TTG - Incorrect Video Lengths after transfer

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by sinnfein, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    Hey all, the Elecard codec also fixed my problem with incorrect playback times shown in WMP, but GAWD, what horrible pix quality! Ugly and jittery on many movies. Even the ones that don't show the jitter in the actual display still show it on the little Elecard icon in the upper right corner. The ffdshow codec works much better for me EXCEPT for the problem with wrong playback times.

    Can't live with either of these issues, but until I get it figured out, the wrong playback times problem is no where near as bad as the terrible pix quality of the Elecard.
     
  2. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Yes, I've observed the same thing, Elecard "fixes" the issue with wrong playback times listed... it appears that there is an issue with MainConcept Demuxer that is configured for all MPG demuxing after installation of Tivo Desktop. It doesn't appear that MainConcept is replaced when installing other codecs/packages either... which explains why installation of many other codec packs doesn't fix the problem.

    I've observed that the MainConcept Demuxer in conjunction with EVERY codec other than the Elecard codec results in the incorrect playback times.

    Also, in GraphEdit, I can put a different Demuxer in the playback configuration, such as the default Microsoft DeMuxer, and it completely resolves the playback problem, even if I continue to point the stream to the MainConcept MPEG2 video decoder afterwards.

    Unfortunately I haven't found a way to get rid of MainConcept Demuxer. Deleting/Removing it renders playback broken (other demuxers won't take over) and likewise lowering its MERIT value doesn't appear to have any impact on it always being chosen for MPG demuxing. It's like Tivo hard codes something in the registry OTHER than Merit value that is forcing a selection of the MainConcept demuxer on all MPG playback.

    Most annoying and shame on you TiVo.

    More info about this in the other thread I started on the issue;

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5676149#post5676149
     
  3. Laserfan

    Laserfan Member

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    I've not followed this whole thread, but the Elecard MPEG2 codec was, when I had an old MX400 video card, the only decoder that would render HD perfectly for me, so I dunno why V7Goose had quality probs???

    Regarding the subject of "incorrect length" this explanation from eugene at Elecard may be of interest; it helped me when I suffered that problem with some .ts files--maybe can apply to the MainConcept?

    It seems it's neressary to write a few words about "duration problem"...
    The Elecard Demultiplexer filter (part of the Player) is responsible for seeking and calculation of the clip duration.

    The Demuptiplexer can utilize two algorithms to find duration.
    1. Using PTS.
    Each MPEG-2 file should have Presentational Time Stamps (PTSs) and the Demultiplexer uses these PTS to calculate the file duration. Unfortunately, some files, which were improperly encoded or merged from different files into a big one, have gaps in PTS (or haven't PTS at all!). Therefore it's impossible to use this method for such files.
    2. Using bitrate.
    This is very inaccurate method. I think you know that sometimes bitrate is defined roughly and approximately; so real and announced (written at sequence header) bitrate are very different.

    And now about the issue.
    When the Player opens a file, the Demuxer analyses this file. It compares PTSs values, frame rate, file size and bitrate. If the Demuxer finds that everything is OK it'll use PTS method for seeking. Otherwise, it has to use bitrate to calculate the duration. But! As I mentioned above, often wrong bitrate value is written in the file header. In general, if you capture a stream recorders keep old bitrate value in the file header and therefore Player shows wrong duration.

    How to fix the issue? The best way is to write proper value in the file header but unfortunately sometimes it’s impossible. Often it’s helpful to switch the Demultiplexer into “Simple” mode. Open your file using the Player and click <CTRL>+<F>; you’ll see the “Current Graph” window. You should click right on the Demultiplexer image -> “property” -> “Settings”; click twice on “Init mode” -> check “Simple”; click “Apply” -> “OK”.


    BTW VideoReDo can change the header bitrate...maybe also fix PTS?
     
  4. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Unfortunately there is no Init Mode setting for the MainConcept demuxer that I can find in any of the filter managers that I've used.

    I'm also having the same video quality playback problems with Elecard mentioned earlier. While it fixes the "playback time" bug that causes so many problems, the playback itself occassionally freezes up, jerks forward or parts of the picture will turn a different color, sort of a shimmering effect.

    I suspect it's an interaction problem between MainConcept demuxer and the Elecard MPEG2 video decoder... unfortunately when you install Elecard's codecs it does not de-prioritize or remove MainConcept from being the MPEG demuxer.
     
  5. Laserfan

    Laserfan Member

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    I just opened my Elecard Filter Configurator and although I have Tivo Desktop on this PC it doesn't seem to find any Elecard or ManConcept filters. :(

    Elecard/MainConcept must be licensing this stuff to Tivo, maybe you can find some help at their forum www.elecard.ru/forum/
     
  6. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    I've got a ticket in to Tivo second level technical support. I will be calling them Friday or Monday regarding this. I feel that the problem is definitely isolated and they should be able to reproduce it at will and hopefully get a fix out soon.
     
  7. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    I certainly cannot explain why, and I definitely do not have the technical knowledge of this that you do, but there is no doubt about the horrible PQ caused by this Elecard codec. I have removed it twice to compare with ffdshow, and the difference is striking. And this is not even with HD movies - 5 of the six movies I transfered were just recorded from a digital SD channel.

    It shows up in multiple ways: Some movies seem to play good, but the fine detail just is not there (seems just faintly blurry and washed out). These same movies look absolutely sharp with ffdshow. I have only tested with about 6 movies, and the three that show this symptom are all B/W. Several other movies show very noticeable wavy borders on the top and bottom edge of the letter box. In addition, the actual picture detail stinks - not missing or blurry like I described above, but more like a DVD burned at 6 or 8 hour speed - edges and fast movement granulated and broken. Finally, one movie combines the poor PQ and wavy letter box edges with lots of waviness in the picture content. The waviness will periodically stop for a couple of seconds, but then starts right back up. It seems like it stops when the camera stops moving, and it seems to always start up as soon as the camera pans or zooms. Not sure that it is really that consistent 'cause I won't leave the codec on long enough to find out!

    Oh, here is another oddity germane to this thread - after removing the Elecard codec, the ffdshow codec started showing the CORRECT movie length in WMP! But alas, all is not fixed; even though it shows the correct movie length, you cannot jump or FF beyond the exact point where the old "wrong time" was displayed. If you click the slider bar beyond that point, it only shows a still picture, even though the time counter continues to run. Jumping back to any point before the old "wrong time" mark causes it to play normally, and continue playing past that mark just as it originally did.
     
  8. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    I have found a workaround to the problem. Use at your own risk. Many thanks to moyekj who came up with the idea.

    As hard as it is to believe, this actually works. I copied the MS demuxer (c:\windows\system32\mpg2splt.ax)

    into the

    c:\program files\tivo\desktop\plus\mcmpgdmx.ax

    Folder.

    I renamed the original MainConcept filter (test.ax) and then renamed the MS one in the Tivo folder to have the name that the MainConcept filter has.

    With this workaround tivo files or their associated mpg decoded streams play with no problems that I can see. Quality is good, no shimmering, jerking or lip sync problems.

    Success!!! :) :) :)

    Thanks for the idea, hope someone else gets help from this too.
     
  9. Laserfan

    Laserfan Member

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    Congratulations!!! I just love it when people figure this stuff out... :cool:
     
  10. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    Coming in late, but I just wanted to chime in that I have run into these symptoms as well.

    Using TD2.2, VRD+, and WMP11.
    I have several videos with problems, this is just one example.

    Episode of Family Guy on Tivo shows .6Gig and on TD shows 605Mb.
    On Tivo, program length shows 30m.
    When opened in WMP11, it has a program length of ~20m.
    When opened in VRD+, it has a program length of ~10m.

    In VRD+, using the slider bar to scan through the video, a big chunk is "skipped" over, but if I let it just play, it plays the "skipped" part. The kicker is that if I pause while VRD+ is displaying this "skipped" part, the filmstrip underneath shows a completely different part of the video.


    I don't see how this could be a codec issue. I've had zero (for the most part) problems for over a year, and have not modified my system.

    I've got a question about this in over at the VRD forums, but in the meantime, I've rebooted everything and I am re-transferring to see what happens.


    ETA: Update -- A fix that worked for me using VRD+.

    Goto Tools --> hold shift and click Options.
    That should put you in the manual parameter settings.
    Find the lines that say "number of frames in the video buffer" and "number of frames in the audio buffer", and then increase the number shown (i.e. 500 instead of 128, or whatever).
    Click okay and then run the video through Quickstream Fix without making any edits.

    The resulting file can then be edited as normal.
    Hope this helps. :)
     
  11. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    The issue is with a directshow filter that does the mpeg demuxer (stream splitting). If you look at my previous post I provide a workaround fix for the problem.

    Re-transferring won't help. If you'd like to prove to yourself that the issue is the demuxer, download graphedit, and drag one of the affected shows into the graphedit window. Delete the MainConcept demuxer and do a "graph-->view-->insert filter" action and then insert the "MPEG 2 DEMUXER" from microsoft. Reconnect the output stream from the movie to the new demuxer and then from that to your output codecs. You can then "play" the movie inside of graphedit.

    This should prove to you what the problem really is.
     
  12. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    That's too much work... :p

    I found another workaround that I just posted above...

     
  13. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Do you have to do that for each file? Sounds like even more work. Once you do the directshow filter move and rename it automatically works for any move you play with no other work.
     
  14. Laserfan

    Laserfan Member

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    Actually jmpage2's solution is the easier one if indeed it solves Your problem too, Steve.

    This does beg the question though--if fixing these problems is as simple as using the built-in MS Demultiplexer, why the heck is Tivo bothering to use a 3rd party demuxer like MainConcept?
     
  15. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    You only have to reset the parameters once, but any video with a problem has to be rendered through Quickstream Fix first.
    It may be more work in the long run, and I'd rather do that as opposed to changing things deeper in the computer.
     
  16. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Well, the solution I have doesn't require re-rendering anything. And all we're talking about is backing up one file (changing the filename) and copying in another one and naming it to the same original name as the 1st one.

    In any event, glad you found something that worked for you.
     
  17. Laserfan

    Laserfan Member

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    If you always have to QSF anyway and your VRD settings work than you're golden. But all jmpage2 did to fix his problem was move & rename a file. The Graphedit thing was just to "prove it to yourself".

    Edit: oops there's jm himself posting first...
     
  18. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Ya, the thing with graphedit is just to prove on your own machine that the proposed file rename fix will work.

    Graphedit will allow you to do a playback with whatever connections you want to test with, so that you will know ahead of time that it fixes the problem.
     
  19. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Update;

    This appeared to work for a while, but it's now broken again. I suspect that after the next reboot something in windows realized that the filters weren't set up the way the registry/merit values were telling them to be set up and unfortunately things are a bit hosed now (which is exactly what I was worried would happen).

    Even after uninstallation of Tivo Desktop my MPG2 playback seems to be goofed up, as it is trying to use a filter without success to do the playback.

    Getting to my wits end on this whole issue. Everything with playback, etc, worked absolutely FINE on my Vista machine until I started trying to get the TiVo stuff to work.

    The MainConcept/EleCard combo that Tivo forces on you with installation of their software is JUNK.
     
  20. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    Sorry to hear that. :(

    But that right there is the sole reason I do not like to make hacks inside of software on my computer.
     

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