I have an extensive collection of video files. Terabytes of the stuff!
The problem at the moment isn't storage but codec. My Raspberry Pi can natively decode H264 and does so delightfully smoothly. Older codecs like Xvid on the other hand have to be handled in software and so the results aren't as spectacular.

So at the moment my issue is this – if I opt to convert my entire collection to a new codec, what kind of file sizes should I be aiming for?

This is one of those questions that doesn't have a simple answer as it really depends on the content of the show. An episode of a live action sitcom can be compressed to a greater extent than something with a lot of action. As such a lower file size would be suitable for some content, not others.
Then there’s animated content, which compresses well but requires a few parameter tweaks. A high definition episode of an animated TV show can be the size of the old SD episodes using newer compression techniques.

So at the moment I'm trying to determine what rough guidelines I should set for myself.
For example I can get the first season of Bob’s Burgers in 720p and each episode is about 500 MB. That’s nuts as they’ll happily go to 200MB without any real loss in quality. In fact the audio becomes the issue then as it’s in surround sound!

So then I find myself trying to decide what to do about the audio – should I downmix it to stereo, for example? I don’t currently have a surround sound setup and honest, I don’t really care about it.
However other people who watch the content may care and I don’t see myself replacing the files with other ones any time soon.

I cannot seem to find anyone that’ll give me a good answer on these things. The simple reason is because it’s a very complex issue if we’re talking about any degree of accuracy. However, to the man in the street it’s not going to matter, really.

So what I need is a rough idea of what kind of file size to aim for. So take Bob’s Burgers. Initially I transcoded them to about 240MB each. However then I found an episode that was 204MB and looked indistinguishable from the larger ones. How low can I go?

Argh!

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