Vector 22: Don Melton on transcoding video

Vector is our cross-platform, cross-site podcast where we talk about the technology that matters to all of us. In this episode, Don Melton, former Engineering Director of Internet Technologies at Apple, deep-dives into his non-browser-based passions: Blu-Ray, transcoding video, H.264, and managing massive amounts of media. Bottom line, if you want to get your videos onto your devices, and you're not afraid of command-lines or codecs, you're in for one hell of a ride. But, yeah: Warning: Contains extreme nerdery.

Show notes




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Rene Ritchie has been covering the personal technology industry for almost a decade. Editorial Director at Mobile Nations, analyst at iMore, video and podcast host, you can follow him @reneritchie on [Snapchat](, [Instagram](, or [Twitter](
  • Sounds cool, I'll check it out. I've been in need of a good new podcast. -thanks Posted via my Galaxy S4 Google Edition
  • I'm assuming we need OSX to do any of this? Or will the shell scripts work with Linux? Posted via Android Central App
  • Well handbrake works in windows as well but if your using Android for your portable device you dont really need to transcode anything anyway, it should just work.
  • I'll ask Don, but they could be UNIX compatible.
  • Why in the World would I transcode my video files?? Isn't it only something poor Apple users have to do because of restrictions? I get that transcoding is used in streaming also , but for video files played locally on the device, it's not needed at all...
  • Blu-rays tend to be 30 to 40 GB in size. It only makes sense to re-encode them to a smaller size for portability. -Suntan
  • Listen to the podcast and you'll find out :)   Seriously, though, it's like driving a manual car. Some people want complete control of the results, from bitrate to file size. It can matter in movies that are murky, so you don't miss details, and it can matter when you want to travel and want to take more with you. Understanding how it works lets you make better choices all around. 
  • Been using handbrake for years to re-encode things and have never had an issue yet. Sure the Blu-Rays are bigger files and there are lots of new resolutions to keep up with now between phones at 720p and 1080p and tablets now pushing 1600p but i've never found much issue getting anything down to a decent size that didn't look fantastic on either my Note 3 or Note 10.1 tablet. I keep most of my anime in mkv format anyways since my Android player natively runs them and it deals with subtitles in an excellent way.