How to: Handbrake and A500

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By WereCatf, Senior Member on 24th July 2011, 09:06 PM
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Many people still seem to have lots of misunderstandings about H.264 support and they often try to feed wrong kinds of files to their tablets resulting in choppy playback, so I create this thread to help atleast some of them:

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* The Iconia Tab A500 does support H.264 video in 720p baseline-profile on 3.0.1 stock ROM, it doesn't support hardware playback of 1080p video at all and that will be choppy. The tablet simply doesn't have enough processing power to do 1080p video in software fast enough, so you'll have to update or install a custom ROM for that.

* The tablet on 3.1 (or newer) does support H.264 video in 720p resolution in baseline-, main- and high-profiles, but 1080p resolution video only in baseline-profile. This means that if you're getting choppy video playback on 1080p video then it's not baseline-profile and doesn't use hardware playback.

* The difference between baseline-profile and high-profile is that high-profile produces better quality output and smaller files. On a mobile device with limited storage it's obviously then better to use high-profile as often as possible.

* The tablet only has 720p screen so it's pointless to play 1080p on it. You should only use 1080p video if you plan to display it on big screen via HDMI.

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Handbrake: what and where?

Handbrake is an application that is meant for easy transcoding -- ie. converting from one format to another -- of video. It does the transcoding job in software so it can take a lot of time, especially if your computer isn't too beefy, but then again it produces a lot, LOT better quality output than any of the applications that utilize hardware encoding.

Handbrake can be downloaded from http://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

Handbrake can't use encrypted DVDs as input, ie. almost any regular DVD-movie. You need to strip those first to your HDD and then use Handbrake for transcoding. On their website they suggest using Fairmount paired with DVD2OneX if you're on Mac, or AnyDVD on Windows.

As transcoding jobs usually take several hours per movie I personally like to set up what I want transcoded and add several movies to queue and leave Handbrake to do its job during the night when I'm sleeping. That way it doesn't bog down the system when I'm actually using it myself.

As for hardware-assisted encoding: such solutions are really a whole lot faster, like using Cyberlink MediaEspresso I can transcode a whole 2 hour movie in just 15 minutes. But the downsides are bigger files and lower quality, and so far I have not seen a single hardware-assisted transcoding application that does high-profile, only baseline-profile. Thus I personally only recommend using such when you're in a hurry, otherwise use Handbrake.

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Set-up a 720p high-profile job on Handbrake:

* Load up a video
* On the first tab ("Picture") find a setting called "Anamorphic" and change it to "Loose"
* Set "Width" to "1280"

* Go to the 3rd tab ("Video") and select "Constant Quality", set it to 20.0

* Go to the 4th tab ("Audio"), select the audio track(s) you wish to use, and set the settings as follows: Audio Codec AAC(faac), Mixdown Dolby Pro Logic II, Samplerate Auto, Bitrate 160, DRC 0.0

* Go to the last tab ("Advanced") and set the settings as follows:


Set-up a 720p baseline-profile job on Handbrake:

Do otherwise the same as in above steps, but replace the last step with the following:

* Go to the last tab ("Advanced") and set the settings as follows:



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Set-up a 1080p baseline-profile job on Handbrake:

* Load up a video
* On the first tab ("Picture") find a setting called "Anamorphic" and change it to "Loose"
* Set "Width" to "1920"

* Go to the 3rd tab ("Video") and select "Constant Quality", set it to 20.0

* Go to the 4th tab ("Audio"), select the audio track(s) you wish to use, and set the settings as follows: Audio Codec AAC(faac), Mixdown Dolby Pro Logic II, Samplerate Auto, Bitrate 160, DRC 0.0

* Go to the last tab ("Advanced") and set the settings as follows:


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How to add subtitles

Handbrake doesn't support rendering of external subtitles in the output, ie. your only option is to use a videoplayer application that supports external subtitles, or use another transcoder software. Mediacoder can handle rendering of subtitles in the output if you really want hardcoded subtitles and Mediacoder has a pretty nice configuration wizard you can use, but it also has a GAZILLION different options and tweaks and thus there's plenty of things you can ruin your transcoding with if you don't know what you're doing.

Mediacoder also supports using CUDA on NVIDIA GPUs for speeding up the transcoding but again it cannot do high-profile H.264 then, you'll need to use CPU encoding for that.

If you're interested in using Mediacoder instead then go to http://www.mediacoderhq.com/ and download.

As for media player software that supports external subtitles: Moboplayer for example is one that has worked fine for me so far. If it doesn't work for you then leave a comment and state clearly what fails and what kinds of files you're using.

Where to get subtitles then? Well, I for one like to use www.subscene.com, they've got a great selection there for almost all possible languages.

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Disclaimer: I am not an expert in these things and thus I don't promise anything whatsoever nor accept any responsibility for anything. However, these instructions SHOULD work

UPDATE: Added ready presets in a zip file at the bottom, just import them in Handbrake and you're good to go.
UPDATE #2: Had a major brainfart and forgot to add a preset for encoding DVD-videos; they're only 480p or 576p, depending on the DVD, so using even 720p preset is a waste of bandwidth and storage space. Do find the dvdsource.zip - preset in the attachements below!

HALEP, Why is the resulting file so big?!
I personally seriously hate compression artifacts and wish to retain every single possible detail so I had left the Constant Quality setting somewhat high. In hind-sight I should have included presets with Constant Quality set lower so the output files are also smaller. Well, now you have it; just download the "Smaller output files.zip" from the attachments, import the profiles and use those instead when transcoding if you want smaller files and do not mind the slightly lower visual quality, the resulting output file should be anything between 30%-60% smaller.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Presets.zip - [Click for QR Code] (2.8 KB, 1778 views)
File Type: zip dvdsource.zip - [Click for QR Code] (990 Bytes, 497 views)
File Type: zip Smaller output files.zip - [Click for QR Code] (4.0 KB, 395 views)
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24th July 2011, 09:15 PM |#2  
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epic
Too cool of you!
kjy2010
24th July 2011, 10:55 PM |#3  
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Thanks Werecatf!
Great job!
25th July 2011, 01:29 AM |#4  
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cheers!
I do fair number of encoding using Handbrake and this will certainly help me to encode in 720p high-profile
25th July 2011, 02:10 AM |#5  
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Thanks for the tut! Gave you a click, truly awesome help for those that watch movies on their A500s!
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25th July 2011, 03:54 AM |#6  
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Might be a good idea to create some profiles too, so folks can just import them into handbrake.
25th July 2011, 04:09 AM |#7  
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This should be a sticky!
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25th July 2011, 05:49 AM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cd85233

This should be a sticky!




++++ 1
25th July 2011, 11:30 AM |#9  
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Updating the thing a bit, planning to add a few more sections to it like e.g the subtitles and so on. Ask away if there's something you don't understand, I'll try to clarify things.
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26th July 2011, 04:17 PM |#10  
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What video player do you use Cat?
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26th July 2011, 04:51 PM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zylograth

What video player do you use Cat?

I find MoboPlayer good for my uses. I usually have subtitles in .srt as a separate file in the same directory as the movie so I don't have to do anything special to get subtitles working, and otherwise I don't need any kind of special features from a video player.
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