Problems playing blue ray MKV files


#1

OK, i’m down to two frustrations trying to get my WDTV working correct and I will post them seperately.  Any help you more experienced guys with this is very much appreciated.

I just started working wiht my BlueRay discs.  Up until now I have converted my entire DVD collection to MKIV’s and they all seem to play fine.  After weeks, on only one occasion I had several files freeze.  I had to exit from the playback and restart, or simply change chapters, to get them to move again.  I had previously played all of those files and had no issues.  Everything since seems to work fine.   I’m only mentioning it here in case it’s relevant.

So I have converted 3 BR discs to MKV using MakeMKV.  They are unaltered, ucomplressed video / audio files from the source, just stripping out foreign language audio and subtitles.  So far I’ve only really played around with two of them, but they both have the same issue.  They play fine and then start to studder significantly.  The only wit it clears up is to stop/start playback, or change chapters.  Sometimes them seem to studder in the same places in the file, sometimes it plays over areas where it first studdered but then studders in a different spot.

My setup (everything in this system is 4 months old or newer)

  • D-Link Gigabit switches (2 in the systems)

  • PLaying from a network drive on a Vista 64 bit machine running as a server only.

  • AMD Athalon II 3.0 X2

  • 4 GB DDR2 1066 RAM

  • Hitachi 7200 RPM 2.0 TB drive for storage (OS on a seperate drive).

So far to trouble shoot -

  • I have replaced the cables from my swtiches to the player and computer.

  • I ran a temp cable between the swtiches to rule out the cable in the wall.

  • I copied the file from the current storage drive to two other drives in the same machine to rule out a drive issue (one same type, one completely different). Tried to run it from 3 different drives

  • I plugged the main storage drive into a seperate SATA controller card to rule out the on-board controller.  (its a card I use for an E-SATA port, but it has an internal port too).

The only thing I can think of is to use the temp cable again and swap the switches to see if one of the two is bad.   Seems pretty unlikely though.

Now i’m questioning the file itself, or the WDTV.  Does anyone have issues playing a full bitrate uncompressed blue ray disk from a network drive on the WDTV?  Can anyone confirm they dont have issues doing this?  I think most people are using H264… but not entirely sure.   I was wondering if the smaller compressed file plays better?

I see a lot of people use handbrake.  I started with MakeMKV for DVD’s.  Originally I downloaded AnyDVD before I realized it wasn’t needed for MakeMKV.  My problem now is the trial period is gone so I can’t test anything to see it using AnyDVD/Handbrake will solve te problem.  I have no problem wiht paying for software that works.  I just dont want to pay for it and then find out it was a different problem.

I did just try to play the file in WMP streaming from the same network share (in fact while typing this).  It seemed to have some studdering too, but that in iteself doesnt eliminate many problems other than maybe the WDTV itself.

I just started running MKVToolnix on the MKV file to see if it can clear anything up.  IT’s  pretty slow so we’ll see where that goes in about 45 mintues or so.

Well there is the latest chapter in my saga to get a media server running.  Any help or thoughts is really aprpeciated.  Thanks to all of you for the help.


#2

Are you hardwired into your router from the Live AND the computer?  (You seem to imply this).  Wireless will definitely NOT work for many full rate HD bit files (it will even have issues with some compressed ones), IMX.

Other than that I can’t offer much help – I do indeed use strictly MKV compressed files from all my blu-rays (as you said, ripped with AnyDVD HD and compressed with Handbrake) and they all play flawlessly.  You are streaming data on quite a higher order (particularly when you factor in the full HD audio which is in the file even though it can’t be played by the Live, at least not DTS-HD – IOW, that full stream has to go over your network but it will only play the core anyway).  However, I do know people here are playing the full M2TS files, and seem to be doing it without issues (btw, I don’t really know why you’re bothering to do it any other way – if all you want to do is strip out the unnecessary tracks, using something like MakeMKV is overkill.  Tsmuxer will do the same thing for the M2TS file which is all you really need).

I’ll stay out of the rest of this thread while others give you better advice.  Good luck.


#3

mkelley wrote:

Are you hardwired into your router from the Live AND the computer?  (You seem to imply this).  Wireless will definitely NOT work for many full rate HD bit files (it will even have issues with some compressed ones), IMX.

 

Other than that I can’t offer much help – I do indeed use strictly MKV compressed files from all my blu-rays (as you said, ripped with AnyDVD HD and compressed with Handbrake) and they all play flawlessly.  You are streaming data on quite a higher order (particularly when you factor in the full HD audio which is in the file even though it can’t be played by the Live, at least not DTS-HD – IOW, that full stream has to go over your network but it will only play the core anyway).  However, I do know people here are playing the full M2TS files, and seem to be doing it without issues (btw, I don’t really know why you’re bothering to do it any other way – if all you want to do is strip out the unnecessary tracks, using something like MakeMKV is overkill.  Tsmuxer will do the same thing for the M2TS file which is all you really need).

 

I’ll stay out of the rest of this thread while others give you better advice.  Good luck.

Yes it’s hardwired -gigabit.  I wanted to make it a smooth as possible. 

I haven’t done anything with TXmuxer yet, but will check it out, thanks.


#4

Verdict on MKVToolnix… no good.  No change.


#5

yep is a well known problem that is obsessing me !

IS RELATED TO THE LAST FIRMWARE … and only unluky people like me and you have it.

IS NOT YOUR NETWORK!

IS NOT YOUR ENCODED MKVs… (if the scattering happens every time in a different place as you mentioned and the files worked fine before…)

I have gigabit wired and all my 200+ mkv (4-20GB each)  have been working since I first got my “Live” (and most of the before it cause I have the old wdtv) BUT with the 1.0.2.21 the frrezing problem happens …

Me… I have downgraded to  previus firmware version…

I have no idea why this is happening and why is happening only for someone.

Seems to me as if the hardware of the “Live” after sometime goes in “energy saving mode” reducing playbeck performances.


#6

Oh, I wouldn’t say it’s “a well known problem” – as I said, all of my hundreds of MKV files (4-17GB) play just fine (and I’m using the latest firmware).

The OT said he’s having problems with uncompressed MKV files, which is a whole different ballgame (we’d be talking a MINIMUM of around 17GB, up to 30GB or more).   Your files are certainly not that (if they are, then it’s the software that created them that’s an issue).


#7

DonFede wrote:

yep is a well known problem that is obsessing me !

 

IS RELATED TO THE LAST FIRMWARE … and only unluky people like me and you have it.

IS NOT YOUR NETWORK!

IS NOT YOUR ENCODED MKVs… (if the scattering happens every time in a different place as you mentioned and the files worked fine before…)

 

I have gigabit wired and all my 200+ mkv (4-20GB each)  have been working since I first got my “Live” (and most of the before it cause I have the old wdtv) BUT with the 1.0.2.21 the frrezing problem happens …

 

Me… I have downgraded to  previus firmware version…

 

I have no idea why this is happening and why is happening only for someone.

 

Seems to me as if the hardware of the “Live” after sometime goes in “energy saving mode” reducing playbeck performances.

 

 

 

How do you downgrade firmware?  I let it upgrade online.  I assume there are instructions somewhere online and will

look tonight, but any pointers appreciated.

However, as noted in the thread below yours and above this one, my files are uncompressed.  They run between 30 - 40 GB each (I think one is 45 with the full DTS HD stream. 

Before you ask I am leaving the DTS  HD stream in becuase eventually I will have a Dune player on this system which I believe does pass through this to a processor that will decode it.  I dont want to have to run different files for each player. 

I also did try to encode a MKV excluding the DTS HD file… it saved about 4 or 5 GB on a 45 GB file.  I only ran it once for 5 mintues this morning.  It seemed to studder less, but it did still studder.


#8

mkelley wrote:

Oh, I wouldn’t say it’s “a well known problem” – as I said, all of my hundreds of MKV files (4-17GB) play just fine (and I’m using the latest firmware).

 

The OT said he’s having problems with uncompressed MKV files, which is a whole different ballgame (we’d be talking a MINIMUM of around 17GB, up to 30GB or more).   Your files are certainly not that (if they are, then it’s the software that created them that’s an issue).

So do you think its a file problem then?  Does the WDTV not like a file that size? 

Are you using handbrake to encode in H264?  How far do you compress?  If I really want zero (detectable) quality loss, will this work?

As I think I noted somewhere, I have no issues paying for AnyDVD so I can encode with Handbrake or other software, but want to be sure it will solve my problem and still result in a file meeting original quality.


#9

I *suspect* it’s a problem with those size files – I know that some folks do play the raw M2TS files, but I don’t know if they stream them or not, and I’m pretty sure that at some point the streams will be too big for the Live to keep up.  As I said, I have hundreds of blu-rays I’ve compressed (to an average of around 7GB) and have no issues playing them at all, so at least that works.

I use Handbrake with the High Profile preset, encoded to an MKV file, passing through either the AC3 or DTS stream (however, this is just the “core” of those streams – if you want the full HD track you would need to remux it back in using something like mkvmerge after you’ve Handbraked the video.  I had originally been doing this until I decided I couldn’t hear the difference between HD and the core track anyway, even if the Live did someday support that). 

What is detectable (or even “acceptable”) to one is quite different to another – as I said, I use the High Profile default of 20 for all material (DVD and blu-ray).  Some folks swear by 22 for blu-ray (the higher the number, the lower the quality – like a golf score :>), some use 18 (but I think that’s insane).  I have a 9’ HD projector screen and *I* can’t tell the difference between the original blu-ray and the compressed file at 20, but until and unless you do your own tests no one can judge for you.

For me, the one and only drawback to Handbraking the material is the time – on my high end i7 box it takes about four hours per movie, but it can take a LOT longer depending on the horsepower of your machine.  But in terms of quality and the way the files play, I don’t think there’s ANYTHING that can beat it (there are some things which I think can probably match it – MakeMKV can probably do it, but it’s such a convoluted POS that I would never use it again).


#10

mkelley wrote:

I *suspect* it’s a problem with those size files – I know that some folks do play the raw M2TS files, but I don’t know if they stream them or not, and I’m pretty sure that at some point the streams will be too big for the Live to keep up. 

 

I was going to try tonight to put the file on a USB drive and see it if plays or not.  I’m not sure why it should matter to the WDTV if it’s accessed from a network share or on a USB drive, but it did occur to me to try it.  To me it seems all that shoudl matter is if the WDTV can handle the total bit rate of the file and if the connectivity source can deliever it fast enough.  Whether the intiial file size is 10 GB or 50 GB shoudl be invisible to the WDTV since it is only seeing it 'X 'MB at a time. 


mkelley wrote: 

I use Handbrake with the High Profile preset, encoded to an MKV file, passing through either the AC3 or DTS stream (however, this is just the “core” of those streams – if you want the full HD track you would need to remux it back in using something like mkvmerge after you’ve Handbraked the video.  I had originally been doing this until I decided I couldn’t hear the difference between HD and the core track anyway, even if the Live did someday support that). 

  

For me, the one and only drawback to Handbraking the material is the time – on my high end i7 box it takes about four hours per movie, but it can take a LOT longer depending on the horsepower of your machine.  But in terms of quality and the way the files play, I don’t think there’s ANYTHING that can beat it (there are some things which I think can probably match it – MakeMKV can probably do it, but it’s such a convoluted POS that I would never use it again).


Thats getting to be a lot of work to convert one BR disc.  by the time I took it apart and put it back together, it would take a day.  I’m running on a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66. 

 

I’m surprised some people hate MakeMKV so much.  I just started using it a month ago, and have coverted over 200 DVDs so far.  Only 3 didint work and it takes about 15-20 minutes per disc.  I think I had to remux one of them due to time erors, but that was created from a TS folder structure saved on a HD, not the original DVD.  No telling where the errors originated.  You can easily check boxes for what tracks, audio, and subtitles you want and dont want.  They only issue I have is that it doesnt do any conversion.  It would be nice if you could save the file in H264 right out of MakeMKV.  Otherwise I’ve been very happy.

 

Can you open an existing MKV with hadnbrake and covert it to H264?  Is there any software to do this?

 


mkelley wrote:

 

What is detectable (or even “acceptable”) to one is quite different to another – as I said, I use the High Profile default of 20 for all material (DVD and blu-ray).  Some folks swear by 22 for blu-ray (the higher the number, the lower the quality – like a golf score :>), some use 18 (but I think that’s insane).  I have a 9’ HD projector screen and *I* can’t tell the difference between the original blu-ray and the compressed file at 20, but until and unless you do your own tests no one can judge for you.

 


Yes, truth is definitely in the eye of the beholder when it comes to audio/video quality. 

 

I assume the numbers you refer to are % compression rate?  (that would be inversely praportional to quality).  So I would be trying to find the minimum compression that you can use and get the file size down enough for the WDTV to handle it.  What type of player are you using for the original BR disc?  I am using an OPPO which has a pretty phenominal playback standard to compare too.  My long term plans are to put a Dune player in this room for networked media, and then use the WDTV in my son’s play/reck room. 


#11

I use a PS3 for my blu-ray playbacks (although nowadays, not so much :>).

The RF factor isn’t a compression ratio – it’s hard to explain (but if you go to the Handbrake forums they will do so for you).

For what you are using MakeMKV for it’s worthless – you don’t need it, just rip the original blu-ray to disc and use tsmuxer to delete whatever streams you don’t want (if you want to convert to an MKV file just use mkvmerge).  If you aren’t compressing I don’t know why anyone in the world would want to use MakeMKV (I think it’s PR, mostly).

Handbrake will indeed take an MKV container and compress it  – it will do this with almost ANY container.

While your machine is a little puny it will get the job done --(it’s probably not doing anything overnight or while you’re at work, correct?).  You can queue up as many files in Handbrake as you want, and not have to babysit them, so it’s not really that big a deal workflow wise.


#12

OK, so it works when I play the same files off a USB external drive, but still starts studdering when playing over the network.

Any ideas on how to make this work? 

I’d like to try rolling back the firmware, but I dont have the last version.  Does anyone have access to it?


#13

I don’t think it’s a firmware issue, but there are rollback instructions posted in this forum (do a search).

I think it’s a streaming issue – the Live does stream differently (and even the fastest network will only be able to stream so fast before it has issues, particularly if it’s doing other things, like sharing files).  In that case re-encoding to a smaller rate is your only option.

I just got through watching one of my blu-ray encodes streamed from my NAS on my 9’ HD screen and it was superb – couldn’t be any better.


#14

mkelley wrote:

I don’t think it’s a firmware issue, but there are rollback instructions posted in this forum (do a search).

 

I think it’s a streaming issue – the Live does stream differently (and even the fastest network will only be able to stream so fast before it has issues, particularly if it’s doing other things, like sharing files).  In that case re-encoding to a smaller rate is your only option.

 

I just got through watching one of my blu-ray encodes streamed from my NAS on my 9’ HD screen and it was superb – couldn’t be any better.

Is it really “streaming” if it’s reading from a shared folder?  Isn’t it really just pulling the file from a remote location?  I think of “streaming” as what UPnP is doing… but maybe I have this wrong.  I am just trying to read a shared folder. 

I am trying the re-encoding now using handbrake.  I’m working from my full bitrate MKV and re-encoding to to new MKV at RF 18.   It started running at 3 FPS and is now down to 2 FPS.  It’s ETA is a full day away.  If i’m going to do this for all BR discs, I guess I have to get a quad core processor.  (will handbrake take advantage of 4 cores?  it’s got 2 maxed out right now).


#15

Using 18 is insane (and slowing you WAY down – adding perhaps twice the encoding time).  I’d try it at 20 first, just to see (should speed it up to 12 hours :>).  The Handbrake experts say to *never* use 18 on blu-ray material (because it doesn’t need it).

Handbrake does indeed take advantage of all of my cores.


#16

OK, may try one at 20 tonight.

I completed the video at 18 (took around 21 hours).  It worked fine in the WDTV. 

I spoke to someone today who told me the chip in the WDTV can not handle the full bitrate of a BR disc AND the overhead assocaited with SMB sharing.  That tends to make sense with all my troubleshooting.  Thats why it works on a USB drive but not a share drive.

In another forum I was told to use NFS, but am still working through how to accomplish it.  My understanding is there is very little if any overhead associated with it and the WDTV can handle a full size BR file. 

Not sure what direction I want to go with this yet.  Still experimenting.


#17

I ran handbrake at RF 20 on a different file this time.  The movie is about 20 minutes and 6 GB smaller.  At RF 20 it took far less time, but I dont think is the same quailty.  Its not bad, just dont think as good. 

I’m running the slighlty smaller movie at 18 again.  This time I’m getting avg of 6-7 fps which is 2-3 X faster than the last movie.  I"m not sure why, but this will take ~ 7 hrs, where the last one at RF 18 took 21 hrs.

I’ll be curious to see if I can tell the difference between the files.  I will probably try the longer movie at 20 to see what happnes.

I’m still not real sure what I want to do about all this. 


#18

TODDWDTV wrote:

Its not bad, just dont think as good. 

The problem is you can’t judge for yourself – have your significant other do a blind A/B test for you (they will have you turn around, show you one, turn around, show you the other – need to do this ten times).  I’ll bet you you don’t get better than around 50/50 picking which is which.

You can even have them do this on the original versus the Handbraked movie.  I’ve actually done exactly this thing on guests over at my house and they can’t tell the difference between the blu-ray and the MKV file on my 9’ HD screen, picking the encoded file as the “best” about half the time no matter what the material is.  While I realize some folks have prejudices that can never be overcome, this scientific test convinces me otherwise.