So I’m still working on figuring out how to streamline the process of exporting from EyeTV into iTunes. Yes, in theory, you should only have to click iPod or Export let EyeTV do all the work. A few problems though: (1) I’m running EyeTV under a nonstandard version of the operating system (of which, I cannot say more without the Apple death squad visiting) and the Export/iPod functions simply do not work; and (2) EyeTV exports H.264/AVC 320×240, MPEG-4, which is not nearly the resolution I want to display on my upcoming AppleTV. So that leaves me working with things in a much more roundabout fashion.
So I thought, well, I’ll just use MPEG Streamclip to export my video. Normally I use QuickTime Pro to create my iTunes video. So I opened up a video I’d recently converted, made sure I matched all the settings between the Streamclip output and the QuickTime output–same bitrates, audio, frame size, etc. I dove into the EyeTV bundles, created an alias for the raw MPEG-2 transport stream data, loaded it into Streamclip, converted it, and loaded it into iTunes, where it played fine.
And then I tried to sync my iPod. Bzzzzzzzzzt. No go. No luck. No how. Even though I kept every setting the same, even though everything seems to play identically in QuickTime, I apparently created a file that wasn’t “blessed” enough to sync to my iPod. So I googled a lot. And I found out it wasn’t just me. QuickTime just seems to be able to exceed the 768 kbps, 320×240 official specs, but Streamclip can’t. See this video info? It syncs perfectly to my 30GB video iPod. And that’s 1655.78 kbits/sec. By my reckoning (checks on fingers a few times) 1655 is bigger than 768. But when I try to sync a non-QuickTime file on iTunes, I get the dreaded “Your video cannot be played on this iPod” message. Grrrr!
So I decided to try converting with QuickTime instead. And this is a good example of barrelling forth with things about which you know better, but you get into a wrong thinking groove and then have a simpsonesque D’oh moment after. I decided to use Streamclip to convert the transport stream into a normal MPEG-2 file. It’s fast and it’s easy, even though it takes up extra disk space. I loaded it into QuickTime, I exported to “iPod”. And there was no sound. D’oh! Damned multiplexed audio. I should have known better.
Now, it’s not as if I can’t export directly from Streamclip, keeping the settings to 320×240 and under 768 kbps and it will (in fact it did during my tests) sync to the iPod, but what’s the point of playing 320×240 video on a 720p display–which is the intended endpoint of this exercise? So here’s what I ended up doing for now:
Standard Def video: Open the EyeTV transport stream file in MPEG Streamclip and export to standard 320×240 iPod video.
High Def video: Open the EyeTV transport stream in MPEG Streamclip, export to a reasonably sized 16:9 format like 720×405 or 640×360. Open the converted video in QuickTime Pro and export using iPod settings.
Clearly, I’ve still got a ways to go here. I’m really hoping that the upcoming versions of QuickTime and iTunes hinted at in the AppleTV specs offer better video conversion and syncing capabilities to take better advantage of homebrew video resolution.
I’m also looking forward to some real highdef content over at the iTunes Store, but that’s a whole ‘nother matter.