Tablet owners with a Tegra 2 processor

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Sep 26, 2007
Since there has a been a bit of interest on here lately from those looking at tablets or those that already have one I thought I'd give a quick tutorial on converting video to be played on your tablet. If you have a Xoom, Acer, Samsung etc that is based on the Tegra 2 processor these settings appear to be pretty universal which I arrived at after a lot of trial and error. At issue is choppy video playback when playing back DVD rips encoded as mp4 files. Firstly, ditch the default Android video player. Go to the Android Marketplace and download MX Video Player (free) along with the associated hardware codec for the Tegra 2 processor. You'll want to install both the player and the ARM7 codec because without the ARM7 codec the player will revert to software decoding which will shorten battery life as well as give non-optimal results in video playback. Next go download handbrake to do your encoding. This assumes you have a program to rip from DVD. I recommend DVDfab. Onto the Handbrake settings. Once you have ripped the DVD, launch handbrake. Select the "normal" profile from the right. Be sure to set anamorphic to loose and modulus 16 (as highlighted in red). Use anamorphic even if the video content isn't not anamorphic. On the video filters tab select weak denoising. This applies a filter that while it won't create much of any negative impact on video quality it will help "smooth" the video output before it is encoded which helps reduce file size. If you're encoding an older poor quality transfer (for example I recently did The Dirty Dozen, I used "medium" to smooth out some of the imperfections in the film transfer. In the video tab make sure H264 and "same as source" are selected. As for setting the CFR (quality level) use 20 for a movie with lots of action/specia effects. For less intense visual content (a comedy for instance) use 20.5 or 21 and for cartoons (Loony Toons in my case) use 21 or 21.5. On the audio tab, I strongly suggest downmixing to stereo unless you plan on outputting through the HDMI port. Pay attention to if your content is mono (the aforementioned Loony Toons) and select mono if that is the case. When setting the bitrate you have two viable choices. 128 or 160. 128 is fine for dialogue driven films with less complex music scores and sparse special effects. If you wish just go with the default of 160. Any higher than 160 and the Tegra 2 will choke on the bitrate. In the advanced tab set it according to the above picture. Pay close attention that CABAC and 8x8 are not checked (highlighted in red), reference and b frames are set at 2, pyramid b frame is set at strict, and trellis is set at default. Leaving CABAC enabled requires much more processing power to decode. Disabling it makes decoding easier at the expense of about a 15% increase in file size. Leaving 8x8 enabled will make the video choppy. Setting pyramid to strict ensures that the decoder doesn't have to hunt around for the proper reference frames as they are in a strict hierarchy, and finally setting trellis to its default helps with better motion prediction (better quality picture) and reducing file size. While these settings aren't ideal in terms of smallest file size they will enable playback of video on Tegra 2 tablets using hardware decode without stutter. The file sizes range from 130mb for a 7 minute cartoon to 1.1GB for a 2 1/2 hour movie like the Dirty Dozen or 900MB for something like Von Ryans Express.
Excellent write-up! Thank you! I'm going to take a different angle on this subject, dont' convert anything. Leave it all on a PC/Mac at your house but instead use the app called "Stream To Me" to stream nearly any audio or video file to your iPhone or iPad. The download to your PC/Mac is free (available in the Mac App Store, currently for free), the mobile app costs $2.99 from the iPod/iPad app store. No conversion of any file is needed. All conversion processes take place using the CPU of your PC/Mac as the 'server' to convert to native format, then send it to your device using the client. Slick stuff. Why would anyone want this? To stream any of your music and video files to anywhere on the internet from your home PC/Mac. Just listened to FLAC and some WMA files on my iPhone w/o having to deal with the conversion time/headache. It just works. Make sure your wireless router supports uPNP, that's it. In rush hour traffic, at work, your own home in the backyard, where ever, your own music from your own collection. NICE! As of now, there is no Android version of this program. Hopefully he'll make one in the future.
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