The current top-of-trunk version of mplayer will decode and playback .mts and .m2ts AVCHD files. The one caveat is that your computer has to be fast enough to decode them, which mine isn’t.
Therefore, transcoding the .mts files to a more easily playable format is preferred. Since mplayer can decode the orignials, then mencoder can transcode them directly. I’m still experimenting, but the following command produces a pretty nice output, and is significantly smaller than the original .mts file.
# mencoder $file -o ./$file.avi -oac copy -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=5000 -fps 60 -vf scale=1280:720
This will run at about 35FPS on my Athlon 4400+. I’m not specifying any fancy filters, like deinterlacing or denoising, and both of those could probably increase the quality of the output. Doing a 2-pass encode would also increase the quality of the output. Those commands would look like this:
# mencoder $file -o $file.avi -oac copy -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=5000:vpass=1:turbo -fps 60 -vf scale=1280:720
# mencoder $file -o $file.avi -oac copy -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=5000:vpass=2 -fps 60 -vf scale=1280:720
You’d probably only really need to do a 2-pass encode if you set the bitrate much lower than the 5Mbps that I’ve specified.
Now, I might actually think about buying that Canon HG10 instead of just borrowing it…