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Question choosing a container (.mkv, .ts, .avi, etc.) and file format (h.264, mp4, etc.) and doing conversion

Discussion in 'Convert video to another format' started by JMThomas, May 10, 2017.

  1. JMThomas

    JMThomas Member

    Aug 25, 2009
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    After much Googling, I'm dieing of information overload.

    I have a bunch of OTA ATSC broadcast (US) files saved by Windows Media Center in .wtv files. Random sampling with VLC Media Info shows they often contain:
    • Type: Audio Codec: A52 Audio (aka AC3) (a52 )
    • Type: Video Codec: MPEG-2 Video (mp2v)
    • subtitles are present when using WMC for playback.
    • I have no idea how much meta-data is actually carried with the media, but WMC can tell me all sorts of things like when it first broadcast, who the actors are, and a episode summary.
    I also have thheadend recording in .ts or .mkv, saving this information:
    • H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) and MPEG2 video supported.
    • AC-3, AAC and MP2 audio supported.
    • DVB subtitles supported.
    I don't know how much meta-data is available as I'm using the EIT over-the-air program guide which doesn't have much. I will eventually convert to SchedulesDirect.org. It appears that tvheadend keeps meta information in side files, named with random(?) GUID strings.

    What I want (recommendations for):
    1. A standard contain file that will hold videos, audio, subtitles, and meta-data. The file will reside on a NAS server and be fetched (SMB/CIFS) by other machines for display, 1) the TV and receiver in my HTS, 2) a Raspberry Pi running Open Elec or Kodi, 3) nVidia Shield, 4) Android tablet.
    2. What video (and audio) format to use inside the container for well compressed files which are still enjoyable at 1080p resolution
    3. How make sure subtitles are also carried. Are they always in the video stream, or do I have to worry about separate processing?
    4. Meta-data. This is very murky; I'm not sure there is any standard "stream" that could also be placed in the container. The XMLTV information seems a reasonable candidate, as there are programs that assemble it and extract from it used by program guides.
    As far as using the meta-data, I assume that I will have have to run something over my library that extracts the meta-data stream and populates a database. All the database work may end up being custom, but I've got to get the meta-data to accompany the program in the container with its audio and video.

    What "standard" should I pick, and copy/transcode my sundry programs into?

    Some possible got-chas:

    Are there containers/content combinations that seem universal? Are problematic with particular popular streaming boxes (nVidia, Kodi, Android TV) with specific combinations?

    Are there format conversions (or conversion programs) that have problems?

    For example, I read that (at one time, maybe not now) mcebuddy hickuped when there were errors in an OTA signal (airplane flys over) and ffmpeg would drop sound from .wtv, and passing .wtv to .dvr-ms would loose subtitles. Rumor says some converters take longer than the program run time to complete.

    How does .wtv carry meta-data, and if it doesn't, do you know of a way to get it out of WMC?

    Please give me your experience, so I don't have to try a zillion things and discover what doesn't work well.
  2. scorpNZ

    scorpNZ Active member

    Mar 23, 2005
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    Videohelp.com would most likely be the best place to get answers

    however AC3 & mpeg2 are common.The latter is an older encoder & would be what i term highly supported,if somewhat lesser of an encoder

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