View Full Version : Converting Hulu 480p - still doesn't work

12-04-2008, 09:01 AM
Sorry to start a new thread but the old one seems to have gotten ignored.

Here's the latest (as I see it):

1) Latest version of the converter does not convert sound properly. I've tried several different output formats and have tweaked the frequency, bit rate, etc. and all of them pop and hiccup every few seconds. The sound is in sync with the picture but the pops and clicks in the soundtrack make the converted videos unwatchable.

2) The converter plug-in in Media Catcher is a great idea but it won't convert 480p - picture is perfect, sound is perfect but sound and picture are out of sync.

3) I think the 16:9 aspect ratio problem (16:9 gets converted to 4:3 and picture is squished) may be resolved but I haven't tried to convert any widescreen videos lately.

4) I uninstalled all of Applian's programs (as well as every other media converter program that I had) and reinstalled ONLY the Capture Suite (that I purchased a few months ago) to see if that would resolve the problem. It didn't.

5) I also downloaded the additional codec pack (not sure if it was for the latest version of converter but I figured it couldn't hurt) - did not resolve the problem.

6) As I pointed out on several other threads, there are other converter programs that seem to work flawlessly (but are limited to several minutes unless purchased). However, I PAID for the Suite and don't want to pay for ANOTHER converter program.

7) As another user pointed out, mencoder (free) works but requires a lot of knowledge about all of the parms being passed to it (the manual is 172 pages) in order to get the best quality converted videos.

8) I opened a ticket several weeks ago and never received a response. While I (and everyone else who has purchased the software) greatly appreciate the efforts put forth by Applian and I, personally, love Media Catcher, we need to get this last little bit of problem resolved. Almost all of the television video that I capture is destined to be played (probably once) on my Archos 704 which supports almost any format EXCEPT .flv. If I wanted to watch everything on my laptop or my pc, I wouldn't care but my primary use is my Archos. (Since the Archos is also a DVR and can be hooked up to a television with Component or S-Video cables, I prefer to capture all videos in the highest resolution available and don't want to have to keep switching back and forth between 360p and 480p when capturing so just using 360p is not really an alternative.)

Please get this working...


12-04-2008, 09:02 PM
I am also eagerly awaiting a resolution to this issue as well, and check the forum every few days for updates.

For what it's worth, I've spent hours trying various tweaks and fixes, and the only thing I can come up with is this:

When you decrypt the raw FLV file into the component audio and video tracks, the audio tracks are shorter than the video tracks by about 4-5 mins. I have no idea why this is. The only thing I can figure is that the video track has several minutes of duplicated frames throughout.

This makes muxing the files impossible because the audio and video will never be in sync. I suspect the pops and cracks we hear on the Applian converter is the result of missing frames causing the audio to skip.

At any rate, I hope this is given a priority, because it's one of the main reasons I bought the product.


12-05-2008, 12:30 PM
I tried using a combination of ffmpeg and a utility called "mp4box" to convert a 480p Hulu file to straight mp4.

If I used a frame rate of 29.97, the resultant video (after mp4box merged the audio and video streams back together) has perfect audio and perfect video but is way out of sync (just like the new converter plugin in Media Catcher).

However, if I use 23.976, I get perfect audio, perfect video and PERFECT SYNC (and NO stutter, clicks, pops, etc.).

(The process was documented here: http://www.videohelp.com/forum/archive/i-need-to-remux-my-flv-with-h-264-video-into-mp4-t357698.html )

I need to see if I can tweak a few settings because the new video seems to be a little more CPU intensive than my Archos 704 can handle (video seems to skip frames...just enough to be annoying) but it is much better than before. (Plays perfectly on my dual-core laptop.)

C'mon folks...I think that we've found enough pieces to solve the puzzle. I believe Converter is using ffmpeg (or mencoder) underneath the GUI. See if you can tweak the parms that you're passing to it. Both will work, given the correct information.


12-05-2008, 12:44 PM
I took the new (working) mp4 and fed it into Media Catcher's converter - converted to DVD mpeg and it plays perfectly on my Archos. The new file is about three times the size of the original but it works.

(I'm going to try to convert the mp4 to mp4 via the converter to see if it cleans up the jumpy picture on the Archos without significantly increasing the file size.)

One step closer...

12-05-2008, 01:23 PM
Converted the mp4 produced by my previously posted method with Media Catcher's converter. The new mp4 is perfect and plays perfectly on the Archos (and on my laptop with WMP).

High quality video, high quality audio, perfect sync. File size is about double the original but only 2/3 the size of the mpeg.

So...looks like you follow the process (I used a batch file per the other poster's instructions) and use the correct frame rate, you'll get an mp4 that is identical in quality to the original 480p flv that can be converted to other formats without loss of audio sync and without pops, clicks, etc.

Okay Applian...it's now up to you to fix this!

(Also, the aspect ratio for 16:9 remains intact - no squished 4:3 videos!)

12-06-2008, 03:24 PM
Th sync problem comes about because the compression scheme has some way of identifying when a video frame should be duplicated or played for several cycles. It is actually an odd form of h264/AAC in an flv container. Also, most of the 480ps from hulu that I've looked at actually have a frame rate of 24000/1001. One approach when transcoding is to actually physically duplicate the frame when required. some variation on that would explain why your output is considerably larger. I believe ffmpeg uses many of the same libraries as mencoder and they use this sort of approach. That is why you can do the trick with ffmpeg/mp4box to put the file back together correctly and then feed it to the mp4 process.

12-07-2008, 04:07 AM
It doesn't get much more specific than this (http://forum.applian.com/showthread.php?p=3422#post3422). While there have been updates to a few of the packages mentioned, the links are valid for the older versions and they still work.

12-07-2008, 08:20 PM
I can appreciate that y'all are taking great lengths to come up with workarounds, but I look at that stuff and my eyes just cross. I'm the type of person who needs a simple one or two step tool. I don't want to mess with fifteen different settings and command line stuff...

So hopefully Applian will work this into their converter soon.