MeGUI: Tips and tricks for HD Tivo playback

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by nrnoble, May 10, 2011.

  1. nrnoble

    nrnoble Active Member

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    A thread for Q&A about how to get use MeGUI to create HD videos from DVDs, BluRay, camcorders, and other sources.
     
  2. nrnoble

    nrnoble Active Member

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    First question: When I use one-click it always fails with an error messasge:

    MeGUI can not write on disc H:\
    Please select another output to save the chapter file​
    Drive H:\ is a mount DVD ISO image. It contains a movie I want to convert. I am unable to find and change any settings that will correct this problem.
     
  3. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    For the file output directory click 'Options' 'Settings' then near the bottom of the tab 'MAIN' is a place to enter Default Output Directory. This should be a place with plenty of working storage space for intermediate files along with the final output.

    I do not think MeGUI will parse a DVD iso file, maybe it can but I just have always used DVDfab to rip to single vob files per episode or movie and then convert the single vob file to compatible mp4. Will try to help, perhaps we will both learn something along the way.

    Make sure you are running the current version of MeGUI. I think its 2015 although mine is running 2009 as it has not updated in a few days as its running some files. I'll get updated so we are on the same page.

    You will need to create a Tivo Preset for x264. Use the following settings: Const. Quality, Quality 20, tunings: default, AVC Profile: High Profile, AVC Level: Level 4.1, Presets Slow.
     
  4. txporter

    txporter One sec, almost done

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    I haven't played around with MeGUI (I use avisynth and command lines), but do you need to set SAR flags for SD shows or does MeGUI recognize them itself? What about setting the keyframe interval? I find that using a keyframe of ~2X the framerate allows for smoother seeking (i.e. 24fps --> --keyint 48, 30fps --> --keyint 60).
     
  5. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    I have never used either of those parameters in MeGUI, not sure where they would even be set aside from manually editing the avs script file. I have no idea what the defaults for those would be under MeGUI either.

    Have you used them to correct specific troubles for tivo? I really have not had studdering problems with my encodes under MeGUI in many years. Mostly they play or they don't. Did have audio sync troubles long ago but those are mostly gone. I will admit there are large sections of MeGUI I have never used as I don't know what or why to use them. I have a few 'recipes' that work for me and create files that work on all my devices. May not be optimum and I am always looking for ways to improve them.

    I have a few defaults that I always use, mostly to avoid various issues and most of them from DVD sources. HD has been much less of a problem.

    If the original source is not h264 and its interlaced, I deinterlace for encoding to h264.

    If the original source has a PAR that is not 1:1 its converted to non-animorphic during the conversion.

    Tivo is pickey about SD video aspect ratios. I have had success with conversion of video 480p or less to either 16:9 or 4:3 but not PAL 560i. I resize all anamorphic video during encode to a PAR of 1:1. All audio is converted to ac3. Either 2 or 5.1 channels.

    In the mp4 file, video is always the first track, ac3 audio the second.


    EDITED to revise my norms on SD video based on recently learned data.
     
  6. nrnoble

    nrnoble Active Member

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    At the moment there are trade off when I use MeGUI vs Handbreak.

    The main issue I was having, video stuttering, does not occur when I use MeGUI. The video is just as smooth as the MPEG2 source.

    Downside, when using MeGUI, the output does not include the required black boarders, so when the file plays back on my 16:9 HDTV, the video is wacked out (fills entire screen) unless the source is 16:9. What I don't understand is why MPEG2 files playback fine when steamed\uploaded to the TiVo, but I have yet to get an H.264 video to play at the proper ratio unless the video includes black borders. Clearly the MPEG2 source does not include video black boarders, but the TiVo figures everything out and inserts the black boards to maintain the proper aspect ratio.
     
  7. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    Series 3 tivos have a bug dealing with HD video in h264 format that are less than full frame. Its fixed in the Premiere but the Series 3s are stuck with it.

    MeGUI can easily add the boarders during the encode such that the h264 video is 16x9 and it adds very little data to the file for simple black boarder.
     
  8. nrnoble

    nrnoble Active Member

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    Thanks for the info... What setting are you using to add the borders? I don't mind adding them; I had to add them with HB. I've looked at the MeGUI settings, and didn't see anything that was similar to how HB handles boarders.
     
  9. txporter

    txporter One sec, almost done

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    The aspect ratio information isn't done within the avisynth scripts but rather handled during encoding and when packing into containers. For x264, I use the flag --sar 40:33 (or 10:11). You can also do something similar using mp4box to assign non-square pixel sizings.

    Code:
    mp4box -add video.264:fps=23.976:par=40:33 -add audio.aac video.mp4
    I think that you were asking about my use of --keyint. I use it only to improve seeking during FF/RW.

    Tivo will read the header of the container to determine aspect ratio. It doesn't really differentiate between SD or HD video. I set a SAR flag of 10:11 for 4:3 SD video and 40:33 for 16:9 SD video. HD is generally 1:1 not 16:9.
     
  10. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    Add the line:

    addborders (L,T,R,B)

    to the avisynth script. You can edit the script MeGUI creates on the script tab of the AviSynth script creator. L, T,R,B are the number of pixes of black board to add to each side. The script creator will also let you preview your script while you work so you can see what you are doing before encoding. you can also save an avisynth profile to include this line for future use.
     
  11. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    This may indeed be the missing piece of a puzzle I have been working around for some time. I do not know how to specify a SAR for the mp4 file in MeGUI's muxer, I think it assumes 1:1 at the moment. For HD material this is not a problem but much DVD sourced material is not. If I take DVD sourced material and encode to an h264 mp4 file at its original 720x480 resolution it will not play correctly on the tivo. Tivo plays it in a 4:3 pillarbox.

    I need to do some checking on this and perhaps check with the developer for adding the option to the muxer.

    EDIT: I found a 'Force SAR' parameter in the x264 profile. I'll play with that and your suggested settings and see if the resultant mp4s play correctly on my tivo.

    EDIT2: I toyed with the Force SAR parameter in the x264 profile and it effected the final mp4 but not the way I expected, rather than replace, it seemed to have an additive or multiplier effect on the AR that was already in the file. But I did learn that if a 480p file is sent to a Tivo premiere as PAR 1:1 and DAR 16:9, it played correctly. It seemed to me easier to just manipulate or resized the video to that thus eliminating the anamorphic property. I still need to play with PAL video that is slightly larger than 480p as that was where I ran into Tivo display problems with SD video before. I will work on that.
     
  12. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I'm trying to use MeGUI to convert from some BluRay ripped .mkv files to a file playable on the TiVo. I find the MeGUI interface completely incomprehensible, and the tutorials I have found are of virtually no help at all.

    I did somehow manage to get one file converted, but I have absolutely no idea how I did it, and I am unable to replicate the feat. What's more, the resultant video is 24 fps, and I don't really think that is what I want. There are some artifacts at the edge of the video screen, and I think these might be due to the frame rate.

    I'm using MakeMKV to rip the BluRay disk, and it produces a number of .mkv files. The first issue is trying to decide which files to include in the final video. So far, I haven't come across anything that can show me what is the files. Somewhere in all the menues I came across something in MeGUI that attempts to show the video, but it doesn't work. I am unable to open the files wth any other software, either.

    It seems the indexer may be what I need to use to get multiple files included in the output, but I am unable to get it to work properly. Exactly what am I supposed to be doing here?
     
  13. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    First, MeGUI will not rip a Bluray disk, you need anydvd for that.

    Are you trying to create an mp4 file of only the main movie or are you trying to create a set of files for the whole BR disk?

    Usually extracting the main movie in its native m2ts format is sufficient, muxing into an MKV is an unnecessary step.

    In MeGUI, the simplest method is to use the one click encoder. As the Tivo is not one of the predefined devices meGUI has profiles for, you will need to create your own.

    Audio, ac3, 448kbps
    Video, x264, AVC Profle High, AVC Level 4.1, suggest starting with quality 19, constant quality, medium presets.

    Output file, mp4

    Setting it up the first time is a chore, especially if you don't know what you are trying to achieve with all the tools available. MeGUI has a LOT of tools available.
     
  14. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I never said I was trying to use MeGUI to rip the BluRay, although anydvd is not an option, here. As I specifically stated, I am using MakeMKV to rip the BLu-Ray disk, and it creates a number of .mkv files.

    Well, one step at a time.

    MakeMKV does not support that option. The files are .mkv.

    And just how does one do that?

    Will that limit the VBR to no more than 25,000K?

    That one is easy. The hard part seems to be setting an input file or files and determining which files to include.

    Once again, *WHICH* tool is the one that needs to be selected? The ones I tried all wound up with errors.

    I manged to get what seems to be a playable video using Handbrake, but none of these tools seem to let one set a maximum bit rate. Dropping the average bit rate down until the maximum does not exceed the limit is a poor compromise.

    I used ffmpeg to create a .mp4 file from the source, but pyTivo recodes the resultant file when it pushes to the TiVo for some reason.
     
  15. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    Ok, from mkv. You will need to determine which mkv is which from MakeMKV and prep the one you want into an mp4 for tivo. I was trying to suggest only ripping the main movie to a single file, mkv if thats what you want, rather than all bits of video on the disk.

    Are you using meGUI build 2153?

    The one tool I was suggesting you use is the one click encoder. its the easiest path with the most automation. The easiest way to get the one click encoder is a simple File, Open and select the mkv. meGUI will ask if you wish to use the one click encoder or the file indexer. meGUI is essentially asking which path, automatic or full manual. One click is also available from the tools menu drop down.

    As far as profiles. Open the one click encoder dialog box. In the audio section there is a drop down menu for encoder, adjacent to that is a config button which will take you to a box for configuring, saving or creating audio profiles. Suggest creating one called TivoHD.

    Back to the One Click Encoder window. Advanced Config tab, there are sections for video, AviSynth Settings and Output Settings. In the video section, again a config button for building video profiles. You will need to create one for x264 to encode for your Tivo. I would not suggest specific bitrates but rather the constant quality setting. Yes the AVC profiles limit max bitrate. You would have to look up the AVC Profiles definitions but 4.1 high profile is the max profile TivoHD or Premiere support. Stay within that and you will by definition meet the spec. This is where the bitrate limits and other limits for Tivo came from.

    Output settings, you do not care about maximum filesize as tivo does not have a known limit. No splitting, one file per input file. Container format MP4, device type ISMA.

    There are MANY other ways of accomplishing an mp4 file in megui with far less automation but I thought it easiest to start with one click.

    The manual method would entail indexing, avisynth script editing, encoding audio and video and then muxing. Each a seperate step.
     
  16. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Yes, but that can be problematical:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, there are three good candidates, all 22.1GB each. Which one is the "right" one? That 750M title with 39 titles is an interesting suspect, too. An SD version, perhaps? Do the three (or four) largest files need to be spliced together? Without some form of preview, that's all hard to determine.

    Yes.

    OK, I don't think a single one of the tutorials I saw suggested this. It begs the question, however. What if one needs to splice together several files, as might be the case for a DVD rip, and possibly some BRD rips? Not being familiar with BRD structures, I thought it fairly likely I would have to splice together several smaller video segments.

    Along with a dozen other tools, all presumably starting with some sort of input and ending with some sort of output. I think I can be forgiven for not knowing which one of the 13 I needed to choose. Indeed, it is perhaps not unlikely <One Click> is not the best choice for me, but since there doesn't seem to be a functional description anywhere of what the other 12 do...

    In the One Click dialoge box? I see no such thing:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I do see something like what you describe in the main window, and I did create profiles for audio and video there.



    When did we leave it?

    I see the AviSynth, but not the others. The AviSynth config is a total mystery. Where is a functional description of what the fields do and when to use them?

    Do you mean on the Encoder Config tab?

    I was given to understand the maximum bitrate for the S3 was about 25M, while the Premier could handle about 35M. The THD seems to have problem with a video I encoded at a Q of 17, while the S3 and the Premier don't (I think - I'm having several other issues, so it is a bit hard to tell).

    I don't see this parameter.

    OK.

    Now who the heck would have guessed that? I guess in retrospect it is clear.

    I have no problem with fairly manual methods of operation, but there needs to be a clear guide detailing what each step does and the implications of variations in each step.
     
  17. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    Again, ripping the BR content to a single file for editing or further manipulation is not part of meGUI. If you need to see what each of the parts are in makeMKV, suggest you work with that software's author to add the functions. makeMKV is not what most folks using meGUI use, nor are the preview and rip functions a part of meGUI. I really cannot help you further on the ripping. I use AnyDVD. Perhaps someone else can help you with makeMKV.

    In general you will not need to splice files together for BR. Using a good ripper, you would have a single file from DVD as well even though they are stored as a group of 1GB VOB files.

    I agree the menus and functions of meGUI are a bit confusing to the uninitiated. I do not mean to sound like you should have known or that any of this is obvious. Its not. meGUI is a front end and toolbox maintainer for a group of video and audio tools. Its a toolbox. The tools are by others. There is no 'normal path' through. It all depends on what you are trying to do. Your comment is akin to complaining to Sears that a Craftsman tool box does not have instructions for rebuilding your transmission. Enough excuses, I am not the author but its the most complete and well maintained set of AV tools available. And the price is right even if the learning curve is steep.

    It appears you are not using the latest one-click encoder. What you have will work fine for single files though. The newer version handles batches of files and the dialog boxes are a bit different layout. I'll try to comment on what you are seeing. The latest one-click tool is available seperatly at the moment as it has not been rolled in to the production or beta server for meGUI.

    Looking at the settings you have for one-click dialog, most look correct but would like to see your settings for the one-click profile on the General tab. Also, on the encoder config tab, change the device type to ISMA.

    I think you are close. Just trying to pass on what I learned works for a tivo encode. Took me a long time and much trial and error to find my way through. There are no good guides that I have found.

    AVIsynth script files are a bit much to try and explain at the moment. I have barely scratched the surface of what they can do. Used that function more when I was encoding for THD than for Premiere as the THD still has the 720p bug when handling non-full frame video. The Premiere handles these fine.
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Actually, not. I looked up the specs, and the 4.1 High spec allows for bit rates up to 62,500 Kbps, which is far beyond what any currently shipped TiVo can support. Indeed, I confirmed a 4.1 coding with a Q factor of 17 from HandBrake causes issues with a TiVoHD while displaying high differential frames (snow, smoke, bat swarm, etc.) while the S3 and the Premier did not stutter or burp on the same file. OTOH, I am converting a file right now using MeGUI with the settings you suggested, and it looks like the file will be significantly smaller than the one created by HandBrake. This does suggest a lower bit rate, with possibly a consequentially lower maximum bit rate, but it also suggests a potentially lower PQ.
     
  19. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I've considered that, and in the long run I may indeed see if I can get the developers of MakeMKV to include some additional features. If I get some time, I might even put them in and submit them, myself. It is, after all, open source. OTOH, HandBrake has the ability to create short test clips, which is a better solution, since it kills several birds with one stone, including some that cannot be killed by a atand-alone ripper, so perhaps a better solution is to get the developers of MeGUI to create a similar functionality for MeGUI.

    Not really. First of all, I don't think MeGUI is intended solely for the purpose of converting BRD rips. Secondly, even with a BRD disk, there are often going to be multiple video sources. This disk is an example. I'm not certain what the other two 22G files are (probably different release versions or some such), but the first 22G file is the entire movie. Any disk (BRD or DVD) with multiple releases or multiple films is going to produce multiple files, and the only way to know which file is which film is to preview it.

    I fail to see how that is particularly relevant. A preview function can be handy no matter what was used to create the original file(s). Obviously the developers of HandBrake considered it a useful tool, the fact HandBrake has generally fewer tools and features notwithstanding.

    It's not the menus that are the problem, although they could have been much better organized. The problem is the lack of descriptions.

    Again, that's not the issue. The issue is knowing which tools do what.

    That's a poor analogy. A better analogy would be an unassembled transmission kit with no parts list and no assembly drawings.

    The learning curve would be perfectly flat if there were only proper descriptions of what each tool did somewhere.

    <Ahem>
     
  20. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

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    The tools are called what thier independant authors called them. Many are self evident by thier name. Regardless, each is described by its author (different from meGUI) along with instructions for use by its creator at a site or forum of thier choosing, mostly available via doom.org

    There is a previewer in meGUI but its part of the manual chain. Open Avisynth script creator in the tools menu. When you select a video for input a preview is displayed. Also a preview of the effect of the various settings you apply for the script are displayed so you can see what you are doing as you go. (crop, boarders, resize and aspect ratio) An avisynth script is the input file for an indexer. Once indexed the video, multiple audio tracks and subtitle tracks can be encoded and muxed to a container.

    A discription of each tool would be a big undertaking. Simple discriptions would be useless. Again, its a big learning curve to learn all these tools. I will stop trying to make excuses for meGUI. It is what it is and it works very well. Its not easy but it is very full featured. I will continue to try to help where I can. Much of its capabilities are beyond my grasp.
     

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