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Windows 7: Windows Media Player & Center, problems with .mkv files & .srt files

23 Jul 2009   #41

Vista RTM

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HKeleher View Post
Okay, sorry for bumping up an old thread (well, it's not quite that old, heheh) but I finally ate my own dogfood. As I indicated before I planned to upgrade my Vista Media Center box to Windows 7 once RC was available and so I have.

It took some doing but I finally have WMC playing subtitles and changing audio streams using Media Control. I strongly prefer to be able to do all of this in WMC just using a remote while laying on my couch, no keyboard, no mouse, no switching apps/windows. The site is not entirely clear what you need to do so here are a few observations I figured out that may work for folks here:

  • After upgrading from Windows Vista uninstall all old codecs and containers. I'm also running the 181.71 Windows 7 nVidia drivers as the Windows provided drivers just don't stack up.
  • Install all of the packages Media Control explains in the following order:
  • Configure FFDShow as instructed on the Media Control site. You might need to configure the FFDShow audio decoder / Codecs / Uncompressed => None (or disabled.) I had some problems playing avi's in WMP where the sound stuttered very badly. I made several tweaks beyond this but I can't recall them off of the top of my head but I don't believe any of them are show stoppers.
  • Disable Windows 7 default decoding though I've read that this may cause problems with Live TV. On this box I don't have a TV Card, it's just for viewing downloaded and streaming media. I do have an x64 machine in my office with a TV Card but I don't typically watch downloaded/streamed media on that box. Reboot after renaming the files.
  • If you have a Windows MC remote then Media Control has the buttons preprogramed for launching the app in MC as well as switching between audio and subtitle streams/files. I use a wireless radio remote that doesn't have the color buttons but the Media Control configuration app allows you to reassign buttons which I was able to do in order to launch Media Control in MC and just switch streams. Works like a champ. This also allowed me to use subtitle files for videos (FFDShow is configured by default to look for them in the root folder of the video.)

I have noticed that the subtitles tend to flicker a bit which they didn't do on Vista so this is something I'll have to dig into later and see if I can adjust that. I'm running 720p at 60Hz so I'm not sure what's up there. Also you can use Windows Media Player to watch MKV's and use the task bar icons to switch streams (on the Haali icon) if you don't want to use WMC.

I've only just set this up but so far my results are good. It is beta on an RC so your results may vary of course, heheh. Hopefully this will get folks going.

I've registered with this forum just so I can ask you a question! I can play mkv/.h264 in W7MC, but the video stutters like crazy at random.

My setup is pretty much similar to yours at the mo, except I haven't installed the C++ thingy or Media Control. Would either of these fix my problem? Why?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jul 2009   #42

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RC1 (7100), Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Welcome to the forums! I'm honored a post I made encouraged you to join and post, heheh.

Would it be possible for you to provide your system specs? In the past when I had trouble playing h264 videos it was due to my machine not having quite enough punch. It could be the CPU, RAM or motherboard that's the bottleneck but it's typically either the CPU or RAM and in some cases your video card and/or video drivers. In my experience with higher resolution and bigger video files it was the difference between an AMD XP 3700+ with 1.5 GB cheap RAM and an in place upgrade to an AMD X2 4800+ with 2 GB Corsair RAM. It was a night and day difference just between those two items with all the rest being the same. I also had an issue with stuttering and lag in the MC application that turned out to be my nVidia 7600 video card. Upgraded to a 9800 GT and that problem went away in a flash (though the 7600 was fanless... not so with the 9800 so it's a little bit noisier.)

You can run your task manager in the background to get an idea of whether your CPU and RAM is getting hammered. When the video stutters it's usually due to the CPU experiencing a spike due to another application running in the background such as virus scanners, etc. It could also be a slow or unhealthy hard drive. In some remote cases it can also be your power supply not providing the necessary power to specific devices or the system overall.

If you have a machine that is on the edge you might consider performance tuning the system. Blackviper's site is one popular choice for reducing unnecessary services but there are many others out there you can try.

The latest deal I'm working on is Bluray on my WMC PC. It will play some Bluray disks okay and some not so great. Of course depending on the application the results can vary (Power DVD performed badly) My WMC PC is on the low end edge of support (as mentioned above it's currently an AMD X2 4800+ CPU with 2GB RAM.) I don't see the CPU spiking but it's working hard. I believe it's just not quite powerful enough to handle all of the complexities of playing Bluray (HDCP, etc, etc), especially from inside MC which is left open in the background. So I've purchased a little more up to date Q8200 quad core CPU with 4 GB DDR2-800 RAM and a new motherboard that I'm certain will be up to the task. At least much better than my 4 year old AMD.

The C++ and Media Control is for displaying subtitles and switching audio streams from within MC using a remote control so they should not have any impact on your ability to actually play the files (though the splitter and FDDShow would.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jul 2009   #43

Vista RTM

Spec is:

  • Win 7 RTM 32bit
  • AMD 4200 x2
  • ATI HD 3870
  • Sounblaster X-Fi
  • 2GB DDR Ram
  • coreavc for h.264
  • Haali splitter
  • ffdshow
I've just used this tool to setup the correct filters and the stutters have reduced, so I know that the crap Microsoft DTV-DVD filter is not the problem and I've been watching my CPU usage and it never hits 100% or gets high during the stutters. I now think it's RAM or the graphics card; I'm goign to chuck in 2GB more tomorrow to see if it helps and then also try an Nvidia 7950 card to see if it GPU driver issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Jul 2009   #44

Windows 7

So you just install this:

x64 Components addon

And then you can view .mkv files in Media Center?

I've been using MKV2VOB Converter and changing file extension to .avi.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jul 2009   #45

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RC1 (7100), Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

There are two camps when it comes to codec installation... those that recommend installing and all in one codec pack such as Shark007, CCCP, etc and those that only believe in installing codecs that are absolutely needed or when needed. I belong to the latter camp. While I had good experience with codec packs I preferred to have greater manual control and avoid possible issues with some random codec reeking havoc on some form. However, it's usually a perfectly safe practice to use a codec pack and for those that want to install and go without tweaking things individually this is a decent path to take.

I've found with a little bit of tweaking all I need is FDDShow (which can have it's own issues, just make sure you find a stable revision) and Haali's Media Splitter for MKV's. Of course there are those who prefer to just use VLC and call it a day but this thread and forum is for media center and there are a number of folks that want to be able to manipulate audio and subtitle streams using just a remote control. That's where the Media Control application came in for me. The Splitter will do it using a mouse (and right clicking the task tray icon) but the Media Control application using a hook through FFDShow to use your Windows Media Center remote. Quite snazzy.

Everton, I don't believe you need coreavc for h.264. If fact I'm pretty sure you don't because I don't have it and I can play them fine. Your hardware specs look to be okay though they may be straining the low end a bit and depending on the quality of the components and bit rate/size of the file it may be having a tough time as a result.

However, I tried the direct show filter tweaker and found that it didn't work completely for me so I followed the directions for disabling the default Windows decoding and everything worked fine after that. I would recommend giving that a try. As long as you rename the files as the directions state you have the easy ability to revert back should find the need to do so. And while I've heard folks had trouble watching TV after doing this I didn't have any trouble after adding a USB TV device although your mileage may vary.

Upgrading the RAM and video card should help but completely disabling the Windows default decoding will ensure that FFDShow is handling the work, unless it's been tweaked or configured to do something different but by default upon installation it should work. If you need DTS and AC-3 passthrough playback you'll likely need to do some tweaking to the audio configuration, I did. But once you figure that out it works like a dream.

Also... I have experienced more difficulty in using 64-bit OS for my media centers. My primary PC is 64-bit and it works like a champ but I have the latest greatest equipment (or close thereof, look at my specs) but my media center PC and secondary PC is using older equipment and I've found that the 32-bit OS works better. Food for thought if you're using 64-bit with some older equipment such as what you have.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2009   #46

Windows 7 build 7600
easy fix for mkv

Hi guys. Saw this thread content after making a post for a simple mkv playback solution. New here and new to win7rc-just never got around to it, but tried this on my first encounter with playback issues with mkv today and after checking this and other forums, this seems to be a pretty big issue. Try it and see if it helps. I agree with HKeleher-don't use codec packs if you can help it. FFDSHOW-tryouts with Haali is all you should need now that wmp12 plays so many format natively. Especially since Haali has a new x64 splitter beta. Link for it in post below.

mkv playback ez solution x32 x64-NO CODEC PACKS!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Media Player & Center, problems with .mkv files & .srt files

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