Technology

DVD to Windows Media Video Conversion

DVD LogoSo this is a little different from my usual posts here, but I thought it might be worthwhile to some people.

This is my guide on converting DVD Films and Videos to Microsoft’s Windows Media format (WMV). The reason I do this is because I am a user of Windows Vista Media Center and also use the Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender which natively supports WMV, and has the capability to convert on-the-fly the 5.1 audio contained in them to Dolby Digital 5.1 (which can then be understood in all it’s surround sound glory by your amplifier).

I have posted versions of this in various forums, but this will be the most up to date version moving forward. Current as of 7:43pm AEST, 24th September 2007.

What You Need (download, purchase and install as per their instructions)

How to Do It

  1. Open TMPGEnc XPress.
  2. Choose Start New Project/Source Wizard.
  3. Insert the DVD you want to convert, click cancel if Windows asks you what to do.
  4. Choose Add a Source from DVD-Video and point it to the DVD Drive in your computer.
  5. Select what title you want to encode (the film is usually the one that has the longest running time) and the audio track (Dolby Digital 5.1) and let it copy the files across.
  6. After the DVD is loaded into TMPGEnc, you will get the “Add Clip” window.
  7. Change the Clip Name to match the Movie Title.
  8. If your movie is a Widescreen Film (16:9 Anamorphic) then choose “16:9” or “Image 16:9” in the Aspect Ratio box – nothing else (not 16:11 or anything). Note: Letterbox or 4:3 movies are currently not covered in this guide.
  9. Then choose filter, and select crop. If you scan through the movie and have no black bars top/bottom, then click OK at the bottom. If you have black bars then do the following:
    (a) Use the crop “Top” and “Bottom” up/down arrows to remove all traces of black bars.
    (b) If you have the DVD case – check the back of it for “Aspect Ratio”, if stated it will say 1.78:1, 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. If it doesn’t state it or you are unsure, try checking http://www.imdb.com for the film, and choose “Technical Details” down the left – this will give you the original theatrical aspect ratio. Write it down, then click OK at the bottom.
  10. Select Output Format, and choose Windows Media Video Output.
  11. Video Codec (under Windows XP) should be Windows Media Video 9.
  12. Set Aspect Ratio to “Pixel 1:1 (Square Pixel)”.
  13. If you want to reduce the file size of the WMV whilst keeping good quality, in the “Size” fields, choose Width: 852, and Height to match the real aspect ratio based on this conversion table:
    2.35:1 = 854x363
    1.85:1 = 854x462
    1.78:1 = 854x480
    NOTE
    : You can also try using different resolutions – just pick the horizontal you want (eg 1024) and divide it by the real horizontal of the film content (eg 1.78) – this example give a rounded-up value of 576, or full resolution for the PAL DVD content.
  14. Set your video encode type – I recommend 1-pass “VBR Constant Quality” for excellent quality at a reasonable speed encode.
  15. Select Audio tab, and choose “Windows Media Audio 9.1 Professional” for the audio codec (for 5.1 output).
  16. Set your audio encode type – I recommend 1-pass “VBR Constant Quality” for excellent quality.
  17. Select the “Encode” button, then change your output path to where you want the final outputted file to go.
  18. Choose Output preview and if all looks good, either “Register in batch list” and start again with the next film, or select “Start Output”.
  19. Go and find something else to do – even on the fastest machines available at the moment (such as Intel Core 2 Duo), an average length film can take 2-3 hours to encode.

I hope this helps – please post a comment if you have any questions.

Note: These instructions are tested for PAL only. NTSC DVD’s may work and I will update the guide if/when I do some testing of my own or if someone posts feedback. These instructions are to be used for legitimate backup purposes of legally owned DVD’s only. I don’t condone piracy, and take no responsibility if you break laws in your respective territory.

Regards,
Shane.

59 thoughts on “DVD to Windows Media Video Conversion”

  1. Nice guide Shane but the aspect ratios still seem to be such that the conversion process results in losing pixels. By my calculations, if a PAL DVD contains 16:9 anamorphic content which is displayed in its original theatre aspect ratio of 2.35:1, then the resulting square pixel version of that content should be 1048×446, or better still a 720×446 file with a pixel aspect ratio suitably set to stretch the image to its correct width.A file with a square pixel aspect ratio at a resolution of 720×308 looks correct on screen but has lost some resolution on the way through the process. If the original content was 720×576 then 208 pixels of vertical resolution has been lost. Cropping the black bars from the original content (which won’t really achieve much anyway as they’ll compress really well) should only remove 130px of vertical resolution from 16:9 anamorphic content.I’ve been trying to find a tool that will reliably convert from DVD to WMV while maintaing all the resolution of the original plus the 5.1 sound. DVD-WMV is very close but it only outputs square pixel files, thus losing resolution. Your guide looks close too but seems to have the same issue with PAR and resolution loss. Please correct me if you think I’m wrong!BTW, does TMPGEnc support overlaying subtitles during the conversion process too? I need subtitles for some of the mixed language movies I have.Cheers.

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  2. To be honest I haven’t spent alot of time worrying about true aspect ratios, but my understanding is as follows:1. DVD content (PAL anyway) is always encoded as a 720×576 (for want of a better term) “cell”.2. Anamorphic encoding ensures as many pixels in that “cell” are used to carry the images as possible.3. Anamorphic squeeze/de-squeeze is always based on 16×9.So given this, when you take a 1.78:1 film and anamorphically (is that a word?) squeeze it, the resulting 720×576 “cell” will be filled but with compressed pixels and no black space.EDIT: Ignore everything else in this (my) comment – they are the ravings of a lunatic 🙂When “de-squeezed” (on a 16×9 monitor) this will be a 720 (width remains the same) wide image, but the anamorphic de-squeeze will change the vertical image to 404, filling the 16×9 screen with a “square” pixel image – analog TV’s actually compress their vertical lines to do this – digital screens (such as plasmas and lcd’s just pass it through a scaler and add in their own black space.What I am doing is handling this de-squeeze in software, turning the squeezed pixels into the end square pixel, and in the end not trusting the TV to do the re-scaling.Now 2.35:1 films (and to some extent 1.85:1 too) are encoded in the same 720×576 cell, but as the de-squeeze is based on 16×9, if they filled the 720×576 cell with only image and no black bars like a 1.78:1 film, then the resulting image on a 16×9 monitor would have the image vertically too tall. This is why if you look at the actual MPEG cells of 2.35:1 DVD’s, they actually have black bars encoded in them so the resultant image is the correct aspect ratio.So when I strip the black bars in my process above, I am not actually removing any resolution as the resultant output in WMV is a square pixel resolution, so in essence the same as doing an anamorphic de-squeeze.The problem is – DVD players and 16×9 TV’s understand 16×9 encoded DVD’s (via the anamorphic tag in the encoded files), but WMV & xvid (to some extent) files are files developed originally for computer playback, so there is no understanding of an anamorphic “tag” – so playback devices rarely understand a true anamorphic WMV and instead will play it back in 4×3 mode and not do an anamorphic de-squeeze.To bring it to a close – the above procedure cuts to the chase and does the anamorphic de-squeeze during the conversion – the resultant image in the WMV is the actual aspect ratio originally encoded, just without the black space, and this plays back perfectly on all WMV playback devices.Hope this makes sense.Regards,Shane.

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  3. Oh – forgot to mention. TMPGEnc Xpress 4.x now support subtitles, so yes this works well (just tested it with my copy of Lord of the Rings).As I understand it, it will import from the DVD, or from an external file.Regards,Shane.

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  4. Not quite right Shane.You say on a 16:9 set the 576 are reduced to 404 vertical pixels when in fact they aren’t. It’s already the right height and in fact the image needs to be stretched horizontally to wider than 720 pixels.What you’ve described is what happens on a 4:3 screen where they are verticall squeezed.

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  5. Richard,Thanks – I’ve made the usual screwup of typing before thinking. I’ll be slapping myself silly for that stoopid mistake :)So some of what I have said is ok – but you’re right… an anamorphic DVD is horizontally squeezed, not vertically.I’ll try a 2.35:1 DVD encode tonight and see how it turns out. I’m just concerned it will blow the encoding time out considerably.I’ll post back my findings and update my guide soon. It is good to know, however, that my 720x* resolutions are still larger than most standard xvid encodes.Regards,Shane.

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  6. OK,So I did an encode of Cars using an output resolution of 1024×424 and the above settings (removing the black space).The output picture quality is nothing short of stunning – as good as the original DVD.Problems? The encoding went (on my machine) from approx 2 hours to over 5 1/2 hours, and resultant file went from 1.4 gig to 4.12gb, which is still more than 1gb savings overs the raw DVD files, but way bigger than I expected.I think I’ll stick with horizontal resolutions of around 720 personally (for most movies anyway) – the picture quality vs space use isn’t worth it for most of the films I encode.Regards,Shane.

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  7. You should be able to get the same effective resolution by encoding in non-square pixels. Keep the horizontal resolution of 720 but choose the 16:11 pixel aspect ratio. That way the file only contains 720 pixels of width to encode (read smaller file size) but will be stretched to the full width of 1048 odd upon playback. I’m going to give that a go myself and let you know how it goes.

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  8. Also, you may want to update your guide to include the newer codecs, Windows Media 9 Advanced Profile (although not really using anything in it except it supports new filters, deinterlacing, etc.) and Windows Media Audio 10 Professional. Some screenshots would be nice too 🙂

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  9. Damian,It’s my experience with Windows Media Video files that not all playback devices handle auto-stretching non-square pixels upon playback.I believe this is the case with Media Center and the Xbox 360 in Media Center Extender mode (haven’t tried the new non-MCE streaming to the 360 via Windows Media Connect yet).This is the reason why I’ve kept with square pixels – a 16×9 DVD has a flag stating it is 16×9 encoded, which the playback device uses to auto-switch into 16×9 mode, I don’t believe WMV supports this and if it does, either TMPGEnc Xpress (a) doesn’t or (b) doesn’t do it properly.Let me know your findings – the end result is the file has to play back on the following to suit as many people as possible (don’t want to have to re-encode everything if you buy a new tv):1. Media Center in non-square pixel resolution on 16×9 monitor (eg Windows res 1024×768 stretched, Video playback set to adjust accordingly for proper/corrected playback).2. Media Center in square pixel resolution (eg a Windows res 1366×768 for 16×9 LCD/Plasma, or 720×576 for 4×3 CRT)3. Xbox 360 in all of it’s resolutions using Composite, SVideo, Component or VGA in 4×3 and 16×9 modes.If they all work, then anamorphic encoding will be the answer and I can adjust the guide to handle that too :)Regards,Shane.

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  10. Also as per the following:”newer codecs, Windows Media 9 Advanced Profile (although not really using anything in it except it supports new filters, deinterlacing, etc.) and Windows Media Audio 10 Professional. Some screenshots would be nice too”The newer codecs from what I can see are currently only available under Windows Vista. Please tell me if this is incorrect and I’ll put a pointer to the codecs for people to get them.As for screenshots – getting there one step at a time :)Regards,Shane.

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  11. I have the newer codecs running on my XP MCE PC. I have Media Player 11 installed so they may have come with that. I cannot choose Windows Media Audio 9 Professional on my PC, it is not an option, only version 10.

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  12. As with Damian, I also only have WMA version 10 on my xp (pro) machine. Also I have the advanced profile codecs loaded and they appear in the program.When encoding what are you setting the fps as (mine default’s to 29.97 fps), and the sliders for the VBR encoding (mine are set at the default 95%). I ask because I am experiencing a slight stutter in the video portion of playback, leaving kind of an animated flip-book feel. The audio seems to sync up fine, but there is a visual movement diffrence that what I am seeing in the original dvd’s. I have a robust computer, and see the same on it and the 360, with both wmv9 and wmv9 AP as tested video codec’s with the same settings otherwise.

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  13. Zombinate,I’ve just installed the codecs with WMP11, but haven’t had a chance to encode using them yet. I’ll test an NTSC DVD tonight and post my results.It definately sounds like there is a frame rate issue, whether it be 3:2 pulldown related etc I’m not sure. I’ll dig in and try to find the answer for you (it’s been long overdue).Regards,Shane.

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  14. In some testing of my own, the Advanced Profile can make a huge difference in file size. Encoding the same movie in both wmv9 and wmv9AP, I saw the file size drop from 5GB to 3GB. I saw the stuttering problem on both though. so I will need to look into that more (btw I am using NTSC encoded movies, so the 3:2 pulldown issue may very well be the issue). I am going to look for a well encoded short clip and run a bunch of tests to see what i can find. I am considering the interlacing filter options and the output framerate, any other’s I might consider? Does xpress 4 use it’s own mpeg 2 decoder? I have windvd installed currently, but I am wondering if the decode might not be the cause of the problem (though dvd playback through windvd looks fine). Thanks,-Nate

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  15. Nate,It does use it’s own decoder for MPEG files. Interlacing & Framerate is where I have been concentrating (but no clear fix as yet), but you also may want to watch the resize filter settings too.I’ll keep testing (the cut edit is good for this – take a 5min segment of the movie and encode). Also, if you can make a small enough segment of the film that it’s not too big in size but accurately shows the issue, maybe there is somewhere you can upload it to, just to ensure I am looking for (and trying to fix) what you are describing. Regards,Shane.

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  16. well after some experimentation, it seems that the output fps makes a difference. I have had the issue more or less resolved by encoding at 30fps instead of the 29.97 of the default. the deinterlacing options then make some mild differences, but not as much as the fps. I also tried things at 60fps as a final output, which is even better, but the file size increased by about 50%. My best guess here is that dvd playback software on the PC is expecting the 29.97 input from NTSC dvd’s and goes to lengths to accept that, where as wmv’s, being mostly a computer file, are expected to be some normal fps (like 30, 50, or 60fps), and the software is written to be less agile when taking in odd fps ranges (this I tested by setting the output to 50 fps, and then my refresh rate to 85Hz on my CRT monitor, getting similar results to what I was originally seeing). I am making a huge leap in assumption that the 360 is decoding in a similar fashion to the computer, and decodes the video before it sends it out to the video output renderer. Thus, while my output is still 480i on the television, the xbox “knows” what to do with a 30fps file better than a standard coded file. For fun I tested this with mpeg 1 and 2 as well, and those did not have the same issue, but since the 360 has dvd playback built in, I am imagining that the decoder for that is expecting the odd 29.97 fps rate and is coded to handle it. So long story short for those of us living in NTSC land. outputting at 30 or 60 fps seems to give the best performance on CRT displays. Tomorrow I am going to test this with an LCD to see if 30 or 60 make a big difference there.Hope this helps-Nate

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  17. so with an lcd television, the 60fps does looks slightly smoother than 30fps, but we are really splitting hairs at this point, and I don’t think it is enough to bother with, so i am planning to go forward at 30fps as the target output. feel free to do your own experimenting.

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  18. I had a look at some files I encoded with nero and ntsc dvd was 29.97 ended up as 23.97 after encoding.I changed the setting in the deinterlace mode setting to 24fps (Prioritize Motion) which then automatically sets the film fps to 23.976 (which then matches Nero output) the deinterlace method dropdown has has a option of inverse pulldown (i left this at none), so i presume this effects the 3:2 pulldown, plus at the bottom of this screen it states, “Framerate change setting is availble at the format stage”, so I presume that changing that setting on the WMV format page would be like standards conversion, which is what some people use this software for.This, so far, seems to have cured the 2 worst judder affected films I have tried.”Hoodwinked” – right at the begining when it pans over the story book for the first time.”Over the Hedge” – When Verne first comes out of the log and the camera pans around the meadow following the dragonflys. Also the Dreamworks logo at the beginning of the film no longer has a judder when it pans up. I don’t seem to have any issues with PAL stuff, but I would be grateful if could point out any flaws in this method above.

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  19. Rewster,Are you encoding with nero or tmpgenc? Have you tried your output on the Xbox 360? If so, do you see the same results as when you were looking at your computer screen?As to your process, it makes as much sense as anything else. Basically, any NTSC DVD runs at 29.97 to keep with the standard, but obviously, most of the films themselves are 24fps. At some point that conversion needs to happen. Also the final screen output can make a difference. With my computer I am still using a crt monitor (I know…) which gives me the interesting opportunity to run at 120Hz. This is unique because 60, 30, and 24fps are all evenly dividable into the refresh, so those basic formats do not show judder when playing from the original source. When I had the refresh at 100Hz, there was some “ghosting” that I saw as the video playback had to modify the video stream to accommodate for say 30fps*3 + 10 to give the output. My goal in all of this is to create output files that work best on an LCD or Plasma Television (which are designed primarily to accept 60fps feeds) and also so that the 360 can output in a format that it finds the most comfort with. This is why I have been playing with the 30fps final output as it is easily divisible into 60. However, given that the original sources are generally 24fps, your method may make more sense. Are your final output wmv’s 24fps as well, or are you just using 24fps as the decoding framerate, then having the software convert back to something else?Shane – Sorry to have hijacked your blog man, but currently this is the best place I can find on the net for this dicussion. You might consider talking to the folks over at AVSforum to see if you could transfer this discussion into their forums. Thanks for letting us use the space.-Nate

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  20. Nate,It’s no problems for the moment… if we suddenly get an influx of comments I’ll look at moving them elsewhere. As this is new territory for alot of people I’d rather have a good conversation going here than elsewhere anyway.Good work BTW guys – I think you have the NTSC stuttering issues pretty much nailed.Thanks,Shane.

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  21. Hi ZombinateI have encoded with Nero and TMPGEnc, I have not yet tried the wmv’s on an xbox360 as I will be buying the new cooler version in the new year, which is why I am trying to get my WMV video issues sorted now.I selected 24fps as this was the nearest to the 23.976 I was after, in most cases the framerates are rounded up for ease of reading, ie 29.97 = 30 FPS, 59.94 = 60fps, I read somewhere that if you convert a telecine video from 29.97 to 24fps (not 23.976) this introduces a frame error that can make the video judder every 10 to 20 frames (i cannot find the link), it could explained in then 4/5 calc section in this document http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecine.I would like to know if anyone has tried the other settings in de-interlace (ie the deinterlace method I have set to none at the minute) and what results they are getting. I leave the aspect ratios just like the original and use quality 95 and audio 5.1 98% VBR, I get bigger files but the quality it amazing and looks very close to the original. Most files are about 2GB and King Kong the biggest so far at 5GB, I would be interested to know what settings are you using Zombinate? A guy in our office has a xbox360, I will see if can play a video for me to test them, or maybe publish some clips on the web.Shane: Thanks for putting this information up, it has saved me a lot of time, cheers

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  22. I am using the default “deinterlace when necessary” method interpolation (this isn’t quite right, but I am at my other system right now, and tmpgenc is in batch mode, so I don’t want to disturb it). For the output format I am using 30fps instead of the default 29.97. This has worked well for me for both film and television sources. I am also using the default 95 and 98% audio. I have done most of my testing with the movie “hellboy” which has some great top to bottom action, which has historically been where I see the shudder the most. This is not seen using the settings described. Can I assume that you are using 24fps as the final output format as well?

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  23. I think Rewster has hit on the magic sauce for me – in my setup. I’m extending to XB360 connected to a plasma displaying at 720p. Decoding a film-source DVD at 23.976 (deinterlace-prioritize motion) and then recoding in WMV at 23.976 has pretty much solved any judder I was seeing on playback. One of my test sources is City of Angels. A couple minutes in, after the ‘talk-while-sitting-on-traffic-sign’ scene, there are extensive sequences of pans at different speeds. At 30fps output, judder is really bad. At 29.97fps, judder is not-as-bad-as-30. At 23.976, smooth as butter.Another source, Appleseed, is now similarly smooth. I need to try some more sources before I’m completely convinced.Has anyone else tried setting the quality-performance slider on the encoder to the max performance setting? It cuts encode time drastically on my machine (dual core P4). It makes file sizes somewhat larger and image quality may be reduced slightly (maybe?), but the time savings is worth it for me.Oh, and another thing I noticed. Again, in my setup, I noticed when I trimmed the black bars from anamorphic DVDs and set the appropriate video size per aspect ratio (i.e. 720×308 for 2.35:1), my playback would be somewhat squashed when compared to playing the DVD native. My solution was to encode without cropping (figuring the bars would compress very efficiently) at the aspect ratio called out by the DVD (40:33, ie. 16:9 or ~720×400). By doing this, the playback aspect ratio matches that seen when playing the DVD in the 360. It looks like the 360 isn’t doing the correct scaling for odd aspect ratios when playing back on a 16:9 device (4:3 too?). So, I’ve been keeping things 4:3 (640×480) or 16:9 (720×400) and everything looks right so far.I would also like to echo a previously mentioned sentiment – Thanks Shane!

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  24. Hi,Recently I tried a 2.35 aspect video using your 720×308, however the final picture was bigger than when its played from the DVD player, so what I done was mark on the TV using tape the area on the TV that the film used from source dvd straight to TV, I then imported movie as 16:11 and stripped 72 pixels from top and bottom leaving a 432 high image, now I set the aspect to 1:1 and changed the resolution to 720×512 and converted, on playback the image on the tv now matches the exact dimenensions as the original film straight from dvd player!.

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  25. Has anyone tried the 24fps “Special Animation” deinterlace method? I can’t decide what difference (good/bad) it makes compared to 24fps “Prioritize Motion”. I *think* the picture seems a bit sharper with Special Animation, but am not sure.Also, does anyone else experience occassional audio dropouts? They only last for a 250ms or less, but area annoying.

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  26. I personally haven’t tried the Special Animation deinterlace so can’t speak on that topic (haven’t done any traditional animation encodes).As for occassional audio dropouts – yes I am getting them but not consistently nor in every movie encode. I’m considering sending TMPGEnc a support email asking them to look into it.Regards,Shane.

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  27. Hi AllI have just tested Vista on my computer, it seems that Vista takes notice of the aspect ratio flag and sends this information to the XBox 360 so no special config is needed with TMPGEnc, ie if the video source is PAL (16:11 PAL WIDE) then just match this in the WMV aspect ratio config and XBOX 360 will display the video in the correct aspect ratio and keep the DVD vertical resolution intact (on the 4:3 monitor I am trying it on the videos now have black bars, all videos filled the 4:3 screen previously, on my 16:9 TV all play ok as these all displayed as 4:3 before) .This even works for 1:2.35 manually cropped dvds ie Disney’s Cars, Frighteners, Apollo13 etc.I only loaded Vista as a test and it does seem to take all the hastle out of creating 5.1 surround video’s for xbox360 playback, so I think I may upgrade my Media Center. Skulker: I tried the performance slider at position 1 and the loss of quality is minimal (from 10 foot away anyway), on my 4200 x2 processor videos encode in near real time.

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  28. Hey guys,I’m a total noob when it comes to this stuff and I have a few questions. I am looking to encode my NTSC dvds to stream to my 360. I’m using the trial version of TMPGENC now to see if it’s going to work for me, but this guide doesn’t say much about NTSC content. What’s the problem with encoding it as 720×480 (native DVD resolution)? My television runs at a native 1920×1080 (1080p) resolution and my 360 is running through VGA at 1920×1080 upconverting all my content. I don’t expect (or want to) upconvert and store all my dvds but I was wondering what settings to use for this. The black bars don’t bother me at all so cropping isn’t needed in my case. Also, does TMPGENC (or WMV for that matter) accept Digital 5.1 audio? Thanks ahead of time.

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  29. and like always I don’t think before I type. What I meant to say instead of:I don’t expect (or want to) upconvert and store all my dvds but I was wondering what settings to use for this.was this:I don’t expect (or want) to upconvert and store all my DVDs at 1920×1080, but I was wondering what settings to use for this.Thanks,Matt

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  30. Matt,If you are using Windows Vista Media Center (VMC) then from what rewster says you should be able to encode without cropping or removing black bars. So leave your input resolution alone at step 8 (16:11 is probably what it will be), skip step 9, and for step 12 choose whatever your input resolution is (16:9 or 16:11). Then for step 13 just use 720×480.I haven’t tested this (I will today) but it may work for you, but it seems only under VMC at this stage.As for upconverting to 1920×1080, you can do this if you want, but it’s probably better to keep the file size small and let the 360 scale it up for you – it has a pretty good hardware scaler that it uses for this.A native (square pixel) NTSC DVD resolution is 854×480. As this maps directly to a square pixel 16×9 ratio, this output could be set to 1920×1080 instead, using TMPGEnc to scale it up. You can try this – but I expect the output file size to be enormous.Last thing – TMPGEnc Xpress 4.x supports encoding the AC3 5.1 audio into WMA Pro Audio with 5.1+ channels. If you play this on your Media Center PC (and want full 5.1 audio) you’ll either need a soundcard that can convert audio on the fly to Dolby Digital 5.1, a version of AC3Filter that can handle re-encoding to DD5.1, or an amplifier that can decode WMA Pro audio natively (like the latest Pioneers). If you don’t want/need 5.1 from your Media Center, stereo still works.If you play the files on your Xbox 360 Extender, the 360 can transcode WMA Pro 5.1+ audio directly to DD5.1 – Option 2 in the audio setup of the 360 will make it work.Regards,Shane.

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  31. Alright here’s what I found. Using WM9AP at 720×480 at 1:1 it doesn’t fill my entire screen (even sending it through the 360 or playing it back on my widescreen computer monitor running at 1360×768). If I set it to 16:9 it fills the whole screen.If I set the bitrate to 2500Kb/s will that be ok? Also I took am going to try the 384kb/s 24bit 5.1 audio and see how that goes. I’ll go try it on the 360 now……………………………………….and it doesn’t fill up the whole screen………………Now I’m trying 720×480 at 40:33 at a Bitrate of 2500Kb/s. It seems a bit choppy on the computer but we’ll see what it looks like through the 360…..and bad again..I figured it out. for me to get native DVD (at least with this particular film) I must encode it as 720×408 (a ratio of 1.777777778 or 16:9). I’m encoding with the following settings:Codec: WM9ACSize: 720×408 (I enter 720×405 but it changes my vertical to 408 for some reason)Aspect Ratio: Display 16:9Framerate: 29.97 fps (progressive)Video Encode Type: 1 Pass VBR at 100% QualityThe film I am encoding was filmed using 2.35:1. Should I use 720×308 as posted above or will 720×408 work?Matt

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  32. Just found this thread. It’s great to see so many others working on the identical projects.I had random shakiness/choppiness on encoded DVDs and I contacted TMPGENC’s tech support. They suggested I use Prioritized Motion on the de-interlace. I have now encoded 200 DVDs and have not once had the problem again. And, oddly enough, this setting seems to work for every single DVD I have – even cartoons and animated stuff. I have experimented with Special Animation vs Prioritized motion and haven’t seen a discernable difference.As for bitrates, I have tested extensively for this. I’ve been using 2-pass Variable Bit Rate with great success. I don’t know if this will work on an Xbox (I am using a D-Link 520 and it works fine). The first thing I’ve found is that older movies that were originally of poor quality, don’t seem to benefit from high bit rates in WMV. I rarely take the bit rates above 1200kbps for these. For high action movies, I have found anything above 1500kbps makes no difference that I can see (using 2-pass VBR). My viewing tests are on both a PC screen and my MCE2005 PC driving a 105″ 1366×768 front projection screen set up. Of course 2-pass takes 5-6 hours per movie but I’m not in a hurry and time is cheaper than extra terabytes .My current challenge is getting rid of the vertical black bars on 4:3 movies that have widescreen movies encoded. I’ll go back through all the threads here carefully to see if anyone has addressed this.

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  33. Shane – this has been a great read, and has given me some pointers that I had missed out on, plus a bit of education on certain aspects of the Xbox 360. To everyone, it is so pleasing that so many people are working on a similar project!My question feels somewhat basic and out of place, given the detailed technical discussions, but here goes …. I converted a .VOB of one episode of a PAL verions of “The Office” via the DVD Decryptor –> TMPGEnc4 route. This conversion allowed me to rewind and ffwd through the streaming wmv on my X360, however, when creating a WMV of a PAL version of a full film I cannot repeat this feat. Do you have chapter / search facilities on your converted WMV9 files via your X360, and if so, how did you (or anyone) achieve this?

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  34. Hey Gang,Thanks for the info. I just burned a few movies using the 23.976fps settings and deinterlace prioratize motion and WOW they look good!Now for the problem. I use Windows media 10 for audio 24bit 5.1 audio. When I play back on 360 it is great, my AC3 light comes on my receiver and I am thrilled. BUT when playing on my HTPC (Vista Premium) I don’t get 5.1 audio. I tried installing AC3 filter, but nothing! Of course when I play a DVD I do get the AC3 surround. I don’t want to buy a new receiver that reads the Windows format for sound (will that even work?), do I need an additional piece of software!I am so close I can taste it!Rob

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  35. Rob,You’re on the right path with AC3Filter (I think). I haven’t tried it myself as my Media Center machine isn’t hooked up to an amplifier/receiver.Some things to check:1. Ensure AC3Filter is being used by Media Center.Grab the codec utility from <a href="http://mediacenterexpert.blogspot.com/2006/07/vista-media-center-decoder-utility.html“ rel=”nofollow”>here and set AC3Filter for the Audio filter.2. Once done, make sure you have AC3 Encode enabled in AC3Filter, and SPDIF output enabled.3. You might also want to try changing your sound card AND control panel speaker settings to 5.1Let me know if any of that helps.If it doesn’t either (a) someone more knowledgeable than me will jump in, or (b) you can always go and grab a recent Pioneer Receiver that supports native decoding of WMA Pro audio.Regards,Shane.

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  36. Thanks Shane,If I can get it to work I will surely post it!!One more item I find most confusing. I am always unsure as to how to set my final aspect (width and height) for my conversions. In other words is there a pre-determined ratio for 1.85 2.30 2.40, etc, etc. I would think there is. What I want is to have setups for each. That way I look at the back of the DVD, check the aspect and pick the appropriate setup for TMPGenc. I was doing the first xmen movie and set it for 720×308 and the movie looks stretched. I guess I am still confused about aspect ratios and anamorphic and etc.Anybody can tell me how to do the converions (NTSC) or have a chart?Rob

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  37. Rob,There are two things you need to be mindful of:1. The actual aspect ratio of the film on the DVD you are encoding2. The output resolution you want the final encoded movie to beWith the DVD aspect ratio, they come in three types (for widescreen films): 2.35:1, 1.85:1 or 1.78:12.35:1 is where the film has large black bars (70+ in cropping inside TMPGEnc) and the movie on the screen looks long and thin.1.85:1 and 1.78:1 are similar, except 1.85:1 has slight black bars and 1.78:1 should have none.When you work out what aspect ratio it is, you need to decide your target output resolution for the encoded movie.I use 852 as my horizontal resolution (normally smaller than the native DVD res but high enough to look excellent), so the way to work out what is the resultant vertical resolution is to divide 854 by the DVD’s horizontal aspect ratio (ie 2.35, 1.85 or 1.78), so sum is:854/2.35 = 363.40 (use 363) 854/1.85 = 461.62 (use 462)854/1.78 = 479.77 (use 480)TMPGEnc will normally round the vertical size to a supported encode resolution after you type it in.You can change the 854 to whatever size you’d like, smaller or larger, but just keep in mind if you get too big you will increase the file size dramatically, and you may also start stretching the image. Too small and you’ll lose resolution and when it fills your TV you’ll see blocking effects.Hope this helps.Regards,Shane.

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  38. Shane,That does help. I was thinking of everything in terms of 720 (due to the 720×480) I guess. I will experiment with this tonight and see what happens. I am so jazzed about the smoothness of the movies now, I can’t wait to get it all wrapped up and working 100%.The FF and RW speed still stinks for movies (I stream them using MyMovies over a NAS box on the network). It is super slow, but that’s for another time and thread!Rob

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  39. Sorry Shane, but one more question;Where did you get the 852 for your horizontal resolution? I would like to keep the original res. of the movie, but I will be playing back on a 720p plasma, so is there a better resolution to start with?Rob

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  40. Rob,I got it from being a little stoopid 😳 It’s supposed to be 854 (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDTV“ rel=”nofollow”>EDTV “square pixel” horizontal resolution for 480p).If you use 854 instead of 852 (and I’ll go back and change everywhere I wrote 852).If you take a look at the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDTV“ rel=”nofollow”>EDTV link, down the bottom of that page is a multi-coloured box with all of the different output horizontal and vertical resolutions – should give you an idea.Regards,Shane.

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  41. TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress2.35 Aspect Movies (PAL)Picture Crop: 80 Top & Bottom, 10 Left & RightVolume Adjustment: 125%VIDEO >>>Movie Format: WMVVideo Codec: WINDOWS MEDIA VIDEO 9 ADVANCED PROFILESize: 720 X 360 PixelAspect Ratio: DISPLAY 16:9Framerate: 25 FPS (PROGRESSIVE)VIDEO ENCODE TYPE: 2 PASS VBR (AVERAGE BITRATE)AVERAGE BITRATE: 1500VIDEO QUALITY: 100%AUDIO >>>Audio Codec: WINDOWS MEDIA AUDIO 10 PROFESSIONALAudio Encoding Type: 2 PASS VBR (AVERAGE BITRATE)Audio Format: 384 BBPS, 48 KHZ, 5.1 CHANNEL, 24 BIT VBROTHER >>>Performance: Position 3 (One Notch Down From +Picture QualityAbove settings take about 2 Hrs 30 Mins to convert an 1hr30min film on aIntel Core Duo 2 (E6600) at 3.15 Ghz.Im not sure if these are the best settings, the final file size is about1.3GB and the movie looks good on a HDTV 40″.Anyone comment on the above settings? Or sugest changes with reasons? Or anyother comments appreciated.Cheers

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  42. Shane, Thank you so much for your instructions and help. I have read, and re-read all the posts here a few times now. Some of the posts get a little confussing to me as they go back and forth between PAL & NTSC. Am I correct that with a NTSC dvd, if I wanted to leave the black bars and have the dvd in the same aspect ratio as it would play normally in the dvd player I would set the ratio to 854×480 regardless of the 1:78, 1:85 or 2:15 ? Thanks also to everyone who has contributed to this.

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  43. Shane, Thank you so much for your instructions and help. I have read, and re-read all the posts here a few times now. Some of the posts get a little confussing to me as they go back and forth between PAL & NTSC. Am I correct that with a NTSC dvd, if I wanted to leave the black bars and have the dvd in the same aspect ratio as it would play normally in the dvd player I would set the ratio to 854×480 regardless of the 1:78, 1:85 or 2:15 ? Thanks also to everyone who has contributed to this.

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  44. Why not crop away the top and bottom black bars and then multiply the new horizontal # by the films aspect ratio? That leaves you with full horizontal resolution instead of the other way around? No? Also, anybody experiment with the fastest encoding speed vs HQ? I don’t seem to notice a quality difference except that the fast setting is WAY faster?

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  45. Why not crop away the top and bottom black bars and then multiply the new horizontal # by the films aspect ratio? That leaves you with full horizontal resolution instead of the other way around? No? Also, anybody experiment with the fastest encoding speed vs HQ? I don’t seem to notice a quality difference except that the fast setting is WAY faster?

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