Can DVDFab Platinum Produce TiVo-Friendly Files

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by Dajad, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Oct 3, 2007 #1 of 15
    Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    [Update: With the the help of others below and signals on the DVDFab forum, I figured this all out. Bottom line, it is very easy and very fast to get pristine perfect copies of your DVDs onto your TiVo S2 in Mpeg 2 format with no transcoding required. I'm VERY happy with this product now.]

    Hi Guys:

    Since others had raved about DVDFab Platinum , I finally bit the bullet today and purchased it. I spent a good half of the day on this.

    According to this post at CD Freaks, TiVo requires Mpeg/DivX/H.264 files etc. to be in any one of the following resolutions in order to successfully transfer to a TiVo using TiVo Desktop:

    720 x 480,
    704 x 480 (D1),
    544 x 480 (3/4 D1),
    480 x 480 (2/3 D1), and
    352 x 480 (1/2 D1).

    Near as I can tell, DVDFab does not output in any codec with any of those frame rates.

    Has anyone had any success getting a DVD they own copied onto their TiVo with a n Mpeg/H.264/dvix etc. file generated by DVDFab Platinum? If so, how? If not, are there any other one-step programs people can recommend to do this.

    I spent weeks of spare time trying to get Handbrake with various rippers to work and never succeeded. I'm happy to pay for something that will do this for me.

    In my case, I own the P90x Workout program on DVD. I want to copy it onto my TiVo Series 2 so I don't need to flip disks. There is no DMCA prohibitions against doing this in Canada.

    Thanks.

    ...Dale
     
  2. Oct 3, 2007 #2 of 15
    CuriousMark

    CuriousMark Forum Denizen

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    While I can't answer your question directly I can provide a little insight. First, those resolutions are what the MPEG-2 file going to the TiVo must be formatted in. In other words the codec that takes input from divx, xvid, or mp4 must produce an MPEG-2 with one of those resolutions. So what resolution is needed on the input side shouldn't necessarily need to be one of those if the codec in TiVo Desktop can make the conversion. I believe it can.

    Secondly the frame rate for the MPEG-2 file going to the TiVo has to be 29.97Hz. This is the standard over the air television frame rate.

    I suspect that if you can get DVD fab to output in one of those resolutions, at a 29.97 frame rate, it will make TiVo Desktop's job easier when it comes time to send the show to the TiVo, but I know TiVo Desktop works fine with other resolutions I have downloaded from the internet, so hitting one of this is not necessarily a minimum requirement.

    Oh, and sorry for wasting bandwidth if I am only rehashing what you already know.

    CuriousMark
     
  3. Oct 3, 2007 #3 of 15
    Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    Mark ...

    That was very helpful. It's too late for me to give her a go tonight but in the DVDFab settings on the question of framerate I just selected "Same as Source". If a DVD does not use the 29.97 frame rate then perhaps that is my problem. I have tried converting into Xvid and H.224 in various resolutions but never changed the default framerate.

    Suffice it to say I could get the resulting videos to play back fine in WMP and Quicktime but TiVo Desktop wouldn't even recognize them (nor would my TiVo's when I connected them to the TiVo Server running on my PC).

    I'll report back the results hopefully tomorrow.

    ...Dale
     
  4. Oct 4, 2007 #4 of 15
    Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    OK, I'm terribly embarrassed to say That DVDFab Platinum has been working all along. I made about a dozen different attempts to copy my DVD - none of which were initially recognized by the TiVo Desktop. They ALL work now!!!

    I made a STUPID mistake.

    A few weeks ago I had discovered a way to universally change the physical file location of Vista's "Documents" folder. TiVo places the "My TiVo Recordings" folder under that folder. Well, when I did some initial tests a few weeks back I "temporarily" pointed my "TiVo Desktop" to the test directory. All worked fine.

    Since then I finalized where I want the permanent "Documents" folder to reside (within my the file structure that I automatically backup each night). Unfortunately I forgot to change my setting in TiVo Desktop to the new permanent file structure (where I was placing all the DVDFAb files). So, of course, the TiVo Desktop didn't see them - it was still pointing to the test directory. I didn't realize this, of course, because I hadn't deleted the test directory and it still had pointers to all the REAL directories with all my videos in them and so TiVo Desktop was still picking up all the proper videos and showing them to me both in TiVo Desktop and on my actual TiVo.

    Doh! <-- said with a Homer Simpson voice!

    Obviously, I made the change and everything is working swimmingly now.

    So, DVDFab Platinum works GREAT. It does not yet have a default profile for TiVo, but that doesn't matter. Since TiVo Desktop Plus handles a large variety of codecs, you can use almost any of the DVDFab preset profiles and get a file that will transfer to TiVo without any problems. Now all I will do is play around with the settings to get one that is optimal for TiVo.

    Sorry about the false alarm. So far I can heartily endorse DVDFab Platinum for the techie types that can figure out and play with the settings. I can't recommend it for newbs yet - that is not until they create a TiVo specific profile as a transcoding option - something they will likely do since they seem to update this software frequently.

    ...Dale
     
  5. Oct 4, 2007 #5 of 15
    Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    I've done some playing around and the settings I've chosen with the current version of DVDFab Platinum to output DVD-sourced video for tranfer to my S2 using TiVo Desktop are as follows:

    - I use the pre-set AppleTV Profile to start: transcodes to H.264 with an .mp4 extension
    - I use the 640x640 frame resolution: this is the highest available for the 4:3 source disk I'm using. I'm not actually sure if this is the best or not, but it seems to work ok. Perhaps I should be using a ratio closer to 4:3. I'm not sure if in the conversion to Mpeg2, TiVo is using/needing all that frame resolution. If I'm just spinning wheels needlessly I may lower the frame resolution.
    - I'm choosing the 5,000 bitrate
    - I'm using 1-pass (because the 2-pass option doesn't seem to work)
    - I'm using the 29.97 fps setting
    - I'm choosing AAC sound at 128 bps - the highest available option
    - I'm putting volume at 150% of original (too many things are too quiet in my world of TiVo)

    This yields a file size of about 1,700,000 for a one hour workout video. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to transcode on my 2 core (4 virtual core) system.

    I don't care how long it takes because this is a one time deal for 14 disks (5 done, 9 to go). I don't care how big the source files are.

    All I care about is the final picture quality on my TiVo S2 and hopefully S3 one day when TiVo turns on the ability to transfer video to the S3. The final quality is decent but not GREAT. The initial DVDs played on the same TV (from my XBox 360) are noticably superior in picture quality. But, I can live with what I've got.

    Any suggestions for improving my results would be great.

    ...Dale
     
  6. Oct 4, 2007 #6 of 15
    Sicklybutsexy

    Sicklybutsexy Member

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    Dale, I think that is way too long. Just buy videoredo and it will automatically convert DVD's, other MPEG's etc... into a format that will and can be played in the now playing list if you put it there. A DVD after ripping the vob file ( I use DVD shrink - freeware) onto the hard drive (about 10-15 minutes) takes about 10 minutes to convert with Videoredo (about 30 bucks retail).
     
  7. Oct 4, 2007 #7 of 15
    CuriousMark

    CuriousMark Forum Denizen

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    What you are doing is converting 480 line MPEG-2 DVD source material to 640 line MPEG-4 for storage and then asking TiVo Desktop to convert it back to 480 lines to send to the TiVo. If you were to choose 640x480 it wouldn't need to do that part of it. Conversion time would probably go down some. Whether it would look better or not is hard to guess. By the way, 640x480 for 4x3 source aspect ratio retains square pixels which is often considered desirable, at least for MPEG-4.


    If picture quality is the prime metric, then perhaps it is best to leave the workout videos in MPEG-2. This will eliminate two transcoding operations, the one you are doing now and the one that puts it back as it is sent to the TiVo by TiVo Desktop. Every transcode operation always reduces quality, it is unavoidable. The trade-off is 3 or 4 times more disk space usage, and the compromise of your desire to store everything in a single format.

    [Edit]In the future, when the S3 may handle MPEG-4 natively, that second transcode would go away, so at that point only one transcoding's worth of quality loss would occur. So for that reason, keeping your MPEG-4 only stance may make excellent sense. But for right now, keeping MPEG-2 may be a better choice.

    CuriousMark
     
  8. Oct 4, 2007 #8 of 15
    Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    Thanks guys, thats exactly the feedback I was looking for.

    Argh... I never actually thought about it but, ya, DVDs are just encrypted/copyprotected Mpeg2. Dang. I can't find any way that DVDFAb can output an Mpeg file. If it could, you are right, that is all I need now.

    My longer term goal is to get this on the S3 which, as Mark rightly pointed out, is supposed to be able to handle Mpeg4 natively, so doing the conversion now should (knock on wood) be good for the future.

    Mark, oddly the first video/DVD I did didn't give me a 640x480 option. But now that is the highest option and it appears I've been (without noticing it) using 640x3480 for all videos AFTER the first - the timing above was timed on the subsequent conversions.

    I think I'll keep going with what I'm doing for now (at 640x480) and see if there is a way to output purely Mpeg 2 files. If not, I'll likely just use this anyway because its working and in the end game (when I can transfer to the S3) I won't need the second transcoding and the Mpeg 4/H.264 files should just work without transcoding.

    Thanks so much for the input!

    ...Dale
     
  9. Oct 4, 2007 #9 of 15
    signals2

    signals2 New Member

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    Dale
    I followed here from the link you posted in the DVDFab forum. DVDFab will output MPG files if you use the VOB Passthrough option, then just change the file suffix to MPG. The conversions are fast, the quality is the same as the original DVD, but the files are huge. I posted here since it seemed that others here were interested also. I am working up some TiVo profiles for DVDFab that I will post here, but you will have to test them. They are based on what the earlier posters in this thread said about the video and audio requirements.
     
  10. CuriousMark

    CuriousMark Forum Denizen

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    The actual TiVo supplied specification for the video and audio requirements are available on their website in this support article. If it differs from the above, use the TiVo information. I was posting from memory.

    CuriousMark
     
  11. Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    Thanks Singals. I'm looking forwrad to the profile. Obviously I'm new to DVDFAb. I don't know how to use new profiles nor how to use the VOB passthrough option. If you can point me to any instructions on how to do either I'd really appreciate it.

    If I can output pure MPeg2 files in the native TiVo format that would, of course, be the optimal solution for the TiVo S2.

    Many thanks for your help and Mark's help once again.

    ...Dale
     
  12. Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    For those following along, with Signal's help, I figured out how to use the "Vob Passthrough" technique to create raw Mpeg 2 files from your DVDs. It's very straight forward once you know how its done.

    I've now done my first end-to-end test. I now have a PERFECT copy of my first DVD on my TiVo S2 in Mpeg2 format. The picture quality is FANTASTIC - limited only by the S2's s-video output limitation. When TiVo-2-Comeback is enabled on the S3s, this will be even better with its component and HDMI ouputs.

    A 1 hour DVD that took 1.5 hours just to copy to Mpeg4, now takes 11 minutes to copy to the PC. And since the TiVo Desktop doesn't need to do any processing, the transfer from my PC to my S2 is limited ONLY by the speed of my home network. So, end to end, I can get a 1 hour DVD ripped and on the TiVo in about 20 minutes.

    I'm extremely happy with this solution.

    Singals says he's going to create profiles speicfic to TiVo's needs. When he does that will make it even easier.

    Here's the link:

    http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?p=1900403

    Thanks Sickly, Mark and Signals for all the help.

    ...Dale
     
  13. Stoystown

    Stoystown New Member

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    Does this work on Series 3 or HD Tivo?
     
  14. TAC

    TAC New Member

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    Feb 7, 2007
    Dajad,
    I'm kind of new to this DVD --> TiVo S3 thing, what program do you use to get multiple VOB files down to one VOB file. I've messed around with DVDShrink but am not having much luck.
     
  15. gvegastiger

    gvegastiger New Member

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    I've been using DVDShrink bc its free and fast to get my DVDs onto my Tivo (just renaming the VOB file extension to MPG). the only problem I've been having is that the finished file has little tiny skips in it when playing. I think it has something to do with where the chapter markers are at. Have you had any problem with this?

    One other question, is the raw MPEG files I'm getting larger than what a transcoded file would be?
     

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