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Best Handbrake Settings for Plex

For people who have large collection movies and wish to store them in one place and then conveniently stream and watch the media on any devices you own right from the Internet, Plex Media Server can be your best choice. However, the media formats can be in various formats, it very likely that your Plex Media Server will fail to read that formats or transcode that formats for your streaming devices. For example, a DVD movie, an ISO image file or other incompatible file formats and types. Fortunately, here comes a free and powerful video transcoder - Handbrake, which can transcode video and audio from nearly any format to a handful of modern ones. Moreover, it also helps to make ripping a film from a DVD to data storage devices easier. The following article will show you how to set the options and change the settings with Handbrake to encode videos for Plex playback.

Best Handbrake settings for Plex video playback

General Settings

Audio Settings

Advanced Settings

Format: MP4
Video Codec: x264
Framerate: Same as source
Constant quality: 50-70% depending on how much loss you are willing to take for size. 62% is my sweet spot. *
Anamorphic: Strict (Loose is also ok, maybe better for space concerns)
Keep aspect ratio: Off
Crop: Auto

Track 1: AC3 passthrough (This setting maintains compatibility with other devices like AppleTV/PS3.)
Track 2: AAC with Stereo mixdown 96 bitrate (again compatibility for when the file is played in not Plex- not needed if file is only for Plex!)

Reference Frames: 5
Mixed References: On
B-Frames: 5 if live action, 15 if animation
Direct Prediction: Spatial
Weighted B Frames: On Pyramidal B Frames: On (if things don't work turn this off first)
Motion Estimation Method: Uneven Multi-Hexagon
Motion Estimation Range: 16-32 (more towards 16 when its live action drama, more towards 32 on actiony animation)
Subpixel Motion Estimation: 2-9 (more towards 2 when its live action drama, more towards 9 on actiony animation)
Analysis: All
8x8 DCT: On
Deblocking: Do that in main settings if needed
Trellis: 2 (might be most important settings I have found for quality)
No DCT Decimate: Off
CABAC Entropy: On

Handbrake video settings

Best Handbrake alternative to convert video for Plex

Although Handbrake can do people a great favor by generating video with good quality that under your precise control. However, it still has many disadvantages when using to convert media for Handbrake:
- Lacks the ability to defeat or circumvent copy protection from DVD or Blu-ray disc
- Encoding video by using CPU power, which is very processor intensive especially for 4K H.264 or 4K H.265 video
- Handrake doesn't have a approachable interface, which will take a while to get used to for a lot of beginners
- Very limited output codec and container formats

Therefore, if you are looking for a simple to use media transcoding program that can work with various media types, encode more video formats with fast speed by utilizing the GPU encoding acceleration, we highly recommend Pavtube Video Converter Ultimate to you.

This cross-platform application is available on both Windows and Mac platform (get Mac version). It can assists you to convert virtually all digital file formats including AVI, WMV, MP4, H.264, MOV, FLV, MKV, ASF, 3GP, XAVC/XAVC S, Prores, H.265, MXF, AVCHD, etc and also commercial Blu-ray disc/BDMV folder/ISO image and DVD Disc/Video_TS folder/IFO/ISO image file to Plex supported file formats listed above. To get the best Plex playback settings, you can flexibly adjust output profile parameters including video codec, resolution, bit rate, frame rate and audio codec, bit rate, sample rate, channels, etc to make them adapt with Plex Media Server.

Different from Handrake, the program offers various output file formats including AVI, WMV, MP4, MOV, FLV, 3GP, ASF, VOB, etc and codec such as MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, H.265, DNxHD, Prores, M2TS, etc to satisfy your different needs. What's more, the Windows version - Pavtube Video Converter Ultimate supports hardware encoding acceleration, you can get up to 6x faster H.264 codec encoding speed as long as you run your PC on Graphic cards that support Nvidia CUDA or AMD App and up to 30x faster H.265 codec encoding speed as long as you run your computer on Graphic cards that support Nvidia NVENC technology.

How to Convert Blu-ray/DVD/Video for Plex with Handbrake Best Alternative?

Step 1: Input Blu-ray/DVD or digital video.

Start the application on your computer. For loading digital video, click "File" > "Add Video/Audio" or "Add from folder" (batch load multiple files) option. For loading Blu-ray or DVD disc, Insert your Blu-ray or DVD disc into your computer's optical drive , hit "File" >  "Load from disc" option.

Load Blu-ray/DVD or digital video

Step 2: Choose output file format.

Clicking the Format bar, from its drop-down list, select Plex most compatible playback format "H.264 HD Video(*.mp4)" under "HD Video" main category.

Output Plex supported file formats

Tips: Click "Settings" on the main interface to open "Profile Settings" window, here, you can flexibly choose or specify exactly the profile parameters including video codec, resolution, bit rate, frame rate, audio codec, bit rate, sample rate, channels, etc as you like to get better output video and audio quality for Plex.

Step 3:Enable GPU Encode Acceleration.

Click "Tools" > "Options", in the opened "Options" window, click "Acceleration" menu, then check "Enable GPU Encode Acceleration" otpion so that the program will accelerate converion speed when encoding Blu-ray/DVD/video to H.264/H.265 codec.

Enable GPU encode acceleration

Step 4: Begin the conversion process.

After all setting is completed, hit the "Convert" button at the right bottom of the main interface to begin the conversion process from Blu-ray/DVD/video to Plex best compatible digital file format and profile parameters conversion process.

When the conversion is finished, click "Open Output Folder" icon on the main interface to open the folder with generated files. Then feel free to stream the media files from the Plex Media Server to any of your devices.

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