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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I've been beating my head to figure out how to convert 16:9 HD material that I download from Bittorrent to 4:3 letterbox on my crappy old non-widescreen TV.

Here is what I found to do... Videora is using basically ffmpeg on the backend with some options. Thankfully you can supply your own options in the software:

Go to Setup, and then click on the profiles tab. There you can supply "Custom FFmpeg Flags" to pass to FFmpeg.

What I have done is taken the material I have downloaded and computed how large the letterbox bands are supposed to be with some simple math and then changed the ffmpeg options accordingly:

For my media which is 512x272, I have found that it correctly displays on my tivo assing the Custom FFmpeg flag: "-s 720x352 -padtop 64 -padbottom 64" (without quotations of course)

This flag does the following:

"-s 720x352" - overrides the Viedeora directive (because it comes later in the command line options videora passes to FFmpeg) to allways format the video to 720x480 and makes is 720x352. The horizontal value will allways be 720, the vertical value will be 480 - top bar value - bottom bar value (480-64-64=352)

"-padtop 64 --padbottom 64" add the proper "letterbox bars" to the top and bottom of the screen. Adjust this accordingly for your widescreen video. I read someplace that this should be in increments of 16, but I am not sure why.

I am pretty sure that padding 64 is correct for displaying 1.88 Widescreen on 4:3 with 720x480, but someone might want to check my math... I've allready had a few cold ones!
 

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Give 'em Hell, Devils
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Awesome!! I'll definitely play with this when I get home tonight and hopefully it will be the solution I've been looking for. I really appreciate you posting this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh and another thing, Make sure you have the Aspect Ratio set to 4:3 on that same page.

I just created a whole new profile called "16x9 to 4:3". I have used the bitrate of 1024kbps just for now (to speed transcoding) but I am sure if you incresed the bitrate it would work...
 

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Give 'em Hell, Devils
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Thank you so much. I did what you said and it worked like a charm. I saved the profile and will now be able to watch all my HDTV downloads on my TV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No problem, glad it worked for you. I was really frusterated that I couldnt do it. It's nice to be watching 16:9 in the correct aspect ratio.
 

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Could someone help me with the math on this one. I just tried this on one movie and it worked great. On the second movie, it isn't 16:9 it's wider (not sure what that translates to) and would like to know the math formula for proper conversion.

Thanks

Tony

edit: I think the aspect ration of the movie is 2.35:1
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
tbdenigman said:
Could someone help me with the math on this one. I just tried this on one movie and it worked great. On the second movie, it isn't 16:9 it's wider (not sure what that translates to) and would like to know the math formula for proper conversion.

Thanks

Tony

edit: I think the aspect ration of the movie is 2.35:1
I have been looking for a way to check my math, and I've found this website:

http://www.haku.co.uk/ARCT.html

Basically, at the top, you can input the resolution of the file you want to convert, and then the Tivo horizontal resolution will usually be 720. Click calculate and it should give you the proper width and height of the new video in 4:3.

You can use that vertical number and subtract from the 480 and divide by 2 to get the size of the letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the new video.

So far it's worked for me. As always, YMMV.
 

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I've gone back and forth between using Videora and WinAVI for converting shows from AVI to MPG.

I've noticed
- WinAVI will autodetect the source framesize (ie 16:9, 2.39:1, etc) and will letterbox accordingly. Videora will only output what you tell it. If you choose 16:9 as the output it will squish the 2.39 input to fit.
- Probably related to the above issue. Winavi does convert to 16:9, but renders on my HDTV in a way I have to 'Zoom' for it to display as 16:9. The resolution of this mode, however, does seem the same as the Videora conversion normal 16:9 display.
- Very Minor: Files I convert with Videora, don't seem to work properly when Tivo FastForwardingx1. The Tivo FFx1 speed just seems to be normal speed without the audio..very weird. I only noticed this the other day.
 

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This has been working great for all DVD's I throw at it. Now I can convert my DVD library to hard drive, and jsut play it on my Tivo's instead of digging through the DVDs.

Dave Zatz guide had a few more steps, DVD Fab decryptor, DVD Shrink, DVD2AVI, TMPG, which all are free, except the TMPG encoder to mpg2. It was only $30, or you can finagle the registry, or you can convert to another format and use Videora.

I tried ffmpeg, but I don't know enough about video to use all those command line switches. With this solution, I can back up any DVD with just 3 steps, DVD Fab Decryptor, DVD Shrink, Videora, and I get both 4:3 letterbox, and 16:9 widescreen(that is what DVD Shrink outputs)
 

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I still don't understand what is different between my Videora and you guys's's's's's...

When I have a HDTV 16:9 rip and convert it to tivo format, I just choose one of the the predefined 720*480 16:9 profiles in Videora, and that shows it as a 4:3 letterbox on my TiVo. I wonder why it works for me and not for you?

Thanks for the tips on how to convert a 2.35:1 to letterbox!
 

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MickeS said:
I still don't understand what is different between my Videora and you guys's's's's's...

When I have a HDTV 16:9 rip and convert it to tivo format, I just choose one of the the predefined 720*480 16:9 profiles in Videora, and that shows it as a 4:3 letterbox on my TiVo. I wonder why it works for me and not for you?

Thanks for the tips on how to convert a 2.35:1 to letterbox!
Maybe they don't know to use the -aspect 16:9 setting when converting,
or that the TiVo now has a TV aspect ratio setting under Msgs&Settings>Settings>Video>TV Aspect Ratio
 

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Give 'em Hell, Devils
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HDTiVo said:
Maybe they don't know to use the -aspect 16:9 setting when converting,
or that the TiVo now has a TV aspect ratio setting under Msgs&Settings>Settings>Video>TV Aspect Ratio
Believe me, I tried everything. If I used the predefined 4:3 settings in Videora, the programs were stretched vertically, making everything tall and skinny. If I used the predefined 16:9 settings in Videora, the program would show up with every other line shifted to opposite sides of the screen. If I then changed the aspect ratio setting of the TiVo to 16:9, it would play the files converted using the 16:9 specs, but they would look the same as if I had converted using 4:3 (tall and skinny). All of the various options that I tried played fine on the computer, even when they wouldn't play on the TiVo. This fix that rniely came up with is the only thing that worked and it's been great.

Thanks again!!
 

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devdogaz said:
Believe me, I tried everything. If I used the predefined 4:3 settings in Videora, the programs were stretched vertically, making everything tall and skinny. If I used the predefined 16:9 settings in Videora, the program would show up with every other line shifted to opposite sides of the screen. If I then changed the aspect ratio setting of the TiVo to 16:9, it would play the files converted using the 16:9 specs, but they would look the same as if I had converted using 4:3 (tall and skinny). All of the various options that I tried played fine on the computer, even when they wouldn't play on the TiVo. This fix that rniely came up with is the only thing that worked and it's been great.

Thanks again!!
It sounds like you have the TiVo model with the bug that doesn't handle 16:9 properly. There was a thread discussing this shortly after TiVoCome came out. Maybe it was never fixed (or could not be) by a software update.

Most TiVo owners should not get the impression it is necessary to do what you are doing to get around such a bug.
 

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Give 'em Hell, Devils
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HDTiVo said:
It sounds like you have the TiVo model with the bug that doesn't handle 16:9 properly. There was a thread discussing this shortly after TiVoCome came out. Maybe it was never fixed (or could not be) by a software update.
Could be. My Series 2 is a Model 540 so if that's the one with the bug, that would explain a lot. Anyway, it works fine now.
 

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devdogaz said:
Could be. My Series 2 is a Model 540 so if that's the one with the bug, that would explain a lot. Anyway, it works fine now.
That's probably it. Justin Thyme made a table up that shows what you have to do different for different models of TiVo.
 

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Yup, that was my problem too, no matter what setting I had it on, everything was always stretched, and this was the best solution for me as well.

gonzotek do you have a link to that table from Justin?
 

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Aflat said:
Yup, that was my problem too, no matter what setting I had it on, everything was always stretched, and this was the best solution for me as well.

gonzotek do you have a link to that table from Justin?
Yes, I meant to link it in my last post, but didn't find it immediately and got distracted :)
16x9 display behavior table

Justin Thyme said:
It looks like if you run into the problem with 16:9 mpegs, you only have to do a reencoding if you have a 4x3 set that doesn't have a 16X9 compatible mode. In all other situations, worst case is you patch the first header in the mpeg and you are done in seconds.

Table attached indicates what remedy to use in which situation. (second to last column: F= Fix required. U=Tivo setting change needed, X= no tivo problem.)

Lucky ones are the 240 owners- it seems to handle all configurations with 16:9 megs just dandy.

(Technical FYI- the "aspect" ratio indicated in the Mpeg header is the pixel aspect ratio, not the data frame aspect ratio. My amature understanding is that there is no relationship between this settting and the horizontal or vertical number of lines.)
 

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Ah, that would explain it! I have a 230-series TiVo by the way, seems to work the same as the 240 models.
 
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