Since I got sucked into the DVD Ranger Cinavia discussion, I decided to take a look at the current trial version of this program, and do a test encode.
At first glance, it looks similar to quite a few of the multi-conversion programs that are available on the net, with many different presets for specific hardware. Many of the presets are for mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, but there are a few in there that surprised me. They still have a preset for HD-DVD for example.
To find the more generic outputs, you need to look at the TV tab. Apple TV is the first choice, but there are also settings for converting to HD-DVD, Blu ray, Xvid and dvd-video.
Quality controls are not particularly fine grained. If you want control over the encoding parameters, you won’t find it in this program. But it really isn’t intended for those who would do this…it is targeted towards the general public. The controls you do get in this gui are High Speed, Speed, Balanced, Quality, and High Quality.
The Custom output tab doesn’t seem to work at all. But this may simply be my inexperience in using the program, and if I were really interested, I’d do some research on how to use this tab. Don’t think so during the short trial I have.
For my test encode I used a blu ray ripped to the hard drive as input. It is encoded with VC-1 and uses TrueHD Dolby audio. My output target was a 720p encode in blu ray format, using H264 at 6000kb and 192kb AC3 audio. There didn’t seem to be any other choices for audio output other than just passing the original through. I used the High Quality setting.
The first attempt seemed to be working fine. 2hrs and 21 minutes later it gave me the little audio jingle that said the encode had finished successfully. But when I opened the output folder, it was empty. ???
So, I thought, again, this is just my inexperience using the program. I went through the steps once more, but this time put the temporary folder in the same folder as the output. After the second encode the output folder was empty again, but the temp folder had the entire blu ray video intact.
Examining the output m2ts file brought some surprises. They are using X264 as the encoder, and the quality of this video was really pretty good.
Here is the MediaInfo text:
General ID : 1 (0x1) Complete name : F:\AVS Output\BDTemp\BDMV\STREAM\00001.m2ts Format : BDAV Format/Info : Blu-ray Video File size : 5.63 GiB Duration : 1h 56mn Overall bit rate : 6 911 Kbps Video ID : 4113 (0x1011) Menu ID : 1 (0x1) Format : AVC Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec Format profile : High@L4.1 Format settings, CABAC : Yes Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames Codec ID : 27 Duration : 1h 56mn Bit rate : 6 436 Kbps Nominal bit rate : 6 000 Kbps Width : 1 280 pixels Height : 720 pixels Display aspect ratio : 16:9 Frame rate mode : Variable Color space : YUV Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0 Bit depth : 8 bits Scan type : Progressive Stream size : 5.24 GiB (93%) Writing library : x264 core 123 Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=1 / deblock=1:0:0 / analyse=0x3:0x113 / me=hex / subme=6 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.00:0.00 / mixed_ref=0 / me_range=4 / chroma_me=0 / trellis=0 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=-2 / threads=6 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / bluray_compat=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=6 / b_pyramid=2 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=1 / weightb=1 / open_gop=0 / weightp=2 / keyint=250 / keyint_min=25 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc_lookahead=40 / rc=abr / mbtree=1 / bitrate=6000 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=4 / qpmax=51 / qpstep=3 / vbv_maxrate=30000 / vbv_bufsize=2000 / nal_hrd=none / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.00 Audio ID : 4352 (0x1100) Menu ID : 1 (0x1) Format : AC-3 Format/Info : Audio Coding 3 Mode extension : CM (complete main) Format settings, Endianness : Big Codec ID : 129 Duration : 1h 56mn Bit rate mode : Constant Bit rate : 192 Kbps Channel(s) : 2 channels Channel positions : Front: L R Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz Bit depth : 16 bits Compression mode : Lossy Delay relative to video : -125ms Stream size : 160 MiB (3%) Menu ID : 4096 (0x1000) Menu ID : 1 (0x1) Duration : 1h 56mn List : 4113 (0x1011) (AVC) / 4352 (0x1100) (AC-3) Service name : Service01 Service provider : FFmpeg Service type : digital television
The build of X264 they are using seems to be very old. If my calculations are correct, there have been 32 updates to the encoder since this one.
So, overall, rather good output from the program. It wasn’t very fast, but again, I was using their best quality setting.
I don’t think the program will appeal to video enthusiasts who like total control over their encoding settings, but I’ve seen much worse for those who want a simple control system, and good quality output. I don’t think it compares favorably to many of the free programs that can use X264. Some of them are able to combine simplicity of choice in preset targets with finer controls that are available if you need them. VidCoder and Handbrake are two such free programs.