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Converting HD movies to WMVHD for Xbox360

I bought a few weeks ago (finally) an Xbox 360. Looks absolutely stunning on the 133" screen with the Sanyo 720p projector (Z4).
At first I noticed flickering at random times in various games as if the sync was incorrect (which of course annoyed me).
I got another XBOX 360 but same problem. Then knowing it can’t be the cable I bought a VGA cable and the problem is now fixed (plus I get now near perfect color calibration). Not sure if it’s a projector problem but probably (could be also shielding issues with the cables).
I used to use a notebook to watch HD movies on this projector but without surround sound (since there’s only analog out connection on this notebook). The Xbox 360 has digital out so I was curious to find out if I could convert various HD movies (MKV, TS) to WMVHD with surround and then burn it on DVD. It took some trial and error but works now perfect. I also can use the wireless controller to play/stop which is great.
Two ways to convert TS/MKV files to WMVHD:
1. Get free Encode360 to convert most files: http://dcunningham.net/
Now the downside is that I only could get 1-pass modes to work. Reason is that repositioning often doesn’t work and you get audio sync issues in that case. Otherwise this program is very easy to use and 1 pass quality might be acceptable in most cases.
Better solution:
2. Get following programs:
– TMPGENC 4.0 Xpress (there’s a trial and full version cost $99)
– Install MKVExtractGUI and MKV toolnix (to extract the audio stream):
Following steps are optional but will avoid video & audio sync issues in 2-pass (and MKV):
a. Now extract the audio stream by starting MKVExtactGUI (for mkv files only). Select file and choose the audio stream. Then click ‘Extract’. For ts you can do the same using MEGUI (or try if it works without extracting and following next steps)
b. Create a avisynth script file (e.g. yourMovie.avs and using notepad will do) for the video file. One line (change path/filename):
DirectShowSource ("C:\MyMovie.mkv")
c. Start TmpGenc Xpress and open the script file you just created. Then choose the audio stream from step a (typically ac3 file)
d. Go to format and choose ‘Windows media video file output’. Then use these settings:
  • Choose windows media video 9 advanced profile
  • For ‘Size’ you could match original video size. Most HD video’s will look fine in 720p: use 1280 for vertical size (1st number). Then calculate 2nd number with same ratio as source (1280×720 for 16:9). Note higher resolutions may work fine as well with xbox 360 (e.g. 1080p). With latest xbox 360 update I was able to get 12-14M bitrates with 1080i running smoothly. 1080p24 should work fine as well. Downside is that the filesize will be larger. Typically for 1080p I use 12M CBR (either 1 or 2 pass). Below settings for 720p.
  • Video Encode type: choose 2 pass (average/peak bit rate).
  • Bitrates: use the calculator to calculate max bitrate. I typically go over 100% since 4500MB is the max size for DVD 4.7. So 4400 would still work fine
  • For peak bitrate I choose 9000-10000 bps. I haven’t tested yet how much higher you could go but this will work. Typically average will be lower at around 4000-5500 for 2 hour movie.
  • You’re done, now go to ‘Encode’ tab and click ‘start’ button on the bottom left

This will take a while so a good tip is to first try a piece within the movie. On a newer duo core CPU it takes typically 10-12 hours for a 100min movie. After it’s done burn the file to a DVD using UDF format. Xbox360 will be able to play these DVD’s. There are also other options to view the file:

  • Streaming from PC
  • Copy file to USB drive (note you can use MacDrive to format a drive to remove the 4GB file size limitation)

2 responses

  1. Unknown

    Total Video Converter can convert TS, mkv to WMV directly which can be played by XBOX360. 

    August 7, 2007 at 4:02 am

  2. Lucien

    Total video converter can convert but not with surround:-(. 

    August 7, 2007 at 11:00 am

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