I'm completing a Project shot almost entire using HDV 29.97fps 1080i footage from a sony tape based camcorder.
In order to make my life complicated, I decided to upgrade to from CS4 to CS 5.5 in the middle of the project AND switch from PC to Mac. Surprisingly, the significant glitch that's arisen as a result of this is that you cannot natively encode to WMV files from the Mac version of Premier.
So admittedly, I may be asking the wrong question but here it goes: The reason I want to encode to WMV is that I'm playing back via an xBox 360. Whle the xbox will accept h.264 files, there are surprisingly noticeable differences in the in the quality. Admittedly, this could be entirely due to my inexperience. However, from reading the the xbox FAQ on codecs here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945416 I noticed that the WMV files can be encoded at a significantly higher bit rate than h.264 (15 v 10).
The "quality" factors I'm referring to are primarily that I notice significant and distracting motion artifacts in my h.264 attempts. I also THINK that the image is slightly softer. Incidentally, I attempted encoding for the appltv as well with similarly poor results.
So it occurs to me that there are a few potential solutions that I'd love to get some feedback on:
1) Finish my projects on the mac, output to some high quality format (Uncompressed AVI? Blue Ray?), move that output over to the PC and then re-encode in WMV.
2) Figure out how to encode in h.264... I feel like I've tried everything I can think of with the available options.
3) Try a newer media streamer capable of consuming higher bitrate h.264 files? Not even sure if that's my problem.
Any input is greatly appreciated.
PS. Not to hijack my own thread but the Mac in question (details below) has really impressed me. I am editing from the couch from a single drive and am getting pretty close to real-time playback even with up to two color corrected HD streams.
500 gig ssd drive
In answer to Question 3 (and partially #2), I've recently begun using a WDTV HD appliance, which is made by Western Digital. Playing back HD files (shot in 1080p with a JVC GY-HD700u or 1080i with a Canon XHA1) that have been encoded in h.264 using the preset for Vimeo HD gives me beautiful results on the WDTV appliance. I've also had beautiful playback experience with those encoded files (again, Vimeo HD preset) from any computer or uploaded to the web on Vimeo or YouTube...
So, check out the WDTV appliance (also plays Netflix and Pandora with a network connection). It's pretty sweet... you can play files from a USB thumb drive, or connect it to your network and stream files directly from any computer on your network.