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Discussion Starter #1
I have a bunch of MPEG2 video files(and some others) that I would like to convert to another format. Some files I want to combine together to make a longer single video. What I want to know is:

1. What free programs would you all recommend
2. Is it worth paying for such a program
3. What format should I convert to(planning on streaming to PS3, storage size isnt much of an issue, quality is important), and what settings
4. Want to know why my few current converted video files create vertical lines when played back, but DLed videos(with same settings) play flawlessly.
5. Codec packs needed/recommended(dont know much about these)
6. Any other advice reguarding this subject

My sig rig is my converting machine, and my PS3 is hooked up to a 36" "tube" TV. Planning on upgrading TV when LED TVs drop to reasonable prices. Thanks for any advice and/or links.
 

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1. MPEG-2 tools for joining aren't very good. I would suggest learning how to use Avisynth (for what you're going to do, it's very simple) and joining them in a script. This will also save you time and storage. Then, use x264 to encode the video and some AAC encoder for the audio. There are plenty of packages that will do this for you (but whatever you do, do not use SUPER or MediaCoder). A few recommendations are Handbrake, RipBot264 or StaxRip. I've never actually tried any of them so I'm not sure if they take Avisynth input (they theoretically can, since x264 has it built-in). You'll have to research that.

You can use my batch script. It's drag-and-drop and should produce a playable mp4 for your PS3, but *only* if you join using Avisynth. To clarify, instead of drag & dropping an AVI, you drop the AVS.

2. No. All commercial software that does this is either terribly slow, terribly low quality or both. As a rule of thumb: if you're paying to encode media, you're doing it wrong. The open source solutions of the past decade or so have been the most efficient on all fronts.
3. You don't have much of a choice with a PS3. It's H.264+AAC in MP4 or H.264+AC3 in VOB. No, AC3 is not better - it is in fact far worse. You should see the constant bitrate and run

4. Need screenshots
5. www.cccp-project.net with Media Player Classic Homecinema (it comes with the CCCP installer)
6. Don't buy anything
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the comments COMA, Avisynth is simple?? Sounds intimidating but I will give it a try. I cant just convert the files into AVI or DIVX and play it on my PS3?? I think I can merge those files.
 

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It's simple for what you want to do. The hardest part for most people is getting past the idea that it involves coding - it's just one or two lines and doesn't involve much thought. It's not actually difficult.

You could use other software to do it, but it would take you a lot more time.
 

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You should use DGIndex to index them then the included Avisynth plugin to load them (use MPEG2Source("filename.d2v"), where filename.d2v is the filename of the index).
 
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