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H264 for iPod may be larger than 320 pixels wide
Authored by: barryjaylevine on Jan 25, '06 10:47:23AM

I just realized that my hint was posted so I'll try to answer some of the Q's and comments that readers have posted.

16 pixel "increments" - Yes, it's always a good thing to keep both the width and height in increments of 16. Come as close to the proper ratio as you can but do keep to the "16's".

kbps - ffmpegX usually suggest in the 175-270 range depending on the pixel size I spec. I normally bump that up to 450-500kb to maximize quality.

Qmin:3, Qmax:30 - these are absolutely necessary if you are going to go to the trouble of creating H264 content that you intend to play on your iPod and watch on your TV. It increases the size of the file but dramatically improves the resulting image.

Max GOP Size (in Options within ffmpegx) - Frankly, I don't know where I came up with the lower number (lower than the default of 250) but it seemed to me that using a lower number would produce a complete frame containing all of the picture data more often and that this would produce a better end product. I may be totally wrong here.

ME Function: Use Multi-Hexagon or Exhaustive to improve quality. Yes, this adds a bit to the encoding time but, if you're going to this trouble...?

Scaling: Yes, going up from 320x (or higher, if possible) to 480 results in some loss of quality but that's the price of entry into H264 for iPod. There will probably be another iPod that will support H264 at 640x (and probably at the HD resolution if you read anything into what Steve Jobs has been saying), but that's another thread, eh?

Remember that my purpose in doing this is to display the video on my TV from my iPod. Should you only want to watch on your iPod, the default settings in ffmpegX (H264 iPod) are fine.

By the way, what does one save in MB by doing this process as opposed to using "plain old" MPEG4 which, if the ratio supports it and the 230,000+ pixel limits is respected, can be 640x? Your mileage may vary but I find the savings to be about 25%-35% given equal quality (and I'm measuring quality simply by how good it looks to me on my 32" Toshiba CRT TV).

Finally (and this may really start some discussion), I think this method (converting videos from legitimate sources to iPod format for playback on my TV) is good enough to eliminate any desire for one of those 61" LCD behemoths and certainly any need for BluRay or HD-DVD. As far as I'm concerned, both of the formats can go pound sand. Please note that my reasoning is not a claim that "iPod to TV" is anywhere near the quality that BluRay and HD-DVD can achieve - in fact, even current DVD technology is way better; rather, it's that my needs for video entertainment are met with much lower technology. My 20th Century TV works great and, though a digital cable box might be needed in a few years, I'm fine with 640x480 (or letterbox) presentation.

Perhaps BluRay and HD-DVD are answers to a question no one has asked?

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Two things in this world aren't overrated: Macintosh and Lemon Meringue Pie.



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H264 for iPod may be larger than 320 pixels wide
Authored by: barryjaylevine on Jan 25, '06 07:34:13PM

re: Scaling. I should have written:

Scaling: Yes, going up from 320x (or higher, if possible) to 640x ...

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Two things in this world aren't overrated: Macintosh and Lemon Meringue Pie.



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