Large MKV files pausing randomly from USB Drive


#1

After searching for a solution to the below issue for a while now, I thought I’d post on here to see if anyone can help me out…

I have been having some issues playing MKV files larger than around 6GB on my WDTV Live. Around half way through watching, the movie will freeze and then after 15 seconds or so it will fast forward ahead a bit and then continue playing as normal. This seems to happen randomly and is not always an issue as sometimes I can watch 2 or 3 movies without an issue, and other times every large file that I play will experience it (sometimes more than once during the movie).

I have the latest firmware installed and am playing the files via WD USB HDD’s. I’m not 100% sure but I think this was also happening before the latest firmware upgrade as I seem to recall hoping that it may have been a known issue that a firmware upgrade might fix…

Here are my findings so far:

Evidence to suggest the issue may not be caused by the file:

  • Movies do not freeze in the same place each time and somtimes not at all.

  • The files play fine on a PC.

  • Smaller MKV files (up to 4GB) have never shown this issue, only larger sized files.

  • The files are from many multiple sources

  • I’ve heard of other people with the same file not having issues playing the file on a WDTV Live (pretty sure it was the same firmware…).

Evidence to suggest the issue may not be caused by the Hard Drive:

  • I have tried the same files on three different hard drives. Two different WD 1TB MyBooks, and one WD 320GB Elements, all have been known to replicate the issue.

  • The Hard Drives have been checked for errors and fragmentation.

  • Have tried reformatting the hard drives with various different cluster sizes with the same result.

It’s a tough and time consuming problem to troubleshoot given the seemingly random nature of the issue, as I may not know if what I have been trying will work because after trying a possibly solution it could just be coincidence that the WDTV Live is having a “good day” :slight_smile:

Any help and advice would be much appreciated! :slight_smile:


#2

Can you post the TEXT Output of MediaInfo for one of your more troublesome files here?


#3

Sure thing… here are a couple of different files that have experienced this issue:

File 1

General
Complete name                    : G:\1080p\Pirates Of The Caribbean - Dead Mans Chest.mkv
Format                           : Matroska
File size                        : 12.3 GiB
Duration                         : 2h 30mn
Overall bit rate                 : 11.7 Mbps
Encoded date                     : UTC 2007-12-18 11:10:05
Writing application              : mkvmerge v2.1.0 (‘Another Place To Fall’) built on Aug 19 2007 13:40:07
Writing library                  : libebml v0.7.7 + libmatroska v0.8.1

Video
ID                               : 1
Format                           : AVC
Format/Info                      : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile                   : High@L5.1
Format settings, CABAC           : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames        : 8 frames
Muxing mode                      : Container profile=Unknown@5.1
Codec ID                         : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration                         : 2h 30mn
Bit rate                         : 10.2 Mbps
Width                            : 1 920 pixels
Height                           : 800 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)               : 0.277
Stream size                      : 10.5 GiB (85%)
Writing library                  : x264 core 57 svn-709C
Encoding settings                : cabac=1 / ref=5 / deblock=1:0:0 / analyse=0x3:0x133 / me=umh / fpel_cmp=sad / subme=6 / me-prepass=0 / brdo=0 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=2 / deadzone=4,6 / chroma_qp_offset=0 / threads=3 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / mbaff=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=1 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=3 / wpredb=1 / bime=1 / keyint=250 / keyint_min=25 / scenecut=40(pre) / rc=2pass / bitrate=10195 / 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 / zones=203021,216718,b=0.2 / aq=1:0.3:15.0
Language                         : English

Audio
ID                               : 3
Format                           : DTS
Format/Info                      : Digital Theater Systems
Codec ID                         : A_DTS
Duration                         : 2h 30mn
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
Stream size                      : 1.59 GiB (13%)
Language                         : English

Text
ID                               : 2
Format                           : UTF-8
Codec ID                         : S_TEXT/UTF8
Codec ID/Info                    : UTF-8 Plain Text
Language                         : English

File 2

General
Complete name                    : G:\1080p\Tooth Fairy.mkv
Format                           : Matroska
File size                        : 4.37 GiB
Duration                         : 1h 41mn
Overall bit rate                 : 6 164 Kbps
Encoded date                     : UTC 2010-04-24 03:36:57
Writing application              : mkvmerge v2.9.8 (‘C’est le bon’) built on Aug 13 2009 12:49:06
Writing library                  : libebml v0.7.7 + libmatroska v0.8.1

Video
ID                               : 1
Format                           : AVC
Format/Info                      : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile                   : High@L4.1
Format settings, CABAC           : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames        : 5 frames
Muxing mode                      : Container profile=Unknown@4.1
Codec ID                         : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration                         : 1h 41mn
Bit rate                         : 4 658 Kbps
Width                            : 1 280 pixels
Height                           : 696 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 16:9
Frame rate                       : 23.976 fps
Color space                      : YUV
Chroma subsampling               : 4:2:0
Bit depth                        : 8 bits
Scan type                        : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.218
Stream size                      : 3.21 GiB (74%)
Writing library                  : x264 core 93 r1542 5b86182
Encoding settings                : cabac=1 / ref=5 / deblock=1:0:0 / analyse=0x3:0x133 / me=umh / subme=7 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.00:0.00 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=-2 / threads=6 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=2 / b_adapt=2 / b_bias=0 / direct=3 / wpredb=1 / wpredp=2 / keyint=250 / keyint_min=25 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc=2pass / mbtree=0 / bitrate=4658 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=10 / qpmax=51 / qpstep=4 / cplxblur=20.0 / qblur=0.5 / ip_ratio=1.40 / pb_ratio=1.30 / aq=1:1.00
Language                         : English

Audio
ID                               : 2
Format                           : DTS
Format/Info                      : Digital Theater Systems
Codec ID                         : A_DTS
Duration                         : 1h 41mn
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
Stream size                      : 1.07 GiB (24%)
Title                            : DTS 1509 Kbps
Language                         : English

Text
ID                               : 3
Format                           : UTF-8
Codec ID                         : S_TEXT/UTF8
Codec ID/Info                    : UTF-8 Plain Text
Language                         : English


#4

First ideea: there’s something wrong with codec you used for mkvs.

I do have some 1080p mkvs - mainly music concerts - and I didn’t run into such problems with WDTV Gen1 or Live.

On the other hand, are you sure you’re using a USB2.0 cable? Large mkvs needs preaty large throughput and I belive a USB1.1 device or cable cannot sustain it.


#5

Well, it certainly *sounds* like a bitrate issue, but the bit rates of those two encodes aren’t exceedingly high.

I don’t see anything really out of the ordinary on those two files.

You say they don’t freeze in the same place every time, but when they DO freeze up, is the scene undergoing major changes?  (Like intense action, cuts to new scenes, etc)  The bitrates of videos spike during things where the picture is changing rapidly.


#6

dbrasian: Yup, definately using USB 2.0 cables… came with the Hard Drives.

TonyPh12345: Hmmm… I wouldn’t say that it happens only during intense action scenes. A good example would be Tooth Fairy, which has very little (if any) action scenes in it, and I remember it freezing at a rather quiet moment towards the end of the movie on one occassion, where the scene was fairly static on the face of one of the actors. Am really hoping that your right in that there is nothing strange about the files :slight_smile:

I’m assuming that the issue is more than likely caused by the device trying to transfer such a large amount of data, and obviously large files are going to put somewhat of a strain on the WDTV. Which is why I’ve done everything I can think of to allow the fastest possible transfer speed. Choosing USB devices over NAS, trying out different cluster sizes on the hard drives, etc.


#7

Then try this – run one of the problem files (but hopefully the original source and not the MKV file itself. although if that’s all you have then try that) through Handbrake using the High Profile preset – just change the output type to MKV and passthrough DTS or AC3.

If THAT file plays properly it’s a file encoding issue (on your other files).  The Handbrake encode is the “gold standard” for playability (I have literally hundreds of blu-rays encoded this way and they all play flawlessly across my network, even very large 24GB files playing at very high bitrates).  If this test file doesn’t play then at least you know it’s not your file but something in your system.


#8

Thanks Mike, I’ll try your suggestion and see what happens :slight_smile:


#9

These are the times I wish the WD TV Live had on-screen bit information.