Daily Giz Wiz 812: Turbo.264 HD

Episode 812 of the podcast

Turbo.264 HD
Subject: Review of Turbo.264 HD
Released:Tuesday 21 April 2009
Length:about 26 minutes
Download file:DGW-812.mp3 (12.2 MB)
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Short info

Transcode video to H.264 in real time with the Elgato Turbo.264 HD.

Detailed information

On the MacMania geek cruise to China, Leo is going to do 4 lectures: 60 iPhone apps, 60 free Mac apps, social networking tips (including Twitter), and using the Mac Mini as a Home Theatre PC.  An icing on the cake for the Mac Mini Home Theatre is Elgato's Turbo.264 HD.  H.264 is one of the MPEG4 compression standards.  Its advantage is being able to compress videos into smaller files while maintaining quality.  The disadvantage is that playback is very CPU-intensive, and the encoding process takes a very long time compared with other compression standards.

The Turbo.264 HD is a hardware encoder, using a USB connection, to speed up the encoding process.  It accepts many input formats including AVCHD videos (e.g. from HD camcorders), QuickTime, AVI, DV, Xvid, WMV and Video_TS folders, encode them using the H.264 profile, and output to a variety of formats for the iPhone, iPod, Sony PSP, YouTube, YouTube HD, 720p HD, and 1080p HD.  Leo's experience is that it can encode videos twice as fast.

The Turbo.264 HD comes with Elgato's software for the Mac, and when plugged in, it detects and gives you instant access to the videos on a camcorder.  It also works with other video software on the Mac for importing or encoding videos, including iMovie, QuickTime Pro, Final Cut Pro and Elgato's own EyeTV.

For a similar USB hardware H.264 encoder for Windows, Leo has heard about the BlackMagic Video Recorder.

DGW Scheduling

Because Leo is going away in July on his China tour, Dick and Leo are recording 6 shows at a time, starting with this session.  Dick will have to come up with more gadgets for each session, and will be going off to Las Vegas for the National Hardware Show which starts on 5 May.  Hence the first recording session for May will be on Monday 4 May, instead of the Tuesday.  Dick is looking forward to bringing back an arm load of gadgets from the show.

The Hilton's Suffering

Conventions have been hard hit by the economic downturn, and the Hilton in Vegas is hurting.  Leo thinks that's because they've stopped the Star Trek attraction, which reminds Dick of how he was berated by a PR lady for referring to the attraction on TV as "The Star Trek Experience", when it was "Star Trek, The Experience".  For the full story, go to Episode 261.

Leo's Autobiography

Various names have been touted for Leo's autobiography (for a previous discussion, see Episode 665).  Alessandro Abate suggests "Just One More Podcast".  For Dick's, someone has suggested "I'll Be Here".  Leo loves and repeats the motto used in Sandro's signature: "Never Surrender Dreams" (see Episode 797).

Dick's Lust For Life

When Dick loves something, he doesn't just admire it from a distance, but wants to be part of it, and that's what he's done with MAD and TechTV, the latter of which led to the Daily Giz Wiz.  At the recent Turner Classics presentation at Barnes and Noble (Episode 783), Dick introduced himself to Robert Osborne, and now he's been invited to co-host a TCM special next year on A Night of Movie Satires.

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