Trying to conquer the stream!

After getting my music library all sorted out, I’ve now moved on to fixing my movies to have them all stream smoothly and of the best quality possible. I recently acquired some component cables for my X(bmc)box and the quality is AMAZING! So now, how to carry that HD-ish quality over the network without the choppy-ness I’ve been accustomed to dealing with so far?

Obviously I can accomplish this with the ever popular Handbrake. If you don’t have this software installed you’re missing out. So far, I’ve been a idiot when it comes to encoding videos properly. I’ve never taken the time to sort it all out and put two and two together, until now.

Best forum post I could find was this: HandBrake • View topic – XBMC on Xbox: optimal HB settings to convert 720p x264 mkv?

Most of my HD quality videos start off as .mkv (Matroska) files. While it’s a great format for high quality movies, it’s a bitch for Xbmc to decode. Hell, anything besides an avi is chancy 😉 I’ve started to take notice of which encoding to use, and what seems to work best is Xvid/MPEG-4, with a slightly dialed down resolution from the 720p standard. Mix in the audio right (for those pesky DTS audio codecs, use the mp3 to at least salvage 2ch stereo, otherwise use AC3) and voila! In some cases, Xvid was still sloppy, so I tried FFmpeg. I’m giving the Xvid another shot with the dialed down resolution and see if there’s still chop. I can’t fast forward on the FFmpeg videos!

Your mileage may vary, but I am enjoying Transformers and other 720p/1080i movies on my Xbox currently 😀


Jon is a recreational runner of many, many distances, a music lover at heart, seasoned veteran of combat robot fighting, and a frugal (stingy) shopper of everything. He's a proud husband, and clean and sober since 2012.

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