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Video ReDo questions from a newbie

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by ElJimador, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Jan 9, 2013 #1 of 40
    ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Hi folks. I just bought a Premiere to make the jump over from Comcast's DVR service and the biggest reason I wanted to do so was the ability to save my recorded HD programs to my PC, edit out the commercials, then play them back through my DLNA blu ray player and on occassion burn some to DVD. I'm looking for the most user friendly software to do this and from what I've read on this forum and others it sounds like Video ReDo is probably the best option for me (I haven't ruled out kmttg but from the screen shots I've seen it looks a bit dense for someone just starting in this area, and if anyone has other suggestions I'm certainly still open to those as well).

    Anyway, assuming I go with VDR, I'm trying to understand the difference between different output formats and therefore which version of VDR is probably best suited for me. Because as much as I've been tooling around on this subject lately, I don't really understand the difference between, say, MPEG-2 and MP4. If I can play both back through my BD player then is there a difference in the available resolutions and quality between them? My goal is to save the files in as close to HD broadcast quality as possible and I don't really care that much about disk space since I have plenty of room on my NAS for them. So what should I be looking at exactly to decide what kind of files I should save these as and whether it would be a good idea to pay a little more for the VDR TVSuite H.264 or whether I could get the same thing for my purposes for less with the VDR Plus?

    I know there are free trials of VDR available and I expect to start doing plenty of experimenting on my own within the next week or so. Just thought I'd throw the question out here first in case anyone who's already been down this road might want to share from their experience. Thanks.

    BTW, my first post here but really appreciate this forum. It's been a great resource in helping me make the decision to move over to Tivo.
     
  2. Jan 9, 2013 #2 of 40
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay

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    KMTTG is only used to transfer shows to/from the Tivos. There are no formats to choose from before downloading. When you download from a Tivo, it will be a .TiVo file, which is encoded with your Media Access Key. If your system has/had Tivo Desktop installed, you can play the .Tivo files on your computer, otherwise it needs to be decoded, which then it will be a .mpg file. KMTTG will not make DVDs.

    You would need to use VideoReDo TVSuite to edit any commercials or any content to remove or add something. VideoReDo TVSuite will make DVDs. VideoReDo Plus is similar except for the DVD authoring feature. Using free trial, you would only be able to burn a small portion and not the entire video to DVD. (VRD is only for Windows, No MAC version)
     
  3. Jan 9, 2013 #3 of 40
    steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    The main difference between Mpeg2 and H.264 (mp4) is file size.
    The Tivo records in Mpeg2. If your blu ray player can play .mpg files and you have no space problems, VRD TV Suite version 3 would work for you.
    The only "conversion" taking place is the removal of the .tivo encryption which happens very fast.
    If you were to convert a .tivo file to any format other than .mpg, that would take more time and computer processing power.

    Can you burn DVDs from your DLNA blu ray player? If so, VRD Plus (cheapest version) might suit your needs.
     
  4. Jan 9, 2013 #4 of 40
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I think a couple of wrong impressions were given in earlier posts. First VRD can be trialed uncrippled for 15 days. For this you need to perform the free-trial registration found in its menu system. Second I don't think the OP is interested in making DVD's, so unless he wants to have H.264 outputs he needs only the least expensive ("plus") version of VRD. Third, kmttg does a lot more than just transfer and decode .Tivo files to .mpg. It will also run VRD and Comskip, and I believe it will make h.264 encodings using either Handbrake or x.264. Not sure about the details because I don't use kmttg. All this is free except when it runs VRD. VAP (link in signature) does similar things but it doesn't transfer files from the tivo.
     
  5. SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Active Member

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    I was looking for an easy program to unwrap the .tivo file, edit the file and then beable to transfer it back to my TivoHD from the Now Playing List in the edited form. VideoRedo does all of that for me.
     
  6. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    FYI the newest beta has a new output profile for TiVo-TS which can save a .tivo file to an H.264 .tivo file which can then be pulled back to a TiVo using standard TiVo Desktop software. Only works with Premiere units though since they are the only ones that support the TiVo-TS format.

    Dan
     
  7. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Thanks Steve, and to the others who've responded so far. Really appreciate the feedback. I can't burn DVDs from my player and although I don't expect to burn many since I'll be able to watch them all through DLNA, the more I think about it I would prefer to have that in the software too to make it easier when I do want to. So that rules out VRD Plus I guess. And though I said disk space isn't a concern to me, when I think about accumulating these files over time it does seem like it's probably well worth the $20 difference between the v3 and H.264 versions of TVSuite to get the H.264. (I've read a bit more since my original post and I hadn't realized that H.264 was that much more efficient in terms of the file sizes).

    BTW, the owner's manual of my blu ray player (LG BD690) says that for video files the extensions it will play through either DLNA or disc/usb include .mpg, .mpeg, .mkv, and .mp4 (among a few others like .wmv, .avi, .divx, etc) with codec formats MPEG1 SS, MPEG2 PS, MPEG2 TS, and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and audio formats Dolby Digital, DTS, MP3, AAC, and AC3. Since some of that is still Greek to me (codecs particularly), I'll just ask: any difficulty that anyone sees w/playback there with either version of TVSuite? I note for example that it doesn't include .ts as a supported file extension (although on the AVS forum thread for my player I've seen others say that it will play even though the manual doesn't say so).

    I guess that's my only big trepidation out of all this (and what free trials are for), is that there's some detail I'm missing now that's going to make the DLNA playback not work or a lot more difficult to achieve then I'm currently imagining. Because really when it gets down to it, I really just want something that will take off the .tivo wrapper, let me edit out the commercials without too much trouble, and then let me save a single file for DLNA playback through my BD player (and the more I think about it, that I can easily rip to finished DVD that will play in anyone else's player too). If I can get that to work right without a bunch of additional steps then I'll see if I want to get into anything more advanced from there.
     
  8. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Thanks Dan. If I do go with the H.264 version I'll probably experiment w/this and see how playback through my Premiere compares to DLNA playback. I'd just rather not save both .tivo and non-.tivo versions of my recordings when my goal was not to be reliant on any one device and have recordings I could still play through DLNA if my Tivo turns into a brick or I decide to give it up down the road. However if I see advantages to playback through the Premiere (better UI or whatever) then I suppose your software probably makes it easy enough to just save my finished recordings as .tivo files and if then if I decide to later, convert them all over for DLNA playback instead?

    Really looking forward to trying VRD.
     
  9. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The TS files generated by the newest beta are also Premiere compatible. However TiVo Desktop doesn't work with them so you need a newish build of pyTiVo to be able to pull those over without transcoding.

    Although basically all a .tivo file is is a PS or TS file with a special header. Most programs will ignore the head and skip to the actual audio and video data. Once the file is processed by VRD it's decrypted so as long as your playback device can skip the header it should be able to play them just fine. And if you ever run unto a device that can't skip the header it's trivial to remove it and end up with a standard .mpg or .ts file.

    Dan
     
  10. fastoy

    fastoy New Member

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  11. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Just to update, it's been about 10 days now playing w/the TV Suite H264 version of VRD in trial and I'm really happy with it. I didn't realize though how long it takes to re-encode a program (especially a movie or a football game) to H264. Given that along w/some of the other free tools I've since found for video file conversion and DVD/BD authoring (Handbrake, AVCHDCoder, ImgBurn) my current lean is to go with the basic VRD Plus version to save my recorded programs as MPEG2 .TS (which I've found I can play back through my blu ray player) and then if I decide later I want to convert them to H264 or burn them to disc I'll have other tools to do that. The only tradeoff is that I'll definitely need to upgrade my 1TB NAS sooner but that seems worth it to save myself the re-encoding time plus the quality of keeping everything in its native format.

    Question, BTW: am I correct in that assumption that saving the files in the same MPEG-2 .TS format they're broadcast should preserve the best quality? I've tried watching the same show saved as .TS and H264 and so far I haven't been able to see much difference but I haven't really had time to compare them too closely either.
     
  12. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    Yes. TV is broadcast in the MPEG-2 format. Since the Tivo records the signal "as is" the resulting file is as pure as you're going to get, and VideoReDo will preserve that.

    I think you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.
    The H264 format retains HD quality while reducing file size. It takes a lot of computer processing power and that's why it takes so long to recode.
    If you have other software programs that convert video to H264 faster than VRD, I would question the quality of the output file.
     
  13. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Thanks Steve. So far the only other tool I've used to convert to H264 is Handbrake which seems to take just as long (and using AVCHDCoder to author an ISO to burn to disk takes even longer). Which I guess really shouldn't be that much of a concern since I can just let these programs run overnight or when I'm at work. I'm just thinking why bother with it to reduce the file size when storage isn't that expensive now and only seems to be getting cheaper? When I first posted here I hadn't really done anything with video files yet and I thought that converting to H264 would actually increase the quality at the same time it reduced the file size. Now that I'm learning a little more I think my preference is going to be to save all files in their original format as long as I can play them back through my blu ray player (which for blu ray rips means converting .M2TS and VC-1 since my player won't play nice with those and basically saving everything else as MPEG2 .TS or H264 MKV).

    Like I said though, I'm only about 10 days into all this fun stuff. So I'll probably be posting more questions and changing my mind plenty more times before I form any concrete opinions about anything. Anyway, thanks for the feedback. It really helps.
     
  14. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Recoding video is one of the hardest things for a PC to do. So it's one of the few things left that scales directly with the speed of your computer. The faster your computer, and the more cores it has, the faster it will be able to convert video. In my case I have a quad core i7-2700K with hyper threading. I can convert MPEG-2 HD to H.264 in about 2/3 real time. Meaning it takes about 40 minutes to convert a 1 hour program. We have at least one customer on our forums with the top of the line 6 core Intel processor and he has reported getting about 1/2 real time.

    If you scale the video down and lower the bitrate it will go faster. I can convert an hour long video to SD in about 15 minutes.

    Dan
     
  15. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Thanks Dan. I've got an i7 too (2670) so I figured it the processor was doing its job and the time the conversions to H264 were taking was just the time they're supposed to take and certainly not any reflection on your software. I just didn't realize what a workout it would be for more laptop. As laptops go it's a beast (17" HP Pavilion with dual SSD and SATA hard drives) but the other day I left VRD, Handbrake and AVCHDCoder all running jobs overnight and woke up to a BSOD talking about a memory dump due to faulty or mismatched memory and some other code referencing my Intel Graphics (which unfortunately is integrated so not easily upgraded if I wanted to). So I'm taking a few steps to upgrade (updating the Graphics firmware, upgrading from 6 to 16GB RAM, and getting a laptop cooler to hopefully keep the thing from overheating again) but if you have any other suggestions for tweaks that might help, let me know. Thanks.
     
  16. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Yes. There are a few things that can speed things up. One is to not translate the MOOV atom to the beginning of the file. This can cause some issues, but pyTivo, at least, uses QT-faststart, which can stream the MOOV atom at the outset on the fly. Another is to get a faster CPU with more cores.

    I've sometimes left the conversions running on multiple PCs simultaneously for weeks.

    Two reasons:

    1. Although drive space continues to fall in price, a 30% or more savings is still a 30% or more savings. Remember, too, it is not just purchase price, but also power,once one starts adding more and more spindles to a system. Certainly coding to h.264 has saved me at least $300 so far, significantly delaying necessary upgrades to both my RAID systems.

    2. If you are sending video back to the TiVo, h.264 / MP4 transfers much faster than MPEG-II video, especially for 720p. This is even true for the Premiere (about a factor of 2), but the difference is large for an S3 and positively huge (a factor of better than 4) on a THD.

    No. Unless one does some sort of specific video editing, conversions can only make the PQ worse, albeit in some cases not noticeably so. What it does do is allow one to compress the video farther than one can with MPEG-II without a significant loss of PQ.
     
  17. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    You should never run multiple encodes at the same time. That actually produces results that are wose then running them one at a time because the computer has to try and allocate resources to all of em at once.

    In VideoReDo you should ty the batch manager. Then you can queue up several encodes to run over night and it will actually encode them one at a time in sequence.

    Dan
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Indubitably.

    Yeah. This machine has an older, 2.8 GHz, six core Phenom II, and without shuttling the MOOV atom, it can recode 1080i MPEG-II files to h.264 / MP4 just a bit faster than real-time.

    Yeah, one of my servers runs a 4.0 GHZ 8 core Vishera CPU with 8G of RAM. It just converted a 32 minute video in just under 20 minutes.
     
  19. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    San...
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with running one encode at a time on multiple computers. Please re-read what I wrote. "...running on multiple PCs simultaneously" != "...running multiple simultaneous conversions on a PC".

    How do you think I ran recode jobs for weeks on end?
     
  20. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I was actually responding to ElJimador, your post just snuck in there while I was typing. He mentioned running jobs simultaneously in VRD, Handbrake and AVCHDCoder.

    Dan
     

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