We are not an Apple exclusive family so media sharing isn't exactly straight forward and with anything family oriented, it must be straightforward. I wanted to be able to watch on-demand from anywhere in the house - phone, tablet or TV.

This first part doesn't cover how to get the media on each of the devices. That will come in Part 2. For now I'll focus on encoding media, one time, and at very high quality.

Ingredients:

  1. HandBrake
    Download for your operating system and install.
  2. Media to encode.
    HandBrake supports many different input file types. So chances are if you have a digital video file it can handle it.

How to Encode

Encoding is the process of converting media in one format (like Windows Media) to another format (like MPEG 4). Sometimes other things may change like the resolution of the video.

What we are going to do here is take your existing video file, of whatever format, encode and put it in an M4V container.

A container is a kind of wrapper for your content that provides technical information about the video and audio streams. Video players leverage this content for optimized playback.

The killer feature of this method is that it allows seeking. Seeking lets you pick a point of time anywhere in the video and start immediate playback, even over a network.

Using the Windows edition of HandBrake I am going to keep it simple and just point out the needed steps.

  1. Open HandBrake.
  2. Select your source video:
    Use the Source button to select your source file or drag the file to the HandBrake application.
  3. Select the "AppleTV 3" preset.

Take note that the extensions under the destination file name is .m4v and should stay that way through the process.

Mobilevid 01

  1. Make some changes:
    1. Under the video tab select "Same as source" for Framerate.
    2. Under the Audio tab you may see two separate track entries. Remove the track with codec AC3. You should now have only one line.
      Mobilevid 0201
    3. In the Advanced tab, copy and paste the following into the large text area at the bottom of the form:
      b-adapt=2:vbv-maxrate=5000:vbv-bufsize=5000
      Mobilevid 02
  2. Make a new preset
    1. Click on the plus or add button under the presents list.
    2. Give it a name like "Mobile HD"
    3. Set picture size to "Source maximum".  
      Mobilevid 03
    4. Click the Add button.
    5. You now have a preset to use for all your future encoding adventures and don't need to do steps 3 to 5 ever again.
  3. Click Start to start encoding. 

Great, I have a freshly encoded M4V, now how do I get it on my mobile device?

To be continued...

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Lawrence Wolfe

About Lawrence Wolfe

Larry has over 20 years experience in interactive media, delivering innovative and functional solutions for heavy hitters like Mack Trucks and Air Products. As our CTO and Chief Architect, Larry crosses the divide between the left and right brain to produce experiences that are compelling, easy to use and scalable. 

Published May 13, 2013