Something that has been a frequent source of amazement and frustration for me has been torrents of animated video content.

I understand that there are release groups and so forth as well as established “Scene” rules. Sure, that’s fine.

However what I don’t understand is why no one seems to be able to provide simple answers to certain questions:

In 720p what kind of file size is likely to work well for animated content?

That question is in itself a bit too vague so let’s clarify:

  1. Roughly 23 minutes of content (pretty standard length)
  2. 6.1 surround sound audio, probably in AC3
  3. The codec should be H.264

That should be enough info to eyeball a rough file size, plus or minus a few MB.

So for example, Bob’s Burgers:

It has a fairly clear animation style and compresses very well.

160 MB per episode

About 70 MB of that is actually the audio.

That file size is what I compress them as, not what they’re available as. What they’re available as is anything from 210 MB to 560 MB per episode!


You know what appreciable difference there is between the 160 MB file and those is for me? None.

I’m fairly pedantic as you’ve no doubt noticed. I tend to spot crappy quality. 160 MB is juuuust fine. So if it’s fine for me then I would be amazed if normal folks could tell the difference.

How about The Simpsons?

Well for a start there’s filenames like this:



Lovely. “Just ‘One, two. One, two’ would have done, mate!”

Might I add that each file is 640 MB ?

To be fair, a good chunk of that (~230 MB) is the audio. Is it magical pixie dust audio?

200px-DTS_logo.svgNo, it’s DTS.


Or less yay because it does nothing of any appreciable worth unless you’ve got really good speakers. Oh and if your machine (such as a Raspberry Pi) can’t handle DTS? That’s fine, just run it out through an optical cable, into a decoder unit, then into the speakers. No hassle!

Let’s be fair now, who notices stereo at home, let alone surround sound?

However we’ve got it and we’re keeping the HD video so I guess it can stay. That said it’s not staying as DTS! AC3 will do the job just fine – we’re watching a TV show here, not sitting down to listen to a symphony. It’s The Simpsons, for gods’ sakes. Get a bit of bloody perspective.

This is what confuses me. Video files are either low resolution encodes with terrible artefacts and awful audio or they’re hard disk eating monstrosities with audio that none of us are frankly respectable enough to hear.

Also there’s sometimes iPod releases of things (or similar) for both the people in the world who care about that.


I want things lagom.

I’m quite happy for encoding to take a little longer if the resulting file is good. I’m decoding with dedicated hardware handling of H.264 anyway so that’s a non-issue.

My encodes of The Simpsons end up around 175 – 180 MB with six channel AC3 audio. Amusingly they replace old Xvid encodes that were about the same size (but standard definition with stereo audio). Lovely.

Why bother with the hassle of creating my own encodes though?

Making sensible use of my storage space makes sense. I have standards. In this case it would seem that if one wants something done right, well, you know how it goes.

I’ve not started trying to tackle HD live action content though. That’s a whole other ballgame.

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