Amateur DVD ripping... best format, deinterlacing, Zune 80gb

I have been ripping my DVDs using DVDFab to generic xvid .avi with a resolution of 704x296, 1500kbps bitrate, and 256kb mp3 with volume bumped to 150% (always rips quiet for some reason). I had then been copying the AVI files to my Creative Zen Vision W and playing it back on my tv with the A/V out.

Well I decided I wanted to upgrade to a larger size player. Creative doesn’t have their new model out so I got a Zune, knowing I would have to do some conversion.

The thing I liked about the Zune 80gb I got is it supports 720x480 output to TV, which is my main thing. Even the Zen would not support resolutions that high.

I have two issues:

  1. Converting existing avi files to mp4 (and is it worth trying to change the resolution to standardize at 720x480 or will I just worsen the quality by stretching)?
  2. Ripping new DVD purchases at 720x480 so it A/V outs well.

Does anyone have suggestions on the software I should use? CloneDVD Mobile will output to the right resolution if I select Xbox as the player (can’t select Zune and get the right resolution). Handbrake seems to let me specify all the options and rip at my desired output as well.

The final thing I’m confused about is deinterlacing. It is an option in CloneDVD and others. From what I can tell, I should only use it if I’m in a PAL country? I live in US and buy US DVDs. I have not noticed any issues ripping with DVDFab, but I don’t know if it does the deinterlacing automatically (I’ve never messed with the option).

The Zune 80GB says it supports mp4, wmv, and will output at 2500kbps 720x480 to your TV at 30fps. But don’t movies run at the standard 23.97fps (NTSC)?

All the software that has Zune specific ripping does it in crappy 320x240 style with no other resolution options. Thats great if you only watch on the Zune, but I use it as a portable player that I hook up to different TVs to watch the movies on.

Thanks for any suggestions or tips! :bow:

Basically I want the highest quality 720x480 output I can get so I can watch all my normal def DVDs on my HDTV screen without it looking like crap.

Moved to Copy DVD Movie forum, since this isn’t a Newbie question.

Ok, thanks.

Well I did a test convert on one of my existing AVI rips. It converted OK but did stretch the resolution. However, even though I converted it to a .mp4, the Zune software still attempts to transcode it on sync. The whole point is to be able to sync it and just have it transfer the file, not attempt to transcode it for another two hours.

Does anyone know of the proper mp4 settings that will sync directly with the Zune 80? I was using h264, aac, mp4, 2000kbps. The Zune is supposed to directly support h264. Should I be ripping directly to wmv instead of mp4? :sad:

First, make sure your device and zune software is up-to-date. Second, make sure your settings adhere to the specs for 80GB: . Third, change the zune profile (h.264 and mp4) to have max bitrate of 2500 and wmv profile to have max bitrate of 3000.

Hi toad, you’re talking about when I’m converting an existing AVI rip, right?

Anyway, my Zune software is up to date as well as the firmware.
I am adhering to the specs on the offical site you listed (as I said, h264, aac, mp4, etc). I even chose a lower than max bit rate (2000 instead of 2500).

Zune keeps attempting to transcode to a smaller file (even though its like a 2gb file). I do not have this problem if I rip directly from a DVD using DVDFab, it only appears to be an issue when converting existing rips.

I’ll try changing the bitrate for h264 mp4 to 2500 instead of 2000. By the way, I was using handbrake for the conversion. Maybe there is a better program? I’m not opposed to paying for it if it works well! :cop:

One thing I noticed on the offical zune site is it says under the mp4 and wmv video specs: “Zune software will transcode HD MPEG-4 files at device sync”. Maybe it thinks the rips I’m making are HD mp4? I don’t know WTF that is to start with.

Ok, Actually I am not using handbrake to convert from AVI to mp4 b/c it doesn’t support avi. I am using Any-DVD-Converter for that. There has to be a better program!

I’m referring to DVDFab profile setting. DVDFab only converts DVD to the supported mobile profiles. Same as HandBrake. So your issue is converting avi to mp4. Try using SUPER, it’s free.

ok, thanks. i’ll tweak the DVDFab Zune rip settings to increase the bit rate, etc as you suggested. so far the rips from that have been good.

i’ll check out super and give that a shot for the avi to mp4 conversions. thanks again!

To get the best looking output on my HDTV, should I be encoding at 720x480 (looks a little stretched) 720x404 (makes the image kind of tiny) or 640x480?

PS - 95% of my DVDs are widescreen (2.35:1 or 16:9).

If you plan to use the Zune 80GB device to play on the TV, use 720x480. Otherwise, it will transcode. DvdFab should maintain the correct aspect ratio, padding appropriate top and bottom black bars, for the 720x480 resolution.

If not, just use DVD format to play on the dvd player. And it’s still the same resolution (720x480) as the dvd source.

ok, that’s what i thought but dvdfab would try to correct it saying the “zoomed source aspect ratio” should be 1.78 (720x404) instead of 1.5 (720x480).

How 'bout choosing the option “Supported by device”.

I did, thanks for the tips. Its working great ripping from widescreen DVDs to mp4 for the Zune. Filesize is about 2.5GB which is fine with me.

The only problem I have now is converting my existing AVIs to mp4 for Zune. I am trying SUPER on my home system right now and will see the results when I get back from work, but my last test rip came out as an unrecognized format.