Nasty Borders!

Hey all, welcome back.

Recently I picked myself up a PS3 (Ok, so I bought it for the “kid” for “christmas” ;)), and wanted to serve my video files to my 42″ HDTV. Now, I think there are three kinds of people when it comes to watching videos on these HDTV’s. You’ve got those that want a film to be stretched to fit width-wise, maintaining it’s aspect ratio, and just adding the black borders to the top and bottom as filler. This preserves the “look” of the video so that nothing is misproportioned. Then you have those, like me, that don’t mind if people get a little taller and skinnier, but just can’t stand having half the screen be wasted black space. The third is those that don’t care. There’s always a group for those that don’t care :D.

So anyway, google didn’t turn up a readily available solution to the problem either. It’s been asked a few times on the ps3mediaserver forums but the answers I saw either didn’t understand the question, or said the only way is to use “zoom” on either the PS3, or your TV. That’s just silly.. you lose portions of the video on the left and right. May as well have a standard non-widescreen tv in that case. The other ones suggest to use -vf scale, which didn’t work for me (as it turned out, was only half the answer). Or using -vf crop in conjunction with -vf scale, which still doesn’t work for me because I am streaming videos of all sizes and types and I don’t know where to crop (most of my encodes have the borders removed in the original anyway and there is nothing to crop).

So, playing with mencoders transcoding settings I’ve come up with this simple little addition inside the Transcoding Settings->Video Files Engine->MEncoder->Expert Settings : Codecs Specific Parameters:

:: -vf scale=1920:1080,dsize=1920:1080

Note the beginning “::” as that is telling the ps3mediaserver to apply it to ALL videos. Obviously, you’ll replace the 1920:1080 with whatever your television resolution is. 1920×1080 is standard 1080p.

Anyway, this forces the encoder to fill your screen and not lose the left and right edges of the screen like “Zoom” does. You get the full picture, but if you line it up side by side with the original version you’ll see the people are a little stretched, etc. Also note, that if your original has the black borders encoded into the film (watch it non fullscreen on the PC with something like mplayer, if there’s black borders it’s probably in the video.) then this won’t work. You’ll need the above with a crop to crop the borders off the original so you’ll have to figure out whether mencoder has an autocrop feature for that. Mplayer does, just not sure about mencoder. Previously, I had to use my own scripts for that.

So, the option is out there for those of you that want to do it. For those that don’t, why did you click the link? ;)

Happy Streaming!