Poor Quality Video Conversions?

Recently I tried converting a TV episode from a DVD by doing the following:

I normally do my video conversions on my main desktop PC, but in this case I decided to use my Dell laptop. Everything seemed to go as planned, however, the resultant WMV file video played very choppy on my Zune (the actors in the video moved in a slightly jerky fashion). I probably wouldn’t have noticed it too much, except I had a different WMV file (that I converted earlier on my desktop PC) that played very, very smoothly. I then decided to investigate a bit, and used the program called GSpot to examine the settings for both WMV files. After making my comparsion I could see that the settings of both WMV files were identical, thus, I could only conclude that the problem was with the codec used by my system to decode the original source VOB file. I then used GSpot to examine the source VOB file and it showed the codec being MPEG-2 (which is standard for most DVDs). That indicated that the MPEG-2 codec installed on my laptop system must either be bad or not very good at decoding (remember, not all codecs are the same).

So the next thing for me to do, was to remove the MPEG-2 video codec from my system. This isn’t an easy task, so I needed to use a program called DirectShow Filter Manager to display and allow me to remove the undesirable codecs. After finding the MPEG-2 video codec components and removing them, I rebooted my system. The next step was to find a “better” set of MPEG-2 codecs to install. After searching the Internet a bit, I decided to use the MPEG-2 codec found in the codec pack called FFDShow MPEG-4 Video Decoder. This pack contained several different codecs, and the installer gave me an option to installing specific codecs. As a general rule, you should only install whatever codec you really need, so I opted to only install the MPEG-2 codec for DVDs.

After the installation, I rebooted my system and once again used Windows Media Encoder to convert the VOB file to a WMV file. This time, playback of the WMV file was much smoother as I would expect. So, the culprit in this case was indeed the previous MPEG-2 codec.

So the lesson here is be careful when installing codecs. Don’t do a shotgun approach and install everything in a codec pack– just the codecs you are missing for your conversion or playback. If you have trouble with a particular conversion, check the codecs that are installed (or maybe missing). Also, try to make sure all miscellaneous codecs that are installed everytime you install a trial version of a video converter or video player are removed when you uninstall the program

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