WMA Support for TiVo Desktop - Beta1

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by pzand, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. Aug 6, 2003 #41 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    TIS,

    Huh?? That works without any problems on my TiVo.

    Perhaps something isn't quite keeping up on your PC? Open up task manager or performance monitor or something on your PC that displays CPU usage. Start playing a song on your TiVo. You should see CPU usage jump up and stay up for a couple of seconds. As soon as CPU usage falls back down, the song is converted and sent to TiVo (assuming that your PC can convert faster than TiVo can play it, which is the case on every PC I've seen).

    Can you FF/REW from this point on?

    Peter
     
  2. Aug 6, 2003 #42 of 171
    yenne

    yenne New Member

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    Another possibility: I generally see the problem happen when I cancel a currently playing song in the first few seconds, then try to play another song (or just start another song within a few seconds of starting a different one). Perhaps a communication breakdown if the plug-in is still converting a song while the Tivo server cancels or requests another?

    -britt
     
  3. Aug 6, 2003 #43 of 171
    jimpfnj

    jimpfnj New Member

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    That sounds like what's happening to me. Seems to work fine when playing music normally, but playing around and demoing it where I'm jumping from song to song it gives me the server error and I need to restart the server software.
     
  4. Aug 6, 2003 #44 of 171
    Parkmad

    Parkmad New Member

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    I now am able to play WMA's as long as I do not have any DRM songs in the list. If the tivo tries to play one of those songs, I then get the server error even for non-DRM songs. Since I only have 1 album of DRM songs (from an experiment with buymusic), I will remove it from my published music.

    Thanks for the great plug-in. :)
     
  5. Aug 6, 2003 #45 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    It sounds like once you make the server mad it's mad, huh?
    I have seen the same thing with the server error when jumping between songs and I think I have it tracked down to an error in the plugin that I will fix.

    Parkmad: Thanks for the research on DRM... Not sure if I'll be able to fix that, but will try!

    Thanks,

    Peter
     
  6. Aug 6, 2003 #46 of 171
    Dargon

    Dargon Member

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    Huntsville,...
    That's the same method I had in mind. When do you need to tell TivoDesktop which formats you support? Is it a function call or a global the TivoDesktop reads? I don't have any experience with audio, but I can query the image file formats (and extensions) that can be rendered.

    Do you think the problems you ran in to were ones that couldn't be solved, or did you just use the more direct route to solving your problem? I'm trying to get a feel for whether it is a waste of time to try developing a DShow one myself :).

    My understanding is that this is what would happen with a DShow sink filter. Of course my first step would be to convert a file completely and ship it out, like you describe above.

    Thanks for the insight into you experience!
     
  7. Aug 7, 2003 #47 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    Dargon,

    I'm assuming you downloaded the SDK. TiVoDesktop asks for a number of "interfaces". If you indicate that you want to be a "media converter" then it'll ask you what you can convert to what. It'll also depend on info from the plugin for song title, genre, and all other tags. (note that that's HARD from a DirectShow Graph!!)

    The whole thing is based on mime types, so 1) it'll examine the mime type of a file and then 2) it'll give it to the plugin that said it supported that mime type. It's a neat concept, but it reportedly breaks as soon as two plugins support the same type! Anyway, the short answer to your question: On startup.

    I went the MFSDK route because it was a couple orders of magnitude easier. Especially since all I was going for was WMA. The DShow way is certainly do-able, but I ran into too many issues that I didn't want to solve at the time. (There are still quite a few things in DShow that don't QUITE behave as documented)

    Peter
     
  8. Aug 23, 2003 #48 of 171
    morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    This works great, but uses an extreme amount of memory. Normally the server uses around 30 megs of memory when serving. When playing a 2 meg .wma file it was using 125 megs of memory.

    Does it decode the file and store it in memory?
     
  9. Aug 23, 2003 #49 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    Jul 27, 2003
    Yowzers! No, unless the TiVoServer is doing something I'm not aware of?
    My TiVoServer process is sitting solid at 3.5MB.... Not sure how you're getting to even 30!
     
  10. Aug 23, 2003 #50 of 171
    afinegold

    afinegold New Member

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    pzand,

    Absolutely perfect!!!

    No, that doesn't describe Seattle's weather this summer (well, actually it does!) but the way your wonderful creation worked for me when I tried it this evening. I'm using a Series 2 standalone with Windows 98SE, and "out of the box," so to speak, everything worked perfectly. I followed your instructions to turn off the tray icon, downloaded and installed both items, rebooted the computer to make sure everything still came up okay, copied a few .wma's to one of my TiVo Publisher folders thru Windows Explorer, and ran into the living room to see what would happen. Perfection!! Everything worked absolutely flawlessly. The .wma songs I copied were already in the folder as .mp3's, so I was able to compare them one right after the other using the TiVo. They sounded identical, the ONLY difference being that while the .mp3's started playing immediately after the green scroll bar showed up, the .wma's took 3-4 seconds or so to start, during which I assume the conversion is occuring. After that everything was identical, including the ability to use the fast forward and rewind feature.

    A bonus that I didn't realize would occur is that the .wma files now show up in the TiVo Publisher window when you click on a .wma folder, and double-clicking brings up the window that shows the properties and allows you to play the song. Everything works just like .mp3's. Amazing.

    Great job, well done, and you have my everlasting appreciation. I had downloaded one of those .wma to .mp3 converter programs last night but found I couldn't convert more than 5 at a time with the trial version and it took several minutes and a lot clicking, dragging and dropping, etc. to do the 5. I was not looking forward to converting dozens or hundreds of files, and now thanks to you I have to convert none. So thanks much again.

    Oh, and about that Seattle weather comment, please everyone forget it. The summer has really been crappy, only between 75 and 85 most days with no humidity and no rain, so you don't even want to think about coming to visit, and especially not about moving here!!

    Al Finegold
     
  11. Aug 23, 2003 #51 of 171
    morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    Hmm, just loading TiVoServer.exe up and having it sit idle with nothing shared uses 10MB. TiVoBeacon.exe uses around 2.5 MB.


    I decided to test it again and this time set performace to "Low" (was on "Medium High"). This is on Windows XP Pro SP1 with Windows Media Player 9 installed:

    1. Played a .mp3 TivoServer.exe jumped to 15 MB.
    2. Playing a 2nd .mp3 it jumped to 24 MB.
    3. Played the original .mp3 from #1 and memory stayed at 24MB even when FFing.
    4. The moment the.wma file started playing it jumped to 134 MB and around 95% CPU. The CPU dropped to 0% in about 10 seconds, but the memory didn't. About 15 seconds before the song ended the memory usage dropped back down to 20 MB.
    5. When the next .mp3 started playing it went back to 25MB.
    6. I then paused the song and exited to the folder list and it stayed at 25 MB.
    7. Tried a different .wma file and it went back to 134 MB until the song was nearly done and then dropped to 18.5 MB.
    8. A 3rd .wma song played right after this and memory usage went up to 128 MB, then near the end dropped to 11.2 MB

    I typed the above and then noticed the following:

    I figured out that TivoServer will use as much memory as it needs to get the job done as fast a possible, but it is restricted by the performance setting and it will not use more memory than is currently physically available. I believe the performance setting tells it how much memory other programs are allowed to steal from it.

    On "Medium" I opened up tons of programs and tried the .wma file. It only used about 60 megs and then dropped down to 6 MB.
    On "Medium High" I left opened all the programs and tried another .wma file. It only used about 95 megs (swapping some other programs to the system cache) and then dropped down to 8 MB.

    So the more memory in your machine, the more TiVoServer will use. It just so happens .wma convertions needs more memory than normal. I have 256 MB of memory.


    edit: 10/24 for spelling mistakes.
     
  12. Aug 23, 2003 #52 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    Interesting finds... and good debugging!

    I'll have to do a little searching myself, but I'm not sure I have any control over how much memory is used. Internally, I'm using Microsoft's WMA reader which (considering MS's track record) is probably not the most conservative with memory. I take the raw PCM that the reader outputs and feed to it lame to make MP3. That then gets fed to TiVoServer or TiVoDesktop (whomever happens to be hosting the converter at the time).

    Are you playing this from the Tivo Desktop? Or through tivo itself and TiVo Server? TivoServer probably keeps my output in memory until it's done streaming it to TiVo. But it should also do that for files that are naturally in MP3 format, so I'm curious where the difference comes from.

    Anyway... it doesn't sound like a leak; more like a hog :)

    I will let you know if I find anything...

    Peter
     
  13. Aug 24, 2003 #53 of 171
    morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    That was all playing through the TiVo HMO.

    I just tried playing it through the TiVo Desktop and it didn't use more than 16 MB total when playing a .wma, it also didn't seem to use much of the CPU and it started playing immediately. My guess is it doesn't do the conversion when played inside the TiVo Desktop.

    BTW this has nothing to do with the plugin, but I noticed that if I right click on a song in TiVo Desktop, the "play" option is grayed out, but if I choose properties and click the little play icon it starts playing. I thought this was strange.

    I don't think its a leak either, but just the way TiVo Server was designed. It apparently doesn't need to use that much memory (as shown in my tests), but decideds to anyway. If I leave performance on "low" or "medium" it shouldn't cause problems with me running other programs. Normally I don't use both the TiVo and my computer at the same time though so it shouldn't cause to many problems. BTW my computer is only a P3 600, but I don't think that should affect memory usage (only conversion speed).

    A question, what bitrate do you reencode the wma files at when converting to mp3? Maybe that has something to do with it?

    Or maybe like you said, the MS WMA reader just is a hog. :)
     
  14. Aug 24, 2003 #54 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    Actually, it does. TiVoDesktop and TiVoServer behave the same towards plugins. Apparently, the internals are quite different.

    I ask the WMA reader for 44.1kHz, 16 bit, stereo (regardless of what the original was encoded at). Those samples get fed to lame, which uses its defaults for a quality setting of 5. (which, I'm guessing, is 128k cbr) I played with various compression settings but couldn't hear the difference when played through TiVo. This seemed like a decent trade off.
     
  15. Sep 15, 2003 #55 of 171
    WoodyL

    WoodyL New Member

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    This is a great addition to HMO! I hope more people will write plug-ins like this. Is there a way to play streaming Windows Media URLs using this or any other plug-in? There are some Internet radio stations I'd like to listen to.
     
  16. Sep 17, 2003 #56 of 171
    mnw2000

    mnw2000 New Member

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    New York
    I installed it according to the instructions and it did not work.

    My PC is Windows 2000.
    My Tivo is 80GB version with HMO.

    The error is that it lists the WMA music files, but when I try to play them it simply runs through them with "continuous music" underneath it.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Marc
     
  17. Sep 17, 2003 #57 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    Jul 27, 2003
    Marc,

    Do normal MP3s work right? If so, the only thing I can advise you to do is to uninstall the plugin, reinstall the Microsoft thing and then reinstall the plugin. Make sure that the tivo server and tivo publisher processes are not running while you do this (check with Task Manager's process list).

    I'm also running this on 2000, so your OS shouldn't be an issue.

    Peter
     
  18. Sep 18, 2003 #58 of 171
    mnw2000

    mnw2000 New Member

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    Yes. MP3s work great. I have tried this, but I will try the process again.

    Thanks.

    Marc
     
  19. Sep 18, 2003 #59 of 171
    WoodyL

    WoodyL New Member

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    Jul 12, 2003
    Bump!

     
  20. Sep 18, 2003 #60 of 171
    pzand

    pzand New Member

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    Woody: Not that I know. I have a few stations I'd like to listen to myself. Supposedly, it works with shoutcast. Perhaps there's something that can translate from stream WMA to shoutcast on the fly??
     

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