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Best video codec for DVD ripping?
February 19, 2009 5:37 AM   Subscribe

What are the best video compression settings (codec, bitrate etc.) for ripping DVDs (that I own)? These files will sit on a NAS and be streamed over a wireless G network for viewing on a standard definition TV with XBMC.

I already have quite a few video files on the NAS that stream perfectly over this connection. Now I'd like to store part of my DVD collection on the NAS too to watch using XBMC. I don't have a ton of drive space, so I'd like something with good compression. (Not enough room for full isos of everything). What codec offers the most "bang for the buck" when it comes to compression? We are mostly talking 24 minute TV shows here. This is not an HD TV. Looking for something approximating broadcast TV quality. Any suggestions on codec, bit rate etc.? Should I do a two-pass encode? Thanks!
posted by Otis to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think the current video codec to use would be H.264. For bitrate, you'll probably have to try a couple samples and decide what level of compression meets your quality standards. I've ripped a couple DVDs at 800kbps and the quality was still pretty close to the original. You could probably push significantly lower if you're willing to tolerate the resulting artifacts.

If you're using mplayer/mencoder, the x264 encoder is a free implementation of the H.264 standard. Using multiple passes will give you slightly more "bang for the buck", but I probably wouldn't bother doing more than two.
posted by knave at 6:07 AM on February 19, 2009


I just double-checked, I guess I was using 1000kbps, not 800. Either way, I still recommend you do your own bitrate test, because it's going to depend on the particular content and your personal preferences.
posted by knave at 6:12 AM on February 19, 2009


I am with knave on this one, H.264 is currently the best encoder. What operating system are you on?
posted by ascetic at 7:58 AM on February 19, 2009


I'd be doing the ripping on Windows XP. Although I know H.264 is now supported by XBMC, I've seen some people say they have problems with it causing stuttering and sync problems. Is it really designed for HD content? How much does it offer versus, say, xvid.
posted by Otis at 8:18 AM on February 19, 2009


Unless you have bandwidth/storage/CPU constraints, I think MPEG4 Part2 ASP i.e. Xvid or DivX 1-pass at 0.17-0.20 bits/pixel should be just fine for a SDTV. H.264 will allow you to squeeze 50-60% more video in the same size, but unless you have enough video to fill the disk up, I wouldn't bother.
posted by Gyan at 8:28 AM on February 19, 2009


I have been using autoGK to encode in DivX for XBMC for a while I 'm not sure what bitrate I've been encoding but I set the file size to be 1.5Gb. The results look great, even on my new 46" plasma.
posted by gergtreble at 9:14 AM on February 19, 2009


I'd say Divx/Xvid, they're the least CPU intensive codecs for decoding. ~1000kbit should be fine for a non HDTV.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:41 AM on February 19, 2009


I'd be doing the ripping on Windows XP. Although I know H.264 is now supported by XBMC, I've seen some people say they have problems with it causing stuttering and sync problems. Is it really designed for HD content? How much does it offer versus, say, xvid.

Maybe I'm parsing this wrong, but when you say HD content, what do you mean? DVDs aren't HD, and your set isn't HD.

I personally prefer the divx codec, it seems to look nicer than h.264. And seems to behave better with regards to stuttering and whatnot. h.264 seems to use more processor.

Two pass should be better, but only at the margins and for lower bitrates. My experience is that it's not worth the extra encoding time.

Unfortunately, this is a situation where you'll have to run a few tests to see what works best for your setup. A couple of things to try would be to reduce the size of the video- instead of cramming 740x480 into a low bitrate, see if 640x480 (or even 480x 240?) at a slightly higher bitrate looks better. The slight loss of resolution might be outweighed by the reduced noise that the process would introduce. Another thing to try would be to experiment with interlacing and deinterlacing. Since your source is probably interlaced and your display is interlaced, make sure your encoder doesn't try to deinterlace anything. Or if the source is already deinterlaced, see if it makes a difference whether your encoder interlaces it, or if you let your player do it.
posted by gjc at 9:47 AM on February 19, 2009


Maybe I'm parsing this wrong, but when you say HD content, what do you mean? DVDs aren't HD, and your set isn't HD.

Right, I mean I was under the impression that h.264 was really a codec geared towards HD content, and therefore overkill in my case.

Thanks for all the answers so far!
posted by Otis at 10:35 AM on February 19, 2009


I've seen some people say they have problems with it causing stuttering and sync problems.

I'd be one of those people. H.264 is great, but it's a bit CPU heavy for an original Xbox.
posted by pompomtom at 12:45 PM on February 19, 2009


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