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post #1 of 39 Old 07-06-2014, 02:43 AM - Thread Starter
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LAV filters for Live TV

Due to a couple of issues with occasional frame drops and me striving for the best picture quality, I'm try to get my Win7x86 HTPC to use LAV instead of the Microsoft decoder for live TV (specifically Freeview HD in the UK). The UK HD channels use MPEG-4 compression.

I've checked various guides on this, and having installed LAV (I already use it with MPC-HC, but that now ships with LAV for internal use by default), I went through the process to change the decoder. I set all the LAV tools to show the icon in the system tray when running, and in MPC-HC this works fine. I then used filter tweaker to set the default codec for H.264 to 'LAV Decoder'. Job done I thought.

Running WMC in a window though, when I then tuned into one of the HD channels, nothing happened. LAV wasn't used or even launched by the looks of it. I can't use GraphStudio to check the pin connections for live TV, but I checked on a recorded HD .WTV file, and that indeed showed the pin connection to LAV Video Decoder.

So, not sure what's gone wrong, or why LAV isn't being used. Anyone have any ideas?
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post #2 of 39 Old 07-06-2014, 08:09 AM
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WMC is very fussy about the decoder. It wants to see the MS decoder used. If I recall correctly some of the Cyberlink decoders would work. I can't recall the specifics. With certain decoders you will get error messages like " the decoder doesn't support protected content". In other cases no error, no display, or a generic video error message.

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post #3 of 39 Old 07-06-2014, 08:42 AM
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Try disabling Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder and Media Foundation.

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post #4 of 39 Old 07-06-2014, 10:55 AM
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Feel free to read my experience with changing the WMC decoder . Short story, it's possible but it didn't go too well. Lot's of stutter, audio sync problems, no copy flagged channels, intermittent wmc error screens about decoders..
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post #5 of 39 Old 07-06-2014, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_Steb View Post
Try disabling Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder and Media Foundation.
I think that's the right answer. I've been playing around with the decoder settings, and disabled the DTV-DVD decoder just to see what happened, and yes, LAV decoder kicked in. It appears it doesn't matter what the merit is, or whether LAV is explicitly selected. If the MS decoder isn't disabled, WMC won't use it.

What would be the benefit of disabling Media Foundation?
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post #6 of 39 Old 07-06-2014, 03:30 PM
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post #7 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tman247 View Post
Due to a couple of issues with occasional frame drops and me striving for the best picture quality, I'm try to get my Win7x86 HTPC to use LAV instead of the Microsoft decoder for live TV (specifically Freeview HD in the UK). The UK HD channels use MPEG-4 compression.
How are you perceiving the frame drops? Is it directly following a channel change? If so that is actually purposeful and allows channel changing to be stable / fast inside WMC natively

If you wanted to really compare stuff and had a little time for a short science project, I'd suggest trying a variety of splitters and decoders with NPVR. It's the easiest PVR software I've ever tried that allows you to completely own live tv playback options in windows. Look through their forums for the SAF codec pack from a member over there, which will include PDVD and arcsoft splitters / decoders for you to try

All in all, the most important thing to my household for live tv was quick channel changing. Ultimately the best choice for that was the MS DTV-DVD decoder with PDVD13 taking a close second. Lav was fairly slow at the time (2012). PQ takes a back seat considering my source is just 1080i mpeg2
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post #8 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 02:45 PM
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This whole thing is missing a basic point. The MS Decoder works fine. A decoder's job is to decode. It is not to render. Unless frames are dropped or not decoded properly in time you should not see a difference between one video decoder and another. What you are likely to encounter with another decoder is broken LiveTV, as most others do not have provisions to protect the path (DRM).

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post #9 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 03:51 PM
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...The MS Decoder works fine. A decoder's job is to decode. It is not to render. Unless frames are dropped or not decoded properly in time you should not see a difference between one video decoder and another....
I guess I have sensitive eyes because when I use WMC to watch comcast cable channels like AMC, Syfy, USA, TNT, LIFE, LMN, HBO, ID, TLC, DISC, SCIENCE, etc, the badly flagged content drives me crazy to the point of avoiding the default MS decoders at any cost by using an external player for everything I possibly can. See screenshots, download clip, decide for yourself. http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/...php?f=5&t=6385
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post #10 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 04:55 PM
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I guess I have sensitive eyes because when I use WMC to watch comcast cable channels like AMC, Syfy, USA, TNT, LIFE, LMN, HBO, ID, TLC, DISC, SCIENCE, etc, the badly flagged content drives me crazy to the point of avoiding the default MS decoders at any cost by using an external player for everything I possibly can. See screenshots, download clip, decide for yourself. http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/...php?f=5&t=6385

Why point to a thread that describes badly encoded video streams where mixed progressive and interlaced content is improperly flagged. Don't blame the decoder for that. If the decoder is accurately decoding than a broken stream is a broken stream. It is not the role of the decoder to disregard the progressive/interlaced flag. Why is this subject so misunderstood? On a CE device they have hardware dedicated to analyzing the frame sequence in real time and are not dependent solely on the flag. That frame sequence detection is a hardware function that is not really duplicated on the GPU. It is not the role of the video decoder on the PC to do this. The video decoder on the PC role is to tell the GPU to deinterlace or not based on the flag state.
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post #11 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 05:12 PM
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I don't care why or who's fault it is... All I want is for my eyes to see a good picture on my screen. That can't happen when using WMC default decoder. What exactly would you have me do? Change my provider from comcast to the other cablecard provider that doesn't have badly flagged content? Oh wait there isn't one. OR pay $100/mo more to switch to Tivo and 3 minis, no thanks. Best choice- avoid the MS decoder/software whenever possible (too bad can't easily be done for LiveTv and copy flagged).

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post #12 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 05:53 PM
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I don't care why or who's fault it is... All I want is for my eyes to see a good picture on my screen. That can't happen when using WMC default decoder. What exactly would you have me do? Change my provider from comcast to the other cablecard provider that doesn't have badly flagged content? Oh wait there isn't one. OR pay $100/mo more to switch to Tivo and 3 minis, no thanks. Best choice- avoid the MS decoder/software whenever possible (too bad can't easily be done for LiveTv and copy flagged).
I have Comcast. Perhaps we watch different content. I really don't know what you are experiencing but the only time I really have an issue is with some poorly flagged local commercials. I have a very good eye. I calibrate my displays. I use a Lumagen Radiance XS and I have a TIVO. The only plus for the TIVO is that you can set it to native output and have the Lumagen do all deinterlacing and scaling. I use the Radiance to provide color correction above and beyond what my TV does internally. I don't record much TV. It is almost entirely Live TV. For me this is just not really a significant issue. I don't have premium content like Showtime or HBO. I watch a lot of sports and news. Now there is often some awful looking video on CNN that comes out of the field. That is probably from bad cameras or crappy smartphones. The only issue I find with WMC is that it is kind of brain dead about scaling and video levels and sometimes you have to resort to registry hacks etc. I typically watch my locals via ATSC to avoid any extra compression artifacts. I suspect that Comcast does different things area by area when they recompress and retransport different streams. In any case I just don't have an issue with the MS Decoder.


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post #13 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 05:57 PM
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Download my clip, watch the logo in the corner. It's not just the logo, its any high contrast/detail area of the screen. It is horribly distracting. I can't take it.
http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/...php?f=5&t=6385
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post #14 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 06:36 PM
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Not to mention the WMC missing one pixel line on the right side problem MS can't dodge the blame for this one

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post #15 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 08:51 PM
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My results in both WMC with stock decoders and with JRiver running Red October HQ (LAV/madVR) look just like your second enlargement. Nvidia 450GTS


I don't really know what is going on in that WTV except it appears an improperly deinterlaced piece of video ( the logo) has been overlayed over the other frames.

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post #16 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 09:21 PM
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Strange, others have played the clip and said they do have the issue. I can see the jaggies in the clip when played on 4 different Tv's-
HTPC (tried 3 gpus) on 55" LCD
Ceton Echo on 50" Plasma
Ceton Echo on 40" LCD
xbox360 on 32" LCD
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post #17 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 09:48 PM
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I did not say it was perfect on either. I said they looked the same.


In DVD/BD Players (High End say OPPO) and High End Video Processors all kinds of strategies are employed to detect bad edit, mixed frames etc., all the kind of stupidity that can be done. Many of these strategies are largely successful but they are not magic. Even if they can detect a stupid combination of this and that it takes time. You will literally see bad deinterlacing for maybe a second or two and then the video processing concludes, oh yeah I know what to do with that and it goes to work. Unfortunately if the particular piece of video goes from properly encoded and flagged stuff to that particular sequence that it takes the video processing several seconds to diagnose. You have good, bad, good etc deinterlacing. And if the video processor designers were too clever by half, you can get the wrong approach applied for all the right reasons. So basically these chips try to make real time analysis and as I said they hit the nail on the head much of the time. But when you have something really screwed up in the stream it is going to come out hosed no matter how good the processing.


I have a DVD of Steely Dan that is flagged incorrectly. I can't remember exactly what they did but some devices or PC hardware/ software if you set it to film it will deinterlace it properly. It used to drive me crazy trying to figure out how to get it played without artifacts. Truth was, it was messed up and when it was decoded and rendered correctly to the eye it was configured wrong on that device or that software. I never really tried to see what they did. I just know one Disc Player out of 10 it worked with no intervention and even something like a DVDO or Lumagen could not do it no matter what the settings. I don't how these devices decide whether to honor the flags or analyse the frames. In any case there is a lot of screwed up video and when the cable guys decide to squeeze a stream down further and they are using some sloppy generic interlacing, you can really get a mess.

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post #18 of 39 Old 07-07-2014, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
How are you perceiving the frame drops? Is it directly following a channel change? If so that is actually purposeful and allows channel changing to be stable / fast inside WMC natively

If you wanted to really compare stuff and had a little time for a short science project, I'd suggest trying a variety of splitters and decoders with NPVR. It's the easiest PVR software I've ever tried that allows you to completely own live tv playback options in windows. Look through their forums for the SAF codec pack from a member over there, which will include PDVD and arcsoft splitters / decoders for you to try

All in all, the most important thing to my household for live tv was quick channel changing. Ultimately the best choice for that was the MS DTV-DVD decoder with PDVD13 taking a close second. Lav was fairly slow at the time (2012). PQ takes a back seat considering my source is just 1080i mpeg2
On UK HD channels, especially fast panning action like football, the frame drops (causing picture jumps) are very obvious and distracting. I've looked at various reasons as to why this might be; CPU overloaded, GPU (although that's not likely), disk latency etc. None of these check out, so I started looking at the decoder. I've used 411-info to check the status inc frame rate for changes when the frame drops occur - but nothing, it's all locked at 50Hz. I'd updated the tuner drivers whenever a new version is released, and even spoken to the manufacturer about this, and they said it's not their hardware as it only passes the stream to the O/S for decoding, and the stream is perfect. I'd even upgraded the GPU from an HD4670 to an HD7750, although this wasn't the sole reason for this. After doing this, I perceived there was a very small improvement, but the frame drops were still there.

I then started looking at the decoder - it's the only thing left. The WMC decoder hasn't, in reality, been updated in over 5 years, and a lot has happened to UK TV in that time. My suspicions were that it wasn't handling the interlaced HD streams properly, and having recently switched to LAV with the 'aggressive' setting, I can confirm that I haven't seen a frame drop since. Everything is smooth and consistent. LAV seems to be lighter on the CPU as well - it's obviously got very efficient coding. The final test will be football, and I'll know that after tonight.
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post #19 of 39 Old 07-08-2014, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerdwn View Post
Strange, others have played the clip and said they do have the issue. I can see the jaggies in the clip when played on 4 different Tv's-
HTPC (tried 3 gpus) on 55" LCD
Ceton Echo on 50" Plasma
Ceton Echo on 40" LCD
xbox360 on 32" LCD
I tested your clip. It is definitely flagged wrong(29/59 bug). Your clip is film based, you get the jaggies when it tries to deinterlace the content. It's not caused by the MS decoder. Lav video will do the same thing.

59.94 MS Decoder - deinterlacing off
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23.976 MS Decoder - with Inverse Telecine
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59.94 MS Decoder - deinterlacing on
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ID:	153793

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...59.94 MS Decoder - deinterlacing off...
Please explain how you turn off deinterlacing in WMC?
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post #21 of 39 Old 07-08-2014, 07:48 PM
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I didn't. I was using MPC-HC, MS Decoders and Madvr.
I don't particularly like the WMC player, just showing that it wasn't the MS Decoder causing our grief. If you deinterlace with Lav you will get the same jaggies.

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post #22 of 39 Old 07-08-2014, 07:55 PM
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I didn't. I was using MPC-HC, MS Decoders and Madvr.
I don't particularly like the WMC player, just showing that it wasn't the MS Decoder causing our grief. If you deinterlace with Lav you will get the same jaggies.
Exactly the whole reason WMC sucks, because you can't tweak the decoder. So everyone who has "badly flagged provider" are stuck watching horrible quality live Tv and copy flagged content.
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post #23 of 39 Old 07-08-2014, 08:33 PM
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Exactly the whole reason WMC sucks, because you can't tweak the decoder. So everyone who has "badly flagged provider" are stuck watching horrible quality live Tv and copy flagged content.
You aren't stuck with "badly flagged" content because Microsoft won't add a switch so you can tinker with its innards. You're stuck with badly flagged content because you continue to allow your cable provider (to whom you're likely paying large sums of money on a monthly basis) to send you badly flagged content.

If some programs/channels came from your cable provider rotated 90 degrees, would you accept that? If they were mirrored, would you accept that? If they were black and white (when they should be color) would you accept that?

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #24 of 39 Old 07-08-2014, 09:14 PM
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You aren't stuck with "badly flagged" content because Microsoft won't add a switch so you can tinker with its innards. You're stuck with badly flagged content because you continue to allow your cable provider (to whom you're likely paying large sums of money on a monthly basis) to send you badly flagged content.

If some programs/channels came from your cable provider rotated 90 degrees, would you accept that? If they were mirrored, would you accept that? If they were black and white (when they should be color) would you accept that?
I've already got my workaround- Don't watch live Tv, and use any other player besides WMC to playback Tv recordings. I'm smart enough to know that the GIANT comcast isn't going to do squat for some guy in California rambling on about badly flagged video.
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post #25 of 39 Old 07-08-2014, 10:04 PM
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I've already got my workaround- Don't watch live Tv, and use any other player besides WMC to playback Tv recordings. I'm smart enough to know that the GIANT comcast isn't going to do squat for some guy in California rambling on about badly flagged video.
I'm happy you've found a workaround you find acceptable, but that doesn't change the fact that you aren't stuck with "badly flagged" content because Microsoft won't add a switch so you can tinker with its innards. You're stuck with badly flagged content because you continue to allow your cable provider (to whom you're likely paying large sums of money on a monthly basis) to send you badly flagged content.

I just find it odd, that you just roll over and accept a quantifiably bad product from your cable provider whom you ostensibly pay for good service every month, evidently because the company is so big, yet you seem to have some expectation that the even bigger Microsoft to whom you paid a small one time fee (probably less that what you pay Comcast every month) should do squat for some guy in California rambling on about badly flagged video.

For once, I'm not trying to be smarmy, I genuinely am curious how you've arrived at such a conclusion.

Is it because Microsoft had the audacity to acknowledge the phenomenon, and the Cable Providers took the fingers-in-ears "LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING!" approach?

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post #26 of 39 Old 07-09-2014, 05:58 AM
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Hilarious. I have as much expectation that MS will ever fix the 29/59 bug and the missing column of pixels on the right, as comcast will fix their encoders. I will pay anyone here $1000 to accomplish either one, $2000 if you get them both fixed!
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post #27 of 39 Old 07-09-2014, 06:21 AM
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Hilarious. I have as much expectation that MS will ever fix the 29/59 bug and the missing column of pixels on the right, as comcast will fix their encoders. I will pay anyone here $1000 to accomplish either one, $2000 if you get them both fixed!
I feel like if I get 'em both fixed that should be worth at least $2500

I agree it's unlikely either giant will do anything to resolve the problem. I'm just puzzled why people are constantly expressing their ire with Microsoft, and I don't really recall ever seeing a single complaint about the cable providers who are sending the bad content in the first place. Just strikes me as odd. To each his own, I guess. :shrug:

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post #28 of 39 Old 07-09-2014, 06:33 AM
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Eight months ago I posted in the comcast help forum. Got exactly zero replies.
Also posted in main Comcast forum here, lasted only a few posts...
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post #29 of 39 Old 07-09-2014, 07:36 AM
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Unfortunately all this is just the gnashing of teeth in the wilderness. For all practical purposes MS is out of the decoder for Windows business and Comcast well those of you who are Comcast customers know what a responsive organization they are. Nothing but road kill here drivers stop rubbernecking.

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Eight months ago I posted in the comcast help forum. Got exactly zero replies.
Also posted in main Comcast forum here, lasted only a few posts...
Kudos to you for at least pursuing it.



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Originally Posted by gtgray View Post
Unfortunately all this is just the gnashing of teeth in the wilderness. For all practical purposes MS is out of the decoder for Windows business and Comcast well those of you who are Comcast customers know what a responsive organization they are. Nothing but road kill here drivers stop rubbernecking.
I doubt it is just Comcast. None of the cable providers are likely to change anything unless a significant number of customers hold their feet to the fire. Unfortunately when you look at the fraction of their customers who are using cablecards, and the fraction of those customers who are experiencing the issue, and the fraction of those customers who are willing to make a stink about it, and I'd say you end up with some underwhelming numbers.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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