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Handbrake 0.9.3 released


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I've been using SVN builds of Handbrake for the last few months now, and the new features of 0.9.3 represent a massive improvement over the previous version.


A few months ago, I was planning on backing up several TV shows I had on DVD using Handbrake, and I was looking forward to the new Decomb feature. I've been using it extensively since it was included in the newer snapshot and SVN builds, and it's fantastic. It's pretty much a "Set it and forget it" for interlacing. Decomb will only deinterlace frames that need interlacing and leave those that dont alone. There have been several shows I've run into that seem to have selective interlacing, mixed through the program, and this helps out tremendously.


Also, the new VFR feature detelecines material. Just leave frame rate to "same as source" and choose Detelecine in the picture menu. Hugely helpful.


And of course, Universal input. You can feed Handbrake all kinds of video files now, not just DVDs.




Sorry it's been so long, but we think you'll all agree this release of HandBrake was worth the wait. Where to begin?


Universal input

HandBrake is no longer limited to DVDs: it will now accept practically any type of video as a source. This massive enhancement was achieved by tapping into the power of libavcodec and libavformat from the FFmpeg project.


Linux GUI

There is now an official GTK graphical interface for Linux, available as a binary for Ubuntu. This is the real deal, interacting directly with HandBrake's core library instead of just putting a pretty face on a command line interface. It has full feature parity with the Mac interface.


Video quality

The x264 project has really come into its own this year, and HandBrake 0.9.3 integrates the latest improvements to the H.264 encoding library. Picture quality has enhanced dramatically through the use of psychovisual rate distortion and adaptive quantization, and there have been significant speed optimizations.


Audio flexibility

HandBrake now offers total control over multiple audio tracks.


No more internal DVD decryption

Yeah, we know, no one reading this is going "Oh wow, no more DVD decryption--what a great new feature!" but...deal.


HandBrake will dynamically load VLC's copy of libdvdcss if you have it in your Applications folder in Mac OS X, and if you're on Linux, and you want to live on the wild side, you can install libdvdcss on your system and get the same effect.


Translation of the last paragraph from nerdese:


We're not about to stop you from choosing to decrypt DVDs. If you're on a Mac, and you have VLC 0.9.x installed, you won't even notice the internal capability's gone. If you're on Linux, all you have to do is install a library.


Persistent queues

When queueing up a bunch of videos to encode, you need no longer fear a crash in HandBrake's graphical interfaces. Queued jobs are cached to disk for safekeeping between sessions.


New, better organized presets (Be sure to run "Update Built-In Presets" from the Presets menu!)

The presets are now "nested" in folders and have evolved. Notably, there is a new Apple "Universal" preset, designed to play and look good doing so on anything from an iPod Nano to an AppleTV.


There have been many changes to most of them. Please be aware that most presets now use different settings. This means most of them are not suited for benchmarking 0.9.3 against 0.9.2. For example, the AppleTV preset is slower because it is now quality based, and produces much more efficient output. The Normal preset uses psychovisual rate distortion. The High Profile presets use psychovisual trellising. All of these setting changes can influence encoding time and output file size.


For comparison purposes, there are several presets in the Apple->Legacy folder (the old iPod High-Rez, the old AppleTV, and the old iPhone presets) which remain unchanged since 0.9.2.


Audio-video synchronization

HandBrake should now keep lip-synch as well as a DVD player can.


Decomb filter

HandBrake now offers a decomb filter, in the style of AviSynth's. It is a deinterlacer that can be left on all the time without degrading picture quality, because it only deinterlaces video when it visibly needs to be.


Multi-threaded deinterlacing

The "Slow" and "Slower" filters, as well as the new decomb filter, will now take advantage of as many processors as you can throw at them.


"Same as source framerate" really is the same as the source framerate

HandBrake now, by default, passes through the exact video framerate of the source instead of smoothing to a constant rate, which could lead to frames being duplicated or dropped.


Theora video encoding

HandBrake now can encode video using the Theora codec.


Updated libraries

Besides x264, updated libraries include libsamplerate, libogg, xvidcore, libmpeg2, lame, faac, and ffmpeg's libavcodec, libavformat, and libswscale.


Massive improvements to all interfaces

As hard as it might be to believe, the changes listed above are only the tip of the iceberg. A much longer list is available, but even that is only a brief summary. There have been well over 600 changes to HandBrake's code base since 0.9.2, including hundreds of bug fixes, and a thorough log can be found on the Trac.

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For those who use this to back up TV shows, what settings do you recommend? I would love to start encoding alot of my tv shows into some sort of media center compatible format. It is just so much more convenient to watch shows this way.


If somebody has a good ripping/encoding work flow that works great for them - please share.

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I can probably give a few suggestions to try out. To start with, the new presets are much improved. If you'll be playing your files from a PC and not anything like streaming to a 360 or Apple TV, the Television preset might be a good choice with a couple of changes. It uses almost all of the high profile features of h.264.


The main thing I'd change in the Television preset is to switch it to a Constant Quality rate of somewhere between 59-62% instead of Average bit rate.


You will definitely want to test a few encodes first because there are some h.264 high profile features that might make it incompatible on your playback device. For example, Pyramidal B-Frames are enabled in the Television preset and I dont think they're even compatible with Quicktime. I don't have any personal experience with this preset, but it should output great looking files.


The Universal preset is also a good choice because it'll play on anything, iPods included. You might just want to do a few test encodes to make sure that it's up to your standard of quality. Most people like it, one of the main negative aspects of it are that it usually creates larger files sizes than most other presets/settings.


Personally, Im using a modification of the Apple TV preset that I picked up from Handbrake forums because I think I'll be an Apple TV owner in the near future ;) Also, the files it spits out are compatible with the XBOX 360. I think the quality is fantastic, and the file sizes for feature films are almost always under 2 gigs, usually closer to 1.5 gigs.


MP4 Container

Constant Quality at 62% (Movies) 60% (TV Shows)

Loose anamorphic

Detelecine on

Decomb on for TV shows or anything with an interlaced source

Denoise usually off but I use Weak for noisy TV shows

Audio Track 1 set to 160 kpbs AAC

Audio Track 2 set to Dolby Digital PassThru when available


And in the advanced code box:




Officially, the guys I got these setting from also use Weighted B-Frames in the Advanced menu, but I dont use because my Macbook struggles to play the files back a little more, and there almost impossible to scan through if you're trying to "scrub" through a file looking for something. Its just a personal choice, kind of like all of these other settings.

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With the updated release I will be using a modified version of the Universal setting as well. File playback in my house has to be compatible with iPods, PC playback and 360/PS3 so the Apple Universal (Mp4 wrapper) seems to be the best overall preset with a few modifications made to preserve aspect ratio, etc.

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