H264 - avi or mkv?

vbimport

#1

aplologies if this has been asked/ explained before.

I am trying out the H264 dvd to mobile option & I see various choices. one choice is whether to have avi or mkv output. As I understand it mkv is just a "container", so for playback on PC, will the .avi and .mkv options give identical picture & sound quality, assuming all other parameters are unchanged ?

Is so, what are the pros & cons of choosing one over the other - I know that I can playback both formats with zoom player or with VLC player ?

Also a question on choosing best screen resolution. my source is PAL DVD ( =720x576 ) so should I select the highest reslotion H264 with that ratio, even though that's more pixels than the source ??? - or is that just a waste ? I'm guessing here that H264 uses square pixels & so 1024x576 in H264 equates to 720x576 rectangular pixels in source ?


#2

I have had poor results with H264 in AVI containers. My stuff recognizes it better as .MP4. I would not select any frame resolution higher than the source. It takes forever, the files are huge, the bitrate required for a good pits/pixel number gets beyond the capability of some playback devices. The TV has hardware to do the upscaling on the fly. If file size is truly no object, just use VOB Passthrough.


#3

Yes, these are just containers and so H264 encoded in any of them will have the same picture quality. In fact, you can re-mux one to the other with free programs. However, at present, you may not want to use the MKV container with H264 due to an outstanding DVDFab bug. Opening the file in MediaInfo shows the following:

Format profile : 0@L0.0

VLC will still play the file, but I have no guess as to what profile and level is actually being used. In addition, the VLC progress bar keeps jumping back to a previous mark between 1 and 9 seconds and then forward to the actual run time. The video plays fine but the little dance by the progress marker back and forth is rather annoying.

What kind of audio playback does your PC have, stereo or multi-channel? How much quality are you looking for verses how much space do you want a 2-hour movie to take up? The answer to these would help identify other things you may want to consider.


#4

What is your goal? play on PC or mobile device? save HDD space? stream content???
I’d also recommend H.264/.mp4…And if space is no concern,then VOB passthrough as suggested…
I have DVDFab Platinum, but I seldom use it for .mp4,
and not planning to use it until the issues have been sorted out (at least preserving 5.1 ch audio in .mp4 issue )…I have no doubt that it’ll be sooner rather than later…
In the meantime rip with Fab and use this for the .mp4 conversion

http://www.videohelp.com/tools/XviD4PSP
I can only say, it’s worked great for me so far…Good luck!


#5

I tried all of the H.264 options and could not get them to playback on my IstarHD media tank. The reasons are explained here http://www.networkedmediatank.com/viewtopic.php?t=4057&highlight=dvdfab
Therefore I decided to rip my DVDs to ISO to maintain the quality.


#6

@ ian41,
And your point is?
We still don’t know what his/her goal is… Maintain highest quality? hdd space? stream content? Not sure about the IstarHD, does it play .ISO or do you convert to ? I have no probs playing/streaming HD content to the PS3 or Xbox in high quality .mp4/h264
It just has to be converted/re-encoded properly and with the right tools…


#7

[quote=Ian41;2088346]I tried all of the H.264 options and could not get them to playback on my IstarHD media tank. The reasons are explained here http://www.networkedmediatank.com/viewtopic.php?t=4057&highlight=dvdfab
Therefore I decided to rip my DVDs to ISO to maintain the quality.[/quote]

I have the PCH (Popcorn Hour) version of NMT (Networked Media Tank) and it fails only on DVDFab created MKV files due to the format level problem above; AVI files work fine and you CAN achieve a better format level than Basic with a custom profile. You can also use DVDFab VOB passthrough instead of ISO to significantly cut the file size.

Having said that, you should really create a new thread (or revive an old one) to explore options for NMT. What the OP is trying to achieve and what works for NMT may or may not be similar.


#8

thanks guys,

My goal is to quit using the xvid or VOB options for video clips in favour of H264 in order to get better quality than the same sized Xvid file.

I use this mostly to extract single songs from music DVDs. or single demos from music tuition DVDs so that I can create custom playlists using content from many different DVDs.

The original DVDs can then be put in storage, just in case I accidentally delete the rips or suffer a hard drive failure.

I don’t have surround sound but I prefer the audiocopy rip options which preserve the orginal sound source, tha’s less hassle than having to set the MP3 bit rate to match each different DVD - as some are 192, some are 224, some are 256…I

Ideally I want picture quality to look as good as the original when viewed on a 22 inch widescreen monitor ( 1680x1050) or a 32 inch tv (running at 1360x768. resolution).

My sources are PAL dvd - some at 4x3, some at 16x9.

from the comments so far, it seems that I only need consider the .avi option, as .mkv offers no extra benefit & is arguably buggy.

I do know how to do vob passthru but from what I’ve read elasewhere, I should get equivalent picture quality from H264 with half the file size of VOB ?

File size is not a big issue for me, but why waste disc space if H264 can do the job more efficiently than VOB ?


#9

[quote=cybmole;2088417]
I do know how to do vob passthru but from what I’ve read elasewhere, I should get equivalent picture quality from H264 with half the file size of VOB ?

File size is not a big issue for me, but why waste disc space if H264 can do the job more efficiently than VOB ?[/quote]

DVDFab is not able to do High level H264 encoding yet (at least that I’ve been able to turn on). It defaults to Basic and can be tweaked with a custom profile to do Main. This means that it cannot use all the space and quality saving functionality in H264. You also have the issue that you are re-encoding from an already compressed source (MPEG2) which inherently introduces quality loss. However, “equivalent picture quality” is subjective and the best recommendation is to let your eyes be the judge.

I think your best option is VOB passthrough for what you are doing. It is the fastest option and you don’t loose quality. If you end up needing more space then you can always re-encode to H264 at a future date. By that time, maybe DVDFab will have higher quality encoding options and may even will be able to process VOB files as input; If not, there are many programs available that can.


#10

[QUOTE=Complication;2088449]DVDFab is not able to do High level H264 encoding yet (at least that I’ve been able to turn on). It defaults to Basic and can be tweaked with a custom profile to do Main. This means that it cannot use all the space and quality saving functionality in H264. [/QUOTE]

thanks - i did not realise that.

subjectively the H264 test output looked better than Xvid, and other posters in other threads have said good things about H264, but I did not appreciate that there are different “levels” of H264 encoding.

I’ll stay with VOB for now but will watch for future release improvements in H264


#11

[QUOTE=t0nee1;2088372]@ ian41,
And your point is?
We still don’t know what his/her goal is… Maintain highest quality? hdd space? stream content? Not sure about the IstarHD, does it play .ISO or do you convert to ? I have no probs playing/streaming HD content to the PS3 or Xbox in high quality .mp4/h264
It just has to be converted/re-encoded properly and with the right tools…[/QUOTE]

Sure, my point is that DVDFab is great at somethings, but the H264 encoding is far from complete.


#12

Ian41 wrote,
“Sure, my point is that DVDFab is great at somethings, but the H264 encoding is far from complete.”

Point taken!..However what tool/proggy is [I]great at all things[/I]?
My tool box is full,and I’m still piling on more…AFAIK, you can never have enough tools…But maybe we should get back on the OP’s issue which BTW is,
“h.264 avi or mkv” and not the best of or whats greatest at eveything and such…
Cheers!:cool: