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back to article Elgato Turbo.264 HD hi-def H.264 encoder

We love Elgato's original Turbo.264 dongle for its ability to speed up the conversion of video from a variety of sources into the H.264 format favoured by the iPhone we use as a PMP. Elgato Turbo.264 HD Elgato's Turbo.264 HD: now with a red LED for visual feedback The first Turbo.264 was focused entirely on standard- …

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Gates Halo

Windows version?

I do a lot of transcoding of stuff for my iPod and iPhone, so something to speed that up would be great. It's a real pity they don't do something for Windows as I'd buy it in a shot.

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Stop

Bit pricey!

Crikey, I could buy a whole new computer for £140, and just leave that doing my video encoding.

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Anonymous Coward

Your source...

...for those png shots, is hardly top-notch to begin with. It'd be more useful to see what the post-encode looks like with a good quality original.

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Happy

So what's inside one?

I'd like to know how this compares to the previous generation Turbo.264 transcoder hardware, is there any chance of opening the thing nonviolently to see what powers it?

I guess people haven't been overly curious about this, so I finally pulled my own t.264 apart and found a Mobilygen MG1264 working behind the scenes. (http://greyghost.mooo.com/turbo264/)

As for the burden on the main system CPU, I've noticed that with my previous generation t.264 as well--on Intel or PowerPC it always pulled about 50% processor time whenever it was converting video to h.264 format.

@AC - you might try asking about Windows support on the elgato forums. They do have developers and company staff participating there. However, as far as I know, the previous generation t.264 doesn't work on Windows either.

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Paris Hilton

Hmmm, I'll stick to Handbreak I think

It's free, for Windows and Mac, and can transcode a 45 minute BSG episode to iPod touch compatable format in about 7-10 minutes on my year old quad core machine, I'm not sure 140 quid is worth the speedup?

Paris because she can't think of an original way to end a comment either.

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Happy

Blocking out

Isn't the blocking out feature to remove adverts off EyeTV content?

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Upscaling?

Why can't it upscale SD to HD?

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Only 120f/s?

Hmm. Recently upgraded to a Core i7 920 (my 6yo AMD Athlon64 finally gave up the ghost), and that encodes divxvid to H264 using Handbrake/MediaCoder at >350f/s. I suppose it might be worth it for under-specced Mac owners.

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Bronze badge

WTF?

Quote 1: "Turbo.264 put in a respectable performance, [...] for an coding time of 11.78 minutes."

Quote 2: Turbo.264 HD [...] for an overall encoding time of 5.89 minutes. That's almost half the time the original unit took."

Now I may be stupid, but half of 11.78 is 5.89. How does that translate to "*almost" half the time"?

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@Jerome

Wow really? Clever boy. Yes I can see it now - rather than buying a little usb stick, people will run out and buy a whole computer to do the same thing. Yes, it will be very popular......

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Pirate

I'll pass I think

I have the original T.264 and I don't really use it any more since I did some straight comparisons against HandBrake 0.93 and found that H.264 encodes are about half the size from HB and don't have all the blocking and artefacts that the T.264 produces with the AppleTV preset. I'm really disappointed with it since the picture is clearly sharper from HandBrake and the encodes are reasonably quick on my Core Duo MacBook Pro. I expect to get a faster machine at some point anyway and I think the extra encode time is well worth the disc space saving and better picture. Oh, and I can preserve the 5.1 DD audio with HandBrake too.

Skull and cross-bones despite it not being piracy if I'm ripping my own DVDs.

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JC

@ Antidisestablishmentarianist

Yes, only an iLoon would pay so much for a USB dongle that DOESN'T do much of the encoding leaving the host system still highly occupied, instead of reusing the old parts you have left over after using that money to upgrade or start a new build.

This device is simply madness. Might as well totally soft encode on a quad core system. Que it up at low priority level and forget about it, a hardware encoder isn't all that good if it's not doing all the hardware encoding.

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@JC

This isn't aimed at people with quad cores is it. It's aimed at those with wheezy machines - not new spankers who could soft encode in their sleep.

Admittedly it's a small market, but still a market.

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Silver badge

iLoon

I might be considered a partial iLoon but even I can see that if the output quality is gash you may as well use Handbrake and leave it overnight to do the job. It would be good though if you could get something like this as some sort of co-processor that Handbrake et al could control as they all seem to have a better grasp on settings for transcoding.

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Stop

no PPC!! -- plus, elgato trashes subs, dubs, CC-

1) I can't believe the reviewer failed to mention that elgato has orphaned PPC from its new products!

yet ppc is precisely the platform that most needs a hw boost.

FAIL.

2) audio files (mp3) are still not available as an input source! ...

so no conversion of your legacy CD library that was already roped into itunes :-(

FAIL.

3) no explanation (by the reviewer) for why the new driver architecture consumes so much of the CPU cycles!?

kinda defeats the purpose of off-loading, doesn't it!? ... unless it anticipates the changes in the MP execution model in snow leopard.

FAIL

4) despite years of complaints, elgato adamantently refuses to respect the integrity of users' source data -

the turbo264 throws away the complete set of subtitles, audio tracks, closed captions, karaoke, etc etc.

moreover, elgaro insists on using raster subs instead of generating proper vector subs.

and the turbo264 burns the subs into the main video track, instead of alpha-blending them from a separate track!

mega FAIL!!

5) elgato insists that they will not make any effort to work with the opensource lib264 community - which is the key codebase for both VLC and for HANDBRAKE.

whuch shows an unbelievable contempt for their customers needs!

*total FAIL*

bottom line: until elgato fixed it's attitude problem, tbd turbo264 products will remain over-priced & under-featured :-(

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HD is only for Camcorders?

"If you already have a Turbo.264 and you're not an AVCHD camcorder owner, the Turbo.264 HD is more 'nice to have' than 'must have'."

HD is not only about camcorders..

It might be a bit useful for a home system using EyeTV recording HD shows for export to iTunes to view on a television via an AppleTV.

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"Tweak the encoding settings to your heart's content"

...with some 10 parameters?

Surely is an apple type definition of tweaking. Do "x264 --longhelp" sometime

I don't think that stick is a bad idea, but like others i'm somewhat not certain what the market is. It's certainly not a professional and on the consumer front it must be people who want to cling to old machines, not want to wait for an encode to complete and not care too much about quality (or is it quality-size-ratio).

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Silver badge
Paris Hilton

ffmpeg

What exactly does this do that ffmpeg doesn't do?

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Paris Hilton

Christ on a bike

Even with the naff visual quality it's obvious with an A/B comparison that this device sacrifices PQ for the sake of raw speed.

Urgh. x264 + custom matrices does the job very nicely, and keeps all the visual quality. There's a reason all the HD rlsgroups don't use these dongles (instead asking for cappers with quadcore machines!)

Paris, because she goes like the clappers with a dongle in her

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