In order to make the conversion as easy as possible, DVD Catalyst 4 uses “video player device profiles” for different phones and tablets.
With over 1000 different device profiles to choose from, DVD Catalyst 4 supports more devices than most of its competitors combined, however with the large amount of different profiles to choose from, things can get a bit confusing.
In order to make it easy for you to find your phone/tablet/media player device, the profiles are organized into groups.
Using the first dropdown on the left for the Video player device, you select the group by brand-name (Apple, Acer, Samsung etc) or by device type (iPhone, Android, iOS, Windows Mobile etc)
After selecting your device group, the second dropdown will contain the list of the devices for that group.
Of course, if you select the Apple group, none of the non-Apple device profiles will be listed in the second dropdown.
Different profiles for the same device:
Over recent years, aside from an increase of performance and screensize of phones, and of course the rise of the tablets like the Xoom and iPad, actual video content has also seen an upgrade. With the release of Bluray (DVD Catalyst 4 bluray guide
), visual quality and resolution of video content has improved, but if you convert this HD content for use on your phone/tablet/media player using the same settings as you would for the older DVD-sized content, you might experience quality loss rather than quality improvement.
Because of these differences, many popular devices have multiple profiles in DVD Catalyst to make it easier for you to get the settings right.
The “standard” profile:
These are the device profiles that do not have anything extra behind the actual device name. Galaxy Nexus, NOOKtablet, Transformer Prime, Xoom etc.
The standard profile is optimized to provide a good quality video file at a reasonable file-size. For devices that have a near-HD (or higher) screen resolution, such as the iPad2, Droid Bionic, Xoom, Galaxy Nexus, the standard profile is optimized to produce a great-looking video file from DVD-sized content (DVDs as well as the common DIVX/XVID AVI files)
The “Fast” profile:
Because most of the device profiles use a variation of H264/AVC, a high-quality but very demanding video format, conversions on older computers can be a bit time consuming. Especially if you are using a computer of 5 years old or older, a single-core Intel Pentium 4, or an AMD Sempron-based computer, conversions can take a bit longer than the actual play-length of the movie.
The fast profile uses a less demanding video format, MPEG4-SP, which converts considerably faster on older computers, however, there is of course a trade-off in quality. The format itself is not “multi-core”-aware, so if you are using a fairly recent Dual Core system, or a powerful Quad-Core system, you will likely experience faster conversions using the “standard” profile.
The “HQ” / “HQ1″ profile:
For near-HD (or higher) resolution devices (tablets, HD phones), this profile is optimized for slower HD video content such as Bluray (DVD Catalyst 4 bluray guide
) and HD MKV romance/comedy movies. Of course it works for DVDs as well, but only if you convert fast-action movies will you likely be able to tell a difference with the standard profile. For small-screen devices, this profile will produce slightly larger files than the standard profile, but the quality is pretty much the same as that of the actual DVD.
The “HQ2″ profile:
For near-HD (or higher) resolution devices (tablets, HD phones), this profile will produce great looking video from Bluray (DVD Catalyst 4 bluray guide
) and HD MKV action movies. Especially explosions and fast car chase movies look great by using this profile.
The “HQXT” profile:
Recently added in DVD Catalyst 4 (4.1.2) and my personal favorite. The HQXT profile is an “all-round” profile. It produces video files slightly larger in file-size than the “standard” profile, and it converts a little slower, but it makes up for it with producing files with a superior video quality. Originally I planned to implement the specially optimized settings as a HQ3 profile, but rather than just having people with a Bluray setup benefit from the profile, I figured it would work best as a profile in-between standard and HQ/HQ1.
In plain English, this profile produces a similar quality as HQ2 but your video files take up about half the space on your device, making it ideal for conversions of a large variety of different video sources.
Specialized device profiles:
For a couple of devices, additional profiles are available.
Apple iPad/iPhone4/iPod Touch 4 “HD” profile:
These devices are capable of playing videos that are higher in resolution than that of the device itself. The HD profile, when used with HD video sources such as Bluray (DVD Catalyst 4 bluray guide
) and HD MKV files, will produce video files that look good when used with the TV-out capability of these devices. If you watch the videos on the device itself you will not notice much of a difference in terms of quality.
Apple iPad/iPhone4/iPod Touch 4 “HQHD” profile:
Similar as the HD profile, but a HQ version of the “HD” profile, which works best with fast-action HD content.
Android Tablet “1080″ profiles (Xoom, Transformer Prime, Thrive etc):
Many people (including some of DVD Catalyst’s competitors) believe that these tablets are not capable of playing HD 1080p video content. Originally added to DVD Catalyst about a week after the original Xoom 3G was released as proof that with proper settings, the Xoom is capable of 1080p playback, these profiles are actually used by quite a few people for their Bluray (DVD Catalyst 4 bluray guide) and HD MKV conversions. While you will not notice much of a difference when you view these files on the actual tablet itself, the files can be used with TV-Out as well as with HD Media Players like the WDTV Live, saving you from having to keep multiple copies of the same movie.
The 1080 profiles for Tegra2 tablets come in HQ, HQ2 and HQXT variations, and are intended to be used if you convert 1080 content and actually use them with a screen capable of 1080 playback. Using these profiles with lower-resolution videos or DVDs will just produce a larger video file without any noticeable quality difference.
Many people automatically go for the biggest/baddest profile that they can choose, and while this will produce the best quality, in many cases it is over-kill.
Using a 1080 profile for a DVD conversion will produce files that look amazing, but if you select a “lesser” profile you can still get video files with the same visual quality, but at only a fraction of the file-size. As a bonus, conversions run a lot faster as well.