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Nivek7
February 20th, 2011, 08:15 PM
Hi,
I have a few of my ripped "Widescreen" SD DVD's that playback windowboxed. They are just ripped straight to HD (VOB files).

"Le Mans" (Steve McQueen) is one that does this, others playback no problem. If I pop in the original DVD in my Bluray player. They play back letterboxed, widescreen no problem.

Just wondering if I missed something, some setting? I was using a little program call "Ideal DVD Copy".

Thanks!

judgeschambers
February 20th, 2011, 08:23 PM
It might be the way you ripped them. Some have two formats to playback on the dvd and when ripped you have to select the correct files and or size when setting the ripper.

clcallegari
February 20th, 2011, 08:28 PM
I've had the same thing happen with a Rocky IV DVD rip The only fix I've found is to change the aspect ratio settings within Boxee once you start playing the movie.

PS - I tried DVDShrink and MakeMKV, both rips do the same thing.

jmilum
February 20th, 2011, 08:36 PM
Most likely these were DVDs that were widescreen, but not anamorphic widescreen.

Nivek7
February 20th, 2011, 09:46 PM
Most likely these were DVDs that were widescreen, but not anamorphic widescreen.

That sounded like it might be the problem. But, I just went and grabbed the DVD case. It says "Widescreen Anamorphic, 2.35:1".

Umm..

Here's what the ripped VideoTS File on my HD says in "media info"

Video
Format : MPEG Video
Format version : Version 2
Bit rate mode : Variable
Width : 720 pixels
Height : 480 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate : 29.970 fps
Standard : NTSC

Interesting.

Prospero424
February 20th, 2011, 10:14 PM
Yeah, definitely a problem with the way they were ripped.

I generally recommend one of two things:

1. Ripping to .iso instead of .vob or video-TS folders. They just tend to work better and give you all of the original features. AnyDVD, DVDFab, and DVDDecrypter are known to work fine with Boxee and are generally the most popular and most respected solutions.

2. Compressing to .mkv or .mp4 after ripping (http://forums.boxee.tv/showthread.php?t=22632). Using the PAL or NTSC presets in that link will give you proper resizing.

A third option is MakeMKV, which will take the original video and audio streams form the DVD and remux them to a .mkv.

twistybox
February 20th, 2011, 10:44 PM
It means they're missing the anamorphic flag. As far as I know, DVD Shrink should always preserve this.

voip-ninja
February 20th, 2011, 11:36 PM
I have seen this problem with windowed playback. It seems to usually be non anamorphic that causes it. I have opened a Jira ticket on this but it's not assigned. Has quite a few votes though.

Nivek7
February 21st, 2011, 04:17 AM
Thank you guys for all the replies :)

I went ahead bought AnyDVD HD as I wanted to start ripping my Blurays to my media HD too. I'll re-rip the ones that have the problem and see what happens. Hopefully that should take care of it for SD DVDs.

Prospero424, Great tutorial on the encoding apps. I just started reading up on the subject. Thanks for taking the time to write that! I've read allot of info on "Ripbot264" too. What do you think about it compared to "Handbrake" and "HDConvertToX" ?

Thanks!

Prospero424
February 21st, 2011, 05:00 AM
Ripbot is nice and simple, but I've seen one or two people report weird problems when playing back files encoded with it in Boxee and a couple other programs. This may have been due to their settings used, but just a heads up.

The other program I use a lot is called "MeGUI", but it's even more complex than HDConvertToX and the interface is pretty convoluted. Very powerful, though.

I usually recommend Handbrake as a good balance between user friendliness and quality. The presets in my guide take almost all of the guesswork out of it, but the encodes will take a long time relative to the default settings in order to achieve really high quality. For BluRay rips, just use one of the "Prospero Progressive Source..." presets.

If you have any more questions about this, feel free to post in that encoding guide thread. I monitor it all of the time.

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 11:41 AM
So, I'm not sure if I understand. It should be possible to re-encode the non-anamorphic DVDs into anamorphic format so that they do not get windowed when they are played back on the Boxee?

Also, here's the JIRA ticket I opened, it has been shelved so it doesn't look like it is likely to get fixed anytime soon;

http://jira.boxee.tv/browse/BOXEE-7518

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 12:15 PM
So, I'm not sure if I understand. It should be possible to re-encode the non-anamorphic DVDs into anamorphic format so that they do not get windowed when they are played back on the Boxee?

No.

A non-anamorphic title should be cropped when it's ripped/transcoded, otherwise you will find it shows up window-boxed. Pillar-boxed by Boxee and letterboxed within the source.

By stripping off the top and bottom letter box black bars, you'll be left with a file that contains nothing but video that should be displayed. The actual ratio will vary, depending on the source, but Boxee will display it properly, at full width. You may still see letter box bar introduced if the content is wider than 16:9.

I'm not sure how this will work correctly in an automated fashion on video content that hasn't been prepared by cropping, if there's no flag to indicate what the source actually is. What happens when you play a 4:3 DVD? You'll lose the top and bottom of the video.

I'm going to have to dig through my DVD collection to find a widescreen release that's non-anamorphic and check this out (without the ripping instructions I posted above of course).

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 12:39 PM
No.

A non-anamorphic title should be cropped when it's ripped/transcoded, otherwise you will find it shows up window-boxed. Pillar-boxed by Boxee and letterboxed within the source.

By stripping off the top and bottom letter box black bars, you'll be left with a file that contains nothing but video that should be displayed. The actual ratio will vary, depending on the source, but Boxee will display it properly, at full width. You may still see letter box bar introduced if the content is wider than 16:9.

I'm not sure how this will work correctly in an automated fashion on video content that hasn't been prepared by cropping, if there's no flag to indicate what the source actually is. What happens when you play a 4:3 DVD? You'll lose the top and bottom of the video.

I'm going to have to dig through my DVD collection to find a widescreen release that's non-anamorphic and check this out (without the ripping instructions I posted above of course).

Okay, I think I understand. So I would need to re-rip these titles and then manually crop the resolution in Handbrake, etc. Sounds like a pain but fortunately I don't really have too many of them.

Most of them are my wife's movies, I think I have seen it for sure with Father of the Bride, Father of the Bride II, How to Make an American Quilt (double ick).

However, one of my favorite movies, Young Frankenstein is affected and I would like to try something out to fix it on that one.

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 12:45 PM
So I would need to re-rip these titles and then manually crop the resolution in Handbrake, etc.

The beauty of using Handbrake is that it will figure out exactly where to crop the video for you. :) So the setup is in fact pretty quick, you just need to wait for the transcode.

Maybe someone else can answer this one question I have. On a regular DVD player, when you tell it you have a widescreen TV, does it automatically stretch regular 4:3 video as well? In other words if you watch a DVD that's from a TV-based source, does it lose the top and bottom or does it get correctly pillar boxed?

darcilicious
February 21st, 2011, 12:56 PM
When I play DVDs that are in 4:3 format on my widescreen TV (our DVD player is a PS3), I get pillars unless I change the display settings on the TV.

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 01:02 PM
The beauty of using Handbrake is that it will figure out exactly where to crop the video for you. :) So the setup is in fact pretty quick, you just need to wait for the transcode.

Maybe someone else can answer this one question I have. On a regular DVD player, when you tell it you have a widescreen TV, does it automatically stretch regular 4:3 video as well? In other words if you watch a DVD that's from a TV-based source, does it lose the top and bottom or does it get correctly pillar boxed?

I have never seen a TV try to zoom the picture, stretch it, etc, automatically.

However, on every DVD and BD player I have, they do automatically detect if DVD 480i content is non-anamorphic and they automatically fill it to the screen. It's a shame that Boxee cannot do this.

If my non-anamorphic problem children DVDs are in ISO format, can I re-encode the video but keep it an ISO? I'm really not interested in starting to have a whole pile of formats like MP4, etc, it gets too confusing.

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 01:15 PM
I have never seen a TV try to zoom the picture, stretch it, etc, automatically.

Not the TV, the DVD player. Your TV should just stay set on whatever setting gives 1:1 results. If you need to manually zoom then that remains an option.



However, on every DVD and BD player I have, they do automatically detect if DVD 480i content is non-anamorphic and they automatically fill it to the screen. It's a shame that Boxee cannot do this.

I was under the impression that the only time DVD content would be stretched is when there is an anamorphic flag. If there isn't, then the content is 4:3, which may include built-in black content. In the 4:3 case you should see pillar boxes on the sides of your video, preserving the whole 4:3 frame.

As far as I know, there is no flag other than anamorphic. That means a DVD player cannot tell the difference between real 4:3 video content and widescreen that has been encoded and padded to 4:3.

You wouldn't want to lose the top and bottom of legitimate 4:3 TV content or movies that weren't presented widescreen. I haven't used a real DVD player since 2005/2005 or so, so it's possible they now come with the ability to detect black bars.

If my non-anamorphic problem children DVDs are in ISO format, can I re-encode the video but keep it an ISO? I'm really not interested in starting to have a whole pile of formats like MP4, etc, it gets too confusing.

Yes and no. If you want an ISO that actually contains a DVD structure, then you will need to completely re-author brand new virtual DVDs, but this is going to be a lot of work and will involve stretching out the video and then creating your own anamorphic transfers.

Since an ISO is nothing but a disk image, it can contain anything you want and you could make ISO files containing any format video files. But I don't understand the bother in this case? Nor do I know if Boxee will simply mount them and then play the contents - it might expect a DVD structure inside.

Just use MKV out of Handbrake and don't worry about it. There's no reason for any confusion because at the end of the day when you're using software and products that can play back any format, it doesn't matter how the files are authored. You will of course lose DVD menus. Which, IMO, is a good thing, because DVD menus and DVD disk structures suck.

I have hated the inconsistency of DVDs since pretty much the moment they came out. No two navigate the same way. Many of them do nothing when you press the play button. You can't by-pass certain screens, etc. etc. It's just one of the most consumer-unfriendly products of the past 20 years and so poorly designed that I have no intentions of replicating their functionality inside another product. I rip only the feature presentation with its required components (audio tracks, subs).

Rustycar
February 21st, 2011, 01:28 PM
You do have another option if you wish to override the aspect ratio in the video and make a 4:3 video widescreen though you can get mixed results.

Rip the DVD with MakeMKV (http://www.makemkv.com/) to extract the individual episodes/movie from the disc (no video/audio conversion). This program can also open .iso files as well.

Download MKVtoolnix (http://www.videohelp.com/tools/MKVtoolnix) to get MKVmerge
* Drag and drop in mkv file
* Highlight the video track and click on "Format specific options"
* Tick the box for aspect ratio and set it to 16/9
* Click start mux and this will generate a new video

The new video will have an altered aspect ratio and should play in widescreen 16:9 on the Boxee Box without any re-encoding.

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 01:35 PM
You do have another option if you wish to override the aspect ratio in the video and make a 4:3 video widescreen though you can get mixed results.

Rip the DVD with MakeMKV (http://www.makemkv.com/) to extract the individual episodes/movie from the disc (no video/audio conversion). This program can also open .iso files as well.

Download MKVtoolnix (http://www.videohelp.com/tools/MKVtoolnix) to get MKVmerge
* Drag and drop in mkv file
* Highlight the video track and click on "Format specific options"
* Tick the box for aspect ratio and set it to 16/9
* Click start mux and this will generate a new video

The new video will have an altered aspect ratio and should play in widescreen 16:9 on the Boxee Box without any re-encoding.

Ah, I already use MakeMKV, so this is perhaps the very best option available since I won't have to "learn" anything (I can on occasion be pretty dense).

I will mount the disc using AnyDVD virtual drive and then try to rip the resulting structure with MakeMKV.

I was not aware though that Handbrake supported MKV output so I will look there if I have problems with MakeMKV.

ironchef3500
February 21st, 2011, 01:37 PM
Handbrake is awesome, if you don't mind waiting 12 hours per DVD. Which I kind of do. I am having a similar problem to this and am not 100% what I am doing wrong.

Latest Boxee firmware, ripping my DVD to .iso with AnyDVD which also breaks encryption. Sometimes taking out extras I dont need with DVDShrink, but 99% I keep the full ISO. Here is my issue.

The ISO playbacks on Boxee look quite dark by comparison, and the general picture quality is not very good. I have looked in the options, turned of deinterlacing for heck of it, changed my tv resolution to be same as the DVD (480). I dont understand why I am having a hard time getting it to look as good as it does when played back on my PS3 for example. Or even my old Samsung dvd player.

Setup:
Boxee Box via HDMI to Onkyo TX-SR806, out via HDMI to my Samsung hl56a650.

Thoughts?

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 01:48 PM
* Tick the box for aspect ratio and set it to 16/9
* Click start mux and this will generate a new video



I'll have to try this out too. It could be a real time-saver for people who don't want to transcode.

However, if no re-encoding is being done, I'm assuming what it's doing is setting the Anamorphic flag. And if that's so, I'd expect the output through Boxee, or anything else that reads the flag, to be distorted. I'd expect it to be too wide.

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 01:54 PM
You do have another option if you wish to override the aspect ratio in the video and make a 4:3 video widescreen though you can get mixed results.

Rip the DVD with MakeMKV (http://www.makemkv.com/) to extract the individual episodes/movie from the disc (no video/audio conversion). This program can also open .iso files as well.

Download MKVtoolnix (http://www.videohelp.com/tools/MKVtoolnix) to get MKVmerge
* Drag and drop in mkv file
* Highlight the video track and click on "Format specific options"
* Tick the box for aspect ratio and set it to 16/9
* Click start mux and this will generate a new video

The new video will have an altered aspect ratio and should play in widescreen 16:9 on the Boxee Box without any re-encoding.

This worked super and was extremely easy! It also only took a total of perhaps 10 mins for a title.

1. Mount the ISO into the OS with Virtual Clone Drive
2. Run MakeMKV, it will see the mounted ISO
3. Extract the title to an MKV file.
4. Drag the extracted MKV into MKVMerge and change the video resolution of the MPEG2 track to 16:9, then just re-encode the MKV.

Super quick and easy, thanks!

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 01:57 PM
BTW, MakeMKV can auto-mount ISO files, so you don't have to pre-mount them. ;)


4. Drag the extracted MKV into MKVMerge and change the video resolution of the MPEG2 track to 16:9, then just re-encode the MKV.


Are you positive this isn't stretching the video too wide? I just did a quick playback test in VLC of a rip I just made of The Abyss. As expected, it plays back window boxed (letter boxing which is built into the video plus VLC's pillars).

If you set the override aspect ratio to 16:9 it stretches the video width to fit a 16:9 frame (the window). That leaves you with letter boxes that were the exact same height as before and video that's now far too wide.

To play back aspect-correct, you have to set it to CROP 16:9 which will ignore and chop part of the original letter box out.

I'm about to try this myself. :) Just downloading MakeMKV now. I already have MKVToonlix and MKVMerge.

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 02:04 PM
BTW, MakeMKV can auto-mount ISO files, so you don't have to pre-mount them. ;)




Are you positive this isn't stretching the video too wide? I just did a quick playback test in VLC of a rip I just made of The Abyss. As expected, it plays back window boxed (letter boxing which is built into the video plus VLC's pillars).

If you set the override aspect ratio to 16:9 it stretches the video width to fit a 16:9 frame (the window). That leaves you with letter boxes that were the exact same height as before and video that's now far too wide.

To play back aspect-correct, you have to set it to CROP 16:9 which will ignore and chop part of the original letter box out.

I'm about to try this myself. :) Just downloading MakeMKV now. I already have MKVToonlix and MKVMerge.

The aspect ratio looked correct with the first title I tried (Young Frankenstein). I will look at one of the ones for my wife that I just did and see if it looks stretched.

//update. I just checked three different movies that I did the aspect ratio switch with and they all look perfectly fine with no stretching. Perhaps it would be a problem if the video wasn't 16:9 exactly before it became set for non-anamorphic? MKVMerge also has a crop option, so perhaps that could be used if something was wrong with the aspect ratio setting.

ironchef3500
February 21st, 2011, 02:14 PM
Ill give this a shot and see what happens. I always assumed iso was just the best way top go being a complete dvd rip.

So we think this may fix image quality as well?

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 02:24 PM
Ill give this a shot and see what happens. I always assumed iso was just the best way top go being a complete dvd rip.

So we think this may fix image quality as well?

Nothing can fix the image quality because the resolution is so low. However with the aspect essentially forced to 16:9 the image will scale better on your TV.

Also, keep in mind that if you switch from DVD to MKV you will be losing all of the menus and special features on the DVD ISO image, if that matters to you.

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 02:24 PM
Confirmed (as suspected). It just sets the anamorphic flag resulting in video that is simply stretched (to distortion) by the player application.

It might be more difficult to notice on some movies than it is for others, but look at something like a perfect circle or square. Or something that starts out being an oval in in the vertical orientation, like the "0" in 20th Century Fox at the start of Abyss.

The only thing the anamorphic flag does is tell the video player to stretch the content horizontally to fit a 16:9 display. The exact same thing as manually setting the player to stretch/fill.

The only correct and high-fidelity way to properly do this is to not set any false flags. Just rip the source the way it's been originally mastered, as 4:3. On playback, simply Zoom to crop the letter box. That's the highest quality you can hope for.

If you want a smaller file size, crop the video as you re-encode as I first suggested. It doesn't make any sense to keep 5GB of space for a simple DVD rip - which is how much Abyss takes for the feature. This movie will get down to less than 1.4GB without any visual difference when encoded using h.264 and properly cropped. Hard drives aren't as high priced as they used to be, but they aren't free. ;) And when you need to have 10 of them, the costs do add up.

ironchef3500
February 21st, 2011, 02:32 PM
Nothing can fix the image quality because the resolution is so low. However with the aspect essentially forced to 16:9 the image will scale better on your TV.

Also, keep in mind that if you switch from DVD to MKV you will be losing all of the menus and special features on the DVD ISO image, if that matters to you.
I dont mind losing the menus. but what if I put my tv into 480, isnt the the native dvd resolution and shouldn't it look good?

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 02:35 PM
what if I put my tv into 480, isnt the the native dvd resolution and shouldn't it look good?


Then you get pillar boxes on the sides of the movie. Boxee will already do that for you. Just keep your TV set to "Normal" or "1:1" or "Just Fill" or "Fill" or whatever your standard, non-distorted, native mode is. Consult your manual for the name/setting for your particular brand of TV. Then never change it.

voip-ninja
February 21st, 2011, 02:36 PM
I dont mind losing the menus. but what if I put my tv into 480, isnt the the native dvd resolution and shouldn't it look good?

Every one of these non anamorphic DVDs that I've seen look like garbage, even when played from the original disc, so I would not count on PQ improving much.

Twistybox, Thanks for pointing that out. I do not notice the stretching but I believe you. As indicated I have a tiny handful of titles with this problem and they don't get played often so I'm not too concerned about a bit of stretching in the video, it is still far better than the window-boxed look I was getting before.

Perhaps I will play around in MKVMerge with crop of the Video to see if I can get it to work.

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 02:40 PM
Perhaps I will play around in MKVMerge with crop of the Video to see if I can get it to work.

Definitely let us know if you can get a suitable crop that way. It's one thing I haven't done, is see if I can get cropping easily accomplished with that tool.

Usually I want to save space while maintaining quality so I crop in Handbrake since I'm encoding in H.264 anyway.

In summary I think this thread is a non-issue. Boxee seems to handle 4:3 video correctly. And a widescreen movie that's not anamorphic ("enhanced for widescreen TVs") is just 4:3 video. You get pillar boxes on the side as expected. Which can be eliminated by zooming the playback, also as expected.

ironchef3500
February 21st, 2011, 02:47 PM
damn, I have a lot of them.

Prospero424
February 21st, 2011, 08:53 PM
Just a quick note:

The "Prospero NTSC DVD Source" and "Prospero PAL DVD Source" presets in my Handbrake guide will automatically crop/resize your anamorphic movie properly in order to avoid this issue and aspect ratio errors in general.

Anamorphic DVDs were and are an unusual case as far as aspect ratios and proper cropping/resizing are concerned. This is because they used certain parameters to basically "trick" displays into displaying the full image properly, and those tricks simply aren't needed any more once you go from DVD to a digital media file.

Here's a full explanation of the issue. (https://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/AnamorphicGuide)

The short answer is that whatever software is doing the cropping and/or resizing or is setting the aspect ratio needs to preserve the original widescreen aspect ratio of the DVD as closely as possible while also using values that can be divided "cleanly" (that is, by whole numbers, not fractions) by 16 for compatibility reasons.

Luckily, none of this is an issue with BluRay, HDTV (DVR), or other modern sources.

twistybox
February 21st, 2011, 10:15 PM
That's probably one of the better explanations of widescreen and anamorphic video I've seen. Most people, even some who consider themselves quite the video encoding "experts" don't understand these basics.

I'm going to save the link as I think I'll be able to forward people to it in the future instead of getting into a long discussion. ;) You'd be surprised how many people don't know that NTSC/PAL pixels aren't square either.