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Discussion Starter #1
Time flies, and I've been out of touch.


I'm trying to find out what the current "best practices" are for DVD playback in software. I have ZoomPlayer, WinDVD5 Gold filters, those last batch of Ravisent filters that ATI distributed (end of the 4 family), DScaler 5 filters and several versions of FFDShow (anyone pointing out the location of a particularly recommened version gets extra points ;) ). Now I'm only running an Applebred core Duron OCed to 1.9gig, so going overboard with FFDShow just won't work.


On my PC rig, I watch mainly anime (the wife doesn't care for it, so there isn't really much opportunity to watch it on the living room setup). My biggest complaint with software playback right now is that, even on the best flagged film-source material, none of my attempted configurations has even been able to marginally handle pan shots (some configs are so bad that the jerks in a pan even disrupt the audio playback). I can settle for less than the absolute best PQ. I just want decent looking on a large, high res PC monitor with buttery smooth pans, like from an STB player.


Recently, I've become so frustrated with the pan issue on some newer, theatrical titles, that I've reverted to using an old STB->SVideo->Flyvideo2000->DScaler 4.1.11. PQ on this method is acceptable to me, and the pans are perfect. One problem is the large, extra box in my cramped office space. I haven't figured out how to make my slimline PS2 actually pump out an anamorphic signal, so on non-fullscreen material, the resolution reaching DScaler is so obviously low that the PQ is absolutely not acceptable (any help on this point would be gladly welcome). My newer, halfsize Cyberhome cheapie is better and performs fine, but the drive is so loud that its completely unuseable in this capacity. So, I'm forced to use an old, full size Toshiba STB which takes up about 12 times the room of a slim PS2. The second problem, and the one that's finally got me back to these forums after something of an absence is that DScaler 4.1.11 has started showing a tendency to randomly rebooting my machine, without warning (its a matter of when, not if).


So any thoughts on properly setting up ZP->DS5->FFDShow to minimize the panning issue (I've had nothing but trouble trying to get FFDShow working with WinDVD5)? Or maybe any advice concerning my reboot problem with DScaler 4 (and PS2 config issue)?


Thanks,

Kensai
 

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I've had good results playing anime on my Athlon XP 3500+ rig, with an NVIDIA 6800GT with the latest official drivers and TheaterTek 2.1 (uses the NVIDIA Decoders with Purevideo). Not all anime plays back perfectly, but it does a better job than my STB DVD players.


With that said, my projector has a Sil504 chip that does a masterful job at deinterlacing crazily-flagged anime - I doubt a PC will match its deinterlacing performance anytime soon.


If you are serious about anime and pans, you might be better off with an Oppo 971 or a Panasonic S97 or a Panasonic S77 DVD player - their deinterlacers are even better - AND they upscale nicely through DVI (I think the panasonics can upscale over component video too). Heck, even a Panasonic RP82 will do a great job too - all of the above players use the Faroudja chipsets.
 

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Current DScaler 5 decoder is bad for most anime . . . video source. My test currently has been an outdoor pan near the beginning of The Place Promised in Our Early Days (just a few weeks old, R1; same creator as Voices of a Distant Star). DScaler and WinDVD both stutter like crazy, especially as the "camera" accelerates a bit as it passes directly across the sun before coming to a stop (generally get an audio glitch at that instant, too). DScaler also has tons of combing, not just in this scene, but on this disk in general.


I read yesterday a comment on the DScaler5 forum where the poster had listed his software chain, DS5 filter->YV12->FFDShow . . . yada yada yada . . . he was using MoComp2 deinterlacing in FFDShow, then Unsharp Mask at 1 before doing his prefered resize. Now, my machine really doesn't seem to handle using any sort of deinterlacing or resizing in FFDShow, but the poster had commented offhandedly that the Unsharp Mask at 1, helped with the stutter. I tried it with WinDVD5 filter->FFDShow->Unsharp Mask 1, only, and the results were very good. Stutter is still there but down by 90-95%, and WinDVD5 filter still gives some combing artifacts at the points where the stutter isn't completely surpressed (even though it has generally solid image during most of the rest of the movie).


So this is where I stand now after a bit more research. Its alot better, probably acceptable if nothing else pops up soon. I would, however prefer to use the DScaler5 video filter (I use the DS5 audio filter as is; I only need 2-channel, and WinDVD5 audio butchers it on every setting, especially within Zoom Player), so I'm guessing I need to get deinterlacing under FFDShow working, somehow, even if it isn't the best possible method. I'm running an Applebred core Duron OCed to 1.9gig with 512mb of PC2700. I thought for sure that that would be enough horsepower to run these efficient little decoders, ZP and something like TomsMoComp, MoComp2 or maybe even one of the older Greedy methods, but I'm getting very slow playback with very bad PQ.


Any thoughts? If not, I'll just have to wait till John gets Diag (the successor to MoComp2) implimented into the DS5 decoder.


As for the possibility of an external player, I've concidered the Samsung HD850 because its readily available and I already have the instructions for the HDCP hack to allow upconversion via component. I use a Key Digital component->VGA transcoder on this rig (primarily for GameCube input right now). Testing that path with my Cyberhome cheapie in progressive scan gave me a very washed out picture (blaming the cheap STB for that) that isn't ve solid (visible black lines; blaming the low res on the big hi-res tube for that). So, I was figuring that being able to pump it up to at least 720p with a better player that might have more PQ adjustments might work.


As for crazily flagged anime, DScaler4 fed SVideo from just about any STB (including my cheap Cyberhome) does a mostly immaculate job. I imagine that DS4 being fed say component through one of those PMS cap cards or maybe SDI from a moded STB may still be the current best in dealing with badly flagged and/or video source. I have been doing some scaler reading, though, and found that my knowledge of the Sil504 has turned out inaccurate (problems with poor implimentation of the chip in some early products which has since been corrected/surpassed). The $150 the HD850 would cost would be a stretch for me right now, so I'm sure your Sil504 equipped projector (or even the cheapest Sil504 based external scaler) would make me supremely jealous.


I'd just be happy to figure out how to keep DS4.1.11 from crashing my PC (probably just need to step back to 4.1.8 or something like that) and a quieter, cheap STB player.


Kensai
 

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Ive got it set up like this:


Dscaler5 with vertical blank enabled and output YV12 and deinterlace as forcebob > FFDSHOW with deinterlace ffdshow-deinterlacer output set to YV12 only.


Played in Media player classic


Amd athlon 2600+ with a radeon 9600se near 0 stuttering, even on 1080i content no artifacts/jaggies/combing at all


Keep in mind that Dscaler only adds deinterlace flags to the file, its up to the player to deinterlace it, so when you send it through ffdshow deinterlace it ffdshow will ignore the flags set by dscaler and deinterlace according to its own views
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What is the "vertical blank" function do? Not knowing, I've just left it alone up to this point, but I've got your chain down in my little notebook now to try out tonight.


I'd neglected to mention, but I'm running a 9600pro, so compared to what you're running, I'm guessing that has nothing to do with my issues (good, because its plenty of card for me and I don't intend to buy a new one till the PCI-E stuff hashes out and I need a new motherboard).


Which deinterlace method are you using in FFDShow? Any Resize or other processing going on? I'm getting the feeling that I'll need a serious CPU upgrade to actually decode HD content like you're doing (but I'd need a net connection upgrade from dialup to actually be able to DL any HD content first, eh?).


I've got the whole YV12 out of DS5, only YV12 into FFDShow active and YV12 out (even set as YV12 default in ZP; that's correct, right?). I had thought that DS5 deinterlacing needed to be set to forceweave, but if what you're saying about DS5 just setting flags and FFDShow ignoring them, then there's no point to those flags. Does that mean anything other than Automatic (which would use up some resources as the decoder determines and sets the flags) will be equal, or is there some reason why ForceBob would be better than ForceWeave?


Picked up Kung Fu Hustle yesterday and watched it last night. For some reason, WinDVD5 video->FFDShow->Unsharp Mask=1, while not crashing (which is usual when WinDVD and FFDShow don't properly handshake), gave me no image while running the sound (DS5 audio). So, switched to DS5 video (all default except set to YV12) -> FFDShow -> Unsharp Mask=1. Turns out that Kung Fu Hustle is fairly well film-encoded, but I was getting a little bit of stutter (less than 30% from my worst case scenario that sent me hunting for better software parameters) on pans and was getting split second audio drops every few seconds (with denser clumps of drops during pans). I went into the DS5 audio and set it all back to default. I had had it set for Stereo instead of Dolby Surround (I think that's the name of the default setting), which I know just has the little bit of extra info that lets DPLI/II work better. This cleared the audio drop problem down to just once or twice during pans and maybe once or twice more during the entire movie. I'm guessing that Dolby Surround is just the basic way of getting stereo off a DVD and that a "stereo" setting involves some sort of overhead?


Anyway, that's leading me to believe that I'm having a serious resource problem. Is FFDShow, even without using any resize or deinterlacing really that much of a resource hog? Are there perhaps some critical WinXP services that I need to deactivate that I wrongly believed I needed to keep active that would free up the needed system resources?


Anyway, going to experiment tonight with what Tetsuo has given me, and I'll be back here tomorrow. Feels like I'm getting really close on this :) .


Kensai
 

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Kensai, have you double-checked the vertical refresh rate your card is outputting? It should match your display - for example, if your display is NTSC, then your videocard should be set to 59.94 hz.


Also, search this forum for the Juddertest thread, and grab the JudderTest software, and give it a try (you need to install Powerstrip however). It is possible that your stutters are caused by a background program, causing dropped frames and possible audio dropouts. Typically, motherboard monitoring software are problematic.


Keep in mind though that Juddertest is very sensitive to background processes - more than any DVD player you use, so that makes it tough diagnosing stutter issues.
 

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I have one suggestion to try.


Can you try to set the software DVD player to a higher priority class such as Realtime or High level when you play the scenes that pan. This may help aleviate any studder problems on pans. This fixed some studder problems on my Pentium M 1.6Ghz laptop with GeForce 6800 go with 1920x1200 res. I am using Media Player Classic and latest Nvidia video codec set to use Purevideo.


I think ZoomPlayer has the priority level settings in its options settings, so you can just increase it there. Its not in Media Player Classic except for setting it to AboveNormal(which does not help, I had to set it to Realtime using Task Manager).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tetsuo,


Guess you meant the "ffmpeg" or whatever its called method built into FFDShow. I fired that up, and I got very acceptable deinterlacing with now resource issues. After that success I tried several other methods, just to see if maybe there was something better that my machine could handle, but really, it would seem to be that "ffmpeg" deinterlace is the only one my machine can afford to run under this system.


Anyone,


Know what the "ffmpeg" deinterlace method is? Where it came from? Any idea how it stacks up against, say, TomsMoComp, MoComp2, the deinterlacers built into the commercial video filters, etc.? I'm very interested in it as it seems to be quite efficient, comparatively, but it easily hangs with or beats the commercial filters I've seen and is good enough to not embarass itself around Toms or MC2.


Max,


I'm running a straight, multisync, PC monitor over VGA. I believe its refresing at 85Hz right now. That should mean that refresh sync isn't a part of the problem, right?


Don't think I'm going through the trouble to run the Judder test you recommend. Problem's just not that big (I'll explain in a bit). I have been wondering, though, why you can't pull up DS4's JudderTerminator as an applicable filter in FFDShow. I haven't checked, so it may just be that JudderTerminator isn't set up with the same sort of plugin structure, but if that's the case, why hasn't John or the DS team tried to pull it out for use with FFDShow yet? Maybe that's one of the "ulimited CPU use" functions that John has aluded to being included in eventual versions of the DS5 filter. I do remember having a brief discusson on this board with John way back when DS4 was new concerning how much of a pain the JudderTerminator was in terms of coding, support and resource use (spurred by my comment to someone else that "JudderTerminator is your friend" or some such in regards to DVD playback STB->SVideo->DS4; I distinctly remember John stating something to the effect of "your friend, not mine" :p )


Sly,


Gonna hunt the various tabs under Options for priority settings tonight. May be one of my last needed steps.



So, last night, I was watching Kung Fu Hustle extras, all video source, of course, so I set DS5(defaults, YV12, Force Bob)->FFDShow->"ffmpeg" deinterlacer, and while limited to the crapy quality of the source material, the deinterlacing was solid, and my machine would settle in around the 75%-85% CPU use area. Deinterlacing successful, I launched my test problem scene, and wonder of wonders, I got as little stutter as with my current best config (WinDVD5->FFDShow->Unsharp Mask=1), but with much better deinterlacing (vertical edges of some major onscreen structurs were totally combed under WinDVD5). At this point, I'm thinking that I've got the stutter about 90% smoothed out.


Next step, I inserted Unsharp Mask=1 before the deinterlacer. It made a difference, but nothing drastic. After several passes, I determined it to about 93%. Thing is, the CPU usage remained unchanged from before, so that little bit seems like a freebie right now.


So, what's left is that last little bit of stutter (I'm hypercritical, but realistic; I can see it, but its within tolerable limits with this setup), and possibly still a bit of an audio tick (still need to sit down to an extended viewing of something high quality to see if its there; those extras were of such crappy quality that I couldn't tell what I was hearing). So, checking for that and hunting down priority settings is what's on the agenda for tonight.


Thanks guys. You're being a great help.


Kensai
 
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