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Windows 7: WMC Playing Recorded Wtv Video quality compared to (WMP or VLC)

09 Nov 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
WMC Playing Recorded Wtv Video quality compared to (WMP or VLC)

My computer's build is quite new. I have a Hauppauge TV card, and with a cable card. The jig is this: When I watch recorded TV within 'Windows Media Center' the quality is not good - The framerate is noticeably lacking and often the audio and video is out of sync (I realize this is a common problem...) Out of sync, enough to be an annoyance. However, if I watch the very same .wtv file with 'Windows Media Player', or 'VLC player' it plays fine, diamond clear, no hiccups at all! HD recordings, or regular TV recordings. The recording quality level appears to be more than adequate. It seems to take up plenty of space on the drive, especially the HD recordings.

Since this is a new build of the machine I have not downloaded/installed any codecs that I'm aware of, anything that I know would have damaged the WMC playing ability.

However why would WMP play well, but not WMC? What codecs, or engines do they do different? What registry hacks do I need to do...lol Do I need to cheet and get a codec?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Nov 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
found the problem... not the solution

Ok I have dual displays and I use 'The Maxifier'
I think this may be causing the problem.

See this thread: WMC performance issues with dual displays

I'm having the same issue, but I share his sentiments that I don't want to live without it's luxuries. Without it the mouse gets locked on the 2nd monitor, and stuff. Why or why does MS make stuff this bad?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

You haven't provided your hardware specs, which would certainly be very useful information for us to consider.

I myself have a what's perhaps a similar setup to yours... (a) Hauppauge HVR-2250 for dual-tuner OTA/ATSC recording, and (b) Ceton InfiniTV 4-tuner cablecard-enabled recording. I've had three different mobos and Intel CPU's serving as my WMC HTPC over the past two years, and three different video cards, and have been quite satisfied with performance of WMC for playback.

I also have always had a dual-monitor setup, first with two CRT's (21" and 19", with the 21" IBM P275 being used for watching WMC in a window... never full-screen, because I'm sitting too close for that to be acceptable), then the P275 was replaced by a 24" Eizo HD2441W (1920x1200) again for use of WMC in a window (even more reason than before) not to watch full-screen. Finally, my remaining 19" CRT died and I replaced it with a second 24" Eizo S2433W (1920x1200).

Originally, my video card was an ATI HD3850, then an ATI HD4850, and now and ATI HD5770 (dual-DVI). I'm currently running ATI Catalyst 12.10 driver.

Originally, I used a Supermicro C2SBX mobo with Intel E6800 Core2 Duo 3.0Ghz CPU and 4GB of PC3-10600 memory. Then I used an ASUS P2Q3 mobo with Intel Core2 Duo E8450 3.0Ghz CPU and 4GB of PC3-12800 memory. Currently I'm using an ASUS P8Z77 mobo with Intel i5-3350p quad-core 3.1Ghz CPU and 8GB of PC3-12800 memory. Windows 7 x64 Pro. ZERO OUTSIDE CODECS... pure Windows 7 support, and nothing else.

All three mobos had Realtek HD Audio chips on them: ALC883 on C2SBX, ALC1200 on P5Q3, and ALC892 on P8Z77. I've always kept the audio driver up-to-date with Realtek and am currently running v2.70. I have an Altec 641 4.1 speaker system (using front-2 and rear-2 outputs from the Realtek chip to feed it).

I have three Linksys DMA2100 extenders around the house, each feeding an HDTV via HDMI.

I've decided over the years that the hard drive(s) used for recording and playback is very very important in terms of playback performance. In other words, I currently use a 7200rpm SATA-6GB/s drive (2TB, 64MB cache) as my primary WMC storage. A high-performance drive is very important when you have lots of tuners active, either recording multiple shows concurrently or playing back a recorded show while new shows are being recorded. Trying to skimp on electricity or cost when it comes to the hard drive is foolish.

As far as lip-sync problems I've decided it's a function of the channel. I DO have a problem with NBC-HD, which is simply horrible. There's something strange and non-standard (IMHO) about NBC's DD5.1 "simulated" multi-channel sound, where the meta-data does not match the content being delivered. I had the same type of strange audio issues when I was listening standalone using two separate Dolby Headphone systems (from both Pioneer and Phillips)... truly awful during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when NBC officially went to DD5.1. It took them about 6 months to finally get the Jay Leno Tonight Show squared away, to eliminate the horrible lip-sync problem which was super-evident during that show. I'm convinced the problem is NBC's (they also have their Dolby level set lower than every other channel, and they claim "there's is correct, and everybody else is wrong").

But I have no such lip-sync problems or volume levels on any other channel. None. Just NBC-HD.

Also, I've noticed GPU usage (i.e. video hardware acceleration utilization) is much higher when watching 1080i programs than when watching 720p programs. This may have to do with the fact that my Eizo HD2441W monitor (used for viewing) is 1080p, so it may take much more GPU horsepower to do the conversion and de-interlacing for 1080i than it has to do with 720p.

Similarly, I've noticed higher CPU usage when watching NBC-HD (1080i) than when watching all other 1080i channels, again probably because of what's going on with the "fake DD5.1" audio on NBC, and what the audio drivers have to do to deal with the crazy signal and feed the output to my 4.1 speaker setup.

Now other than trying WMP and VLC to play copy-freely WTV programs (since they cannot be used to play copy-once WTV programs), I don't ever do that. I only use WMC to play recorded TV programs because I just prefer the WMC user-interface overall. Even when playing copy-freely WTV programs on my second PC on the LAN (with an HD4850 and another Eizo S2433W at 1920x1200) I use WMC on that second PC again because I just prefer its user-interface. Also, I feel WMC does an excellent job of re-sizing/scaling, when watching in a window. I vary the size of the viewing window so that I can do other things on the same screen at the same time as I'm watching a TV program in the WMC window. The 24" monitors (all at 1920x1200) make that very easy and enjoyable.

I've done nothing special or unusual (or even customizing) in terms of setup in WMC for my display. All my Eizo 24" 1920x1200 monitors are 1080p-capable, so whatever WMC does and whatever Catalyst 12.10 does and whatever Realtek 2.70 does, that's what I have. I simply do NOT EVER RUN FULL-SCREEN, because I'm sitting too close to the monitors for that to be sensible. I only watch TV "in a window" when I'm watching TV while working at my computers.

And again, I NEVER INSTALL OUTSIDE CODEC PACKS... that is the wrong thing to do if you want WMC stability and best performance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


10 Nov 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

dsperber... You have written a book thank you. However: I think I see a lot of 'my truck has a 400 block engine in it' on this forum. The issue is not related to video processing power. Why? (see my reasoning later, along with even my smaller processor 2-core machine has no problem playing them back) The real 'spec' you should be paying attention to is this part. I'm running 'full screen' (WMC), and I'm using 'The Maxifier' - See The Maxifier

My specs: My drivers are the latest and up-to-date. I have the latest firmwares as possible.
Dell Inspiron 560 Quad Core - 2.67ghz - NVidia GeForce GT-220 - Dual Monitor Setup with a TV Connected (bi connected to the 2nd monitor) - Therefore that is especially why I want full-screen on the 2nd monitor. Because not only is it a monitor, but also hooked up to a TV.

WMC has this stupid quirk that when you click full-screen it will lock the mouse inside the application. Yes I know you can hit alt-tab, or the Windows key to escape its grip-of-death. But both, when you enter-full-screen, or exit full screen, it jerks the video, and causes, consternation, and you can tell that WMC was never designed to work with multiple monitors.

However 'The Maxifier' (see link above) not only gives you great menu-options, but also takes care of this issue, by giving you a 'fullscreen' mode without the mouse-lock. But I just discovered that this is where my video performance issue is coming from.

Why is playing .wtv files not related to video processing power:
1) Because it works fine in 'Full-screen' WMC mouse-locked mode.
2) it works fine full-screen in WMP.
3) it works fine full-screen in VLC.
4) it works fine on my Windows7 Dual-core Laptop, through the network, playing on its VLC. (can you imagine?) Yet you guys are complaining about how much horse power you need to pack on your machines to get some stuff to play... ?!!!?) I say something else is wrong. It is not the horsepower of your engines.... It is something else!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Oh... Just played around with 'The Maxifier' options, and testing one of them is 'Fit to screen' instead of 'full-screen', guess what, 'fit-to-screen' does not have the performance lull that 'full-screen' does. It is not as ideal, but I may have my answer. I'll try to work with the 'maxifier' people, and we can all hope that 'WMC' for 7 comes with an update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
fixed, but still don't like WMC version 7 current build

After further testing, the answer as stated above is to use 'fit-to-screen' option in 'maxifier', not 'full-screen', then it works. I don't have the performance issues stated in my original Question. BTW... On my (bi-connected) TV I actually cannot see the the 'fit-to-screen' bars, I'm guessing because it is just slightly over-scanned. So it works on all counts.

Of course I have many gripes with WMC, that do not make sense. It's a functional application, but they left serious holes. (to mention a few...)

1) aforementioned Full-Screen 2nd-monitor mouse lock. (with the native app)
2) It does not disable the Windows configured screen saver when watching video(so you must disable the SS). No cool downloaded screen saver for you! It will interrupt your video.
3) You cannot mute the audio of 'just' WMC within WMC... Microsoft says you must mute your entire box! I do use sortof a hack app that will mute WMC only. (quicker than clicking on the mixer and ru those steps)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 WMC Playing Recorded Wtv Video quality compared to (WMP or VLC)




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