My camera is the Panasonic


My camera is the Panasonic HDC-SD1. Like others have mentioned, for editing, I import AVCHD into iMovie ’09. Keep in mind, the import is a lossy step since it converts the H.264 stream into Apple Intermediate Codec. After I’m done editing, I want a DivX AVI file but iMovie won’t export to DivX so I export to Quicktime Animation Codec at 100% quality (lossless) and then use MPEG Streamclip to convert that into a DivX AVI file. So I suffer two quality reductions from AVCHD->AIC then from AIC->DivX but I’m typically happy with the results.

Many times I don’t want to make any edits. In that case I use DivX Converter (“Pro” is $20) which will convert directly from AVCHD MTS to AVI in a variety of resolutions and bitrates. I have a DivX 720 HD set-top box on my TV (the DivX Connected D-Link DSM-330). So I usually convert my 1080i H.264/AC3 AVCHD MTS files into 720p MPEG4 ASP/AC3 DivX AVI files using DivX Converter. It works great and there’s an option to copy the original audio track without re-encoding it. So my only quality loss is going from 1080i H.264 to 720p ASP but my box only plays 720p video anyway so it’s no big deal. There’s no loss in audio quality. It’s the next best thing to connecting my camera directly to me TV (which is inconvenient).

BTW, DivX 7 Player will play H.264/AC3/MKV files which are very close to AVCHD H.264/AC3/MTS files except for the file container. So on my PC, I will sometimes use TsMuxeR to break up the MTS file and then use MKVMerge to put the streams into an MKV file. That’s a fast operation that does not require transcoding the audio or video. Once I have an MKV file, it will play great in DivX 7 Player on my PC. There aren’t many players that properly play MTS files. DivX Player is free. TsMuxeR and MKVMerge are free. It’s the only free solution I know of to play your AVCHD files without transcoding them first. Now all I need is a set-top box that can play 1080i H.264/AC3/MKV files. (They are coming. Watch for “DivX Plus HD” players.)

FYI, all media files should be described by their codecs and containers. For example, most “AVCHD” files are H.264/AC3/MTS. Most “DivX” files are MPEG4 ASP/MP3/AVI. Many DivX files are ASP/AC3/AVI. Simply asking for an “AVI” file isn’t descriptive enough since nearly any codec could go inside an AVI file. However, when noobs ask for an “AVI” file they usually mean a DivX Home Theater profile file which is 720×480 (or less) ASP/MP3/AVI.

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