Has anyone got Windows Media Center 7 (WMC 7) running 4K? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 04-22-2014, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I have posted in a few existing threads with a similar question and have yet to hear of anyone saying they have this up and running. I'm trying to fulfil a specific requirements of recording live TV (In Australia) and playing back. The recording are 720p or 1080p as far as I know but Im trying to have the HTPC running 4k as that is the native resolution of my Samsung 55F9000.

 

I have tried on my WMC 7 @ 2160p 30Hz but get a very choppy unusable result from live or recorded. I can play various 4K files from web downloads and Youtube rips and they work pretty much fine with just the occasional dropped frame in VLC player.

 

Here is my current config.

 

CPU = i5 3.1Ghz

GPU = Integrated Intel

HDD = Pretty good SSD for OS and recorded TV on separate physical drive

OS = WMC 7 64 bit

TV Card = two TinyTwin DVB-T USB cards

RAM = 4GB

Motherboard = Pretty new ASUS

*​I'm not being super specific because I'm not looking to troubleshoot my system at this stage, just asking if anyone has done it.

 

I am about to get an Nvidia GTX 750 graphics card just to round out my HTPC but I know its probably overkill for what I want to do.

 

Maybe someone has done it with WMC 8 or XBMC, that would be an OK solution as well.

 

I will keep people posted on my progress with the new card as I would have though it might be a pretty common setup in the near future.

 

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 28 Old 04-26-2014, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Im quite AMAZED! On one of the worlds biggest AVS forum, no one has tried to use the worlds most popular operating system on the biggest upgrade to resolution since 1080p :eek:

 

Is there anyone out there who even knows someone who runs this setup or am I going to be the first person on earth to give it a whirl!

 

BTW still waiting on Nvidia card.

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post #3 of 28 Old 04-27-2014, 11:25 AM
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I have a Radeon 7850 running 4k mode, but WMC7 can only record 1080. Playback is upconverted, but it is not as smooth as I expected whether I play 4k clips from youtube or from a WMC7 recorded show. I'm still trying to troubleshoot
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post #4 of 28 Old 04-27-2014, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply :)

 

Are you running 30Hz?

 

I can also only record in 1080p but my Samsung f9000 seems to be doing a relatively poor job of upscaling. I'm thinking the compromise may be as High a resolution as I can go while maintaining 16:9 and 60Hz

 

Update* New card not due for at least 3 days as it has not been shipped

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post #5 of 28 Old 04-27-2014, 04:26 PM
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I do not have much XP in the 4K arena as it applies to HTPCs, but from the various articles I have found around the web, it looks like your hardware specs are not enough. I am assuming more RAM and a lot beefier video card would be required...and by beefier, I mean one of the higher end models available today. This explains the chopiness I am assuming as the Intel iGPU is most likely not nearly enough to drive 4K content....I thought I remember seeing a thread in this very forum somewhere that literally specified the hardware requirements for 4K HTPCs. If I find it, I will post back here.

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post #6 of 28 Old 04-27-2014, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I would be interested to see what you find.

 

I think what I'm currently running is technically enough to "run" 4k but the results are not great. As I said previously, I have run 4k videos using VLC media player @ 30Hz and it does work with the occasional frame drop.

 

But when i run WMC7 (which is only playing 1080p at the most) the system has a really hard time. The sound and picture becomes choppy and laggy. Even the interface becomes very slow to respond and choppy. I have kind of tested most things so I'm waiting on the new card to start any real testing again.

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post #7 of 28 Old 04-27-2014, 05:19 PM
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I have experienced this in the past and had to purchase a discrete GPU to overcome this. It did solve the problem though....so to kill 2 birds with one stone, you may as well purchase a GPU that can handle 4k effortlessly as well. At least this is what I would do. Just my 2 cents. Google 4k htpc hardware requirements to be sure; plenty of discussions out there. I do not want to lead you astray.

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post #8 of 28 Old 04-28-2014, 12:36 AM
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I tested 4K video playback a little bit. There are two aspects:

1. Playing back 4K contents.
2. Playing back SD/HD/FHD contents and upscaling them to 4K.

1. requires a 4K (still H.264) decoder, either CPU (software decoder) or GPU (hardware decoder). A decent dual-core CPU is enough to decode 4K 30fps. A quad core may be needed to decode 4K 60fps (although very rare, only from 4K camcorders). GPU hardware decoder:

AMD: 4K decoder is non-existent.
NVIDIA: Good up to 4K 30fps (Kepler, most of GT(X) 6xx/7xx), 4K 60fps (Maxwell, currently GTX 750 / 750 Ti only)
Intel: Good up to 4K 120fps

If you use LAV Video Decoder, Intel 4K decoder (Quick Sync) + a discrete graphics is possible.

2. requires a good GPU (decoding and deinterlacing SD/HD/FHD is no problem with any current GPU of course). Intel iGPU (limited to Lanczos upscaling algorithm) is modest to upscale FHD, poor to upscale SD/HD. Radeon R7 250X (= HD 7770) / GeForce GTX 650 Ti or higher is recommended to upscale with a better upscaling algortihm (such as Jinc or NNEDI3). Upscaling movies (24fps) is easier, upscaling videos (60 field/s interlaced and 60fps progressive) is a lot harder (2.5 = 60/24 times harder).

Video RAM requirement is modest (apart from the speed) in either aspect. 1GB is enough for video playback.

The current graphics cards support 4K 30Hz output via HDMI (1.4) and 4K 60Hz via DisplayPort 1.2 (the display must also support DP 1.2, of course). No HDMI 2.0 support. In future there 'may' be a passive DP to HDMI 2.0 adapter so that the current cards (with a proper driver update) can be used with a HDMI 2.0 display.

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post #9 of 28 Old 04-28-2014, 01:15 AM
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Using Maxwell cards like Nvidia 750 you can go up to 4K@60fps easily, because there is a new HW 4K decoder inside, VP6.

Also, Intel iGPU can do even 4K@120 fps actually.

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post #10 of 28 Old 04-28-2014, 01:23 AM
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Thanks for the information.

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post #11 of 28 Old 04-28-2014, 02:34 AM
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I have to thank you for all the information and troubleshooting help you give in this forum.

Thanks for your time and effort.

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post #12 of 28 Old 04-30-2014, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkside View Post

I have a Radeon 7850 running 4k mode, but WMC7 can only record 1080. Playback is upconverted, but it is not as smooth as I expected whether I play 4k clips from youtube or from a WMC7 recorded show. I'm still trying to troubleshoot

Setting aside the smoothness issue, what's your impression of the quality? Noticeably better than regular 1080? Thanks.
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post #13 of 28 Old 04-30-2014, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Cheers Renethx :) very detailed response and does shed some light on how it all stacks up.

 

I Got the new Graphics card!! Nvidia 750 Ti SC

 

Fyodor.. I am running 4K on youtube smooth as can be. Occasional stutter but more likely the data feed of some sort of streaming issue. I am running 2160p @ 30Hz all the time.

 

As for Windows media Centre. I still get the warning occasionally on startup. The picture smoothness is not perfect and less than what I would call acceptable. Seems to have periods of slow frame rates. If you think about it, its probably converting a 1080p stream up to 2160p and converting 60Hz (or fps) down to 30 so maybe its a weird requirement.

 

As for picture quality. The Samsung one connect box has lots of upscaling smarts but the results look soft and smudgy. Now I'm running a native resolution (for the screen) I am assuming those smarts do not kick it.

 

On the GPU config I have asked it to do all the heavy lifting by way of reducing picture compression artefacts, colour, contrast etc. The result is probably a little better than the samsung but I have only had the one quick session trying different configs.

 

Next step is the new one connect box, due in June :(, which will have HDMI 2.0 and Im hoping in the mean time the Nvidia card will have some kind of driver/firmware update that will do some kind os psudo hdmi 2.0 upgrade like sony did. Other option with this card is display port but I will need a DP to HDMI conversion.

 

Those steps will allow for 60Hz 2160p and hopefully WMC7 will handle the conversion better resulting in smoother frame rates.

 

WMC7 seems to have issues with the text translation in 2160p. Subtitles are cut off sometimes and the same happens with program info. Maybe they have sorted this in Win 8.1??

 

Conclusion:

Better with discrete GPU but not fixed or anything to get excited about.

 

The journey continues...

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post #14 of 28 Old 05-01-2014, 05:48 AM
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Thanks for the info and update . It sounds like the technology isn't quite there yet.
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post #15 of 28 Old 05-12-2014, 09:09 AM
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I just started looking into 4k, and I see that you guys are having some playback issues with WMC. I was wondering if you have tried 4k playback with XBMC, possibly with the WMC PVR plugin? (I think that you might have to use "Gotham") I would be interested to know the results.

Also, I read on Phoronix that the next nvidia "Maxwell" GPU's due out later this year will support h.265 acceleration --> http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTY4NTg

That article is for Linux, but obviously the Windows drivers will support it as well.
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post #16 of 28 Old 05-12-2014, 09:49 AM
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The cause of the problem is that the refresh rate of the current graphics card / display at 4K resolution is limited to 30Hz (unless you use DisplayPort, only Panasonic TV supports it), while many TV contents are 60p (after deinterlacing) that requires 60Hz refresh rate.

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post #17 of 28 Old 05-12-2014, 10:30 AM
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I see. So it's more of an issue with playing recorded TV content at 30Hz.

Also, while not ideal for HTPC (small size, high price) there are some 4k monitors that support DisplayPort MST. This ASUS one also has dual HDMI for 60Hz --> http://www.asus.com/us/Monitors_Projectors/PQ321Q/
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post #18 of 28 Old 05-12-2014, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Update from original...

 

A few days ago I did install Gotham XBMC and was very impressed with the new format. It generally seems more stable and the display of recorded TV is much smoother. It does not seem to suffer from the spluttery frame rate that WMC does.

 

There positives with XMBC gotham:

- works with WMC remote (mostly)

- EPG dip lays more lines and has a better look

- Playback is quick and flawless

- Amazing catolog on Web Apps with great content at high resolutions

- Runs beautifully in conjunction with WMC7 

 

Negatives

- Step advance in recorded TV non existent. A big deal if you have to skip through a lot of commercial breaks

- Bad fast forward. Also annoying when trying to skip adds

- Has no sound in double speed play

 

I wonder if Windows 8.1 with WMC and current setup would be better???? anyone tried 4k with WMC on Win 8.1???

 

P.S. Renethex...

Totally agree with what you say. What I don't understand is other media software has worked it out, why hasn't Microdoft???

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post #19 of 28 Old 05-12-2014, 11:58 PM
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Ideally a 30fps interlaced (i.e. 60i) content should be interlaced to 60fps progressive and displayed at 60Hz. Then you will get perfectly smooth video playback. If hardware supports only 30Hz, then half of the frames will be decimated (randomly) and the playback will be choppy. A workaround is decimate half the frames in an exact way by a player, then the playback will be a lot smoother (the motion is still like a film, not a true video, of course). You can use for this purpose:

- madVR ("use half frame rate for DXVA deinterlacing"). This uses GPU's hardware deinterlacer.
- LAV Video Decoder ("Enable YADIF Deinterlacing" and "Output mode: 25p/30p (Film)"). yadif is a software deinterlacer.
- XBMC internal player, that uses yadif unless you specify DXVA2, the same effect as LAV Video Decoder yadif.
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post #20 of 28 Old 05-13-2014, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I am learning so much from you renethx, thanks again.

 

What your saying may actually be happening in XBMC. I looked through all the settings and they do mention DXVA and i think madVR. I Have it set to auto so I'm not too sure what it settles on but It seems to handle the exact same info that WMC gets but without the choppy slow frame rates.

 

So Im back to waiting for the latest maxwell chips on graphics cards to settle down. Hopefully I can get one with HDMI 2.0 as I think thats the only thing the SAMSUNG one connect box will be handling.

 

I also didn't mention that VLC player is displaying all the 4k clips from youtube flawlessly. Just have to download them first so there is no buffering. If I play live there is also some frame rate issues that can be annoying. Im guessing thats the fact that its being played through a Java engine type video player.

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post #21 of 28 Old 05-13-2014, 01:11 AM
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You have two options in XBMC in Videos - Setting > Acceleration > Decoding method:

- Hardware accelerated
- Software

"Hardware accelerated" uses GPU / driver to decode and deinterlace (if necessary) videos. "Software" uses CPU / software decoder & deinterlacer. If you choose the latter, you further see in Deinterlacing method: Auto select, Software Blend, De-interlace, De-interlace (Half). I guess Auto select = De-interlace (Half) at 30Hz refresh rate. If you choose the former, the playback will be choppy (it looks like madVR is the only way to use the hardware deinterlacer and decimate half the frames exactly).

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post #22 of 28 Old 05-17-2014, 09:20 AM
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Hi,

I'm able to run 4k video with no issues on my UE55F9000 from my PC - but I'm finding it impossible to find any decent content.

Has anyone managed to get netflix to work on windows 8.1 in UHD? I'm happy to try emulating a TV app or whatever is required to get this to work.

Any links to buy suitable content or compatible hardware in the UK would also be appreciated.

Thanks
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post #23 of 28 Old 06-20-2014, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Refresh rate

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMate View Post
Hi,

I'm able to run 4k video with no issues on my UE55F9000 from my PC...

Thanks
1. What refresh rate? 30Hz?
2. Are you using the first or second generation one connect box?

Cheers.
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post #24 of 28 Old 06-20-2014, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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60Hz over HDMI 1.4 with Nvidia cards

As you know I have UN55F9000 and a media centre in Australia. I'm kind of waiting for Nvidia to bring out HDMI 2.0 Cards and Samsung to release the new one connect box in Australia. Mainly so I can run at 60Hz refresh rate. I'm sure many are in a smiler position.

Check out this article which says you can get 60Hz with HDMI 1.4 and Nvidia.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/8191/n...upport-kind-of

I'm pretty sure if I get the card running 60Hz with the lower colour bit rate the One connect box will probably stop it working.

First to test gets A MEDAL! GO! and let us know how you go.
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post #25 of 28 Old 06-21-2014, 01:36 AM
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I know 4K is the current 'big thing', but with little or no content out there, what's the big deal in trying to get WMC to output @ 2160P? There's nothing broadcast at this resolution, and you're talking about having to put a ridiculously overpowered GPU in an HTPC just to attempt it. Wouldn't it be best just to keep the output from WMC @1080p and let the TV upscale the image to 4k? I've heard the scaler in the new Samsung 4K TV's is actually very good. It just seems some want to do this for the sake of it.

If you want to watch some of the limited Netflix 4k content, surely using a SmartTV with a native Netflix app is better? Until the blu-ray 4k standard is established more devices support HEVC and the price of 4k sets comes way down, it's going to be a long, long haul to 4k nirvana.

I can possibly understand gamers wanting 4k, and then a beefy GPU makes sense, along with a 4k monitor (or two), but for HTPC use, it just doesn't at the moment.
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post #26 of 28 Old 06-21-2014, 03:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tman247 View Post
I know 4K is the current 'big thing', but with little or no content out there, what's the big deal in trying to get WMC to output @ 2160P? There's nothing broadcast at this resolution, and you're talking about having to put a ridiculously overpowered GPU in an HTPC just to attempt it. Wouldn't it be best just to keep the output from WMC @1080p and let the TV upscale the image to 4k? I've heard the scaler in the new Samsung 4K TV's is actually very good. It just seems some want to do this for the sake of it.

If you want to watch some of the limited Netflix 4k content, surely using a SmartTV with a native Netflix app is better? Until the blu-ray 4k standard is established more devices support HEVC and the price of 4k sets comes way down, it's going to be a long, long haul to 4k nirvana.

I can possibly understand gamers wanting 4k, and then a beefy GPU makes sense, along with a 4k monitor (or two), but for HTPC use, it just doesn't at the moment.
I can't argue with any of that. There is very little logic to it. I think I am enjoying the chase of trying to get it all to work. If I just waited another couple of years and brought it all in a working system, what would the fun be in that!

The reason for trying to run Windows Media Centre (WMC) in 4k even when there is no 4K TV broadcasts is because I found the end result of running 1080p was actually pretty soft and colours were washed out. When I ran the Nvidia 750 Ti it looked really good. I can also have 4K desktop images and play 4K content that is available, all be it minimal at the moment.

The GPU was only $150 so not exactly breaking the bank and I am gaming ontop of HTPC use.
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post #27 of 28 Old 06-21-2014, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John5mith View Post
I can't argue with any of that. There is very little logic to it. I think I am enjoying the chase of trying to get it all to work. If I just waited another couple of years and brought it all in a working system, what would the fun be in that!

The reason for trying to run Windows Media Centre (WMC) in 4k even when there is no 4K TV broadcasts is because I found the end result of running 1080p was actually pretty soft and colours were washed out. When I ran the Nvidia 750 Ti it looked really good. I can also have 4K desktop images and play 4K content that is available, all be it minimal at the moment.

The GPU was only $150 so not exactly breaking the bank and I am gaming ontop of HTPC use.
Well, maybe there's a small argument for you 'giving it a go', but for 99.9% of HTPC users, it's not even worth considering at the moment. Microsoft are never going to add native 4k support to WMC (by this I mean HEVC support), not even in 8.1. I can't see OTA TV in the US/Europe going 4k for years, if at all. Maybe in Japan, but there all a little bonkers over there.

Native 4k content on a 4k screen is absolutely amazing, there's no argument there, but one of the big problems highlighted by early adopters is the total lack of something to watch in 4k. That's really going to slow adoption until that's sorted.

Good luck with your efforts.
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post #28 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 11:59 PM
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It's taking me a while to follow up on this thread, so I'm going to resurrect it. Windows 8.1's Windows Media Center doesn't play its recordings smoothly either, as others have suspect, in 4k settings 2160p30.

Thanks Renethx for explaining the technicality of WMC's failure to play 1080p60 files in 2160p30 setting. I wouldn't have been able to figure it out. XBMC plays it smoothly like you said using DXVA.

The only workaround now is to use XBMC to playback .wtv files from WMC recordings. This is actually nice for me since I don't have to toggle resolutions back and forth between 1080 and 2160. My 4k Seiki TV also displays better in 2160 than 1080, like John5mith's 4k TV, so I'd like to keep the settings as 2160 100% of the time.

Thanks for your the helpful responses.
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