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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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  #1  
Old 10-20-2007, 12:57 PM
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turak turak is offline
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R5000 recording woes

I think that I've finally gotten my r5000-HD playback issues taken care of on my client's, but I'm still having issues with some of the recordings. I've been getting a lot of stuttering, slow downs and garbled HD recordings. It seems to happen mostly with prime time shows. Some of these recordings are completely unwatchable. My guess is that this is due to multiple recordings happening at the same time. The reason that I believe it is an issue with the recordings and not the playback is that the stuttering happens at the exact same places on both clients using multiple different media players. The spec's of my server are:

WinXP Pro SP2
Dual core AMD64 5600+
ASUS M2N32-SLI Premium
2 x 512MB Corsair CM2x512-6400C4 RAM (rated at 4-4-4-12)
4 x 500GB Seagate SATA2 in a single raid 5 stripe using on-board nVidia raid controller
nVidia Geforce 6600GT
PVR-250 hooked up to vip211 Dish Network Receiver
R5000-HD hooked up to vip211 Dish Network Receiver
500GB External USB2 hard drive (filled with anime fansubs. I don't record to this drive)

I am wondering if others have had similar issues and if so, how did you over come them. I just made a few changes and hopefully that will help, but only time will tell. I found a post on these forums that pointed out that Seagate ships their SATA2 drives jumpered in SATA1 compatibility mode. I removed those jumpers from my drives, I updated the nforce drivers for my motherboard and I tightened the DRAM settings in my BIOS to match what the memory is rated at. About the only other thing that I can think of to try would by to buy a USB2 PCI card so the R5000 wouldn't have to share a bus with my other USB components. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Last edited by turak; 10-20-2007 at 01:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-20-2007, 02:22 PM
mikesm mikesm is offline
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Windows RAID sucks, but I doubt it would suck that badly. Are you sure the R5000-hd is plugged into a usb 2 port, and has usb2 rated cables, etc...?

I doubt the drives a re having write problems else the dvr app would error on you.

thx
mike
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2007, 08:28 AM
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turak turak is offline
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All of the USB ports on my motherboard are USB 2.0 ports. I have verified that USB 2.0 is enabled in the BIOS. I'm using the USB cable that nextcomwireless included with my premodified vip211 receiver.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2007, 05:34 AM
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It's very odd...I tested it by watching a show on Animal Planet HD (real time) while I had the server recording and playing back a SD show. Everything seemed fine. I watched a full 2 1/2 hour hockey game that was recorded from hdnet and it was perfect. For some reason it only seems to mess up recordings of prime time network shows. Usually shows that the wife watches like Desperate Housewives, Grays Anatomy... I don't understand why a hockey game records perfectly while I can't seem to get any prime time network shows to record without massive slow downs and stuttering to the point where the show is unwatchable.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2007, 11:15 AM
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chrisc16 chrisc16 is offline
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turak,

I have a similar setup to yours, but with the addition of a HDHomeRun that records all my HD locals OTA. So, unfortunately, I have no experience with recording the locals from Dish. I wonder if those channels that you are having problems with are mpeg4 channels? In which case the recording might be fine, but you may need tweaks on your clients.

-Chris
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2007, 11:42 AM
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The locals are h.264, but so are other channels that seem to record and playback just fine. The reason that I believe it's the recordings and not the playback that's the problem is that all of the pauses, stutters and slowdowns are at the exact same place in the show no matter which client I play them on.
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2007, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turak View Post
The locals are h.264, but so are other channels that seem to record and playback just fine. The reason that I believe it's the recordings and not the playback that's the problem is that all of the pauses, stutters and slowdowns are at the exact same place in the show no matter which client I play them on.
Well, if it's on the recording end, then.. are you running the latest R5000 app (2.5f)? I think they made some improvements to the stream detection in the last version. Also try checking the "remove nulls" option. I had some flakiness before I turned that one on.

-Chris
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2007, 03:23 PM
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turak turak is offline
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I am running r5000ver25f(SageTV).exe with the bitrate set to compressed (remove nulls). Why do you not record HD locals with your r5000? I need to figure out what's wrong with my setup. The WAF is at an all time low
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2007, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turak View Post
I am running r5000ver25f(SageTV).exe with the bitrate set to compressed (remove nulls). Why do you not record HD locals with your r5000? I need to figure out what's wrong with my setup. The WAF is at an all time low
Yes, I understand how much that must be killing the WAF. I get plenty of comments whenever I tinker with things and end up breaking something.

I chose not to subscribe to the local channels via Dish because:
  1. All my locals aren't available (PBS)
  2. I have a clear line of sight to the local transmitters
  3. I already had a HDHomeRun waiting to be used
  4. To save the $5/month

Having the HDHomeRun means I can record two OTA channels while also recording a HD program from Dish. The HDHomeRun is a great deal, if you can receive OTA.

Is it only the local channels that are screwing up? Is it while other tuners are busy? Do you have comskip or showanalyzer running? I had to tell ShowAnalyzer to wait until the file was finished recording, otherwise I would get bad recordings.

-Chris
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2007, 07:58 PM
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HawgGuy HawgGuy is offline
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Have you tried, using regedit, modifying :

Frey Technologies\Common\DSFilters\MpegDeMux\NumBuffers

and changing from 40 to 80.

This is what I needed to correct stuttering h.264 playback from my Dish/r5000-hd.
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  #11  
Old 10-23-2007, 07:53 AM
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turak turak is offline
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Chris,

That makes sense. I didn't even realize that you could subscribe to dish without getting your locals.


HawgGuy,
Yes. Thank you very much for your earlier posts mentioning the numbuffers change. That solved most of my playback issues on my WinXP client, but not the issues mentioned in this thread. I still believe this to be a recording issue and not a playback issue.


Last night I found mention on nextcomwireless's website that the embedded USB 2.0 controller on certain ASUS AMD motherboards can be problematic with the R5000. They didn't mention specific models, but I am using an ASUS M2N32-SLI with an AMD Athlon64x2 5600+. It looks like their recommendation is to use a USB 2.0 card with a NEC chipset. I have ordered such a card from newegg and hopefully it will fix my issue.

Last edited by turak; 10-23-2007 at 08:15 AM.
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2007, 03:03 PM
camTexas camTexas is offline
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Interesting on the USB2.0 controller on Asus. I'm also seeing my locals stutter from my R5000 units. I don't remember which Asus MB I have though. I'll have to check later. No love with the Numbuf change listed (tried all the way to 120).

Let us know how the new controller works...

I'm also seeing a strange problem when tuning locals from my R5000. Every time I select a local Sage won't start the live recording. I have to hit stop, then select watch again to get it to play. Same issue shows up with recordings so now I have to try and remember to tune to the channel prior to upcoming shows coming on. If Sage is allready playing the channel to be recorded all is OK.

Thanks, Chad
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2007, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camTexas View Post
Interesting on the USB2.0 controller on Asus. I'm also seeing my locals stutter from my R5000 units. I don't remember which Asus MB I have though. I'll have to check later. No love with the Numbuf change listed (tried all the way to 120).

Let us know how the new controller works...

I'm also seeing a strange problem when tuning locals from my R5000. Every time I select a local Sage won't start the live recording. I have to hit stop, then select watch again to get it to play. Same issue shows up with recordings so now I have to try and remember to tune to the channel prior to upcoming shows coming on. If Sage is allready playing the channel to be recorded all is OK.

Thanks, Chad
I was having that issue too. It wouldn't record locals unless it was already tuned to that channel. The fix for me was to have it tune to the channel in the 6000's instead of 2-100. For me, channel 6,8832 and 6403 are the same channel (WTVJ NBC). Channel 6 is both SD and HD, 6403 is HD and 8832 is SD. When I had it tuning to channel 6 it would not record unless it was already on 6. I now have it tuning to 6403 and I'm not having that problem anymore.
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  #14  
Old 10-23-2007, 10:03 PM
Conejo Conejo is offline
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One of the problems you may be experiencing with H.264 satellite refeeds of 'local' programming is the 'cheap' transcoding at the headend. They don't put the money into obtaining high-end conversion equipment because of the shear number of 'locals' that must be converted for a small client base.

Quote:
Plagiarized contend:
* Bit rate transcoding
This process changes the bit rate of the compressed bit stream while keeping the resolution, frame rate and the encoding format the same. MPEG-2 bit rate transcoders, also called rateshapers, have been widely deployed today, and they employ efficient, high-density rateshaping by primarily operating in the discrete cosine transform (DCT) domain.
* Format transcoding
This entails converting the compression format for example, converting an MPEG-2 bit stream to an H.264 bit stream.
* Resolution transcoding
This involves the conversion of coded spatial resolution for example, converting a standard-resolution bit stream to common intermediate format (CIF) resolution for a mobile application.
So the original content is 'aquired' and shipped to an upload center as mpeg2, mass transcoded to H.264 and the imperfections get encoded into the program stream. The STB/SAT_Receiver could have better decoder recovery algorithms so you see less problems viewing the program live.

Hey, it's possible... don't look at me like that.
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  #15  
Old 10-23-2007, 10:04 PM
camTexas camTexas is offline
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thanks for the tip on the remapping. I tried it and it is much better. I still have problems 1 out of 4 times it seems. Something else must be going on. I'm wondering if it's tied with some sort of USB issue. I know when it doesn't change correctly for live TV the file is still not readable by any other program so it seems to be corrupted somehow. Almost like the R5000 is starting to record too early. I don't know of any way to add any R5000 delays before it starts to write the file (after the tuning change).
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  #16  
Old 10-24-2007, 06:00 AM
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turak turak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camTexas View Post
thanks for the tip on the remapping. I tried it and it is much better. I still have problems 1 out of 4 times it seems. Something else must be going on. I'm wondering if it's tied with some sort of USB issue. I know when it doesn't change correctly for live TV the file is still not readable by any other program so it seems to be corrupted somehow. Almost like the R5000 is starting to record too early. I don't know of any way to add any R5000 delays before it starts to write the file (after the tuning change).

It could be tied to a USB issue. I tried using a USB 2.0 card with a VIA chipset (VIA USB2.0+WinXP SP2=bad) that I had laying around. All of the recordings that I attempted to make with it turned out like that. You could try sending an email to r5000support@nextcomwireless.com. I plan on doing that if the USB card that I ordered doesn't fix my issue.
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  #17  
Old 10-24-2007, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
I think that I've finally gotten my r5000-HD playback issues taken care of on my client's, but I'm still having issues with some of the recordings. I've been getting a lot of stuttering, slow downs and garbled HD recordings.
Welcome to the club.

Quote:
I am wondering if others have had similar issues and if so, how did you over come them. I just made a few changes and hopefully that will help, but only time will tell. I found a post on these forums that pointed out that Seagate ships their SATA2 drives jumpered in SATA1 compatibility mode.
I'm not too crazy about RAID, and left my drives in SATA1 mode b/s that's what my mb supports. No big deal. Just make sure that you format the recording drive(s) with 64K blocks. Usually that's the default for RAID configurations. It makes a big difference. If your recording drive is the same as your OS drive, make two partitions. An small one (like 20GBs if it's a dedicated PVR) using the default block size for the OS and the rest for a second partition formatted with 64K blocks where you put the recording and media directories.

Quote:
About the only other thing that I can think of to try would by to buy a USB2 PCI card so the R5000 wouldn't have to share a bus with my other USB components. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
I had to buy an USB2.0 PCI card with the NEC chipset. Not b/s of stuttering but b/s of unreadable, corrupted files (nulls all over). FYI, if your mb has an Intel USB chipset it might be ok. My Thinkpad does and it has no problems recording from the r5000HD. The problem (for corruption) is the VIA USB chipset, almost anything else seems to work fine.

You have a fast CPU but don't think your 6600GT might be able to do h.264 playback. Are you getting stutter in mpeg-2 HD channels? What video decoders are you using?
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  #18  
Old 10-27-2007, 11:05 AM
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turak turak is offline
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While I am using one raid5 stripe, I do have it broken up into a partition for the OS and a video partition that uses 64k blocks. I'm not using windows software raid, but the nvidia raid controller on my mobo. I don't know how much better the nvidia chip is then software raid though. The NEC USB2.0 PCI Express card that I ordered arrived, but I haven't had a chance to test it with prime time network recordings yet. I'm not doing playback on the server. It just records. My clients are using a 7800GT and a 8800GTX. I'm using the PowerDVD 7.3 Ultra decoders. MPEG2 HD channels play back silky smooth.
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  #19  
Old 10-28-2007, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
I don't know how much better the nvidia chip is then software raid though.
Much better. Software raid gives you fault tolerance but at a noticeable performance cost. Hardware raid 5 is faster although in most cases not faster than single drives or raid 0. It all depends on how much you want to insure your video collection. Personally I'm ok with using S.M.A.R.T drives (most new SATA drives) w/o raid and making sure the drives get proper cooling. Never had a drive just fail on me, usually they start making rotational noises and the S.M.A.R.T diagnostics will alert you in advance. Might have a different opinion if I lived in an area with excessive lighting, railways or other sources of vibration. Loosing 25% of your storage and some performance for fault tolerance is a high price to pay although still cheaper than doing backups.

Quote:
I'm not doing playback on the server. It just records. My clients are using a 7800GT and a 8800GTX.
Oh, ok. I though your playback problem was in the server.

Quote:
I'm using the PowerDVD 7.3 Ultra decoders. MPEG2 HD channels play back silky smooth.
Well, this explains a lot. I don't think your USB card might help too much in this case since the problem seems to be in your h.264 video playback and not in the capacity of your server and network to capture and stream video. It is good to have a dedicated USB card for the r5000HD though. The video cards you have do a very good job with mpeg-2 acceleration. I have a 7600GT and can playback mpeg-2 HD with an average of 15% CPU utilization. For h.264 the CPU utilization jumps to 80% and sometimes more if there's a lot of action in the video. How fast are your clients CPUs? If possible, I would put the slowest CPU in your server, the second fastest in your 8800GTX client, and the fastest in your 7600GT. If that doesn't work consider upgrading to a 8500GT which are quite cheap these days or either a 8600GT or ATI HD2600pro and put the faster CPU in your 8800GTX. The ATI card has better drivers at the moment. I'm waiting until the end of November to get either an HD extender or a 8600GT once the price comes down and the drivers for XP support h.264 acceleration.
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  #20  
Old 11-07-2007, 05:13 AM
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It looks like the USB2.0 card with the NEC chipset solved the bad recording problem. I still had some playback issues until I bumped the numbuffers registry setting up a little higher then I had it set. Now everything seems to play smooth except for one minor thing. On the shows that were giving me problems before, I get some slow down/stuttering just before it goes to commercial. The rest of the time it's smooth. I can tell when a commercial is coming up because it will start stuttering about 5 seconds before it fades out to the commercial.
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