Hey guys I am in the process of updating my library so I can a. save some space, but mostly to get rid of the bothersome .vob, .ts files and be onboard the format of the future which undoubtedly h.264.

A few queries thus arise that I think might be in the mind of a lot of users here who are not that well versed in video codecs.

a. Quality. From a non purist pov, is there a significant decrease in quality in terms of transcoding a video, I have for example a few yoga dvds, will these take such a significant hit from the transcoding process? What material lends itself better to transcoding, and are there any settings to make sure that (despite maybe longer transcoding) times the material gets the best treatment possible?

b. Container format. Which one is the most fool proof in terms of future development, support by standalone media players etc. etc. I have heard some great things about .mkv, but I am willing to sacrifice quality to go with a more compatible format such as the apple backed .mp4. And having said that, how long until mainstream dvd players, or hard disk media players support .mp4 on a large scale. Will .mp4 be able to include dvd menu items etc. (I doubt it…and that is an issue).

c. Ok, we've all heard h.264 is more efficient but how much more efficient is it? Can someone provide a rough estimate, say 10% or 20%. Which of course translates to bitrate, is there a rule of thumb for it, so for example would a dvd or an mpeg part 2 (divx) bitrate translate to a 10-20% lower bitrate for h.264. How can one gauge that?

Any other pointers? Or recommended software for the mac?

I know handbrake, but why is it such a pain in the … to transcode dvds with it - it not recognizing (with my wrong settings perhaps) the structure and interconnection of the various .vob and .ts files.

Thanks.