or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Display Devices › Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+) › Media Servers worthy of high end
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Media Servers worthy of high end - Page 6

post #151 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Making things interesting, your display is likely upsampling 4:2:2 to 4:4:4 to display it. So you may be OK feeding it that just the same.

FWIW while I was poking around earlier today I found a reference that indicated 4:4:4 was the best choice because some devices convert to 4:2:2 via 4:4:4 (4:2:0->4:4:4->4:2:2).
post #152 of 519
Thread Starter 
Hmmm. Interesting development if right. So, where does that leave us now? May need to back up and re-evaluate some.

First were there an PC solutions that only casued colorspace upsampling? Did everything else right?

Next, IIRC, Sages HD300's only video issue we knew of was the color conversion. But what does it convert to as it apparently must? 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 via 4:4:4, or just 4:2:2?

And, how lossy are those conversions? If it's a simple conversion, intuitavely one would want it to happen as early as possible in the chain. BUT, if it's something that can be botched, or can be done better on a better processor, we'd want the minimum conversion in the device.

So Amrin, ALL commercial BD are encoded are in YUV 4:2:0 then? ALL SD DVD, too?

What about HD-SDI, does it carry 4:2:0?

Is it that 4:2:2 is the spec for HDMI, or is it that isn't a requirement? I guess it moot if all hdmi encoders do it.
post #153 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Next, IIRC, Sages HD300's only video issue we knew of was the color conversion. But what does it convert to as it apparently must? 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 via 4:4:4, or just 4:2:2?

The hardware (a Sigma Designs SOC) supports 4:2:2 and 4:4:4, but it always outputs 4:4:4.
post #154 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

So Amrin, ALL commercial BD are encoded are in YUV 4:2:0 then? ALL SD DVD, too?

Yes. And Broadcast TV (ATSC). And all online video. No consumer delivered format exceeds it.

Quote:


What about HD-SDI, does it carry 4:2:0?

As far as I know, no. Even if it did, it wouldn't do you a lot of good in that as you found out, their drivers are not "secure," nor do they provide for fancy overlays and such (for menus and interactivity). So it is not a likely path for BD playback on PCs.

Quote:


Is it that 4:2:2 is the spec for HDMI, or is it that isn't a requirement? I guess it moot if all hdmi encoders do it.

Not sure I understand the question. But here is an answer anyway . 4:2:0 is an optimization used for video compression. It is not meant to be a way you transmit video between devices so it is not supported in traditional digital video links.
post #155 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Yes. And Broadcast TV (ATSC). And all online video. No consumer delivered format exceeds it.

While it is more rare (and really shouldn't be used) some media uses WMV3/VC with YUV 4:1:1 color space.
post #156 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikinho View Post

While it is more rare (and really shouldn't be used) some media uses WMV3/VC with YUV 4:1:1 color space.

Nothing like getting corrected on stuff your team built! But yes, you are right that was an option in the WM Encoder of late 1990s.

I will correct you back by saying that VC-1 is a formal name for much later variations of WMV codec so it shouldn't be used in this context. So there. We are even!
post #157 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Nothing like getting corrected on stuff your team built! But yes, you are right that was an option in the WM Encoder of late 1990s.

I will correct you back by saying that VC-1 is a formal name for much later variations of WMV codec so it shouldn't be used in this context. So there. We are even!

lol. Touché

btw, I'm still disappointed that Blu-ray "won" the format war over HD-DVD.
post #158 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Nothing wrong . That was one of the point of my original post! You have never had any "source direct" ability for video no matter which device you used. All require at least upsampling to 4:2:2 before transmission on HDMI. So this type of conversion is par for the coarse and not a step down relative to stand-alone products.

Making things interesting, your display is likely upsampling 4:2:2 to 4:4:4 to display it. So you may be OK feeding it that just the same.

I was asked to comment on 4:2:2, 4:2:0 and HDMI.

4:2:2 is upsampled from the 4:2:0 for consumer grade MPEG (DVD, Bluray, cable, satellite). However, if the source device were to upsample in a known way it is possible to precisely extract the 4:2:0 out of a 4:2:2 HDMI connection.

The 4:2:0 Chroma samples are coincident with the vertically "even" Luma samples. So if the source either replicates the samples, or upsamples to generate the in-between samples, but leaves the coincident samples alone, we could precisely extract the 4:2:0 samples from the HDMI stream.

However, since we don't know what the source device is doing we treat the incoming 4:2:2 as 4:2:2 rather than trying to re-extract 4:2:0. If a media server was modiifed to do one of the two things I suggest above, we (Lumagen) could change our scaling to treat the source as true 4:2:0 even though it comes to us as 4:2:2.

I actually suspect that most upsampling from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 is one of these two cases, but since this is only a guess we do not assume this is true and so do not try to optimize for it.

To have such an optimization, we would need to know this is true, and there would be a manual setting by the user for this, since HDMI has no concept of 4:2:0. And of course a media server company would need to choose to support a special 4:2:2 output mode that allows extracting 4:2:0.

Also note that all current displays upsample to 4:4:4 for display. Since display technology is RGB this must be the case.

Since the human eye is much less sensitive to Chroma than Luma, we do not preceive it as a bad thing that the vertical Chroma upsampling is done in the player and horizontal 4:2:2 to 4:4:4 Chroma upsampling in the TV/projector. We could do a better job upsampling the Chroma with our No-ring (TM) scaling than the player or TV, but it is much less critical than Luma upsampling, so we concentrate on the Luma. We also think upsampling to full (12-bit) 4:4:4 outside the display is not a good idea when one considers that it increases the HDMI clock rate by 50%, verses (12-bit) 4:2:2, which dramatically increases the likelyhood of cable issues for (probably) no visible increase in picture quality.
post #159 of 519
Thread Starter 
I asked in an off-line conversation what the best thing to "feed" a Radience woudl be. I dont' think Jim will mind me reposting the answer:

" We spec 4:2:2 output as the best output format. It allows us 12-bit per
color channel so calibration do not affect signal to noise, without the
cable issues of 12-bit 4:4:4."

> In the event we could convince the vendor to output a
> "normal" colorspace of either 4:2:2 or 4:4:4, what do think
> would be the preferable option?

" 4:2:2 is going to be preferable if they do it right. Less conversion and
you get 12-bit color channels for the same HDMI clock rate as 8-bit
4:4:4."

So, for the HD300:
"The hardware (a Sigma Designs SOC) supports 4:2:2 and 4:4:4, but it always outputs 4:4:4."

That's a ding against it
post #160 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post


So, for the HD300:
"The hardware (a Sigma Designs SOC) supports 4:2:2 and 4:4:4, but it always outputs 4:4:4."

That's a ding against it

Agreed, but you might have to compromise unless another device does native output and allows format selection.
post #161 of 519
A little off topic but wanted to say thanks for this thread. I haven't been able to add much to the conversation but I don't see many reviews including in-depth color space capabilities. I know mine haven't so I'll make sure to rectify that.
post #162 of 519
Thread Starter 
Quote:


A little off topic but wanted to say thanks for this thread. I haven't been able to add much to the conversation but I don't see many reviews including in-depth color space capabilities. I know mine haven't so I'll make sure to rectify that.

Yes, I too appreciate all the participation. Better than I hoped for.

Not done, yet...
post #163 of 519
Thread Starter 
An update: I spoke to one of the companies mentioned here with a PC type solution who implied "source direct" on their website. The sales guys said it could do it. When it got technical I was handed off to the tech guy. The tech guy basically said SD wasn't possible, on a PC, or really anything. After a little back and forth explaining what I meant by SD, I pointed to an Oppo's behavior as an example of what I was looking for regarding "source Direct". He said:

Quote:


What you are doing with the Oppo is setting the output to switch depending upon the type of disc (SD vs. HD) and then the flags in BD (interlaced or progressive).

First, DVDs can be stored either in Interlaced or Progressive fashion on the disc. The decoder decides how to send out the signal.

Second, the flag on BD discs is both limiting and often mis-set. For example there is 60p material which the Oppo would then send out at 24p.

In other words, there is no reliable/correct "Source Direct" for video. You can only set your desired output which are chosen from based on a "best guess".

So his opinion is nothing will do Source Direct (correctly) as I defined it (after the uncompress/decode with no post-processing). Definitely not his Media Server.

That's the first time I've heard that argument. Anyone agree or disagree?

Also, I saw a different ("higher end" media server) company's setup yesterday. An apparent in-house GUI (has their branding anyway). Did not claim source direct. They used an Nvidia card. Don't know which one though.
post #164 of 519
I don't believe what he said is 100% accurate, but it isn't wrong either. You can detect the frame rate in varies ways. You can check the container frame rate, the header or the stream itself. Sometimes one or more will be set incorrectly.

The beauty of a HTPC is that you control that in some ways.

I do however agree that there isn't a HTPC or extender solution that does 100% Source Direct at the moment. You will have to sacrifice something. I don't think we are far away from getting a solution though, some of the new GPUs coming out early next year appear to have improved video quality. If they handle color space properly on the hardware side we can take the of the the rest on the software side.
post #165 of 519
If some DIY is OK then take a look at XBMC. ffdshow (a component) -does- maintain native color space during output (or you can switch it to whatever you want @ the cost of CPU cycles). There are some XBMC interfaces that are easily on par with Kalidescape's offerings.
post #166 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post

If some DIY is OK then take a look at XBMC. ffdshow (a component) -does- maintain native color space during output (or you can switch it to whatever you want @ the cost of CPU cycles). There are some XBMC interfaces that are easily on par with Kalidescape's offerings.

The issue isn't with software, it is a limitation of the current GPUs. If someone is willing to accept the limitations of the GPU then almost any HTPC front-end will work.
post #167 of 519
Thread Starter 
Open source & DIY isn't out of the question. Preference doe to time is to get something polished. Their website didn't show a whole lot. By "interfaces" do you mena the skins shown there? I didn't see anything that looked as good as MyMovies. Do you have one you think is similar you can point us to?

What is the recommended hardware for a XBMC client? Does one need to be concerned with CPU cycles on a XBMC install?

As I understand it, the issue we ran into on the HTPC side of this was limiting hardware. I believe the current PC hardware doesn't have enough GUP power to handle source direct. It will casue YCbCr->RGB->YCbCr conversions when the video is on the way "out". (Someone correct me if I have that wrong). I don't see how ffshow could get around that.

Edit: I didn't type fast enough. Someone who knows way more than I beat me to it (thanks).
post #168 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

I believe the current PC hardware doesn't have enough GUP power to handle source direct. It will casue YCbCr->RGB->YCbCr conversions when the video is on the way "out". (Someone correct me if I have that wrong). I don't see how ffshow could get around that.

OK, I will correct you .

This has nothing to do with PC power. PC is 10 to 100 times more powerful than the SoC in any Blu-ray player (sans PS3).

The issue has to do with the fact that the normal functionality of the PC graphics subsystem is to provide an RGB frame buffer to applications. That is what the standard PC software expects so the pipeline is programmed to that. The PC graphics companies provide a pipeline for video decoding that is YCbCr based but since they have to handle that output being mixed with RGB, that is the unified output format.

Another complication here is the need for a secure pipeline with accelerated video decoding for Blu-ray. This rules out special-purpose video output devices which are made for editing world with capability to put out YCbCr.

So while you are right that it would be nice to have fewer conversions, this is not a scenario that is mass volume so it is not readily available. BTW, doing what you say actually takes less horsepower rather more as you eliminate the RGB conversion.
post #169 of 519
Thread Starter 
Thank you. You have been involved at the heart of all this and at the highest levels as I understand it. What do you recommend or use personally?
post #170 of 519
My pleasure . I have not yet tackled building my own server. I have a PC as a DVR and music/photo server but for BD, still use standard players.

I am in a difficult position relative to my relationship with studios so can't go where you guys can . That said, I have a project for which I am trying to build a high fidelity PC-based video player. I have been too busy to make progress on it but as I do, I will be sure to report back.

For now, I put a lot of value on convenience. I still have 100+ BD and HD DVDs still in shrink-wrap boxes! I am pretty sure if they were on a server, I would have watched them. So given a choice of losing a bit of color fidelity through RGB format conversion and having the convenience of instant playback, I would take the latter.
post #171 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by taker View Post

I built my own media server just a few days ago with 9TB , using anydvd and My Movies to rip my blurays.cost alot less than any vendor supplied media server with the amount same disk space. I was disappointed in K Bluray and I didn't like what I herd from vidabox about using their harddrives so I built my own ....


Using that setup, do you still get the 5.1 (or what ever its coded in) audio? Simply: Does your setup perform exactly as if it were a stand alone player?
post #172 of 519
Yes 5.1, I'm using ATI Radeon 5750 it passes the bit stream through to the AV
post #173 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by taker View Post

Yes 5.1, I'm using ATI Radeon 5750 it passes the bit stream through to the AV

Excellent

Very OT: I was in your city for a business trip in August. That was by far the nicest city I have visited in a long time. I am a sucker for any city that has great water views. My local guy took us down to Pike's Market place and some other places. I had to resist dropping a couple of hundred bucks in that Breecher's Cheese shop! LOL
post #174 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Open source & DIY isn't out of the question. Preference doe to time is to get something polished. Their website didn't show a whole lot. By "interfaces" do you mena the skins shown there? I didn't see anything that looked as good as MyMovies. Do you have one you think is similar you can point us to?

I use this skin for XBMC and think it exceeds the visual experience of Kaliedescape or MyMovies. If you go to the 1 minute mark of the video you will see the Movies interface. There are a lot more customization options than you see in the video and this is just one of about 10 current skins for XBMC. I would certainly call it polished. You need to check the forums to find the current skins. The link on their home page is quite old. I'm not a video expert so I don't know how XBMC on an HTPC compares picture quality wise vs. some of these other solutions but I've been happy with the results. The gui and cheap entry price certainly makes it worth considering. It can also be controlled over IP which may be a big plus if some of the others don't have that feature.
post #175 of 519
Thread Starter 
Pete mentioned in a different thread the XBMC now supports "1080" content. Anyone know any deatails on XBMC, what it will and will not do as far as source direct (or in that direction) goes? Whether and how well it handles:
- Ripped Blu-Ray iso
- Ripped Blu-ray in folders (blu-ray lite)
- HD audio passthrough
- 24 and 60 hz framerate switching
- etc.?
post #176 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Pete mentioned in a different thread the XBMC now supports "1080" content. Anyone know any deatails on XBMC, what it will and will not do as far as source direct (or in that direction) goes? Whether and how well it handles:
- Ripped Blu-Ray iso
- Ripped Blu-ray in folders (blu-ray lite)
- HD audio passthrough
- 24 and 60 hz framerate switching
- etc.?

I've done a quick search and I don't think XBMC will do some of these features. Found this on one of the forums there:

Dharma will NOT passthrough DTS HD it will pass DTS Core.
Dharma will NOT passthrough Dolby HD it will decode it and send it as PCM to your receiver.
Dharma will pass PCM up to 7.1 (flac) to your receiver untouched with WASAPI.

Dharma is the new XBMC release. I also don't know if Dharma can do Blu-ray menu support. I do all my Blu-rays as MKVs rather than ISO. I use files for my DVDs and that maintains the menu structure. I thought that Dharma was going to support Blu-ray menu structures but I can't find it in the changelog so I guess they didn't get it in this release. I'd guess it will be at the top of their list for the new release (probably 6-12 months away). This latest release was more about User friendliness for additions.

XBMC is cheap in that the only cost is the hardware and you can get a cheap HTPC for $500. The new DXVA2 support in Dharma handles 1080p flawlessly and can easily handle Blu-ray streams ripped as MKVs on virtually any hardware. I'd recommend giving it a shot as the development community is huge and they keep adding new features. The requirements of unlimited storage at reasonable prices, instant movie availability and visual eye candy is always present in XBMC. Plus an upgrade is a simple software upgrade rather than replacing the system.

Just my thoughts.
post #177 of 519
i built my server a few months ago and starting ripping my collection with the purpose to see how well the new dune players would be before pre-ordering. eems quite a few are having trouble with streaming, which may be setup/configuration related but nonetheless would most likely be me if i got one (since it would be my first streamer). i think i may wait for the dune replacement coming in the spring which will have gigabit ethernet and a newer sigma chip. maybe source direct with that chip is difficult for hdi to implement and will offer this feature with the new units. here's to hoping anyway!

but i have thought of xbmc as my friend recently set it up for his system (sd stuff only though) and it seems pretty reliable. i still would like a streamer though. im going to look into ps3 a little more and see how it compares. getgray, have you researched the ps3 and if so, what were your findings?
post #178 of 519
Thread Starter 
I have not researched it. I have one in my rack that ended up thre becasue every other BR player I had tried at the time stunk. I got one as an interm solution until Oppo finally came out with the 83 which I have, and like a lot. But alas, becasue of 2 kids I'm stuck with the PS3 for now. And an Xbox Kinect as of this morning.

The PS3 was well known for it's BR playback, I honestly don't know how it does streaming, nor with source direct. I will say however that I did want to have the fun interface like MyMovies or similar provides. Not sure how/if PS3 can do that.

I did get a server and a SAS RAID enclosure for xmas myself, hope to start playing with it soon. Waiting on the software then I'm headlong into it. Also got a Sage HD300 to play with once I get the server up.

Best, Scott
post #179 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Pete mentioned in a different thread the XBMC now supports "1080" content. Anyone know any deatails on XBMC, what it will and will not do as far as source direct (or in that direction) goes? Whether and how well it handles:
- Ripped Blu-Ray iso
- Ripped Blu-ray in folders (blu-ray lite)
- HD audio passthrough
- 24 and 60 hz framerate switching
- etc.?

Dharma does switch automatically between 24 and 60 hz, if one enables the feature. It works surprisingly well (at the minor cost of a new HDMI handshake).

All my BDs are ripped to BDMV folders (movie only), so I can't speak to menus. 1080p plays no problem. (DXVA2 is supported under Win 7. Must be enabled, too.)

Audio is decoded in PC, output as MC PCM. I don't think that an open-source codec for DTS-HD MA exists yet, so it uses the core.

BTW, Dharma also supports a central database for video and audio metadata, a real boon if you have more than one system. It simplifies maintenance and you can resume playback in another room. Easy to set up, too.

Edit: If bitstreamed audio is necessary NOW, you can configure XBMC to use an external player, such as MPC-HC, on a per-codec basis. (Haven't tried this with Dharma, but have seen reports of success.)
post #180 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony A. View Post

i built my server a few months ago and starting ripping my collection with the purpose to see how well the new dune players would be before pre-ordering. eems quite a few are having trouble with streaming, which may be setup/configuration related but nonetheless would most likely be me if i got one (since it would be my first streamer). i think i may wait for the dune replacement coming in the spring which will have gigabit ethernet and a newer sigma chip. maybe source direct with that chip is difficult for hdi to implement and will offer this feature with the new units. here's to hoping anyway!

but i have thought of xbmc as my friend recently set it up for his system (sd stuff only though) and it seems pretty reliable. i still would like a streamer though. im going to look into ps3 a little more and see how it compares. getgray, have you researched the ps3 and if so, what were your findings?

I've been using dedicated streamers for a while (original XBOX with XBMC, Roku PhotoBridge, TViX M-6500A, Dune Smart D1). Because the original XBOX could not handle HD, I tried XBMC on HTPCs, but gave up because they required too much TLC. Acer's Revo 1600 (for $200) caused me to look again and, after upgrading it to Windows 7 and Dharma, I think I'm back.

As luck would have it, I just bought a new Dune. It works well (I think most of the problems you've heard about are network-related)--but without a front-end like My Movies it is just a dumb network browser like the TViX, and My Movies can't hold a candle to XBMC.

Edit: GbE on the new Sigma chips will add nothing to streaming performance; 100 Mbps is plenty fast, even for high-bitrate Blu-ray. However, it will make a difference if you want to copy files to a streamer's internal drive.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+)
AVS › AVS Forum › Display Devices › Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+) › Media Servers worthy of high end