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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,


I put together a new i5 based htpc and I'm having some stuttering going on when playing 1080p mkv files through windows media center. I am streaming the files over the network.


Are there any settings I should be tweaking because I am streaming it from my NAS? I get about 80-90MB/s read over the network sustained, so it shouldn't be an over-all bandwidth issue.


Another thought I had is that the mkv frame-rate is 23.97 and windows media center is set for 60Hz refresh. Could the codec trying to change frame rates cause the problem? I have my media center and everything setup like assassins guide has it. My 4 year+ old HTPC could play the same content absolutely fine from locally stored content, so I can't imagine it's the processing power...


Is there a way to make it have a larger buffer?
 

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I had the same problem, and like you, only with MKVs played at 23.976, but not all my MKVs were giving my trouble. As I later discovered it was only the VC1 files that stuttered. Have you checked into the formats of the files giving you problems? Is it all your MKVs, or just some that are doing this? Unfortunately, despite a ton of research on the issue, I never did find a satisfactory solution. My workaround - and I admit this is NOT a solution - is to only have AVC vid files in my library. So, for the time being, I either rip my BDs to ISO which seems to play VC1s just fine, or convert to H264 MKVs. This has worked fine for me thus far, though I dont like doing conversions to another format for fear of quality loss, plus it takes longer and taxes my computer more.


If you don't already, grab MediaInfo for free on the web and install it. You'll then have access, through a right click on the file in question, to all the format info for said file. Also, rippers like DVD Fab and ByteCopy will tell you the format just after analyzing the file and before you begin your rip.


Also, I have noticed that playing my 23.976 files at 60hz does indeed cause stuttering with MKVs. That's why I use AutoFrequency to adjust the refresh rate of my player to the rate of the file being played. Works like a charm. It's also freeware and has a nice config tool. I use AutoFrequency as the external player for my XBMC setup. i'd probably give that a try first, then investigate the VC1 vs AVC issue.


I'll be keeping an eye on this thread as I'd love to also hear what REAL solutions are out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm, the one that was giving me problems tonight was AVC, I posted the details below from mediainfo. I blah'd out the unique ID and name...


I have tried googling this issue and seems theres a ton of people experiencing it, and all have different workarounds... some I found are:


1) Uninstall Shark codec pack => I don't have that installed

2) disable microsoft security essentials scanning of the network folder => I need to try this, I know I put security essentials on my htpc, but not sure how I configured it, if I have file scanning on.. if I do, that might help!

3) disable UAC => I'll need to try this as well. Going to try the above first

4) delete all curent codecs and get the basic version of k-lite => I'll try this as a last one. I followed Assassins guide to install my htpc, so I have the basic codecs on there, would rather keep things standard and not have a billion codecs and have no clue what codec is being used for everything.


If you find any other things to try let me know! Again, I'm playing these 1080p files over the network, although if it was just the data rate couldn't keep up, I would think my stuttering would be way worse than some minor jerky motion here and there...


Anyways, heres the dump from mediainfo for the file that didnt work tonight


General

Unique ID : blah

Complete name : blah.mkv

Format : Matroska

Format version : Version 1

File size : 7.87 GiB

Duration : 2h 24mn

Overall bit rate : 7 814 Kbps

Encoded date : UTC 2007-03-16 14:16:05

Writing application : mkvmerge v2.0.2 ('You're My Flame') built on Feb 21 2007 23:40:55

Writing library : libebml v0.7.7 + libmatroska v0.8.1


Video

ID : 1

Format : AVC

Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec

Format profile : [email protected]

Format settings, CABAC : Yes

Format settings, ReFrames : 8 frames

Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC

Duration : 2h 24mn

Bit rate : 6 300 Kbps

Width : 1 280 pixels

Height : 528 pixels

Display aspect ratio : 2.40:1

Frame rate : 23.976 fps

Color space : YUV

Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0

Bit depth : 8 bits

Scan type : Progressive

Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.389

Stream size : 6.19 GiB (79%)

Writing library : x264 core 54 svn-614

Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=5 / deblock=1:-3:-3 / analyse=0x3:0x133 / me=umh / subme=7 / brdo=1 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=1 / deadzone=21,11 / chroma_qp_offset=0 / threads=3 / nr=0 / decimate=0 / mbaff=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=1 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=3 / wpredb=1 / bime=1 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=24 / scenecut=40(pre) / rc=2pass / bitrate=6300 / ratetol=1.0 / rceq='blurCplx^(1-qComp)' / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=10 / qpmax=51 / qpstep=4 / cplxblur=20.0 / qblur=0.5 / ip_ratio=1.40 / pb_ratio=1.30

Language : English


Audio

ID : 2

Format : DTS

Format/Info : Digital Theater Systems

Codec ID : A_DTS

Duration : 2h 24mn

Bit rate mode : Constant

Bit rate : 1 510 Kbps

Channel(s) : 6 channels

Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE

Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz

Bit depth : 24 bits

Compression mode : Lossy

Stream size : 1.52 GiB (19%)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just tried disabling Microsoft security essentials, and UAC, and that didn't help the stuttering at all.


I even tried to make sure my network bandwidth was good, and I copied the over 8 gigabyte file in just under a minute and a half... so its not a network issue...


I'll have to try the codec thing tomorrow... I just hate dealing with codecs, it's usually a slippery slope of breaking one thing to make another work.
 

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It could be


- Network issue (high bandwidth does not necessarily mean good streaming), and/or

- Player issue


Copy the file to a local disk and play it. Do you see stuttering?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/20872946


It could be


- Network issue (high bandwidth does not necessarily mean good streaming), and/or

- Player issue


Copy the file to a local disk and play it. Do you see stuttering?

I was going to try that next. I just tried for the hell of it playing it in THT 5. I watched the same 5 minute segment, plus 5 minutes past, then rewatched the whole 10 minutes and saw ZERO stuttering. So before in 5 minutes I'd see it stutter 5-10 times, it didn't stutter at all with THT 5 in 20 minutes.


Now there is one difference too though, THT 5 plays the file at 1080p 24fps like its encoded. Windows Media center plays it at 60fps like windows is configured for.


Going to copy the file, and play it locally in windows media player (I tried this previously over the network and it stuttered just like WMC did).


Will report back, but from now on, instead of just playing iso and blu ray in THT 5, I'm going to configure media browser to play everything in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tried playing it locally in windows media player, and still stuttered alot. Just as much as playing it over the network. Must be some type of codec issue. I really haven't installed anything though, just whats in Assassins install guide. The only thing that really gets installed is the LAV splitter in his guide... so I might try to install k-lite or something tomorrow. I'm going to call it a night right now, especially after realizing it plays perfectly in THT 5. Plus THT 5 plays it in its correct framerate.
 

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Also might want to give mpc-hc a try. I have the best luck with this player and MKVs playing at 23.976hz. Definitely sounds like a player/refresh rate combination issue. Glad you found one that works. Strange to me that it's TMT5 that is working for you, tho. For the life of me I still can not get TMT5 to play any of my MKVs at 23.976 without AV sync problems. And I'd like to. It's a great player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptaylor999 /forum/post/20873001


Also might want to give mpc-hc a try. I have the best luck with this player and MKVs playing at 23.976hz. Definitely sounds like a player/refresh rate combination issue. Glad you found one that works. Strange to me that it's TMT5 that is working for you, tho. For the life of me I still can not get TMT5 to play any of my MKVs at 23.976 without AV sync problems. And I'd like to. It's a great player.

I didn't have the sound on, ha! So maybe I will have an issue there. Wife and kid are asleep so just didn't turn the receiver on. I'll have to try it out with sound tomorrow. I know theres no problem with AV sync in 3d with THT 5, but don't know about the other files. I just watched about 25 minutes of avatar in 3d in THT 5 to make sure I get no stuttering there...


My eyes freaking hurt now though! I've been trying not to blink while looking for stuttering the past 3 hours.


I'll give home classic a look tomorrow and see. I've never used it before, on my old HTPC it never stuttered, even on these ones I'm trying to watch now, and it is about 4-5 years old now. I was using klite codec pack on that one though, a different splitter, ffdshow, etc.


I just really like the media browser interface, and it's seemless with WMC. Launching THT 5 for iso's and blu rays took a bit of that away... it is still seemless, but more choppy going between. Oh well!


And just as a goof, before I started watching avatar 3D up in my media room, I went downstairs, started up avatar 3D on my htpc in the living room, started Avatar 2D on this PC (isn't 3D capable), and started up Avatar 2D streaming through AirVideo on my ipad 2 and my iphone. And the media room PC didn't stutter once in the 30 minutes... Can't verify the other 4 didn't stutter since I wasn't there, but they were definetely playing the movie the whole time. So I think my media server is doing it's job. I was just worried about this piece of the puzzle, but it has been rock solid.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roshy /forum/post/20873027



I just really like the media browser interface, and it's seemless with WMC. Launching THT 5 for iso's and blu rays took a bit of that away... it is still seemless, but more choppy going between. Oh well!

Yeah, I loved Media Browser and I miss it. The interface was fantastic. But alas, I had to give it up. Kept getting errors and a crash back to WMC when trying to launch a second movie after having launched and then stopped a first. Essentially I could not play 2 files consecutively without a

crash. I'm in XBMC now and quite like it. Takes a lot more getting used to and I find you're fairly dependant on the skin you're using, but at least, with some work, it plays all my stuff.
 
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