I was having a stuttering issue when trying to play back large HD files over ethernet (MKV, Meg2 TS, AVCHD, etc). I am using Yazsoft’s Playback Media Server software for Macintosh. Not only does it playback the video flawlessly I now have access to my iLife (iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie) libraries. The WD Live saw the server and works well with it. This does show my playback issues were from the WD HD Live. I turned the Playback server off and got the same stuttering problem back again when accessing the network directly with the WD HD Live.
Just want to confirm that I’ve seen exactly the same issue with my WDTV live.
As a proof of concept, I encoded a video with x.264 at 1920x800 with ABR- 40 MBit to force it to stream at a sustained rate considerably higher than the peaks of the usual encodes, and the results couldn’t be more clear. Playing the mkv file from a network share was simply atrocious, with the video pausing every second, and the task manager was barely showing a 25 Mbit transfer rate from my PC. I then played the same video streaming from Twonkymedia server, and it was rock solid, 0 dropped frames, and task manager was clearly showing the difference in trasfer rate, which was about 60% faster to reach the 40 Mbit.
The conclusion couldn’t be simpler, the current SMB implementation in the WDTV live is weak/faulty and cannot transfer files as fast as some HD videos demand, you need to rely on media streamers to do the dirty work.
I was reading on another forum, that SMB itself is problematic at very high sustained transfer rates and isn’t so much WD’s implementation of it. By me using the Yazsoft Playback server it bypasses SMB all together using Upnp or Apple’s own Bonjour or something like that these protocols handle video streaming much better so it said. I know zip about the various network protocols so I can’t say that is true. Just thought I’d toss that in there.
Well I don’t know about that, but when I copy files from one PC to another in windows explorer I see speeds of 70-80 Mbit/s with fast ethernet, so it seems that SMB itself is more than capable of transferring files. Then again I’m not very knowledgeable about all this, so it could be that streaming videos is more difficult than simply copying them over a network at the max possible speed, I don’t know.
To be honest I’d love to hear from more knowledgeable ppl about this, because it’s pretty frustrating to see that this product is advertised as a network capable upgrade of the previous gen WDTV, and yet its performance reading from network shares (~20 Mbit/s tops before it stutters) falls well short of the max bitrate allowed by the H.264/AVC 4.1 profile, which is 50 Mbit/s if memory serves me right. What’s even more frustrating is that the core HW is more than capable of decoding that video stream if fed from any other source.
With a USB WD Drive it shutters as well. The problem is not in the network connection.