The PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 seems to have been developed by two teams with very different ideas about what a game console should be like. However, there is one area that both consoles share a commonality, and that is support for H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) video files using the MP4 container. H.264 is a very advanced video codec used in Blu-ray/HD DVD, and offers better quality and smaller file sizes than DivX/XviD, at the cost of slightly more processing power (and encoding time). The processing power requirement for playback becomes less of an issue with the powerful PS3 and Xbox 360, so you can enjoy self made high quality HD videos with full framerates. Of course, encoding time is the real problem at the moment since it could take more than 10 hours to encode a full movie even on the fastest CPUs. Future technology promises accelerated encoding, but for now, encoding small clips or having a dedicated computer running overnight is the only option.
I have already covered this area before in my Xbox 360 and PS3 H.264 conversion guides, using the tool MeGUI. This guide uses a different tool called RipBot264, which wasn't available at the time those other guides were written. RipBot264 (and despite having the name "Rip", it doesn't rip DVDs, so to the copyright police, please don't get too excited just yet) makes the whole process a lot more user friendly than MeGUI, and encoding speed is top notch too. For people that have been around for a bit, you might say that RipBot264 is to MeGUI as AutoGK is to Gordian Knot. In other words, it's aimed at beginners and so is this guide.
For the PS3, the original H.264 encoding guide also provided two alternative container formats that one can use, VOB and M2TS. Both container formats have their advantages over MP4 (mainly in the file size limit and support for 5.1 channel audio). The VOB method will not be covered as it has problem with file seeking, but if you still want to use it, use our original guides instead. The M2TS method will be covered to allow you to skip past the MP4 file size limitation and have AC3 5.1 audio.
The appendix section of this guide will include instructions on how to get what RipBot264 has produced to these two other container formats (without having to re-encode the video, which means that "conversion" is almost instantaneous), but these instructions are for more advanced users and beginners (which this guide is mainly aimed at) can happily ignore these instructions. The Xbox 360 only supports H.264 through the MP4 container, so it's somewhat less complicated.
Special thanks goes to "Breakthrough" for the M2TS method that he kindly posted on the official PS3 board.
Note that the file produced will have a file size limit of 4 GB if using MP4, so be wary of this limit and split your files accordingly.
It is obviously advantageous to make sure you are able to playback H.264 clips on your computer first. Otherwise, you can't test what you have encoded until you get the file to your Xbox 360/PS3. Consult our H.264 Playback Guide if you are unsure.
As stated before, this guide is aimed at beginners. But it would be better if users already have some knowledge in regards to video conversion. You will also need to know some network basics for PS3/Xbox 360 to TVersity connection, such as knowing what your network IP address is, configuring your firewall or port forwarding if your computer is not on the same LAN as your PS3/Xbox 360.
Software you'll need (all freeware):
Hardware you'll need:
- PS3 (with firmware 2.01 or above)
- Xbox 360 (with Spring 2007 Update or later)
Step 1: Installation
Installation is probably the hardest part of RipBot264's usage. Unlike other software, RipBot264 doesn't come with an installer, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's good because it's easy to uninstall. It's bad because you will have to manually install other pieces of software before RipBot264 would even start.
The first thing you need to do is to download and install Microsoft's .NET Framework version 2.0. It's a fairly large file and installation could take more than half an hour (typical Microsoft software then).
The author of RipBot264 states that you should not have any codec pack installed prior to installing RipBot264, and this is sort of true because different codec packs use different versions of the required software packages, or different packages altogether, which might cause RipBot264 to not function. However, I use the K-Lite Codec Pack and I was able to use RipBot264 without any problems, so it's worth trying to use RipBot264 without uninstalling anything first.
The next thing you need to download and install AviSynth. If you are using a codec pack, most likely this is already installed, but it doesn't hurt to install the latest stable version.
The next piece of software you need is Haali Media Splitter. Installing this software might interfere with your current encoding setup if you have certain software that doesn't like this splitter, but in most cases, it should not affect anything (and you are probably already using it anyway). Download and install.
Lastly, you need a fairly recent revision of ffdshow, which many codec packs also use (K-Lite is built around it). Now many people don't like ffdshow as compared to using individual codecs (eg. DivX, Xvid), but ffdshow is very easy to configure to make it still use your individual codecs, or to switch back to ffdshow usage, and all without even restarting your computer. It's easy to uninstall too. I also prefer ffdshow based playback rather than DivX or Xvid, and of course, encoders like RipBot264 love ffdshow as compared to DivX and Xvid. So download and install ffdshow. Follow the installer until you get to the "Select Additional Tasks" screen, where I recommend you select any video format that you wish to convert with under the option "Decode the following video formats with ffdshow":
As you can see from my above setup, I have ffdshow decoding a whole bunch of stuff. But if you only want to convert DivX files to H.264, then I recommend selecting DivX and so on. Scroll down to the "Decode the following audio formats with ffdshow" section and here I have "AAC" selected. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how RipBot264 uses H.264, so even these selections might not be needed, but RipBot264 won't run unless it detects ffdshow installed, so there you go. You can still change these settings after the installation is complete by locating the "ffdshow" start menu folder and using the configure audio/video decoder functions (see screenshot below). Simply run it, go to the "Codecs" section and under the "Decoder" column, select a decoder to have ffdshow do the decoding (same as checking the check box in the installer), or select "disabled" to not let ffdshow decode it (and go back to using your previously installed codecs).
Anyway, continue with the installation of ffdshow until it completes. You can now finally go and download RipBot264. RipBot264 uses the .7z compression format, so you will need to decompress the package. If you have WinRAR installed, it will do the job. If not, use the free 7-Zip software to extract the entire contents of the package to a folder on your computer (I created a folder located at "C:\Program Files\RipBot264\" and extracted the contents of the package to this folder). When you are ready to start RipBot264, simply go to the folder that you extracted the package to, located the executable file "RipBot264" and run it.
That's the installation finished. I told you it was a bit hard.