I ve got for christmas a wonderfull 604 wifi and my son got the 404. In addition to that my wife s got an Ipod 80g and my second son as a PSP. In other words, video conversion is just an amaizing stuff.
So here are my personal conclusion:
- when I want a basic movie / like videomusic or cartoons / to play on everything, then I use the famous H264 AVC level 1.3 with 320x240 at about 500kbit for the video.
With the Podcast plugin loaded on the 604 and 404, the result is really good.
Now, when I want to put high quality videos like DVD for archiving purpose or to play them on TV, then I use the Ipod 5.5G format which is H264 AVC level 30. Result is amazing and runing verywell on archos + ipod, which is very interresting. I ven can say that archos is better reader than ipod, on TV.
The resolution I use for standrd 16/9 DVD is 640x368 with bit rate of 1400kbits, but 560x320 at 1000kbits give excellent result as weel (2 passes) and most of us would not see much differences.
If the DVD is 2.35 (16/9+black bands) then I crop it and convert it to 640x288 1000kbits or even 560x240 800kbits.
When I record TV show on the archos, I always use 2500kbits and then I usually re-encode in 480x272 at 800kbits.
If this is a nice film like 16/9 letter boxed movies I use 560x320 1000kbits, which brings a good trade off as the original divx3 coding of the archos destroy some details anyway. Fianlly when this is a 2.35 films letter boxed then I chose 560x240 800kbits.
Ok now the question is what tools, then the best I can do at the moment is to give you the link of a man having done a nice package and documentation : here is the link:
As you will see this is for Ipod, but just change your mind and go with this, you ll see an incredible result.
in addition I ve created some profile to be used with 3GPConverter which make my live easy, and esecially for my children also as they can just drag & drop any kind of file into 3GPConverter and then the batch file runs in idle mode on the PC... just need to wait 3 to 4 time the length of the movie.
Hope this helps, depending on feedback I may post additional things like zip file, but later on. All credits to Matt gifford