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Old 07-10-2007, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default Elgato Turbo.264

Encoding video is not normally ones idea of fun, but Elgato promises to take out some of the pain for Mac users by making the process up to 4x faster, with their Turbo.264. Does it live up to it's claims, and more importantly, is it worth your $100?

You can read the review here and discuss it here.
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Old 07-11-2007, 05:59 PM   #2
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Default Great Job!

A great article and one that I, a Mac user, was already interested in, so thanks for the info. Its really nice to see Techgage doing more features on this ever advancing OS because more choice is better than less choice.

All three main OS'S, Windows, Linux and OS X have their pros and cons and I enjoy reading and discovering and learning of each.

All-in-all, a great piece from Matt Serrano. I hope you keep them coming Matt.
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Old 07-17-2007, 02:49 AM   #3
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Default HD content

The 800x600 resolution is the max the hardware inside the Elgato dongle can support. I am sure the performance will drop exponentially if a HD video sequence is transferred over the USB. The sheer increase in the bandwidth of the raw video will be a big bottleneck. And ofcourse the hardware will be not be able to run 5x real time in the case of a HD video.

There are rumors that in future releases of the Elgato software they are going to have options to downscale, deinterlace, bitrate control etc...

Since this is the first hardware dongle of its kind am sure the company wants to reap all the money it can from the initial sale. They are surely going to cut prices in future...
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:41 AM   #4
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
The 800x600 resolution is the max the hardware inside the Elgato dongle can support. I am sure the performance will drop exponentially if a HD video sequence is transferred over the USB. The sheer increase in the bandwidth of the raw video will be a big bottleneck. And ofcourse the hardware will be not be able to run 5x real time in the case of a HD video.
I really can't see 800x600 being a hard limit for the encoder. Even if performance wouldn't be as impressive, as long as it could get the job done it would still put most of the strain off the processor.

I may be wrong, but in theory, the USB bus should be able to send 57.22MBps at most compared to say 357.63MBps at most with SATA II. Real world testing would never yield results as fast as these for both USB and SATA and using a hard drive would technically give you more bandwidth, but we can already see Elgato's encoder is faster at processing than standard CPUs anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
There are rumors that in future releases of the Elgato software they are going to have options to downscale, deinterlace, bitrate control etc...
Not to knock Elgato, but all of their software that I've used haven't had many options other than choosing bitrate. That's not to say I don't think it'll happen, but I'd like to see it before I give them points for making promises. It's really something that should have been included considering it's doing all of those things anyway, just not giving you control over it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Since this is the first hardware dongle of its kind am sure the company wants to reap all the money it can from the initial sale. They are surely going to cut prices in future...
This I am confused by. Yes, this is the first mainstream product (read: affordable) for the Mac, but certainly not the first. Unless you mean first encoder from Elgato.
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    Old 07-20-2007, 04:06 AM   #5
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    Default Never mind the quality...

    Yes the speeds are impressive, yes it works well, but there is, for me, a major flaw that none of the reviewers has looked at. Everyone has reported on the speed - but who has looked at the quality of the output?

    I have a lot of DVDs that I want to put on my home server and use with Apple TV. So i managed to rip the DVD and then convert it easily for Apple TV. Unfortuntely the final quality is low, with blocky, jerky pictures etc. I cannot change any of the settings to fine tune the product.

    Compare this with an identical convert I did using Handbrake and (i) Handbrake is easier; (ii) on my new MacBook the speed difference was negligible; and (iii) the picture quality is better. If I was watching this on my iPod I am sure it would be OK but on a big screen HD tv - which is what Apple TV works with - it was disappointing and in the end unwatchable. I have eben set my tv on the lowest resolution I can with Apple TV and still the blocky pictures.

    I am going to write to Elgato and see if I can get my money back.

    Christian
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    Old 07-20-2007, 11:59 AM   #6
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    Default

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Yes the speeds are impressive, yes it works well, but there is, for me, a major flaw that none of the reviewers has looked at. Everyone has reported on the speed - but who has looked at the quality of the output?
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by From my review
    While that was a hefty speed increase, unfortunately, that's where the praises end. Even though the same file was converted much faster when the Turbo was utilized, the end result looked much worse compared to the QuickTime encoded file. The problem with the quality was probably because Elgato offers no way to select the bitrate of the encoding.
    ...
    The quality was occasionally worse than other encoding tools.
    I know iLounge made a comment about the picture being interlaced when they used the AppleTV profile. It bothered them so much that they decided not to give it a rating and not to recommend it.

    The problems I had with the output quality were noticeable, and annoying, but it must depend on the source being used. I didn't see any blocking, interlacing, excess noise or blurring. It was pretty darn close to Handbrake's exported file. So there is a problem, but not an easy way to reproduce it from my experience. On a personal level, I would be interested to see what Elgato says.

    Hope that helps, and good luck.
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      Old 10-07-2007, 08:53 AM   #7
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      Default Software version 1.1

      The new version of their software 1.1 has some vast improvements. Try the highest settings for AppleTV and the quality is pretty amazing. It now also does anamorphic output.
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      Old 11-08-2007, 10:51 PM   #8
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      Default Back to the Apple Store the Turbo goes...

      Unless I did something wrong, I tried my own little test comparing Handbrake to the Turbo. The Turbo maxed out at encoding a DVD file at 25 fps. Handbrake was blistering along at over 70 fps.

      I can't see any benefit.
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