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Old 03-03-2009, 06:03 PM   #241
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moyekj View Post
BINGO! I just discovered that it is indeed the S3 H.264 decoder that seems to be the issue. When I play my same H.264 test clips on a Tivo HD unit FFx1 works pretty well. In comparison when playing on my S3s FFx1 doesn't really work at all - it's basically same as play speed.
So while I'm sure encoding parameters make a difference to some degree the basic problem is that S3 H.264 decoder is just not up to par with the Tivo HD H.264 decoder.

This holds true for S3 VC-1 decoder vs THD VC-1 decoder as well as there are Netflix streams that play fine on THD units but don't work properly on S3 units.
This may be the reason why.

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Originally Posted by bkdtv
(From this post in another thread elsewhere)

The TiVo Series3 has a Broadcom SoC @ 300MHz with 128MB of DDR400 memory. It also has another 128MB of DDR400 (256MB total) devoted to a separate MPEG-4 / VC-1 decoder. The TivoHD is based on a newer Broadcom SoC @ 300MHz with integrated MPEG-4 / VC-1 decoder; it has direct access to 256MB of DDR400 memory.

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Old 03-03-2009, 06:18 PM   #242
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Yes, despite being an older hardware design the S3 has proved to be better than HD/HDXL in some aspects (faster TTG and MRV for sure, and faster GUI response in general from my experience). However it's becoming pretty clear from this FFx1 problem and certain Netflix titles that play fine on HDs but not on S3s that the S3 H.264/VC-1 decoder hardware and/or firmware are inferior to HD/HDXL. Could well be just a firmware issue but I'm not sure how much motivation Tivo has to optimize the phased out S3 model at this point.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:25 PM   #243
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Sort of off-topic, but how long have Amazon Unboxed downloads been VC-1 rather than being transcoded to MPEG2? My wife just downloaded a few episodes of The Office and they are ~0.48GB for 21mins and ~0.94GB for 42min episodes. Download speeds are ~7 mbps.

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Old 03-03-2009, 06:35 PM   #244
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Sort of off-topic, but how long have Amazon Unboxed downloads been VC-1 rather than being transcoded to MPEG2? My wife just downloaded a few episodes of The Office and they are ~0.48GB for 21mins and ~0.94GB for 42min episodes. Download speeds are ~7 mbps.

Jason
VC-1 or H.264? If it's VC-1 then sounds like more network sniffing is in order to determine how to store wmv natively on Tivo. I think the PC downloads version is VC-1 but that doesn't mean that the Tivo version needs to be VC-1 as well.

I guess if FFx1 on S3 doesn't work well then that would imply H.264. Another good test would be to see if you are getting multi-channel AC3 audio then that would imply H.264 as well.

Either way looks like the door is wide open for Amazon HD downloads now...
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:39 PM   #245
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VC-1 or H.264? If it's VC-1 then sounds like more network sniffing is in order to determine how to store wmv natively on Tivo. I think the PC downloads version is VC-1 but that doesn't mean that the Tivo version needs to be VC-1 as well.

I guess if FFx1 on S3 doesn't work well then that would imply H.264. Another good test would be to see if you are getting multi-channel AC3 audio then that would imply H.264 as well.

Either way looks like the door is wide open for Amazon HD downloads now...
Well, I guess I don't know for sure what the format is. I did some googling and found that they were using VC-1 for other downloads and I figured they wouldn't be using both formats....but maybe I am wrong with that assumption? Is there any good way to determine the format on a TivoHD? Files are copyprotected, so can't move or transfer them.

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Old 03-03-2009, 06:42 PM   #246
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Well, I guess I don't know for sure what the format is. I did some googling and found that they were using VC-1 for other downloads and I figured they wouldn't be using both formats....but maybe I am wrong with that assumption? Is there any good way to determine the format on a TivoHD? Files are copyprotected, so can't move or transfer them.

Jason
Do you have surround sound system that indicates what kind of audio you are getting out of the TivoHD? If it's Dolby surround then I would lean to H.264.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:56 PM   #247
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Someone posted in the Pytivo forums that amazon was going to start providing downloads to Tivos in MP4 format. The guy doesn't cite a source, but he posted it a few days before we realized that native MP4 transfers were available, so if he's making it up, his timing is really good.

http://pytivo.krkeegan.com/mpeg-4-fo...near-t682.html

FWIW, I think that if you look at the "ready to watch" times for different programs, you can figure out if they're available in MP4/WMV or MPEG-2. The MPEG-2 stuff (overwhelming majority) has a longer "ready to watch" time for the Tivo version. Whereas it looks like the Office, which txporter reports as being in a more efficient format, has the same download time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by txporter View Post
Well, I guess I don't know for sure what the format is. I did some googling and found that they were using VC-1 for other downloads and I figured they wouldn't be using both formats....but maybe I am wrong with that assumption? Is there any good way to determine the format on a TivoHD? Files are copyprotected, so can't move or transfer them.

Jason

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Old 03-03-2009, 07:28 PM   #248
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Download speeds are ~7 mbps.

Jason
Interesting. Is this faster than what you normally get for unbox downloads? I ask because my Tivo unbox downloads have always been considerably slower (2.5-3 megabits) than my computer unbox downloads (6 megabits). I wonder if this has something to do with the general slower-performance of transferring MPEG-2 to Tivos.
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:34 PM   #249
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Do you have surround sound system that indicates what kind of audio you are getting out of the TivoHD? If it's Dolby surround then I would lean to H.264.
No, I don't have my Tivos hooked up through a stereo system. Anyone else? I believe that there were some free episode from Amazon for Office Season 5 (previews for the season or something). Maybe those have the same format.

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Old 03-03-2009, 07:35 PM   #250
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Interesting. Is this faster than what you normally get for unbox downloads? I ask because my Tivo unbox downloads have always been considerably slower (2.5-3 megabits) than my computer unbox downloads (6 megabits). I wonder if this has something to do with the general slower-performance of transferring MPEG-2 to Tivos.
Could be. Might it also be transcoding their other content TO MPEG2? But yes, I got numbers more inline with that you mention when I first used it. I think it might have actually been sub-2 mbps.

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Old 03-04-2009, 12:17 AM   #251
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TiVo obviously added the ability to play VC-1 content with MS DRM when it added Netflix. If Unbox uses the same format for their PC content then it was probably trivial for TiVo to add native Unbox support to the S3/HD platform. It seems unlikely that they would transcode to yet another format (H.264) just for TiVo. Although I guess they might if they really wanted DD5.1 audio, since WMV files don't support DD5.1 yet.

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Old 03-04-2009, 08:26 AM   #252
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The amazon unbox downloads are stereo only, no 5.1 at this time. Might be VC-1 or h264, have no way to tell for sure. Should we try sending vc-1 content to the tivohd via pytivo push?

I was the one who posted over at pytivo forum, h264 was a guess, it could have been vc-1 all along without me knowing but it was known to be a higher order compression and I assumed h264 when I saw it.
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:41 AM   #253
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Should we try sending vc-1 content to the tivohd via pytivo push?
No, we can't just try; we have to know the "encodingType" string to use, assuming that one exists. This would mean capturing the control data either from an Amazon push, or from a TiVo Desktop push of VC-1, if it can do that without reencoding.

Edit: Or, someone could look through tivoapp for the strings "mpeg2ProgramStream" and "avcL41MP4", and see if there are any likely candidates nearby.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:05 AM   #254
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Could be. Might it also be transcoding their other content TO MPEG2? But yes, I got numbers more inline with that you mention when I first used it. I think it might have actually been sub-2 mbps.

Jason
It's possible that it's transcoding in real-time, but I'd assume that it'd be much less resource intensive to just have an MPEG-2 stored somewhere.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:16 AM   #255
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If sound is indeed stereo only then this suggests VC-1.

On the other hand I do have conforming wmv files with VC-1 video and WMA stereo audio that stream natively to Tivos, however with Tivo Desktop 2.7 auto push they are currently transcoded to mpeg2. So the "Keary spy gear trick" (MITM attack to intercept SSL communications between Tivo Desktop and mime.tivo.com) can't be applied the same way that was done for the H.264 discovery.

Sniffing out communication between Tivo and mime.tivo.com after an Amazon push is initiated could reveal something, but that means Tivo networking setup would have to be changed to go through a proxy server (perhaps using DNS spoofing and the MITM attack). DNS spoofing I've done before and is pretty well documented and pretty easy on Linux. The MITM attacks I've seen a few methods posted but again looks easiest on Linux. I don't have a Linux server at home to mess with and trying to do all that on Windows Vista seems too hard for me.
Plus, would be good to find an Amazon download (preferably free) that is obviously not an mpeg2 file. I tried a free 3 minute clip from The Office but that was 0.5GB 50MB for < 3 minutes so obviously must be mpeg2 going by size alone.

I like wmcbrine's suggestion of looking through tivoapp binary:
First see if the avcL41MP4 is found with something like (on Linux or Mac or Windows cygwin):
strings tivoapp | grep -i mp4

Then look for other possible strings such as wmv:
strings tivoapp | grep -i wmv

(Anyone have an 11.0b tivoapp binary handy?)
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:34 AM   #256
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If sound is indeed stereo only then this suggests VC-1.

Plus, would be good to find an Amazon download (preferably free) that is obviously not an mpeg2 file. I tried a free 3 minute clip from The Office but that was 0.5GB for 3 minutes so obviously must be mpeg2 going by size alone.
It looks like the free, beginning of the season clips of the office list a longer download time for Tivos than computers, so this may actually be a reliable indicator.

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Old 03-04-2009, 12:14 PM   #257
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OK, I found a tivoapp 11.0b binary and interestingly enough "strings" command does find avcL41MP4 among other strings containing mp4. But more interestingly:
> strings tivoapp | grep -i wmv
.wmv
WMV9
.wmv

EDIT: Actually this one looks more likely to work:
> strings tivoapp | grep -i vc1
vc1ApL3
(This is in same general location as avcL41MP4)

So looks like vc1ApL3 could be the encodingType setting we are looking for. I'm not home to be able to make the necessary modifications to mind.py to try a native push of wmv. If someone is available to try it I have a compatible wmv encoding you can try with here:
http://tivostream.googlecode.com/files/test_vc1_wma.wmv
(P.S. You also probably need to use video/x-ms-wmv for Content-Type)

EDIT: This is off topic for this thread but an interesting find in tivoapp:
video/x-tivo-mpeg&System=ts
So maybe there is a way of streaming mpeg2 transport streams to Tivo after all...
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:19 PM   #258
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OK, I tried modifications to pyTivo along the same lines as for h264, using "vc1ApL3", but it didn't work -- the TiVo made the request, but then immediately dropped the connection.

Edit: I tried changing the string, and got "Bad value for encodingType in bodyOfferModify". So it looks like "vc1ApL3" is a good value... it's just not working, at least not with that test file.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:52 PM   #259
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EDIT: Actually this one looks more likely to work:
> strings tivoapp | grep -i vc1
vc1ApL3
(This is in same general location as avcL41MP4)

So looks like vc1ApL3 could be the encodingType setting we are looking for. I'm not home to be able to make the necessary modifications to mind.py to try a native push of wmv. If someone is available to try it I have a compatible wmv encoding you can try with here:
http://tivostream.googlecode.com/files/test_vc1_wma.wmv
(P.S. You also probably need to use video/x-ms-wmv for Content-Type)

EDIT: This is off topic for this thread but an interesting find in tivoapp:
video/x-tivo-mpeg&System=ts
So maybe there is a way of streaming mpeg2 transport streams to Tivo after all...
Hrmm, googling vc1ApL3 turns up only this thread, BUT googling vc1 ApL3 turns up mentions of TS streams:

http://www.techgadgets.in/portable-a...-order-begins/

So maybe try VC-1 in a TS container?
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:54 PM   #260
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OK, I tried modifications to pyTivo along the same lines as for h264, using "vc1ApL3", but it didn't work -- the TiVo made the request, but then immediately dropped the connection.

Edit: I tried changing the string, and got "Bad value for encodingType in bodyOfferModify". So it looks like "vc1ApL3" is a good value... it's just not working, at least not with that test file.
That's too bad and maybe explains why TD+ currently transcodes wmv files.
NOTE: That test clip does STREAM natively via HME so I don't think it's an encoding issue.

So now I'm back to leaning towards H.264 format being used for Amazon downloads
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:56 PM   #261
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Also, there is a table at this page:

http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=VC-1

I'm guessing ApL3 = Advanced Profile, Level 3

Max Bitrate = 45 Mbps

Representative Formats

1920 x 1080 @ 24 Hz (1080p)
1920 x 1080 @ 30 Hz (1080i)
1280 x 720 @ 60 Hz (720p)

Hopefully that's an indicator of maxes rather than requirements.

The clip moyekj linked has a format of AP@L2 according to mediainfo.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:08 PM   #262
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Yes it's likely an indication of max levels just like avcL41MP4 was a max indication for H.264 which we know works with levels <= 4.1 for example and at different resolutions, frame rates, etc. Plus as I mentioned above the clip streams natively via HME so it's a known good encoding that Tivo can decode.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:21 PM   #263
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Sorted -- it was the MIME type it didn't like, oddly enough (since "video/x-ms-wmv" is the standard). The MIME type it wants, I found in tivoapp: "video/bif". WTF? Anyway, it works. Will be in my repo shortly.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:24 PM   #264
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Could the MIME type also be why pull mode doesn't work with these new formats? I was looking at the code and it appears that you send everything as video/x-tivo-mpeg. Perhaps it needs be video/mp4 to work in pull mode?

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Old 03-04-2009, 04:34 PM   #265
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Sorted -- it was the MIME type it didn't like, oddly enough (since "video/x-ms-wmv" is the standard). The MIME type it wants, I found in tivoapp: "video/bif". WTF? Anyway, it works. Will be in my repo shortly.
Cool, it's good that there is a limited number of types so trial and error works.

NOTE for those trying this, the decoder is currently very picky about the encoding so it's likely only a small subset of wmv files which actually work. For example using VBR for WMA audio doesn't work (it has to be CBR and 2 channel only, I don't think 6 channel worked). It's been a while since I experimented so maybe it's less restrictive now, but be warned. For those interested in exploring further I documented how to generate encodings that will work here:
http://code.google.com/p/streambaby/..._compatibility
(Unfortunately only for Windows platform since it's from Microsoft codecs)

Because of the restrictions and if you are choosing to encode your own videos then H.264 with AC3 audio is a much better choice.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:02 PM   #266
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Actually, I take it back -- I wasn't looking at the TiVo, just the error messages. I believe it was working the whole time. But what happens is, the TiVo makes its first request, closes the socket, and then makes a second, successful request. (Kinda reminiscent of what happens when streaming... which is equally unexplained.) It doesn't do this for mp4 or mpeg2.

BTW, I didn't choose video/bif randomly. Here it is in context:

Code:
.mp3
audio/mpeg
audio/
.mpg
.mpeg
video/mpeg
video/mpg
.mp4
video/mp4
.asf
.wmv
.bif
video/bif
.png
.gif
.jpg
.jpeg
image/
which looks like lists of extensions followed by their associated MIME types.

Edit: Anyway, it's in my repo now. Hopefully we can figure out how to suppress the dual requests later.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:25 PM   #267
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Interesting, just so I understand correctly you are saying that actually using "video/x-ms-wmv" mime was working, but it also works with "video/bif"?
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:35 PM   #268
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Perhaps the dual request has something to do with DRM. It may make the first request to see if it needs to authorize the video and the second one to actually play it.

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Old 03-04-2009, 05:48 PM   #269
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So since it's now been determined Tivo can store native VC-1 files it's very likely the Amazon non-mpeg2 downloads are in VC-1 format wrapped in MS DRM (just like they are if downloading to your PC). So I guess no DD 5.1 audio even if Amazon does make HD downloads available soon.
I suspect that WMA 5.1 CBR (constant bit rate) audio probably can be decoded by Tivo but probably like AAC 5.1 it spits out some kind of stereo like sound. Will have to try an encoding with WMA 5.1 CBR just to see if that's legal.
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Last edited by moyekj : 03-04-2009 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:56 PM   #270
Dan203
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That makes the most sense.

Now that TiVo has this whole WMV DRM scheme in place I wonder if they're working with any of the other download services that use it? Like Cinemanow or Blockbuster Online. I don't personally use either one, but I'd be willing to try either one if they had something I wanted to watch.

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