your media.

General / Container Stream # 1
Total Video Streams for this File -> 1
Total Audio Streams for this File -> 1
Video Codecs Used -> AVC
Audio Codecs Used -> AAC LC
File Format -> MPEG-4
Play Time -> 2h 32mn
Total File Size -> 1.40 GiB
Total Stream BitRate -> 1 321 Kbps
Video Stream # 1
Codec (Human Name) -> AVC
Codec (FourCC) -> avc1
Codec Profile -> High@L3.1
Frame Width -> 1 280 pixels
Frame Height -> 528 pixels
Frame Rate -> 23.976 fps
Total Frames -> 218978
Display Aspect Ratio -> 2.424
Scan Type -> Progressive
Colorimetry -> 4:2:0
Codec Settings (Summary) -> CABAC / 3 Ref Frames
QF (like Gordian Knot) -> 0.071
Codec Settings (CABAC) -> Yes
Video Stream Length -> 2h 32mn 13s 207ms
Video Stream BitRate -> 1 145 Kbps
Video Stream BitRate (Nominal) -> 1 165 Kbps
Video Stream BitRate Mode -> VBR
Bit Depth -> 24 bits
Video Stream Size -> 1.22 GiB (87%)
Video Encoder -> x264 - core 65 r1029 cb3c213
Video Encoder (Settings) -> cabac=1 / ref=3 / deblock=1:-1:-1 / analyse=0x3:0x113 / me=hex / subme=6 / psy_rd=1.0:0.0 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / chroma_qp_offset=-2 / threads=3 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / mbaff=0 / bframes=16 / b_pyramid=1 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=1 / wpredb=1 / keyint=250 / keyint_min=25 / scenecut=40(pre) / rc=abr / bitrate=1165 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=10 / qpmax=51 / qpstep=4 / ip_ratio=1.40 / pb_ratio=1.30 / aq=1:1.00
Date of Original Encoding -> UTC 2008-11-20 21:15:18
Audio Stream # 1
Codec -> AAC
Codec (FourCC) -> 40
Audio Stream Length -> 2h 32mn 13s 376ms
Audio Stream BitRate -> 172 Kbps
Audio Stream BitRate Mode -> VBR
Number of Audio Channels -> 6
Audio Channel's Positions -> Front: L C R, Rear: L R, LFE
Sampling Rate -> 48.0 KHz
Bit Depth -> 16 bits
Audio Stream Size -> 187 MiB (13%)
Date of Original Encoding -> UTC 2008-11-20 21:16:57

December 20th, 2008, 04:11 PM
That is way too small a bit rate for HD playback, no wonder it works! You need a bit rate of at least 3000-3500 to even have it start to look like High Def.

I am experimenting with Handbrake settings; I will keep everyone posted if I find the majic combo :)

November 19th, 2011, 09:17 PM
just change .m4v to .mp4 at the end of the destination file