So I decided to give the new QuickTime 7.1.5 AppleTV export format a whirl. I wanted to find out what kind of size and bitrate would be produced by this QuickTime preset and see what kind of conversion times we’d be talking about.
I needed something pretty high quality to begin with so I started off in EyeTV with a relatively small (7 minute, 760 MB) High-Def recording. As you might recall from earlier articles in this series, EyeTV stores video as raw MPEG-2 transport streams. You cannot read these directly into QuickTime Pro, so you need a good quality intermediate format particularly because you cannot export directly to AppleTV in the current (2.3.3) version of EyeTV. I decided to export to 720p HDVideo as a first step and then use QuickTime to convert for AppleTV. For the curious, EyeTV’s 720p HDVideo is 1280×720-pixels at 29.97 fps.
I then imported the several gigabyte result into QuickTime Pro and chose File -> Export and choose Movie to AppleTV from the Export pop-up. There are no further options or settings to customize the output. (The Options button is disabled and you can only use Default Settings.) Enter a name and click Save to perform your conversion. The conversion for this clip took over a quarter-hour on my 1.66 GHz Intel Core Dual with 1GB RAM. I gave up and hit “cancel” long before it finished on my aging 733 G4, but we were at over an hour at that point.
The resulting video looked very nice indeed. Clocking in at just under 200MB (about a quarter of the size of the original HD video, and way, way smaller than the intermediate HDVideo video), the quality was excellent. (You can download sample screenshots here.)
Format. H.264, AAC, 44.1kHz, 29.97fps
Data Rate. 3884.70 kbits/sec
Frame Size. 960 x 540 pixels