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Video Converting Software?

Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
So I tend to use PS3 Media Server to watch content that's saved on my PC, which normally serves as the quickest and most comfortable way to watch streaming media, as it keeps its resolution as well as audio intact.

But there are a couple of files that simply will not work with the program, due to some weird format or some such. As a result, I'd like to request a program that will let me convert any file to another, more compatible file type of my choosing, be it mkv, avi or whatever.

Thing is, I want to do this without sacrificing the video or audio quality in any way. I basically want a perfect copy that will also be compatible with the program and/or system, and keeps the same lossless quality of the original.

Suggestions, please.

Professor Snugglesworth on

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    Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Handbrake is one of the best freeware ones thats also easy to use.

    Dark Shroud on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So I tend to use PS3 Media Server to watch content that's saved on my PC, which normally serves as the quickest and most comfortable way to watch streaming media, as it keeps its resolution as well as audio intact.

    But there are a couple of files that simply will not work with the program, due to some weird format or some such. As a result, I'd like to request a program that will let me convert any file to another, more compatible file type of my choosing, be it mkv, avi or whatever.

    Thing is, I want to do this without sacrificing the video or audio quality in any way. I basically want a perfect copy that will also be compatible with the program and/or system, and keeps the same lossless quality of the original.

    Suggestions, please.

    How much do you know about video codecs and encoding?

    There are very few programs that will allow you to do this easily. And often, it won't be possible at all...not all codecs are compatible with all containers.

    Basically, a video file has three "specs:"

    Video Codec:
    This is how the actual video stream is compressed (or, for uncompressed video, the format). These are things like DivX, XviD, MPEG2, MPEG4, h.263, h.264, VC1, AVC, WMV, etc. Yes, before anybody mentions, I know that some of these overlap or are equivalent. Point is, this is the video type.

    Audio Codec:
    Same thing. You've got uncompressed and lossless formats (WAV, FLAC, AAC Lossless, others) and the more common lossy formats (MP2, MP3, AAC, AC3, DTS, OGG, etc).

    Container:
    This is the file, and how the two are muxed together. Usually denoted by the extension of the file; things like .avi, .mkv, .m4v, .mp4, .ts, .mpg, .wma, etc. Again, some of these overlap as well (an m4v is largely just an mp4...you can usually just change the extension).


    So, to do what you want to do, you need to find a program or program that will do two things (possibly in one step, possibly in two):

    - Extract the audio and video streams from the container
    - Mux them into a new container

    Now, there are some programs that do this (VirtualDub? Some others...FFMpegX on Mac was good, back when I used it). Most are a bitch to use. Most of the easy to use programs won't do this; they'll try to transcode at least the video (many will at least do audio passthrough), and transcoding means another lossy layer.

    And, in my experience, half the time you'll run into problems even if you do find a program that does this (like A/V sync issues).

    Plus, like I was saying before, not all formats go into all containers. You can't really, by specification, stick h.264 video into a .avi file. You aren't really supposed to have AC3 audio in an .avi, though it's common to see that. AC3 audio doesn't really go into .m4v/.mp4 containers, either...and AAC doesn't go into .avi. So you need to find out what formats your PS3 supports, and what containers it supports them in. For audio and video.

    Really, if it is just a couple files that won't play nice, it's probably better to do this, then try and find a specific converter for those files to PS3 formats. For instance, I know there are some .mkv converters out there that will supposedly pull out the streams and put it into some format the PS3 reads (I don't have a PS3, mind you, this is all meant as more general advice).

    Good luck!


    EDIT: Also, to save you some time, Handbrake probably is NOT what you are looking for. To my knowledge (and I use it a lot), it does not do video passthrough, which means you'll lose quality on conversion.

    mcdermott on
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    Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Super, is also a good one for converting pretty much everything.

    As for containers, .mp4 is my preference with .m4v being pretty much the same with a little more support for Apple.

    Dark Shroud on
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