Archive for August, 2011

Converting HD recording to MKV

August 30th, 2011 8 comments

Having raved about AVS Video Converter in my Converting your PVR recordings to DVD post, I was disappointed that my HD recording conversion did not produce any sound. Fortunately, this is a great video conversion product that it has its own support forum, and a quick post on there resulted in a patch that worked brilliantly.

I would highly recommend AVS Video Converter to you if you want to convert your SD and HD recordings to compress media formats to archive your recordings and save diskspace.

Convert HD recordings to MKV keeping 5.1 surround audio
To do this choose the following:

  • Start AVS Video Converter
  • Loading in your HD recording
  • Choose MKV in the Formats tab
  • Expand the options by clicking the Advanced >> button
  • Click on the Conversion Options tab

You should see something like the screengrab below:

AVS VC did not recognise AAC audio

Notice that your version of AVS Video Converter does not recognise the audio codec of the HD recording, as the details are blank. What you need to do is to download this AVS-VC_TS_AAC_patch.exe from the AV Programs download page off this blog, and install it, after closing AVS Video Converter.

Once the AAC patched has been install, restarting Video Converter and loading in the HD recording will result in it recognising two ‘unknown’ audio streams. It is not too important that it does not recognise that these are AAC audio because it will convert this to AC3 5.1 audio just fine.

UPDATE: Version 8.1 of AVS Video Converter now can process AAC audio. Download the update from the AVS4YOU website, now!

AVS VC patched

On the right of the Conversion pane, you will be given the option of what video and audio setting to convert you recording to. What we choose here is:

For video:

  • Video Codec: H.264/AVC
  • Frame Size: 0 x 0 Original
  • Bitrate: 4480

For audio:

  • Audio Codec: MPEG-2/4 Audio
  • Channels: 3/2+LFE 5.1 Surround

Leave the Input File audio stream on 1. Unknown name as the second stream is the Audio Description channel. Now click on Convert!

Convert Kung Fu Panda

AVS VC claims to be able to convert 3.4GB recording of Kung Fu Panda from BBC One HD in 2 hours or so. Time to make a cuppa tea! With the above settings it took 2 hours 20 mins to convert the 3.5GB to produce a 2.4GB mkv file – a reduction of 1GB.

Unfortunately, the output video does not playback properly on the HDR because this containter is not fully supported. It plays just fine in VLC media player however, so it is a valid video format in a MKV container. I am also unable to document this behaviour in the wiki as MediaInfo reports nothing about this video file accept that it is a MKV!

UPDATE: Version 8.1 of AVS Video Converter can now produce the valid MKV container. The HDR can now playback the MKV videos produced as well.

I also had contact with a user who says that by installing the patch his ReMaker program (another tool from AVS) broke, and AVS Video Converter kept crashing giving access violations, so becareful and think whether you need to install this patch or not.

UPDATE: Donot download the patch. Download the new version 8.1 of AVS Video Converter from the Online Media Technologies Ltd.

You can download a trial copy from AVS4YOU, and then buy/register the product at a reduced rate this month of just £35! Remember this £35 unlimited registration will allow you to use all 18 tools from Video, Audio, Imaging and Disc burning tools!

Categories: Media Formats, Software Tags: , , , ,

Convert recordings to AVI and MKV media formats

August 21st, 2011 2 comments

What are AVIs and MKVs?
AVIs and MKVs are media container formats used for video playback on computers, and nowadays, spreading to CE devices such as the Humax HDR-FOX T2.

AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave and is a Microsoft video container. There are many video codecs found within the AVI container, but the most popular is DivX and Xvid.

MKV is the Matroska multimedia container and is an opensource universal format for multimedia. Although it can contain virtually any video codec within, it is commonly used to store high definition video format such as H.264/AVC.

What media formats does the HDR-FOX T2 support?
Humax have provided 3rd party media playback on their two latest boxes the HD-FOX T2 and HDR-FOX T2, but they haven’t really documented what codecs are supported except Xvid. Even more disappointingly so, Humax haven’t made any effort on keeping the aspect ratio of the video and most are stretched to fill whatever picture setting your PVR is set to.

However, the two container formats (and extensions) I am talking about here, AVI and MKV are certainly recognised. Although, what codecs within these two are playable is certainly up for guess. Do not worry though, I will document each extension and codec supported on these two Humax devices on the MyHumax Wiki on the Media Playback page.

Why convert recordings to AVI or MKV formats?
Most if not all PVRs or digital recorders that record direct to hard disk will capture raw broadcasts to plain transport stream or BDAV MPEG-2 Transport Stream container file format. This is an uncompressed format so will result in large file sizes – especially HD broadcasts. Converting to compressed formats will reduce the storage size of the recording and depending on video setting, picture quality can be kept at a high level.

Compression using DivX or XviD can reduce an SD recording from 4GB to 1.5GB and for an HD recording, reduction from 8GB to 4GB can maintain the broadcast PQ at a high level. The only disadvantage of converting from .ts to .avi or .mkv is that you might need to make an effort to keep the 5.1 surround sound and the subtitles features that benefit keeping recordings in their original broadcast formats.

Playing Recordings and other Media Formats
The best media player available for any computer is VLC Media Player from VideoLAN. This is completely free and is a must for anyone wanting to view any video format on any computer. You can download it at the link above or from the AV Programs download page. Do it now!

Not only does this useful piece of software playback your recordings but will also transcode or convert them to other format, and I will be using this to do so.

Categories: Media Formats, Software Tags: , , , ,