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How to avoid transcoding? (handbrake)


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Hello, I have an Emby server set up, and I'm moving it from my main PC to a spare I have set up that I can leave running 24/7. I bought a nice large HDD, but the problem is that the spare is just a cheap $300 machine without a real GPU. I plan on using my good gaming PC to encode everything I get into a format that won't require transcoding. What should I use? H.264? If so, which level or profile? What about audio? I don't know much about it, but I've heard AAC is good.


I'm using handbrake for this. I've used it in the past, but usually my focus is always getting the smallest file size with the best quality. Now I'm more focused on making a video that can direct stream to anything from old iPods to PS4s...


The one I plan on using has a i3-2120 processor (3.3Gh, 4 threads, supports Intel quicksync) and 4Gbs of RAM.  Running Windows 7, although I could switch to something like Debian if it would be helpful.


Any advice at all would be helpful.


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T accurately answer the question you need to look at your playback devices and identify your lowest common denominator.

 

That said, you can play a h264 MP4 file with stereo AAC sound on almost anything without transcoding.  Personally, I say don't do the sound.  Transcoding your audio requires minimal CPU time and you'll appreciate good audio when using devices that can handle the original audio streams.

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That said, you can play a h264 MP4 file with stereo AAC sound on almost anything without transcoding.  Personally, I say don't do the sound.  Transcoding your audio requires minimal CPU time and you'll appreciate good audio when using devices that can handle the original audio streams.

 

^^ THIS!

 

h.264 is pretty universal now.  The server's audio transcode is pretty fast and low resource but more importantly Emby is pretty good at identifying the player profile and remuxing as needed to avoid transcoding.

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What everyone else says above. One thing I do is copy two audio tracks. One is the 5.1 and one is stereo aac. That way if the device can use the nicer audio it is there but if not the other audio plays and no transcoding. When I get on my computer I can upload the profiles I use for all my media.

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What everyone else says above. One thing I do is copy two audio tracks. One is the 5.1 and one is stereo aac. That way if the device can use the nicer audio it is there but if not the other audio plays and no transcoding. When I get on my computer I can upload the profiles I use for all my media.

 

This is what I do as well.  Transcoding audio is "cheap" CPU-wise and shouldn't burden your machine much at all, but my server is also my gaming machine, so I like to keep it as unburdened as possible.  It's also one less thing to transcode if a video stream transcode is needed for some reason.

 

Since my Rokus are my primary playback devices, I transcode the original audio to AAC stereo and make it the first/default audio track, then just mux the original surround track in as a secondary (or you could use Handbrake's auto-passthrough which works well enough most of the time, assuming the new version actually fixes the problems that past versions had with TrueHD).  The resulting files play on pretty much anything I have without needing to transcode anything, while also allowing me to have the higher-quality/surround audio available for the few devices I have that can decode it or pass it through to an AVR.

 

Listing your playback devices, bitrate limitations/connection speeds, and target resolutions would help greatly, though, as each may have different limitations.  Also, preserving higher-quality/surround audio takes up a bit more space (notably, lossless tracks can often be as large or larger than the video streams; most seem to average around 4-8GB just for the DTS-HD or Atmos audio stream).  If you're space-limited at all or anticipate some issues squeezing your library onto your available storage, some adjustments to the encoding parameters may be needed and/or you may want to consider just keeping lossy surround tracks instead of the lossless ones.

 

Lastly, how picky are you about quality?  I have 10-12 presets normally and select which to use depending on the source material.  If they suit your playback devices, I can share 1-2 of my "generic" ones and see how they work for you.  If you have some films that you're unhappy with the resulting quality, I can probably modify things a bit.

Edited by Waldonnis
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