Blu-ray ISO playback stuttering [SOLVED]

Discussion in 'watch/edit Videos' started by AlexanderIanHall, February 22, 2011.

  1. AlexanderIanHall
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    AlexanderIanHall MP Donator

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    Synology NAS
    DS408
    firmware DSM 3.0-1354
    4x2tb Samsung HD203WI in a RAID5 array
    Gigabit ethernet with Cat6 cabling

    HTPC
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
    4Gb Ram
    AMD Athlon II X4 630 (2.8GHz)
    Asus M4A785TD-M EVO
    ATI Radeon HD 4650
    Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB (WD5000AADS)
    Gigabit ethernet with Cat6 cabling
    All latest drivers and using AHCI
    Media Portal 1.1.2
    Virtual CloneDrive 5.4.4.0 to auto-mount Blu-Ray ISO image
    Appropriate audio/video codecs

    Problem

    When playing ~40GB Blu-ray ISO images within MediaPortal that are stored in the Synology DS408, there is stuttering of audio and video. Storing Blu-ray ISO images on local HDD of MediaPortal machine plays successfully without stuttering.

    Network performance for reading and writing to Synology NAS was proven to be sufficient with the NAS Performance Tester NAS performance tester (C#) as shown below:

    Average write for 400MB file = 33.63 MB/Sec
    Average read for 400MB file = 78.66 MB/Sec

    Solution

    After having tried everything I could think of to solve this issue, including many hours reviewing forum posts (both here and elsewhere) I had given up and moved my Blu-Ray ISO images to the local MediaPortal HDD while keeping my DVD ISO images on the Synology NAS.

    However I then came across, in an external forum, a topic regarding Microsoft Windows throttling the network traffic in order to prioritize multimedia traffic. THe problem being that ISO images are not considered multimedia traffice.



    Extract below from "How to use the throttling mechanism to control network performance in Windows Vista" How to use the throttling mechanism to control network performance in Windows Vista

    "...Because multimedia programs require more resources, the Windows networking stack implements a throttling mechanism to restrict the processing of non-multimedia network traffic to 10 packets per millisecond.

    The throttling will come into effect only when you are running multimedia programs that are time sensitive. However, this throttling mechanism can potentially cause a decrease in network performance during the active multimedia playback period. This decrease in performance is likely to occur only on high speed networks that are saturated to maximum capacity...."

    Changing the registry setting to switch Network Throttling off (FFFFFFFF) and then rebooting has solved the Blu-Ray ISO stuttering.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\SystemProfile\
    Name : NetworkThrottlingIndex

    I am still experimenting to see what the impact of setting this to FFFFFFFF is. If I encounter other issues I will try a value of between 50 and 70

    Note: Please do read the actual Microsoft KnowledgeBase article - click here How to use the throttling mechanism to control network performance in Windows Vista, before making these changes to ensure you are aware of the warnings/risks. Please also back up your windows registry first.

    As I have seen other people posting on the same issue, but no solution being found, I have posted this in the hope it helps others.

    If you suffer from the same stuttering issue, and the solution above resolves it, please do post a confirmation to this topic.

    thanks

    Alex
     
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  3. pilehave
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    pilehave Community Skin Designer

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    Do you have a gigabit switch in between the NAS and the HTPC? Just out of curiousity :)
     
  4. AlexanderIanHall
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    AlexanderIanHall MP Donator

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    Netgear GS608 gigabit switch between HTPC and NAS (and 3 ft of cat 6 cable)

    Netgear GS608 and Netgear WNDR3700 between my PC and NAS (and 25 ft of cat 6 cable)

    both HTPC and my PC now play Blu-Ray ISOs stored on NAS without stuttering

    I am also using the latest Realtek network drivers rather the Realtek drives on the Gigabyte and Asus websites.

    regards

    Alex
     
  5. andyd
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    Hi Alexander,

    I am experiencing the same issue with 1.2beta but the movies are stored on a local disk.

    I see from your post that you used an external NAS device but did you experience the same issue on local storage?

    I will try this fix tonight and see if that fixes my issue.

    thanks for the advice dude...
     
  6. AlexanderIanHall
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    AlexanderIanHall MP Donator

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    The registry fix I mentioned is only relevant to storing media on the network as far as I am aware. When I originally experienced the stuttering I moved the media to local disk and there was no stuttering. I'm surprised you are seeing stuttering.

    What Software/codecs/etc/hardware are you using. For my set up I found that TMT 5 performed better than PDVD 10. With PDVD10 I still found some stuttering at times whereas TMT5 worked fine.

    Did you experience any stuttering on MediaPortal 1.1.3, is this just with 1.2beta etc?

    Alex
     
  7. andyd
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    Hi Alex, thanks for the reply dude. Ummm what is TMT5? Not exactly sure on what codec I am using for BLurays as I just load a codec pack.

    As for expereience on 1.1.3 I never tried it. My last version was 0.2.3 + SVN about 4 years ago.... So things have changed slightly since then.
     
  8. AlexanderIanHall
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    AlexanderIanHall MP Donator

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    There are 2 main external players who provide software for playing DVDs and Blu-Rays. They are:

    TMT = ArcSoft Total Media Theatre (e.g. v3 or v5)
    PVD = Cyberlink Power DVD (e.g. v9, v10, v11)

    For DVDs you don't really need to use an external player since MediaPortal supports DVD menus. However if you want the full Blu-Ray experience then you'll need to use one of the above, otherwise all you will see in MediaPortal is the main feature film (most of the time!)

    If you are using MediaPortal for movies then I'd highly recommend using the "Moving Pictures" plugin available in the download section. Irrespective of whether you use Moving Pictures or not, it is fairly straight forward to integrate an external player into MediaPortal for the full Blu-Ray experience.

    I previously did not use an External Player and just made use of the BluRay plugin, however over the last few months there has been issues with getting this to work correctly (see the MediaPortal forum). While the plugin did allow you to more easily navigate around the bonus material on a blu-ray disc it still did not support the full menu experience.

    As I would not expect stuttering when using your local disk I would guess that the issue you are experiencing is being caused by something else.

    a) What specification is your CPU, RAM, GPU?
    b) what codec pack are you using e.g. K-Lite, SAFv5 etc? My personal experience has resulted in me keeping away from Codec packs as they typically install far more 'stuff' then I want without me having control over it. I personally now just install ffdshow and the specific .ax filters as standalone filters from XvidVideo.RU. Many people have no issues with Codec Packs (depending on which one you are using), however I like to have a greater level of control.

    hth

    Alex
     
  9. AlexanderIanHall
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    AlexanderIanHall MP Donator

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    It's been over a year since my post and I thought I'd provide an update that will help others. My system set up has changed quite a bit since February 2011.

    Server (was Synology DS408)

    UnRaid 5.0rc1
    20TB storage (mix of 5400/7200 2TB drives)
    Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H ver2.2 (RealtekRTL8111D/E onboard NIC)
    AMD Athlon II X4 630
    4GB Ram

    HTPC

    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
    60GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD
    Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H ver2.2 (RealtekRTL8111D/E onboard NIC)
    AMD Phenom II X4 955
    8GB Ram
    ATI Radeon HD 5570 (1Gb RAM)
    MediaPortal 1.2.3
    Daemon Tools Lite 4.45.4
    LAV Filters 0.50.5 (32bit)
    TMT 5.2.1.120
    FFDShow filters 4422 (32bit) however these are not used

    Realtek 7.58 network driver
    ATI Catalyst 11.4 display driver
    Registry tweak mentioned in original post to switch of Network Throttling

    MediaPortal Plugins:
    • Streamed MP
    • Moving Pictures (Streamed MP)
    • WorldWeather (Streamed MP)
    • FanArt Handlet (Streamed MP)
    • MP-TV Series (Streamed MP)
    • InfoService (Streamed MP)
    • Trakt (Streamed MP)
    • IMDB+
    • Pandora
    • ShowTimes
    • SubCentral
    • WifiRemote
    note: I will begin using the Netflix plugin (again) when the new version is released

    Network Switch

    D-Link DGS-108

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    The above specs are far more than is needed for both UnRaid and a HTPC however they happen to be some spare parts I had available to use (other than the SSD). With the drop in price of SSDs I recently decided to buy a 60GB SSD and re-install Windows 7 etc. In doing so I once again found the system was stuttering at times after the installation when playing 40GB BluRay ISO images.

    Most of my video media is either DVD ISOs or BluRay ISOs. For TV Shows I do a 1:1 conversion of the ISO to MKV (i.e. each episode from a BluRay such as Game of Thrones becomes a 10-15GB MKV

    For DVD ISOs and MKVs I use the built in MediaPortal player with the LAV Video/Audio filters. For BluRay ISOs I use TMT 5.2 MCE Player.

    I switched from FFDShow (which I still have installed) to LAV Filters as I found they seemed to work better with multiple audio streams in MKV.

    I switched from Virtual Clone Drive to Daemon Tools Lite as part of trying to find the cause of the stuttering. As far as I can tell there was no difference in using VCD or DTL.

    Over the last couple of weeks we have now played many BluRay ISOs without any stuttering at all and I'm comfortable enough to post about my success. In investigating the stuttering I came to a number of conclusions.

    1. Mounting a 40GB BluRay ISO in Daemon Tools across Gigabit network with Realtek NICs doesn't stress the network. Playing the BluRays was only hitting around 10-15% network usage on the HTPC
    2. Playing Blu-Rays in TMT5 (via Demon Tools) was only using around 5-15% of my CPU with hardware acceleration enabled
    3. I have fully working DTS HD Mstr being bitstreamed to my Yamaha Receiver
    4. I have working subtitles in bluray, dvd and MKVs
    5. If you are outputting audio via a dedicated graphics card and HDMI then disable any onboard graphics card in the motherboard BIOS and don't install any audio drivers other than the ATI HDMI driver (if using an AMD/ATI card)
    6. The driver versions and codecs cause the biggest issues with stuttering, and are usually the root cause of the problem.
    7. Fiddling with other settings such as switching of IPV6, setting Jumbo frames etc is usually not going to fix stuttering issues.

    The only issue I have so far encountered is that when I try to change the Refresh Rate to 23hz or 24hz in TMT5 then TMT5 crashes on exiting. I believe this is related to the AMD drivers/cards based on comments from others in the ArcSoft forums. I therefore just watch in 60hz and to be honest I can't notice any issues and there is no stuttering. Refresh rate switching within MediaPortal itself works fine whether I am watching 50, 60, 24hz.

    I settled on Catalyst 11.4 (over a year old now) as it seems to be the most stable from forum comments on other forums for HTPCs. I've now made a system restore image so I will try Catalyst 12.4 or the 12.6 betas to see if it resolves the refresh rate switching in TMT 5 or provides any other significant benefits.

    Overall, it has been a frustrating experience at times getting the set up to be stutter free for BluRay ISOs however this has been entirely due to drivers and have superfluous codecs/filters. For my set up I see no need for SAF, K-Lite or other codec packs. Also while some may say that the Intel NICs are much better than Realtek for the set up I have the Realteks work more than well enough.

    hth for anyone who encounters stuttering and is thinking about upgrading their switch, cpu, graphics card, NIC etc. My suggestions is you probably don't need to, I'd just to a fresh installation of Windows with the minimum drivers/software required and don't automatically assume the latest version of a driver is the one to use.

    Alex
     
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