Playing 4K media files on HTPC. What player do you use? - AVS Forum
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Playing 4K media files on HTPC. What player do you use?

I'm talking downloaded content that is super high bitrate, not stuff streamed from youtube.

hardware -
geforce 750ti
i3 3220 3.0 Ghz
8GB RAM

For me, players I have tried -
vlc
xbmc
mpc-hc
windows media player (built in to windows 8.1)

Out of those, the only player that can smoothly play high bitrate 4K files without frame drops is windows media player. VLC is the worst of the lot, followed by xbmc. MPC-HC is laggy, but manages to get through it.

If I dial down mad vr enough, I can get it to almost play smoothly, but it still chokes at some points.

I would have thought the built in windows media player would be the worst, but it's actually the best, by far. Everything I throw at it (including content encoded at 100mbs) is buttery smooth.

What has been the consensus for others who have played 4K media on their HTPC? What player do you use?

I'm mainly talking about files downloaded from -
http://demo-uhd3d.com/index.php

Here's a serious torture test for others to try.
http://demo-uhd3d.com/fiche.php?cat=uhd&id=35
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:43 AM
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I checked the videos in the front page of http://demo-uhd3d.com/index.php.

- Samsung_Fashion_Show_Milan_UHD.ts: HEVC 25fps
- Roland_Garros_MonFils_2014.ts: HEVC 50fps
- Samsung_UHD_Soccer_Barcelona_Atletico_Madrid.ts: HEVC 50fps
- Samsung_UHD_Soccer_Real_Madrid_Celta_Vigo.ts: HEVC 50fps
- LG_4K_Hongkong.mp4: AVC 30fps
- Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K.mp4: AVC 60fps

And the video clip in http://demo-uhd3d.com/fiche.php?cat=uhd&id=35

- 4K_HD.Club_Showreel-2013-100mbps.mp4: AVC 30fps

Quote:
Out of those, the only player that can smoothly play high bitrate 4K files without frame drops is windows media player.
How do you play HEVC-encoded files with WMPlayer? Simply there is no HEVC video decoder built in Windows. On the other hand you can play HEVC files with any player with ffmpeg-based video decoder (MPC-BE [with or without LAV Filters], MPC-HC, VLC etc.) but you will need a Haswell Core i7 desktop processor for smooth playback. Or you will have to wait for a software video decoder that supports the hardware HEVC video decoder of GeForce 750 Ti.

As for 4K_HD.Club_Showreel-2013-100mbps.mp4 (or any other AVC file), you should be able to play it with MPC-BE or MPC-HC with no problem. MPC-BE should work right out of the box. If you use MPC-HC, make sure to select DXVA2 (copy-back) or DXVA2 (native) and check "UHD (4K)" in LAV Video Decoder configuration, otherwise your CPU will be pegged at 100%.

Last edited by renethx; 08-22-2014 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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It defies logic for me too, but I'm not lying.

I use madvr in mpc-hc with CVUID acceleration and UHD checked. As I said if I really dial down the settings I can get it to play mostly smooth.

However, Windows media player plays all content completely smooth judder free.

I did install lav filters with mpc which I believe gave an option for wmp support, so perhaps that's what does it.

It's an interesting finding none the less.

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Old 08-22-2014, 08:05 AM
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If you set MPC-HC to DXVA2 Native as well as the renderer to plain EVR, you mimick mostly the playback chain of WMP. If you use any other renderer, like EVR-CP or even madVR, those will use much more resources, and if your GPU is the throttling factor, slow you down there.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:23 AM
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I'm wondering if a 4690k i5 Haswell with an HD7850 ATI Radeon GPU will play 4k content. Of course my plasma only does 1080p so it'll need to be down scaled anyhow..
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hisma View Post
It defies logic for me too, but I'm not lying.

I use madvr in mpc-hc with CVUID acceleration and UHD checked. As I said if I really dial down the settings I can get it to play mostly smooth.

However, Windows media player plays all content completely smooth judder free.

I did install lav filters with mpc which I believe gave an option for wmp support, so perhaps that's what does it.
CUVID does not support HEVC decoding. Screenshot at "Samsung_Fashion_Show_Milan_UHD.ts" (HEVC 25fps) playback:



CUVID is available, but "avcodec" (ffmpeg-based software decoder) is actually used.

To see if LAV video decoder is used in WMPlayer, check "Enable System Tray Icon" in LAV Video Decoder properties dialog box and see if you find its icon in the system tray at video playback.

Did you purchase Windows Media Center (that would enable Microsoft's own video decoder)? But I don't think it supports GeForce's HEVC hardware decoder.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
CUVID does not support HEVC decoding. Screenshot at "Samsung_Fashion_Show_Milan_UHD.ts" (HEVC 25fps) playback:



CUVID is available, but "avcodec" (ffmpeg-based software decoder) is actually used.

To see if LAV video decoder is used in WMPlayer, check "Enable System Tray Icon" in LAV Video Decoder properties dialog box and see if you find its icon in the system tray at video playback.

Did you purchase Windows Media Center (that would enable Microsoft's own video decoder)? But I don't think it supports GeForce's HEVC hardware decoder.
Thanks for the info. I did purchase wmc for windows 8.1, so that may be why it works so well.

I will see what happens if I disable madvr and use EVR in mpc-hc, as was suggested before.

What I don't understand is how every other app, including vlc, chokes on the 4K content, except wmp. It makes me think that some sort of hardware decoding is being done in wmp, but I have no evidence of this. The least I can do is check if the LAV video decoder is being used. Some clips are so demanding, even the TV can't play them via USB without dropping frames, and it also has built-in HEVC decoding.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Hisma View Post
Thanks for the info. I did purchase wmc for windows 8.1, so that may be why it works so well.

I will see what happens if I disable madvr and use EVR in mpc-hc, as was suggested before.

What I don't understand is how every other app, including vlc, chokes on the 4K content, except wmp. It makes me think that some sort of hardware decoding is being done in wmp, but I have no evidence of this. The least I can do is check if the LAV video decoder is being used. Some clips are so demanding, even the TV can't play them via USB without dropping frames, and it also has built-in HEVC decoding.
I tested a couple HEVC clips in a pristine Win 8.1 system with WMC pack activated. No, WMPlay can't play video, only audio works, without adding a third-party video decoder such as LAV Video Decoder. AFAIK, there is no video decoder that can decode HEVC (in particular 50fps clips) with a dual core processor + GTX 750 Ti without dropped frames. I tried:

- LAV Video Decoder: Only avcodec (ffmpeg-based) supports HEVC and it requires Haswell Core i7 desktop processor for smooth playback.
- Lentoid HEVC OpenCL decoder: Much better than avcodec, but still very CPU hungry. At least Core i5 is necessary.
- CyberLink Video Decoder (HAM): Similar to Lentoid.
- Microsoft DVD-DTV Video Decoder: Does not support HEVC at all.

It is mysterious how your system with Pentium + GTX 750 Ti + WMPlayer can play Samsung_UHD_Soccer_Real_Madrid_Celta_Vigo.ts (HEVC 50fps) smoothly without dropped frames.

Last edited by renethx; 08-23-2014 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
I tested a couple HEVC clips in a pristine Win 8.1 system with WMC pack activated. No, WMPlay can't play video, only audio works. AFAIK, there is no HEVC software decoder that can decode HEVC (in particular 50fps clips) with a dual core processor + GTX 750 Ti. I tried:

- LAV Video Decoder: Only avcodec (ffmpeg-based) supports HEVC and it requires Core i7 desktop processor for smooth playback.
- Lentoid HEVC OpenCL decoder: Much better than avcodec, but still very CPU hungry. At least Core i5 is necessary.
- CyberLink Video Decoder (HAM): Similar to Lentoid.
- Microsoft DVD-DTV Video Decoder: Does not support HEVC at all.

It is mysterious how your system with Pentium + GTX 750 Ti + WMPlayer can play Samsung_UHD_Soccer_Real_Madrid_Celta_Vigo.ts (HEVC 50fps) smoothly without dropped frames.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that .ts clips play audio only, but .mp4 files play without a hitch.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Hisma View Post
Sorry, I forgot to mention that .ts clips play audio only, but .mp4 files play without a hitch.
I only checked the videos in the front page of http://demo-uhd3d.com/index.php. There is no HEVC mp4 clip there. Which clip are you talking about? The only mp4 clips there are the following two:

- LG Demo - Hong Kon...
- Coupe du Monde 201...

Both are encoded in AVC and playing them back is easy (because of the aged AVC codec).

Last edited by renethx; 08-23-2014 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
I only checked the videos in the front page of http://demo-uhd3d.com/index.php. There is no HEVC mp4 clip there. Which clip are you talking about? The only mp4 clips there are the following two:

- LG Demo - Hong Kon...
- Coupe du Monde 201...

Both are encoded in AVC and playing them back smoothly is easy (because of AVC).
Interesting. I assumed they were encoded similarly, but I see some are h264 and some are HEVC. So is HEVC = h265 and AVC = h264?

In any case, all video players played the h264 files poorly except wmp. Even my TV couldn't handle them directly via USB.

I will try some of the settings suggested here and see what I get. What sucks is that my samsung TV cannot even directly play the samsung demo without stuttering badly.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
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You also touch on hardware based hevc decoding. So it's a feature of new maxwell-based nvidia cards, but not yet supported in software? is that avcodec used with CUVID = hardware-based AVC, or h264 decoding?

All new to me.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:39 PM
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AVC=H.264, HEVC=H.265.

Playing back 4K AVC is pretty easy with GTX 750 Ti, as well as Intel HD Graphics, because the hardware video decoder of these graphics supports 4K AVC up to 60fps / 120fps respectively. A dual-core processor is enough. You just need to configure a player properly. Try MPC-BE, that will work right out of the box, without adding other filters (such as LAV Filters), its internal filters work very well.

On the other hand HEVC is pretty new and it is even obscure how the hardware video decoder of these graphics supports HEVC (partially or fully?). There is no software decoder yet that supports these hardware video decoders either (so nobody can test them yet). I mentioned Lentoid and CyberLink video decoder. These decoder offloads CPU to GPU partially (via OpenCL in the case of Lentoid). They use GPU's shader units for decoding instead, that's not as efficient as an ASIC decoder. LAV Video Decoder (avcodec) is a CPU-only decoder (so-called a 'software' decoder) and you will need Haswell desktop Core i7 for smooth playback.

Last edited by renethx; 08-22-2014 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Got it. Thanks for clearing things up. That means I need to avoid avcodec, as it's software-only and not the same as HW-based decoding.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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changing to DXVA2 (copyback) fixed the stuttering in mpc-hc. Now it runs equivalently to wmp.

the HEVC encoded files still run poorly, but in wmp they don't run at all. So, the only option there is through the TV. So while it tends to drop a frame or two, it's definitely watchable.

Amazing how much difference hw-based video rendering makes.
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
I tested a couple HEVC clips in a pristine Win 8.1 system with WMC pack activated. No, WMPlay can't play video, only audio works, without adding a third-party video decoder such as LAV Video Decoder. AFAIK, there is no video decoder that can decode HEVC (in particular 50fps clips) with a dual core processor + GTX 750 Ti. I tried:

- LAV Video Decoder: Only avcodec (ffmpeg-based) supports HEVC and it requires Core i7 desktop processor for smooth playback.
- Lentoid HEVC OpenCL decoder: Much better than avcodec, but still very CPU hungry. At least Core i5 is necessary.
- CyberLink Video Decoder (HAM): Similar to Lentoid.
- Microsoft DVD-DTV Video Decoder: Does not support HEVC at all.
Hi renethx. I'm tying to test these HEVC clips on my 4k monitor (750 Ti + Xeon E3-1230v3) and I'm not seeing where to select avcodec in MPC-HC. I notice an avcodec dll included in MadVR but if I use MadVR under DirectShow video output I get a lot of stuttering on playback even with the settings dialed down (this is with DXVA2 native or copy back selected under LAV Video Decoder). Is there something I need to download separately to run avcodec without MadVR or do I just have my settings wrong?
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:12 PM
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You can't select avcodec in MPC-HC and in LAV filters properties.

The only thing you have to do, is to select "none" in MPC-HC/ LAV video properties.

Then automatically avcodec (software decoder) is used for video decoding.

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Old 08-24-2014, 09:32 AM
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You can't select avcodec in MPC-HC and in LAV filters properties.

The only thing you have to do, is to select "none" in MPC-HC/ LAV video properties.

Then automatically avcodec (software decoder) is used for video decoding.
Thanks Nikos. Unfortunately I'm still getting a lot of stuttering and dropped frames. Not really a big deal to me since these clips are the only HEVC content I've run into so far and I was only curious to see if I could get smooth playback. So I'll test further if anyone wants to suggest other settings to tweak. Otherwise that's about the extend of my interest for now.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:43 AM
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Install latest nightly build of LAV x64 and use that version inside MPC-HC x64.

Built-in x64 and especially x86 versions of LAV video inside MPC-HC are still slow for HEVC.

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