nasty conflict TV audio vs HDMI bitstream - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 02-03-2012, 04:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a Win7 x64 HTPC, running 7MC, mpc-hc x86, mediabrowser, LAV filters x86.

I have mpc-hc set as the external player in 7MC, for .mkv, .avi, .m2ts etc, using LAV filters for audio, all set up for bitstreaming.

In order to bitstream audio I need to have my HDMI set to allow "exclusive mode", but that completely screws up 7MC's ability to play recorded or live TV: I get frequent "Video Error" messages, plus occasional stuttering audio & frozen video. All of those problems go away if I Uncheck the 2 boxes in HDMI properties related to "exclusive mode" (but then bitstreaming is broken).

In 7MC it helps if I disable sound effects, but doesn't solve the problem. If I play one TV program and leave it playing while I find and start another, the "Video Error" (which I understand to be really an audio problem) comes back.

Does anyone know how to untangle this catch-22? What seems like it would be perfect would be to have my HDMI exclusive mode be switchable on the fly so that it is switched on when mpc-hc is in charge, but OFF when 7MC is trying to play a TV file, but of course I have no idea how to do that (I kind of doubt it's possible)...

Any advice would help...

-L
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post #2 of 35 Old 02-03-2012, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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OK after posting that and doing more research I've found a lot more discussion about the same issue (or very similar - a lot of people are running into the same thing with DVD playback and I don't have a DVD drive in my HTPC box, but I assume it's the same problem), but even though people have been talking about it for 2.5 years I don't see a real solution.

For the sake of anyone else on the same path I'll post some links to other threads and the proposed solutions that look promising. I can't test some of these at the moment because I'm away from my system, but it seems like "solutions" are either ugly or not working for everyone, and that this is simply a bug in WMC that MSFT has failed to address despite years of complaints...

Threads:

technet: Problem playing DVD’s within Windows Media Center

GreenButton: Problem playing DVD’s within Windows Media Center

Good old Avsforum: Video Error Files needed to display video are not installed or not working

And that thread links to another GreenButton thread with a new (to me) proposal at the end:



Note that all of these threads have *a lot* of proposed solutions that (to me, anyway) seem errant or pointless, like adding/removing more codecs, rolling back W7 updates, or messing with your video drivers. It seems pretty clear to me that my system can handle the files/codecs involved but that 7MC chokes in certain playback scenarios. I'm less clear on exactly what those scenarios are, but here's my stab at it: when (A) HDMI exclusive mode is on, and (B) 7MC thinks it is trying to juggle more than one audio stream, either overlapping or very close together ... like playing its own internal navigation sounds, or playing one Recorded TV file and then another, or changing from one channel to another in Live TV. I believe (but haven't tested thoroughly) that in all cases WMP can play the files involved, but 7MC (sometimes) fails.

I'm going to list the proposed solutions I'm seeing that make some sense to me (even if they're gross), and I'll report back with what works or doesn't for my system. I would be interested to hear if someone can say "that's an idiotic idea, don't bother" or "that will likely solve your problem but cause another", etc...

[Where I can I'll post links to individual posts so that this post doesn't get crazy long]


Lots of sources/threads propose:

--Turn off navigation sounds in 7MC. [I've done this and it helps, but doesn't completely fix]

--Turn off Animation in 7MC [I don't think I've done this yet]

--Set your HDMI output in Windows to 2-channel stereo, but leave WMC speaker config to 5.1 [I think the claim is that actual output will still be 5.1, but this seems disgusting and I can't believe it won't break something else - I'll try it anyway though]




AVSForum: delete PlayReady contents and reinstall 7MC


GreenButton thread (8th post):
To rebuild the string tables, on the computer that displayed the message, at the command prompt, type Lodctr /r

AVSForum: toggle 16/24bit sound



Sorry this has gotten so long, but I thought it might help to get everything I could find in one place. I'll try the different proposals and report back. If anyone has other suggestions, fire away...
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post #3 of 35 Old 02-04-2012, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I don't know if anyone else is all that interested, but I'll post a brief (and confusing) followup.

After tinkering a little bit but not trying any of the proposed fixes, I made sure I could reproduce the problem. I logged out of my standard user account and onto an Admin account, and couldn't reproduce (unless I re-enabled navigation sounds in 7MC). I went back to my non-Admin user account to see if I had some settings different/wrong, and suddenly I couldn't reproduce the problem there either. No idea what shifted, but right now I can't get that Video Error to come back. I'm not convinced it's gone for good, but oh well...
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post #4 of 35 Old 02-04-2012, 06:55 AM
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There might have been something that wasn't fully installed, and when you switched to the admin account it finished installing/setting registry entries/etc. Hard to say.
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post #5 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, I've now got the error happening again, and I've narrowed it down to a very specific reproducible scenario (I've become maybe just a bit obsessed with hunting this thing down, in case it's not already obvious).

I start up Media Browser, then back-arrow to 7MC, then choose live TV, choose channel 75, then channel-down to channel 44.3. I get the "files needed" error every time. Ch 75 is analog, 44.3 is digital, but they both claim to be broadcasting Dolby 2-channel audio (according to the text displayed in 7MC when I change the channel).

I have "navigation sounds" disabled in 7MC, because that helps to reduce the incidence of this error. Disabling "transition animation" does not make any difference, at least in this scenario.

I *don't* get the error if I open 7MC directly - I have to open MB first, then "go back" to 7MC. [But i don't WANT to open 7MC to start, because my entire media collection is in MB]

I don't get the error if I choose "Auto Volume" in 7MC settings, which (I think) equalizes volume differences between TV stations, but disables Dolby outpue. [And I don't WANT to disable Dolby]

I don't get the error if I set my HDMI device to disallow programs from accessing it in "Exclusive Mode". [But I don't WANT to do that because that would also disable bitstreaming audio]




So there are three ways I can get rid of the "files needed" error, but all of them have unacceptable side-effects.

I will now go back to trying the other suggested fixes I listed in my earlier post, but I wanted to post this in case anyone with more knowledge can make better guesses than I can about what's going on.

I continue to think that there's something about multiple audio streams colliding or overlapping in a way that 7MC can't handle. But I am nowhere near an expert in this stuff, so...

Any experts out there (or amateur audio detectives?)...
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post #6 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 06:49 AM
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I went through this last year before I started using LAV but had already "broken" my system. I really haven't tried again to fix it because I don't feel like doing a complete re-install of Windows and all the drivers and apps.

I don't think Microsoft is working on it because to do so would mean they support HD Audio and would have to pay license fees to dts and Dolby Labs.

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post #7 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 07:18 AM
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FYI, I have Windows set to Stereo and WMC set to 7.1 surround. I don't have any issues.

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post #8 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

FYI, I have Windows set to Stereo and WMC set to 7.1 surround. I don't have any issues.

Please elaborate... Thanks.

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post #9 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Please elaborate... Thanks.

Windows sound control panel speaker settings are set to 2.0 Stereo. In WMC I've selected 7.1 surround. Using Shark007 audio is set as pass-thru.

I get bitstreamed audio and 2.0 stereo with music. If I selected anything besides 2.0 stereo in Windows then my music would be butchered to use all speakers. I may have had bitstreaming issues as well, but I can't remember. I've used this setup for years.

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post #10 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 08:29 AM
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Okay, but did this fix issues with live TV playback (and recording) too?

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post #11 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 08:49 AM
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I never had issues with Live TV playback and recording.

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post #12 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 09:01 AM
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Okay.. I broke that using Shark007 a while back before switching to LAV and haven't got it fixed yet.. Sort of lost interest in it and am sticking with U-verse for TV content right now.

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post #13 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 09:55 AM
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Reinstall Shark007, click the reset option, then uninstall. It should be back to "normal".

BTW, Shark007 includes LAV now.

I use a Ceton PCIe with Comcast for TV.

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post #14 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 10:17 AM
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Been that route but maybe I should try again. I'm using a Hauppuage 2250 for OTA tuning but my update to Silicon Dust HD Homerun in the near future.

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post #15 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Okay.. I broke that using Shark007 a while back before switching to LAV and haven't got it fixed yet.. Sort of lost interest in it and am sticking with U-verse for TV content right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Reinstall Shark007, click the reset option, then uninstall. It should be back to "normal".

BTW, Shark007 includes LAV now.

good advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Been that route but maybe I should try again. I'm using a Hauppuage 2250 for OTA tuning but my update to Silicon Dust HD Homerun in the near future.

If you used something like Revo to remove my software, that could very well have left you 'broken'.
I have gone to great lengths to ensure that using the 'provided uninstaller', your system is return to a proper pre-installation state.
Also, to inform you, my software supports Control Panel uninstalls. (mentioned because it did not in the past)

I also use 2250, and have used it for several years now without issue using Media Center for LiveTV playback.

Use Shark007 Codecs and retain your sanity.
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post #16 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 11:00 AM
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I never removed the Shark007, but it is a pre-LAV version. IDK if you remember but I was having a hell of a time with braking live TV while trying to get HD Audio to bitstream. At this point I am not using the Media Center DVR and have even disconnected the OTA antenna I had installed as the wife was tired of seeing it in the living room on top of the media cabinet! She prefers using the DVR supplied by U-verse but I want to get rid of that bill eventually.

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post #17 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 01:24 PM
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Well Sammy, you are far from the 1st to have bitstreaming problems, so, todays work is dedicated to you.
The next release (v346) will greatly simplify bitstreaming audio as depictaed below.


LL

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post #18 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 01:44 PM
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Just for me?? Aww shucks!!

Seriously, are there any release notes available at this point?

If there's a picture in there, it's blocked here at work..

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post #19 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Just for me?? Aww shucks!!

Seriously, are there any release notes available at this point?

If there's a picture in there, it's blocked here at work..

I editted the post and added the graphic as an attachment - you should be able to see that (I hope)

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post #20 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 01:57 PM
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Looks like I'm going to be doing some codec updating in the near future. That looks great. Which LAV version is included now?

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post #21 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Looks like I'm going to be doing some codec updating in the near future. That looks great. Which LAV version is included now?

I use GIT release versions = unreleased, up to the minute, private compilation.
In that link, I am already testing with ae4d0e034729 "Fix RV40 width/height and AR" update.

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post #22 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 02:08 PM
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Nice.

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post #23 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post

Well Sammy, you are far from the 1st to have bitstreaming problems, so, todays work is dedicated to you.
The next release (v346) will greatly simplify bitstreaming audio as depictaed below.


So to get bitstreaming in the new version is the correct option to "turn off bitstreaming" and enable the bitstream options in "setup LAV audio"?

If so then you may want to consider rewording things a bit.

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post #24 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 04:37 PM
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Hey, maybe I just need to go back into the Shark007 I have now and set it to not do passthrough and let the LAV I have going now do the job?

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post #25 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 04:54 PM
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I suggest you uninstall the old Shark007 codecs, and uninstall LAV.
MajorGeeks has ver 3.4.6 with the options as above and it uses LAV audio as the default audio decoder.
All you need to do is select the bitstreaming option your system can handle.

Dont know if you know, but bitstreaming requires that you set the speaker count in Control Panel | Sound to 'stereo'

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post #26 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 05:00 PM
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Didn't know that (or forgot that). I'll try that. I hope that this fixes the live TV issues..

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post #27 of 35 Old 02-07-2012, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I hope that this fixes the live TV issues..

i'm betting... it will.

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post #28 of 35 Old 02-10-2012, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, I must have missed the email telling me there were more replies to my thread a few days ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post

Dont know if you know, but bitstreaming requires that you set the speaker count in Control Panel | Sound to 'stereo'

I'm a little confused by this statement, since I have bitstreaming working with my Windows Sound config set to 5.1.

I have felt resistant to switching to 2.0 because it seemed like such a weird thing to do with my 5.1 system, but reading recent posts here I'm maybe starting to get my head around it. Does making this change mean that anything played in Windows outside of mpc-hc will be played in 2.0 stereo? Or perhaps a better question: what does it really mean to tell Windows that my speakers are 2.0 when I clearly want to use 5.1 audio?

Thanks for all the discussion...
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post #29 of 35 Old 02-10-2012, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huge View Post

I'm a little confused by this statement, since I have bitstreaming working with my Windows Sound config set to 5.1.


bitstreaming = your AVR which is connected to your PC via HDMI decodes the audio. The AVR will display Dolby Digital or DTS MASTER, etc.
To 'bitstream' the Control Panel speaker count setting must be 'stereo'
Volume control is on the AVR and cannot be controlled on the PC.

Setting 5.1 in Windows Control Panel decodes the audio on the PC and sends 5.1 PCM to the AVR
Volume control is on the PC

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post #30 of 35 Old 02-10-2012, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post

bitstreaming = you AVR which is connected to your PC via HDMI decodes the audio. The AVR will display Dolby Digital or DTS MASTER, etc.
To 'bitstream' the Control Panel speaker count setting must be 'stereo'
Volume control is on the AVR and cannot be controlled on the PC.

Setting 5.1 in Windows Control Panel decodes the audio on the PC and sends 5.1 PCM to the AVR
Volume control is on the PC

I have displayed such massive ignorance that I can't blame you for thinking that I don't (or barely) know what bitstreaming is - I didn't as of a few weeks ago. But that is one thing I (more or less) understand.

With my "Sound" Windows Control Panel, I have my speaker configuration set to "5.1 Surround", and I can click on each speaker and LFE and hear tones/rumbling (and I have only L+R+C set to full range). When I play a video file (.MKV or .M2TS) through mpc-hc using LAV audio, inside or outside of 7MC/MediaBrowser (all set up with the help of Damian's Guide) ... LAV Audio status shows "bitstreaming", and the TrueHD light on my Pioneer VSX-1121 AVR does in fact light up (and *NOT* the PCM light). (I'm not sure I've ever found/tried a DTS-MA test file - I'll double-check that ... AC3 definitely bitstreams)

So I'm pretty sure I am, in fact, achieving bitstreaming with Windows config'd to 5.1. I'm not sure if I'm *still* not understanding something about what you're claiming, or if your claim is incorrect that setting 5.1 in the control panel necessarily forces the PC to decode and send PCM.

Having said that, it seems like people are suggesting that I might avoid the conflict/weirdness I'm seeing with 7MC by setting my Windows config to 2.0. I'll try it (though it still seems weird).
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