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Software players revisited.

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Jeff, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. Jeff

    Jeff
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    My SDI DVD player is out for repair at the moment so I've had time and motivation to try software players again.

    First I tried TheaterTek 1.5 which uses Sonic Cineplayer decoders. Picture quality is nice and sharp, colours are better than what the where when I last tried Cineplayer 4 (maybe because of the ATI Catalyst drivers). I had a few sound related problems due to incompatible Terratec WDM drivers. Video not always as smooth as it should be, but I hadn't done any tweaking at this stage. The 2 things I hate about TT is no window mode which can be very impractical and no way to get unlock aspect ratio to stick. Note on the PQ, the picture is nice and sharp but the mpeg decoding isn't great, so you tend to see many more blocking artifacts. Monster Inc is a very good example, perfect on the Denon 1600, not so great with the Cineplayer decoders.

    Next up same decoders but with Zoom Player and a new Philips Edge 4.1 sound card. The sound card works great out of the box, it has a proper RCA coax spdif out. PQ same as TT since I'm using the same decoders, but this time I can window if needed and I can set to unlock aspect ratio as default. Feature wise Zoomplayer spanks TT. Video playback still not as smooth as it needs to be.

    I spent a 1/2 a day optimizing Windows XP, stopping unnecessary services etc, but still not smooth. Redid the filter graph for the Sonic Decoders, put some thought into the order in which I connected things up and set the sound card to be the clock. Much better, now totally fluid for a few minutes before any visible stutter (minor). I then played with many of the registry settings which effect timing and sync, all made a difference but not quite good enough. From what I could see, the motion would be great and then Sonic would go though a resync period in which it stutters for a few seconds and then it would be fine again for a number of minutes. I then switched off the DXVAutobuffering in the registry, this appeared to have an interesting effect, the resync period appears to have gone but I still have the same amount of stutter but now its spread much more evenly. So now instead of 5-10 minutes of perfect motion followed by a 5-10 second period of stutter, I now get a single stutter every minute or so. Most of these are virtually undetectable unless it happens during a pan, even during a pan it’s a minor blip rather than a jump.

    It will be interesting now to see what I settle for when my SDI player comes back, it has a less sharp picture but better mpeg decoding, colours are now about the same. Thanks to the judder terminator the SDI player never stutters, the software player is likely to always struggle since it has to worry about keeping sound and video in sync as well as keeping pace with an exact refresh rate. Video deinterlacing is better with Dscaler, but the Radeons adaptive deintercaing isn't that bad. (Note: The old school of thought was that adaptive deinterlacing was bad as it halved resolution, I tested it with the Avia resolution screen and it was perfect. So either they fixed it or it was never an issue. If you don't use AD then you pretty much have to use forceweave which I don't like).

    Anyway it will be nice too have a choice and my faith in the HTPC concept has been given a major boost.

    Jeff
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    Interesting reading Jeff.... if you decide to go software, i'll releive you of the denon! ;)

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