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Best codec/format for HD replay on a netbook

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a netbook with limited processing power. Some initial tests with replay of HD video were OK, but the video would occasionally skip a few frames. So, given the netbooks' limited processing power, it did quite well.

My tests were for a 1080i broadcast recorded as a WTV file by Windows 7 Media Center (recorded on a different, more powerful machine). Similar results were obtained for a DVR-MS file.

Replay was via Windows 7 MC and Windows 7 Media Player (no difference in response).

My question: What formats/codecs do the best for replay on Windows 7 machines with limited CPU and video chipset performance? What format variations should be tried to obtain the best visual/audio replay - is 720p less intense for replay than 1080i? What other formats/codecs might work better: H.264? Divx?

What other general suggestions (tweaks of hardware acceleration, etc) are recommended?

I recognize that netbooks aren't yet appropriate for HD video, per se, but what was surprising was how well the netbook did - just some choppiness, and occasional tiling, so it seems within reach that by using a different format/player it might work sufficiently well as a portable HD playback device.

Technical specs:
  • AMD Athlon Processor L110 1.2 GHz
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium (upgraded from original Vista basic)
  • ATI Radeon X1270 display adapter

Any other optimization recommendations (shut down certain services or programs, etc) would be helpful.

post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Update: Recoding the WTV file as a 720p WMV allowed the netbook to playback the file without obvious errors. Unfortunately, Windows Movie Maker (Windows Live add on to Windows 7) turns the 1080i video into a boxed 720 view (black bars on top and sides).
post #3 of 6
720p puts the least load since not de-interlacing is required. Movie maker apparently thinks you are trying to convert the 1080i file for use on a 4:3 aspect ratio display so is letterboxing it.
post #4 of 6
I have an atom based netbook. For 1080i mpeg2 video (ATSC broadcasts) I use VLC for playback.

I set the de-interlacing to discard. This drops half the frames and results in a video that is half the resolution than the original (pretty much 1920x540), but the screen resolution on the netbook is so low that it doesn't matter much. When it gets resized to 1024x600 it ends up looking just fine on the screen.

The resulting video plays well with minimal lagging, and it doesn't require the time/hassle of re-encoding.

For best playback results though, a person would do well to re-encode the video to the max size of the screen in mpeg2 while converting it to progressive playback (de-interlace it during re-encoding) as the process of de-interlacing takes a bit of hp by itself.

post #5 of 6
If you use Sage or BTV to record HDTV it does not create a proprietary WTV or DVR MS recording file like W7 does. I'm wondering if these proprietary/DRM formats take more horsepower than the .ts recorded by Sage or BTV?

I can play 1080i recordings on a pretty wimpy Laptop (Celeron single core 540 1.86 GHz)

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the response.

I made a newbie mistake with Windows Movie Maker - once the aspect ratio was set to 16:9, the video was created properly. The boxing effect was caused by a 16:9 recording copied as a 4:3, leading to both horizontal and vertical bars.
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