MKV strobe-effect

Like many users on this forum, I’ve resigned to hold my WDTV Live at 1.05.04V as we wait for the final release.  I could actually live with it being the final load, except for one annoying bug that has now become an issue as I convert and re-compress .VOB backups into H.264 MKV’s to save disk space.   The bug, as I’ve mentioned in another thread on this forum, manifests as a strobe-like playback of MKV H.264 files that are coded at 24FPS.  I discovered that by repeatedly toggling the pause/play button about 4-6 times in rapid succession, I could get the playback to smooth out.  This appeared to work for several of my backups, but I found one recently where the strobing returns at particular scene breaks.  It looks like the player is being derailed at some scene transitions since pause/play toggling smooths it back out again.  Very annoying.

I am thinking of going through a methodical process of reencoding the troublesome MKV several times from its DVD source to see if there’s any tool setting that eliminates this problem.  Here are the details:

MKV conversion - MakeMKV Beta 1.7.x  - select only main movie, no subtitles, English audio track
MKV re-compression - Handbrake 0.9.5 - leave all default settings except frame rate set to 24FPS from “same as source”, and audio selected to 128Kbps from default 160Kbps.  Quailty setting at RF:20 - typically yields a file size of 700MB to 1.5G, depending on film length and content

WDTV Live model WDBAAN0000NBK-NESN - 1.05.04V firmware
Sharp LC-46LE700UN  -  WDTV connected on HDMI input 8
Seagate 2TB USB Expansion drive
Stereo Audio mode through the TV RCA output jacks

The WDTV is network connected but I store and play the MKVs from the 2TB drive.  The TV supports 24FPS mode and it automatically detects and switches to 1080p@24Hz when the WDTV starts playing the MKVs, indicating that auto-framerate is working and the player correctly identifies the file framerate.  The WDTV normally defaults to 1080p@60Hz when displaying menus.  The tool chain does a decent job and I get nicely reduced MKV files that are indistinguishable from the source files and maintain proper audio sync.  So far, this seems to only happen with DVD sourced .VOB files; Blu-Ray sourced MKVs do not do this so far as I’ve been able to tell, and the problem never happens playing the source .VOB files.   I want to ask the forum if anyone out there is using the same tool chain and similar WDTV player setup, and does not experience the same problem.  I hope it’s a tool use problem, but I’m afraid that the pause/play toggling “fix” seems to imply an issue with the WDTV’s H.264 decoder.

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You should report this as an issue if you haven’t done so already

I haven’t done so for two reasons:

First, I still don’t know if its a Live box F/W problem or a tool chain (i.e.: user caused) problem.  I’m asking the forum for some help in determining what the root cause is.

Second, this problem is not applicable (although it may very well exist) in the latest release 1.06.15V as I haven’t used that version long enough to have seen it happen.  Even if I do find the issue to be one with the firmware, there’s little point in reporting it since the load I’m using is officially obsolete and I really want WD to stay focused on fixing reported bugs in the latest release.

Of course, if WD happens to change their mind about releasing a final 1.06.xx load, then I’d strongly urge them to nail at least the top ten bugs in 1.05.04V, where I would suggest this problem be amongst them.  I would be very happy with a 1.05.xx load that works correctly, and I suspect that would go a long way in redeeming WD in the eyes of many frustrated Live owners.

I’m having similar problems… But my files won’t play at all. 

I hooked both of my media players (1 TV Live and 1 TV Live Plus) to the internet and it said they had software updates so I ran them on both players (in different parts of the house) and now when I go to watch .mkv video files, it says that the file format is not supported. These are video files I’ve played in the past on BOTH media players AND my computer without a problem, so it isn’t that the files themselves are corrupted. Is there any way to add MKV codec to the players and if not, how do I roll back the updates to the versions that worked? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

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What I Have:

:heart: WD TV Live Plus (Hardwired through Ethernet Cord)

:heart: WD TV Live (Connected through Wireless Adaptor)

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ShojoBakunyu, This thread is about MKV strobe-effect. Your problem is different. Since you are asking a different question, you should start a different thread. You will get better answers that way.

Before rolling back, try pressing the reset button on the WD box. Hold the reset button for 1 or 2 seconds. Resetting sometimes fixes the type of problem that you are seeing.

I haven’t got around to trying to recode the files yet but I did try something relatively simple that seems to point to the WDTV Live.  I have a cheap NBOX player I use on  an old CRT set  that is capable of 1080p playback.  Playing the MKV file that repeatably causes the strobe effect on the WDTV on that unit through the 480i TV showed no sign of the strobe issue.  I moved the player to my main Sharp LCD TV and played the same MKV file (via HDMI 1080p mode).  The file plays fine mostly except for a periodic (maybe every 5-8 seconds) shudder, which I suspect might be due to the way the NBOX translates 24FPS to 60Hz NI.  No sign of the strobing however, even after toggling the pause/play a few time to see if I could unhinge the unit.  The NBOX retailed for roughly half the price of the WDTV Live, yet seems to be better behaved.

One other simple thing I tried was to play the same file over my network from a share on a Win7 laptop.  It behaves the same way (strobing)  as it does playing from the attached USB drive, further pointing to some sort of playback h.264 CODEC issue.  Just so its clear, this is 1.05.04V, not the last release.  I very much hope, when WD finally releases the promised update, that it does not exhibit this problem, and that auto-framerate works again.