Being the developer of an application you use yourself has its advantages. Besides adding new features whenever I run into something I would like to do but can't, it also enables me to set the default settings just the way I like them.
For my own conversions, I basically run DVD Catalyst using its defaults, but there are a few settings that I do enable that are not enabled by default, if I don't forget.
Whenever someone contacts me regarding a complication they run into, the first thing I do is a complete reset of DVD Catalyst. To make sure none of the settings I might have changed are coming into play, I always test using the default settings, which just the profile that was mentioned. Uninstall/Re-install isn't needed, I just perform these simple steps:
This folder contains all the settings for DVD Catalyst 4, and everything is automatically recreated using the defaults when you start DVD Catalyst again.* Make sure DVD Catalyst is not running
* Click on "START" > "RUN" (or hold down the windows-key on your keyboard and tap the "R" key)
* In the run dialog, type in:
and click OK
*delete the "DVD Catalyst 4" folder
While I do use multiple devices for my own video playback, because I mostly convert DVDs, I can use just 1 profile for all of them, the Android > Xoom profile. For DVDs, this profile produces the best quality for my own needs, and the created video files will play fine on my Xoom, my Playbook, my Ipod Touch 4, my DroidX and (as long as the resolution doesn't exceed 854x480, which for DVDs is a non-issue) my NOOKcolor.
When I convert HD content (TV shows) or from Bluray (DVD Catalyst 4.1 Bluray Guide | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go), I switch to the Android > Xoom HQ1 profile, which eliminates compatibility with the NOOKcolor (due to the higher resolution) but the files still play fine on my Ipod Touch 4, Playbook and Xoom. If I convert a fast action movie from Bluray, I might switch to Xoom HQ2, but this is pretty rare. I don't change settings of the profiles themselves. The resolution setting, bitrates etc aI use at the default settings.
Here is the fun part. If you enable the "Power User" checkmark, you have access to a large amount of different settings, and some of them can affect the quality of your videos in a big way.
* Enhance. This setting, located in Global Settings > Tweaks, is one I always enable. Originally I added this setting specifically for "Battlestar Galactica" (the new version). BSG has a lot of grainyness in the video picture, and while its not that big of a deal, I didn't like it too much. The "Enhance" setting adds a slight blur over the video which smoothes out the graininess, making the overall picture look nicer. Using the setting is purely a personal preference. Many people would rather have the video at its original sharpness, but for me, the Enhance setting just makes the video look a bit more "natural".
* MovieGallery Image. Located also in Global Settings > Tweaks, this setting will result in a jpg image saved with the correct name for everything that gets converted. While I don't use the images themselves all the time, it makes it easier when I pull cover images from Albumart - CD and DVD cover searchengine. When you save the album art in the same folder, rather than typing the name, I just tap on the image that has the name and overwrite it. That way the file name is what it needs to be for MovieGallery.
* Maximize volume. Also in the same tab in Global Settings. Its enabled by default, and ensures that whatever the source is of my conversions (DVD, Bluray, MKV, AVI) the volume of each file is about the same. Since I implemented this in DVD Catalyst, I haven't had the need to adjust the volume on the devices I use to play the videos. Out of safety, I lowered the setting slightly in DVD Catalyst 188.8.131.52, but for my own conversions, I increase it to 50.
* Warn for file-sizes over 2000MB. When I forget, I just cancel through the message when it shows up, but when I have a lot of conversions to do, I tend to turn it off. The warning message is only there to make sure people realize that some devices have issues with larger file-sizes.
And that is basically it for the custom settings I use myself. The rest of the settings I leave at their defaults.