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  #1  
Old 09-25-2009, 02:54 AM
gianpieroizzo gianpieroizzo is offline
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Thumbs down H.264 on Windows7 : Sage vs. WMP

Hi all,

I would like to share with you the huge amount of problems I found in order to play HD video file on a newly installed win7 machine.

Chipset: AMD780G (it is an embedded ATI HD3200)
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000+
then HDD 500GB and TechnoTrend S2-3200 DVB-S2 card

Installed Win7 and created a 64k cluster partition for my movies.
Downloaded and installed latest ATI drivers.

Test done on a file registered from DVB-S2 channel from SKY Italia provider (using DVBViewer Pro).

File characteristics:
MPEG-TS 1.78GB 22min 37s
1 video stream: AVC
10.1Mbps, 1920*1080 (16:9), at 25 fps, AVC (Main@L4.0) (CABAC / 4 Ref Frames)
1 audio stream: AC-3
Italian, 384 kbps, 48.0 KHz, 6 channels, AC-3

If I play the file with Windows Media Player as provided by default from Win7 it works like a charme: simply perfect, CPU usage around 20%

With Sage I tried everything:
set
- always_use_dshow_filter set to true and to false
- tried with latest beta from Qian, Native Recording Patch v7 in order to use directly the Microsoft DTV-DVD codecs.
- installed ffdshow
- bought and installed CyberLink H.264/AVC Decoder (HD264)
- tried with default video, Video Overlay, VMR9 and EVR renders

I tried almost all the possible combinations of the above dshowfilter/codecs/renders (you can imagine the waste of time ! )

At the end the best result I can obtain is the following one:

always_use_dshow_filter=true
EVR render
CyberLink H.264/AVC Decoder (HD264) codec

with this configuration the CPU% is the same as WMP, but the sad thing is that I never obtained a perfect image, having often jerky video and sensible lost of frames.

so:
1) am I missing something ? I tried to check the old AMD bug problem, but it can't be installed on Win7
2) I'm using Sage since two years now and I'm (was?) a fan of this wonderful application. This experience left me really frustrated. Why I can play a file on WMP just with a single click after a Win7 installation and then I had to spend a whole night with alchimistic configurations arriving to a no solution with Sage ?

Hope someone can help me.
Gian Piero

PS: I talked about Windows Media Player, but obviously the same good result can be obtained within Windows Media Center...
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2009, 03:52 AM
gplasky's Avatar
gplasky gplasky is offline
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You're missing something. Read this thread: native recording patch

Gerry
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  #3  
Old 09-25-2009, 05:04 AM
gianpieroizzo gianpieroizzo is offline
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Tried as well, I installed version 7 of the native recording patch and tried to use H.264 Microsoft decoder.
Same story, jerky video
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  #4  
Old 09-25-2009, 05:23 AM
gplasky's Avatar
gplasky gplasky is offline
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I would uninstall ffdshow to make sure it isn't inserting itself into the graph. Try using the AC3filter provided by Sage for the audio decoder.

Gerry
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  #5  
Old 09-25-2009, 06:35 AM
Savage1701 Savage1701 is offline
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Gian:

Go to the discussion forums on the Core AVC decoder website. Core makes an awesome H.264 decoder, as you may well know. They will tell you all you ever wanted to know about the upcoming horror that Win7 may become for people like us that use Sage and, golly gosh darn it, might like a little bit of say in our choice of decoders. I suggest having a wastebasket next to your computer when you read the posts in order to catch the vomit and spare you a mess to clean up.

Long story short - it's up in the air if you would be able to choose any decoder other than the one Bill Gates wants you to have in Win7 without a serious hack and/or posing as a "trustedinstaller", either of which would likely trigger any sort of antivirus software or firewall and send it into overdrive. That's my rough understanding of what people are really worried about over there. It's not a lock that will happen in the final release, but it sure seems as though it will. I don't use Win7 and I've never test-bedded Sage under it, so I can only repeat what I have read. And, as I said, it keeps changing with different release candidates, but it's not encouraging.

I've taken flack over on the OCZ boards because I refuse to use bloatware like Vista, let alone Win7, and want to stick with XP since it's lean, stable, and I can push it around. (XP can be a pain to install correctly on an SSD to get max performance. And believe me, once you've seen what an SSD can do if aligned correctly, you'd beat your head against a wall trying to get that under XP).
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  #6  
Old 09-25-2009, 06:48 AM
gianpieroizzo gianpieroizzo is offline
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ffdshow deinstallation didn't change so much. Consider that it was not a CPU issue, the system is working, badly, but is working at 25% of CPU.
I had some improvements using AC3 filter, still losing some frames but better than before.
However I'm sorry, but I think that if Sage won't solve asap this issues it will be really hard to gain customers and not to lose the current ones. Nowadays everyone wants HD. Times of integrated Sage video decoder are now far in the past
I wanted to convince a friend to use this machine in its living room, but I cannot present a system working in this way.
I'll have to go for Windows Media Center, that's sad
I can not tell him as well to spend more money for powerful CPU and graphic card, even because it was supposed to be a silent system.

however thanks for your help
Gian Piero
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2009, 06:53 AM
fac13 fac13 is offline
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Location: UK
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My own experience has been positive regarding H.264 under Win7 (x64 RTM) and SageTV.

Originally I used a trial of the PowerDVD 8 decoder without problems, and switched to using the Win7 built-in decoder from the first beta of the native recording patch, again with no problems.
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2009, 07:39 AM
gianpieroizzo gianpieroizzo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fac13 View Post
My own experience has been positive regarding H.264 under Win7 (x64 RTM) and SageTV.

Originally I used a trial of the PowerDVD 8 decoder without problems, and switched to using the Win7 built-in decoder from the first beta of the native recording patch, again with no problems.
which platform ?
Even my Core2duo + ATI HD4350 configuration works fine. I'd like it to work on cheaper systems.
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2009, 03:29 AM
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wubdich wubdich is offline
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Hm - I think gianpieroizzo is right. Currently I'm also noticing a big difference in CPU consumption when playing h264 encoded content in Windows 7 with SageTV.

I can discover the effect of high CPU consumption only when playing videos - watching live tv encoded in h264 everything is fine as long as it 720p. 1080i content is not playing verry well currently.

Playing around with graphstudio in Windows 7 I discovered that the attached graph is playing with minimal CPU consumption. But - this is only the case when using the Enhanced Video Renderer, all other video renderer are leading to a very high CPU consumption.
Attached Images
File Type: png w7-h264-ok.png (56.1 KB, 218 views)
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  #10  
Old 09-26-2009, 10:20 AM
gianpieroizzo gianpieroizzo is offline
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Posts: 61
Just to inform you about my further investigations.

I deinstalled everything from the Win7 machine, in particular I removed ffdshow Cyberlink h264, Haali Media Splitter and Antipack, so I can now be sure to use just and only original Win7 codecs.

I installed Qian's latest native patch (7) and configured Sage in order to use microsoft codec for h264.
For the MPEG2 standard play I tried both Sage native and microsoft codecs.
Audio codec is the sage one.

I should say that now it is going far better, even if the quality of WMP seems still superior, the video stream is smoother.
The video is strangely "dancing" up and down 1 line at a high frequency when using microsoft codecs for MPEG2, but I don't care so much about it, because Sage one's are perfect.
This dancing effect is on HD as well, but less noticeable.

ciao
Gian Piero
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