My guide to elminating juddering/stuttering play back (plus an upscale guide!)

Discussion in 'MediaPortal 1 Talk' started by FireAza, May 22, 2012.

  1. FireAza

    FireAza Portal Pro

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    Hi there forum! I've been using MediaPortal for close to a year now, and one thing that gnawed at the back of my brain when I first starting using the program was judder, normally seen during panning scenes. Prior to using MediaPortal, I used my PS3 to play my media. It did a good job, though it's interface was a pain. Then I discovered MediaPortal, but I couldn't help but feel videos were smoother on my PS3.

    So I played around with it's settings, and found/read/been informed about many options that appear to influence how smoothly videos perform. I'm at the point where I think I'm finally satisfied as to MediaPortal's smoothness, so I've complied all my findings into one document, and I thought I'd throw it up here in the hopes that someone who's in the position I was in a year ago will find it and be able to get where I am now with far less time. This guide is primarily intended to help people with a similar setup to me, that is, using MediaPortal on a secondary 1080p TV, using the Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP) for their video and audio codecs and running nVidia GPUs in SLI. Your results may very. Oh, and I've also including information about up-scaling, since that was something else I noticed was missing when I swapped from PS3 to MediaPortal. Feel free to add any comments on what I've done!


    FireAza's Guide to Judder-Free Playback

    1) To check if a video is dropping frames, press "Shift+1" (the combination you would use to type a "!") and check what number is next to "dropped frames". It should be 0 or a very low number. If the video is rapidly dropping frames, you need to change your MediaPortal setup, check this guide for some things to try.

    2) MediaPortal doesn’t play *quite* as smoothly if it’s being run on a non-primary monitor, so you should set the TV you’re running MediaPortal on to “primary display” in the NVIDIA Control Panel (Display>Setup multiple displays) But it’s inconvenient to have to keep changing which monitor is primary every time you run and close MediaPortal. The solution is to have all monitors on when you’re setting your TV as the primary display. Now, when you’re finished with MediaPortal, simply turn off your TV. Your regular monitor will now be assigned as the primary monitor. When you want to make the swap again, simply turn on your TV, and it will automatically become the primary monitor again.

    3) Create a profile for MediaPortal in the Nvidia Control Panel and make sure vertical sync is set to "force on" to prevent rapid frame dropping.

    4) Enable Dynamic Refresh Rate in MediaPortal General Configuration. Mediaportal’s default settings for refresh rate changer are not optimal for Blu-ray and NTSC, so make the table look like this (profile name is on the left, frame rate in the middle, and refresh rate on the right), if your display can handle all these refresh rates:

    NAME - FRAMERATE - REFRESH RATE
    CINEMA - 23.976 - 23
    CINEMA24 - 24 - 24
    PAL - 25 - 50
    PALHD - 50 - 50
    NTSC - 59.94 - 59
    NTSCHD - 60 - 60
    NTSCFILM - 29.97 - 59








    Finally, check "Use default refresh rate" and set it to the “NTSCHD” profile so MediaPortal's main menu will scroll smoothly after the video has finished playing.



    5) Set h.264 Video Decoder and MPEG-2 Video Decoder to "LAV Video Decoder". Then open up "LAV Video Settings" (Start>Combined Community Codec Pack>LAV if using the CCCP) and set hardware decoder to "CUVID" if you have a compatible NVIDA GPU.

    6) If using SLI, plug the HDMI cable into the top, primary graphics card, not the second one.

    7) To fix occasional judder in videos with soft-coded subtitles, go to MediaPortal Configuration>Videos>Subtitle and set subtitle engine as "MPC-HC". Click the "Advanced" button, and set subpicture buffer to "5". This will also solve the "subtitle flicker" that occurs when multiple subtitles are on-screen.

    8) In MediaPortal Configuration>General, set “Process priority” to “AboveNormal”. Leaving it at “Normal” as well as “High” introduces small amounts of occasional judder that aren’t dropped frames.

    9) Enable "Restart MediaPortal on resume" option in MediaPortal Configuration general settings if using a NVIDIA GPU.

    10) If you’re getting judder during fast pans, but it’s perfectly smooth during slow pans, you’ve probably got your upscale settings (see “Video Quality Tweaks”) set too high. Edit the profile (see “Video Quality Tweaks”) that’s displaying the judder and turn down some of the processing-intensive settings (i.e. resizing to 1920x1080 instead of “multiply by”).

    11) Turn off other programs while using MediaPortal. I’ve found FireFox can sometimes trip up MediaPortal if it’s displaying a whole bunch of moving objects (flash videos RSS tickers etc).

    12) Turn off your other monitor, this should free up more resources for MediaPortal since the resolution your PC is having to render is effectively halved.

    13) If you've set Windows to automatically change wallpapers, MediaPortal will judder when wallpapers are changed. Turn this option off if this annoys you.



    Video Up-scaling Guide



    You can improve the quality of non full-HD video by "upscaling" them, smoothing out the blocky "screen door" look of non-full HD videos being displayed on a full HD TV. In MediaPortal, the best way to do this if you're playing SD, HD and full-HD videos is with using a set of FFDSHOW upscale profiles. The reason for using profiles instead of just one global upscale setting is because HD videos don't need as much filtering as SD videos do, and full-HD videos don't need any. I have made three profiles for these three different categories of video (attached to this post). When MediaPortal loads a video, the video's resolution will be compared against these three profiles, and the appropriate profile will automatically be applied. "Full HD Video (No Upscale)" is for full-HD videos, it won't apply any upscaling whatsoever, leaving the video untouched. "HD Video (Upscale)" for HD videos that are not full-HD (i.e. 720p), this profile only applies a small amount of upscaling. The final profile is "SD Video (Upscale)", this is for SD videos, and applies a much more rigorous upscaling. To use these profiles, follow these steps:

    1) Open up MediaPortal config then find "video post-processing" under the "videos" tab.
    2) Under "available filters" scroll down to find "ffdshow raw video filter" and double-click it.
    3) Under "activated filters" at the top, check the box for "ffdshow raw video filter", select it, and then click the "filter properties" button.
    4) In the list on the left, click "profiles/preset settings".
    5) Click the down arrow next to "new" and choose "from file".
    6) Open up one of my upscale profiles. Repeat steps 5-6 for all three profiles.
    7) Once you have all three filters imported, enable the check box for "automatic preset loading" and click OK.
    8) Click OK to close the MediaPortal config window.


    Other Tweaks

    1) To solve the "subtitle flicker" problem that occurs when multiple soft-coded subtitles are on-screen, go to MediaPortal Configuration>Videos>Subtitle and set subtitle engine as "MPC-HC". Click the "Advanced" button, and set subpicture buffer to "5"
     

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    Last edited: June 21, 2012
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  3. emphatic
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    Awesome guide, I'll have to try it!

    Emph
     
  4. RicoHTPC
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    RicoHTPC Super User

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    Thx for this guide I will have a thorough look at the priority since that's a thing I haven't covered so far...
     
  5. Arturas1976
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    Arturas1976 MP Donator

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    About video upscaling - does this need ffdshow selected as video codec?
     
  6. DJBlu

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    Thanks for the contribution.
     
  7. Arturas1976
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    Arturas1976 MP Donator

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    May be someone could make a video of right shift+1 graph and explanation of those figures? THat white strip that is moving left-to-right for me never is smooth. It always is stuttering more or less.
     
  8. FireAza

    FireAza Portal Pro

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    Nope! I use LAV (as I suggested in my guide), but the ffdshow raw video filter still takes effect.

    While a smooth graph is a good thing, the important part is the number next to "dropped frames", it should be 0 or a very low number. If you've got a high number of dropped frames, and the graph is spiking like mad, you've got problems!

    Okay guys, I've been playing around with primary monitor vs secondary monitor in MP, and I have something to report. Making MP run on a non-primary monitor does effect how smoothly video will play. I've updated my guide, have a read for more information!
     
  9. doveman

    doveman Portal Pro

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    Are the Preset autoload condition correct for the HD (Upscale) profile, as it seems to be set to load for 1280x720->2048x2040, which overlaps with the Full HD profiles, which covers 1920x1080->2048x2048?

    I also don't get why your Dynamic Refresh Rate settings should be better, as CINEMA - 23.976 is obviously closer to 24 than 23, NTSC - 59.94 is closer to 60 than 59 and NTSCFILM - 29.97 is closer to 60 than 59, so I'd think using the lower refresh rates would cause more sync problems. Obviously we really need to use MPAR or Reclock to match the playback rate to the display rate exactly, but even so using the lower refresh rates means it has to slow the video down more, compared to the amount it would need to speed it up to match the higher refresh rates.
     
  10. emphatic
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    I tried this but I have issues with some sources' framerates not being properly identified. Since I upgraded my GFX (now Nvidia Geforce 430, was 9400 GT) and got a HDMI capable receiver (instead of Bitstreaming with SPDIF I now Bitstream through HDMI) I can't use DRC in MePo as A/V sync starts drifting immediately, perhaps due to the audio starting before the video appears on screen after the resolution has changed.

    I have very little time for testing as it's the family's HTPC. :(
    Emph
     
  11. tourettes
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    tourettes Retired Team Member

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    From GPU driver point of view 24 picks up 24 Hz and 23 picks up 23.976 Hz. Same for the other similar modes.
     
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