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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone.

So a while back I posted about wanting to get bitstream over HDMI and my current system didn't support it. So I bought a new graphic card and got video and sound through the HDMI cable...for about 2 days.

Now I can't get smooth video or sound from my server, through my HTPC and it is driving me up the wall.

First my system(s)

HTPC:
Windows 7 - all updated
Geforce Drivers (latest)
Windows Media Center
EVGA 132-CK-NF79 motherboard
2.67 Ghz Intel Core2 Quad processer
Samsung SSD 840 Evo harddrive
2 sticks of OCZ3N1800SR4GK RAM
DVD drive SH-S203B DVD drive
EVGA GeForce GT 730 (2GB GDDR5) graphics card
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 TV Tuner card
Coolermaster RS-850-EMBA Powersupply

Server
Windows Home Server 2011 Service Pack 1
Intel Core i5-2500K
ASUS P8Z68-V LX
C: Drive Samsung 2TB
RocketRAID 2720 SAS Controller
Storage: Raid5 of 5X2TB drives

Network
Modem: Motorola Surfboard SB6121
Router: Netgear WNDR4500
Switch: Netgear JGS524 V2
TP-Link TL-SG1024
All my computers and my printer are on assigned IP addresses

Receiver
Onkyo HT-RC260

Everything hardwired through CAT5e

I record on my HTPC through the TV tuner card and WMC and then after bit (don’t know the exact amount of time) the recording is shifted over to my server (I have move recording over to my home server).

Disk space on the server is about ½ full for the folder “Recorded TV”

So I was previously running the setup listed above EXCEPT the graphics cards in the HTPC were 2 9800GTXs in SLI. I had video through a DVI-D to HDMI cable and sound through an optical cable. But depending on the program (WMC, VLC, streaming over the network) I sometimes would not get 5.1 surround sound…I would only get stereo and my receiver would decode it as Dolby Pro Logic II.

In addition with this setup there would be times we would start a show and the sound would be completely hosed – almost like pink noise. Sometimes “skipping” ahead or back in the recording would fix it, but not usually. Instead we would watch something else and come back to that recording another night and it would work fine.

So…I upgrade to the EVGA GeForce GT 730 (2GB GDDR5) graphics card thinking I could run video and audio through HDMI, get either PCM or Bitstream and be happy as a clam.

I install the card…everything works for about a day and then…the video and sound begin to stutter on every recorded show in WMC. The show is stored on the server in the basement…I am playing the file through WMC in the living room. Every recording does this.

I also sometimes get the Video Error stating: "Files needed to display video are not installed or are not working correctly. Restart Windows Media Center or restart the computer."

So here is the list of things I have tried:
1) Removed and reinstalled the graphics driver
2) Removed and reinstalled the NIC driver
3) Rebooted/cycled the:
a) HTPC
b) Server
c) Modem
d) Router
e) Switches
4) Tried 2 different switches (swapped out the new one (TP-Link) for an old one(Netgear))
5) Reran WMC setup
6) Set the WMC sound to 2.0, 5.1, etc.
7) Set Windows sound to 2.0, 5.1, etc
8) Tried every combination between #5 and #6
9) Turned on and off exclusive mode in Windows sound
10) Tried different HDMI cables
11) Tried different HDMI ports on the receiver
12) Tried different Ethernet port on the wall
13) Checked the health of my RAID array on the server - perfect
14) Played a recording from the server through VLC (although it played with a touch less stutter). As a side note: I just played a file through my office desktop from the server on VLC and it played fine.

So at this point I am at a bit of loss. I have scoured the web and forums for other ideas and come up with nothing different than what I have already tried.

Since I had the stuttering before the new card (but not all the time), I am hesitant to immediately blame the new card.

Thank you for any help.
 

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I'd try copying one of the recordings from the server back to the HTPC SSD and see if it plays OK from there. Either way it should help narrow down the problem. If it doesn't stutter from the SSD you can stop troubleshooting the graphics card and drivers. If it does stutter you can stop troubleshooting the server and network gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good suggestion and I haven't done it yet, but if I pause the show, wait a bit, and then start it back up...I get perfect playback for short period of time (about the same as the pause length)...is there a buffer/queue somewhere that can be changed?

Actually starting to wonder if I go to XBMC (Kodi) as the front end and WMCServer as the backend PVR...
 

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Good suggestion and I haven't done it yet, but if I pause the show, wait a bit, and then start it back up...I get perfect playback for short period of time (about the same as the pause length)...is there a buffer/queue somewhere that can be changed?
The buffer is located in a hidden folder inside the Recorded TV folder. I don't think you can change it other than the registry hack to increase the pause buffer length.
 

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Good suggestion and I haven't done it yet, but if I pause the show, wait a bit, and then start it back up...I get perfect playback for short period of time (about the same as the pause length)...is there a buffer/queue somewhere that can be changed?

Actually starting to wonder if I go to XBMC (Kodi) as the front end and WMCServer as the backend PVR...
That is a great software solution to use, my parents and I both use it. That being said, if you're having a network buffer issue, it's not going to be fixed by a different software solution (unless that solution would compress the video/audio in real time, which serverWMC doesn't). Try the local playback and see how it plays. If it plays great then you have an issue with your network, be it the cable or the card or the switch. What is the link speed negotiating at? One place I worked at had an issue where the printer would autonegotiate to 10mbps half duplex (one way at a time) speed when hooked up to a gigabit switch, unless we specified 100mb full duplex. Needless to say, the printing went MUCH faster.

If it still stutters, download something like MSi afterburner and record your cpu and gpu usage. Hardware decoding may be taking place, but honestly it shouldn't be causing an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I recorded a show and left it on the local hard drive and it played fine; but as soon as I sent it to the server...it stuttered. So I am coming down to either the network or the server as the issue. I have already tried 2 different gigabyte switches.

Any ideas how to start determining what is the issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, hesitant to call victory quite yet, but I went in the server Network Adapter settings and changed Speed and Duplex from Auto Negotiation to 1.0 Gbps Full Duplex. Things seem to be working now...so we shall see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So my victory was an illusion...the stuttering is back. I am at the end of my trouble shooting skills. I did test the same setup on my second HTPC in my theater in the basement and everything worked fine. I also set up WMC on my desktop PC in the office and everything worked fine. So I believe I have ruled out the network since it works fine in two other locations.

At this point I am considering the nuclear option and doing a fresh install on the machine in question. I figure this will get me a fresh baseline to start with.

If I do that how do I retain my recording schedule?

Other ideas are also appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I'm unsure of how to retain a recording schedule, that would need some googling I'd imagine. What do you have hooked up to the switch? Have you tried unplugging everything else but the 2 connections you need from the switch? Twice now I've had issues related to computers that were shut off but had powered NICs causing severe slowdown issues with my network. Unplug everything you don't need and give it a try. Also run LAN speed test Lite both before and after disconnecting the other devices, and running a ping to see response times wouldn't hurt either. For the LAN speed test you'll need to supply a remote folder that you can write to, but that shouldn't be an issue if you're moving your shows over. How fast/slow is your computer otherwise? Do you have long boot/load times? If so, bring up the performance monitor (task manager -> performance -> resource monitor) and check the disk response time under the disk activity section.
 
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