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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi...


I have seen it mentioned in other threads, but haven't see anyone conjuring up the "hows" and "ways" of doing this.


What I am trying to do is serve up MP3 music to my ReplayTV 5000 which should be able to optically connect to my stereo through it's TOSLINK.


Eventually, I would like to browse my PC using something like DVArchive and stream the MP3s to the ReplayTV 5000 as if it were a MPEG file. The video could be a picture of the album or just a screen saver of sorts. For now, I would be satisfied just to convert 1 MP3 into some sort of video file that I could import into DVArchive and play back on my ReplayTV 5000.


I have been toying around with transcode, mplex and the new rtvconvert (part of the rtvtools posted here at the avsforum). But, I haven't found the (if there is one) magic mix. The closest I have gotten were when I used the following set of commands:


transcode -i album_cover.lst -p music.mp3 -x imlist,mp3 -y mpeg2enc,mp2enc -Z 720x480 --export_fps 23.976 -F 3 -E 48000 -b 192 -o test2 -z


mplex -f 4 -S 680 -o test2.mpg test2.m2v test2.mpa


rtvconvert test2.mpg test2final.mpg


...where album_cover.lst is a text listing of the same jpeg image over and over (900 times at 34 fps should be about 37 seconds of video).


What usually happens is "transcode" core dumps but outputs what appears to be acceptable files (well mplayer plays the resulting test2.m2v fine). Then, "mplex" and "rtvconvert" are executed and the output looks OK. I tried mplayer on the "rtvconvert" output ("test2final.mpg") and it plays a 30+ second video of a still photo and the music in the back ground just fine. Finally I import it into DVArchive where xine plays it fine as well. The problem is when I try to play it on the ReplayTV 5000 a message that says "This program was not recorded..." pops up. Anyone care to comment on what may be going on?


...thanks
 

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Well, streaming mp3s to the replay simply isn't a feature of the unit. So there's nothing to get working...it just can't be done unless DNNA adds it (which they've announced no plans to do).


As for converting mp3's to mpeg movies and sticking them in DVArchive, it could potentially be done, but it seems like a lot of work. There are other units that are designed to do just what you're after.
 

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I have given up on MP3's. I prefer XM radio. I find there is enough variety and few enough commercials (mostly zero) to fill my musical tastes. Of course, YMMV.


Cheers
 

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One of ReplayTV/DNNA/Rio's other products does this rather well....It is called the Rio Central and is available now for 1/3 of the original list price from overstock.com....I bought one and upgraded the hard drive to 120GB and it is serving my music over the network to Rio receivers and also feeds my stereo system with an optical digital connection.....And it will rip CDs to MP3s with the internal CD-RW drive up to 320 KBits....


It's not the perfect piece, but it does a good job and I use it everyday....


Check it out...


Randy
 

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I've got to say you're definitly on the right track. Many people have said that there's no way to get this to work, but really transcodeing on the fly shouldn't be a problem for just the audio.


Is there a mpeg expert who can tell us what exactly is involved in generating an mpeg stream of a static image and audio on the fly? Once we could generate and mpeg2 stream from an mp3 file, it wouldn't take much to implement a dvarchive style program which created "shows" out of mp3 playlists. Skipping tracks would take more more hacking, but it shouldn't be that dificult.


This is all possible, but someone with the programming ability would have to take the initiative.


Matthew
 

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Save your time & money. Go get an XBOX, mod it, put XBMP on it.


Sit back, relax, explore the possibilites. Then rejoice when the RTV client for XBMP is available. (Caveat, I'll beleive it when I see it, but several have stated such a client is in the works.)
 

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st5K... Nice work so far, it sounds like.


I think you've gotten further than anyone else ever has.


I've never seen that message ("This program was not recorded..."), so I can't comment on it, but I suspect some here will be able to offer advice.


If I understand correctly, at this point you are not even attempting to stream the mp3, but simply play an mp3 via batch created mpeg, no? IF you were actually streaming it, I could see there being a problem because the Replay doesn't even let you stream a show from one unit to the other until that show has completed recording (at least that's my experience). So actually streaming, and converting, on the fly may not ever work.


I too have my doubts regarding the efficiency of this approach vs. many other means developed to push mp3s to media devices, but those naysayers miss the point. There's alot to learn from your approach and I really don't remember you asking if we thought it was the best way, anyway!


Good luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow... Over night, and so much good feed back!


Randy, thanks for the tip on the Rio. However in today's economy $500 for a server plus 100$ for each client - humm - sounds fun though. Tell me, 1) where's the info on upping the 40 GByte drive to 120 GByte? And 2) can the clients work using a PC as a server - more specifically, a Linux box?


And Slack, I do have an XBox, but I think my kid would have a fit if I chip'ed it!


And now for some good news:


My Bad!


I was importing the wrong file into DVArchive. The steps I took in my first posting actually works - ok, there are some problems (and interesting projects):


1) The re-sampling of a ~44KHz MP3 to 48KHz actually speeds up the sound track. Didn't sound as bad as micky mouse but I'll have to figure out what I really wanted the computer to do.


2) The transcode program is still core dumping. I tried to match the length of the mp3 sample I was using to the number of images I placed into the ".lst" file. I used audacity to create an MP3 sample of 40 seconds. But, I think the speed-ed up re-sampling of the audio fouled things up a bit.


3) As plyons10 points out, this is a batch process. I first wanted to test the idea. But turning it into a streaming process might be difficult. I believe transcode can be piped to and from as well as mplex. However rtvconvert is something new to the avsforum and it's source is not being distributed. Perhaps, if we ask nicely, we may persuade the avsforum-member / developer to create a version capable of streaming.


4) The obvious GUI / Server for all this would be DVArchive. But requesting single MP3s at the ReplayTV client would be a real pain. I see pulling whole albums or play lists at a time. Clearly there is a lot of JAVA programming needed to make this work nicely.


Again, thanks for the responses...
 

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st5K.... since you've endorsed drifting a little bit OT.... have you looked at the Audiotron? It will access any available music (wav, mp3 & wma) on any shared drives (even a NAS drive) without ANY server side software running. This makes it also useful for Linux boxes with big libraries.


Digital output, and web client and a nice UI. Mine displays weather and caller ID info when I'm not playing music on it!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by matthew_k
I've got to say you're definitly on the right track. Many people have said that there's no way to get this to work, but really transcodeing on the fly shouldn't be a problem for just the audio.


Is there a mpeg expert who can tell us what exactly is involved in generating an mpeg stream of a static image and audio on the fly? Once we could generate and mpeg2 stream from an mp3 file, it wouldn't take much to implement a dvarchive style program which created "shows" out of mp3 playlists. Skipping tracks would take more more hacking, but it shouldn't be that dificult.


This is all possible, but someone with the programming ability would have to take the initiative.


Matthew
It could be possible to generate a dummy MPEG from an MP3 file, but... it's not easy. You can do the conversion from mp3 to mpeg-1 layer II audio no problem, but to do it real time is a different story. I don't think anyone wants to work on it, but I could be wrong.


You can get a pretty simple 15 frame GOP structure of blackness from tmpgenc and just repeat that through your audio stream if you did a DVA type streaming.



But, if you are doing this, why not just use winamp and wire it to your reciver? If you got a digital line out of your sound card you can wire it up with one cable. That's what I do, although I'm thinking of using the net feature of my onkyo reciver to have the acutal mp3 files streamed to the receiver for decoding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You guys know about ALL the cool toys. This Audiotron plyons10 talkes about - I had never heard of it before. But, I'm in this for fun plus the Audiotron is a $300 box and I already have a ReplayTV 5000 sitting right next to my SPDIFF amplifier just waiting to be connected.


Jeff D's concern about doing this in real time is a good one. I still haven't found a tool to create an MPEG from a still image which can keep up the fps rate of 23.976 needed by rtvconvert and the ReplayTV box. But converting the MP3s to mpeg 1.0 layer II take about 16 second for a 75 second sound clip on my machine (2.4 GHz P4). Here's the command line I used:


cat sound_clip.mp3 | lame --mp3input --decode - - | mp2enc -v 0 -r 48000 -b 192 -s -o sound_clip.mpa


This command also re-samples the sound from 44 to 48KHz as needed by the ReplayTV box.


Now for the interesting part. As I haven't found a way to generate the video part fast enough I have tried to merge the sound clips with previously created video. And so far (ok, only 1 test) it works. I used this command:


mplex -f 4 -S 680 -o video_and_sound.mpg already_done_video.m2v sound_clip.mpa


The next step is to find out if rtvconvert can be written to accept standard input / output. Or, as pointed out by a friend, find out if rtvconvert can make use of named pipes.


...later
 

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To everyone who is suggesting buying something else to play mp3's: you are missing the point!


This is a good idea. st5000 is right, you have all the hardware necessary to decode compressed audio streamed over the network. You've already allocated space for your ReplayTV. It's already hooked up to your home entertainment system, you already have a network connection, video input, remote control. There is a lot more to adding a device to your home entertainment system than simply buying it. Then comes probably the biggest issue with adding a new device, teaching your wife how to use it, how to switch everything over to listen to it then switch everything back.


Way too many home entertainment systems look like Rube Goldberg's when people try to operate them. Simplicity is a virtue.


It would be nice to have a suite of GPL'd or otherwise open sourced tools for dealing with ReplayTV. Anyone want to start a pot of money to offer the guy who wrote rtconvert for LGPL'd source? It'd be a great way for him to get compensated for good work while giving the rest of us the ability to tinker with it and incorporate it into other tools.
 

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egarland....


Again, I'm all in favor of pursuing this purely as an intellectual exercise. It's a laudable effort that may yet yield practical benefits.


But in no way, ever, is playing mp3s in this manner going to achieve "Simplicity is a virtue" status!


Simplicity is the Audiotron... dedicated device that you don't need a TV to operate and simply replaces (hear that? REPLACES) your CD player. Hook up to your amp and rock and roll.


As far as GPL... I suspect that rtvconvert, like DVArchive, needs to remain non_GPL for certain practical reasons related to development secrets.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by egarland
There is a lot more to adding a device to your home entertainment system than simply buying it. Then comes probably the biggest issue with adding a new device, teaching your wife how to use it, how to switch everything over to listen to it then switch everything back.


Way too many home entertainment systems look like Rube Goldberg's when people try to operate them. Simplicity is a virtue.
If you have those kinds of issues, the Harmony Remote will solve them, no matter how complex your interconnect is.


I also think that plyons is right, teaching the 5k 'old dog' new tricks is not gonna be easy. Square peg round hole. The resampling issue alone should be enough to dissaude.


To st5k, if your gonna resample to 48khz, you should probably drop the bit rate down a notch to avoid the 'underwater' bubbly sounds.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Slack
To st5k, if your gonna resample to 48khz, you should probably drop the bit rate down a notch to avoid the 'underwater' bubbly sounds.
I think you are going the wrong way... lowering the bit rate will introduce the problems you describe.


The replayTV can handle a bitrate up to 224, so 192 shouldn't be an issue. You could go up to 224 if you want.


If the replay is ever going to be playing MP3 files (although MP3 converted to MPEG-1 layer II) using the PC to do the work would be my only idea on how to do it. The trick would be to have a plug-in or something for DVA that would do the convert and muxing of a video stream back in.


It's not too crazy. And I don't think it wouldn't be too tough. Not that it matters, but I know MPEG Audio, I've written an mp3 decoder.
 

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OT: From the "here's another idea" department:


1. Take an old PC, throw winamp on it, then put on that add-in that let's you control winamp remotely via IP. Then use your laptop or wifi equipped PDA to serve up the songs.
 

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Quote:
Not that it matters, but I know MPEG Audio, I've written an mp3 decoder.
Geez, Jeff. What haven't you done? Whaddareya? The Bob Villa of home A/V?????
 
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