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  #1  
Old 06-10-2006, 04:02 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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Extender Transcoding - property parameters?

Hi all,

I got in touch with SageTV support about my issue (16:9 PAL recordings have the sides chopped off to make them 4:3 when played through the PAL, SCART version of the MVP using the Sage interface; the MVP software can cope if set to 16:9). They suggested adding two properties - on the server side:

Code:
media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -b 4000 -aspect 4\:3 -padtop 78 -padbottom 78 -s 704x432 -acodec mp2 -ab 128
and on the client side:

Code:
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9
This didn't work. Yes, I stopped SageTV service and the properties did take.

Looking in the existing properties files, I found on the server side:

Code:
media_server/transcode_quality/DVD=-f dvd -b 4000 -s 720x576 -acodec mp2 -ab 128
and on the client side:

Code:
miniclient/transcode_mode=DVD
I've been fiddling with these settings, to no discernable effect! I'm trying to work out the logic of it. It looks like on the client you can choose the transcode mode by name and file extension - so

Code:
miniclient/transcode_mode_ext=transcode_quality_name
where transcode_quality_name is that of a property on the server side, and presumably if you leave off the extension you set the default value.

So that leaves the server side settings, and there I'm confused. I'm currently ignoring:

-f dvd
-b 4000
-acodec mp2
-ab 128

because they are the ones already there which match the ones Sage suggest. Which leaves:

-aspect 4\:3
-padtop 78
-padbottom 78
-s 704x432

The top 3 aren't in the original transcoding quality setting at all; the last is altered. I'm trying to work out the logic of the altering of the last one! 720x576 is 5:4. 704x432 is... nothing recognisable! And why the padding top and bottom? Add 78 to 432 and you get 506; add it again and you get 584. Can't see the logic.

Anyone got any insights?
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2006, 04:43 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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Got some further info. I am trying to play files from two sources. One is the Hauppauge PVR500, recording 720x576 programs with metadata saying they should have a 4:3 aspect. The MVP does indeed kick out the whole picture at 4:3.

The second source is a DVB-T card, and the stream it is getting would appear to be a 704x576 one, but with metadata saying it should be played at an aspect of 16:9.

My recordings from the PVR500 are via a set top box set to output 16:9. The full image is captured by the PVR500 at 4:3, so they work fine over the MVP - I just tell the TV to stretch the result to widescreen. However, I used VideoReDo to remux one of these setting the aspect ratio metadata to the correct 16:9 (whilst keeping the actual 720x576 nature of the stream). This, when played over the MVP, has the same issue as the DVB-T recordings.

So my conclusion is that Sage is working out from the file's aspect ratio metadata what percentage (if any) it should cut off from either side in order to allow the MVP to play back a 4:3 image that isn't distorted. I want to tell Sage not to bother with that at all - just give the MVP a 4:3 file containing all of the info, and the TV can stretch it or not as I see fit.
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  #3  
Old 06-16-2006, 01:45 PM
MH2006 MH2006 is offline
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I got this to work on avi's transcoded to MVP (NTSC).

I added this profile to the server properties:

media_server/transcode_quality/avi16x9=-f dvd -b 3000 -aspect 4\:3 -padtop 60 -padbottom 60 -s 720x360 -acodec mp2 -ab 128

and changed the client properties setting to:

miniclient/transcode_mode=avi16x9

The result is any avi regardless of original resolution or aspect ratio is displayed in 16x9 without cropping, with black bars. Since my video library mostly consists of 16x9 and 7x3 widescreens its an overall improvement for me. Hopefully we'll soon see user selectable A/R's in the user interface.

I also lowered the bitrate from 4000 to 3000 and didn't notice any quality degradation (on a cheap crt mind you), however it did lower the average cpu usage on the server by about 10% per transcoding instance.
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  #4  
Old 06-18-2006, 06:28 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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Thanks, but could you provide more details? You say 16x9 with black bars - so I take it then that you have a 4x3 TV? I want 16x9 with no cropping but without black bars, I have a widescreen TV.

Also, what's your understanding of the -s parameter?

I'm still trying to work out the actual logic behind the settings; 360 + 60 + 60 = 480, which is NTSC, so should the combination of the -s and -padx combinations add up to what the MVP can kick out (720x480 in the case of the NTSC MVP, 720x576 in the case of the PAL MVP).

In that case I guess it is the -aspect setting that tells it not to crop things?
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  #5  
Old 06-18-2006, 12:34 PM
MH2006 MH2006 is offline
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i believe -s is the encoded video output size before adding padding. I think padx + -s will end up as the "final" video size being sent to the MVP, with the MVP being aspect ratio ignorant (will just play the video at fullscreen). In your case you don't want any padding (assuming a 16x9 source). You want to use the TV stretch function and want a sort of anamorphic squeeze as the final output. you need the -aspect 4/:3 in there, that will prevent cropping. just leave out the padding aswell. I think that would do it. So something like:

media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -b 4000 -aspect 4\:3 -s 720x576 -acodec mp2 -ab 128

However, after reading yoru post again it seems that your A/R issues are with encoders outputting mp2 video and audio already (in my case my files were avi's, my mpeg2 do not get transcoded). I don't know how to tell sage to transcode compatible video. But then again as you discovered, sage is already transcoding it (ie cropping it). In fact the fact that sage is transcoding it is the problem, you want no transcoding and you would get the anamorphic effect automatically as you do with your pvr500.

Also I would think the client property:

miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9

would only work for vobs, not mpeg 2 recordings as you need, perhaps explaining why you didn't see any difference. I guess I would just set:

miniclient/transcode_mode=DVD16x9

and test that. Good Luck.

Last edited by MH2006; 06-18-2006 at 12:42 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-20-2006, 06:33 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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Thanks, MH2006. I tried the setting miniclient/transcode_mode=DVD16x9, it makes no discernible difference at all. I'm wondering if these settings actually do anything for "normal" MPEGs with MP2 audio, or whether Sage is actually not doing any transcoding at all, just chucking it to the MVP and it's the MVP that crops it. In which case Sage need to find some way to tell the MVP not to crop it...
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  #7  
Old 06-21-2006, 04:13 PM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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If anyone else is reading this thread avidly, I have now managed to get a 16:9 aspect ratio file to play back without cropping on the MVP using SageTV. Support suggested I rename a file to "vob"; having done so, the two properties MH2006 mentions in post #5 above work correctly, the transcoder transcodes the stream altering its metadata to 4:3, which stops the MVP cropping the sides, so the whole image is displayed.

The negatives are:
1) Doesn't work with MPG file extensions - I tried using the property setting
miniclient/transcode_mode_mpg=DVD16x9
but it was ignored, the transcoder never fired up. Evidently SageTV assumes MPG extensions don't need transcoding. So no 16:9 Live TV, and you have to rename a file in order to play it 16:9.

2) On my Athlon XP 3000+, the transcoding hit 70% CPU utilization, and the audio was out of synch. All just to change the aspect ratio metadata!

So fundamentally this isn't an adequate fix. I think Sage need to sort this one out, it must be possible to tell the MVP not to crop the video file regardless of aspect ratio metadata.

I would envisage two settings on the MVP - "show all" and "crop intelligently".

"Crop intelligently" would be the current behaviour, where 4:3 metadata video is output in its entirety but the MVP crops the sides of 16:9 video to give a full screen non-distorted 4:3 image - you would use this if you had a 4:3 TV.

"Show all" would display the whole of any file regardless of metadata; you would use this if you had a widescreen TV, and you would have to use the TV's aspect settings manually to set it to 4:3 or 16:9 depending on the material.

Anything more clever (such as adding black bars top and bottom on a 16:9 recording so that the whole image would fit, non-distorted, on a 4:3 TV, or adding black bars left and right to a 4:3 recording so that a widescreen TV can be left at fullscreen aspect ratio) would require transcoding server side, as my understanding is that the MVP isn't up to doing that sort of thing by itself.
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  #8  
Old 06-21-2006, 06:35 PM
MH2006 MH2006 is offline
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I wonder if this would work better, or at all:

media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -aspect 4\:3 -vcodec copy -acodec copy

and

miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2006, 12:38 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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Sadly not - it cropped the VOB file. The transcoder starts and uses minimal CPU, but it appears that -vcodec copy over-rides the aspect setting. Tried putting the parameters the other way around, too, just in case that made a diffrence, but it didn't.

Tried it using

media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -aspect 4\:3 -acodec copy

in the hope that leaving out parameters would result in it not changing anything, but while it does then change the aspect ratio, it transcodes the video at a terribly low bitrate.

Last edited by Mahoney; 06-22-2006 at 12:53 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2006, 05:34 AM
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JUC JUC is offline
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Hey everyone-time for me to join the discussions. I have been struggling for a while with getting my .vobs to playback without cropping/zooming the image so the left and right sides a completely cutoff. I have been in contact with George and he has suggested some of the property settings as mentioned above. No luck yet but on my way into work today I think I may have figured out why this isnt' working for me.
In the client MVP properties file--are you supposed to 'ADD' the line:
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9
so you have both of these lines in the client properties:
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9
OR
are you supposed to just edit this line:
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD
so it now reads:
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9

Basically--are you supposed to have both or just the new line?
I have both in my client properties and when I play a .vob the sage transcoder starts up but shows 0% activity and my .vob just skips to the end of the file. I'm hoping that by just 'editing' the line mentioned above and not 'adding' the line that this might help me. Any thoughts??


edit: one more thing: I'm assuming I should use this setting in the sage.properties file:
media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -b 4000 -aspect 4\:3 -s 720x480 -acodec mp2 -ab 128
rather than this:
media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -b 4000 -aspect 4\:3 -s 720x576 -acodec mp2 -ab 128
because I'm in the US??

next-just curious if this is a widespread issue or only affecting a handful of setups? I would think more people would be having problems then just the few in this thread.

oh--and this is only happening for .vobs...
Thanks a bunch,

JUC
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Last edited by JUC; 06-22-2006 at 05:41 AM.
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  #11  
Old 06-22-2006, 07:41 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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JUC - are you saying that widescreen MPG files are not cropped for you? Actually, being in the states you are probably capturing SD via analogue, aren't you, so it wouldn't be an issue for you - the Hauppauge capture cards always give their files a metadata aspect ratio of 4:3, even if they have captured a 16:9 analogue input. I don't have a problem capturing from my set top box via S-Video for exactly this reason - it's only when I capture using a DVB-T card that the problem arises because the MPEG stream then has the correct aspect ratio metadata which means the MVP knows it "ought" to crop it.

Otherwise, I would say your understanding is correct - you should have the following in your client properties:

miniclient/transcode_mode=DVD
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9

and the following in your server properties:
media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -b 4000 -aspect 4\:3 -s 720x480 -acodec mp2 -ab 128

Can't tell you why that isn't working, sorry.
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  #12  
Old 06-22-2006, 09:01 AM
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JUC JUC is offline
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Mahoney--this only happens for .vobs for me, not on MGPs.
And, I should have this in my client properties file:
miniclient/transcode_mode=DVD
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9

and not this:
miniclient/transcode_mode=DVD
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9
?
I did the latter becuase i thought I would just need to add the line rather than edit it...so I think 'hope' that is my problem and that this will fix it for me. I will follow the lines you posted and try again tonight.
Thanks,
JUC
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  #13  
Old 06-22-2006, 09:19 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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JUC - correct, delete the:
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD
- you should not have the same property in twice.

Just for my knowledge - what do you capture SD with?
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  #14  
Old 06-22-2006, 09:39 AM
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JUC JUC is offline
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SD capture is by PVR 150 and the Rosyln Blackbird....but i'm in the US and have no problems with MPEGs recorded with sage. It only affects my DVD's I have ripped to the HD when I try to play the individual .vobs through my MVP.
Thanks for the help. Hopefully by removing the extra line I can get this working for now. In his email, George mentioned that this should fix the 16:9 movies but will break the 4:3 movies...is this the case based on your experience?
Thanks,
JUC
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  #15  
Old 06-22-2006, 10:14 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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As I thought - the Hauppauge analogue capture cards record everything with 4:3 metadata, so the MVP doesn't think it needs cropping. It's only MPEGs with 16:9 metadata that have this "feature" applied to them by the MVP.

Thanks!

Last edited by Mahoney; 06-22-2006 at 10:23 AM.
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  #16  
Old 06-22-2006, 10:33 AM
Motofreak75 Motofreak75 is offline
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Hi guys, I too, have been following this closely & having some sucess. I used these setting below from Mahoney and I am able to watch a few recorded movie that is 16:9 with Dolby Digital sound on my mvp. But if I watch it live from capture card on my MVP, I get a black screen and no sound. Its just I have to record it first and then play it through sage's tv recordings.

miniclient/transcode_mode=DVD
miniclient/transcode_mode_vob=DVD16x9
media_server/transcode_quality/DVD16x9=-f dvd -b 4000 -aspect 4\:3 -s 720x480 -acodec mp2 -ab 128

Also playing dvd vob have been painfull, either video/audio studder every 5 seconds, (with Beauty and the Beast DVD). Also I have notice that some of my movies are LetterBox and DD audio and the sagetranscoder doesnt even start.

what gives ? Does the transcoder have a mind of its own ? or did the end user miss something again ?
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  #17  
Old 06-23-2006, 03:55 AM
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Got this working for .vobs by adding the above lines in the properties files!!! Thanks for helping me out. Hopefully, there will be a more elegant fix on the way.
JUC
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  #18  
Old 06-26-2006, 12:41 AM
Mahoney Mahoney is offline
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Quick update - according to SageTV Support this will be fixed with no transcoding required in 5.1. No word on when we could expect 5.1.
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  #19  
Old 08-31-2006, 02:57 PM
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Deadbolt Deadbolt is offline
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Does anyone know if I can transcode a DVD shot in PAL to an NTSC MVP? I have it setup right now where it will work just fine transcoding NTSC DVD .vob files to the NTSC MVP...and I can watch the ripped PAL DVD .vobs with VLC on the server...but cannot stream the PAL DVD to the MVP player. Any ideas? - THX

EDIT: Nevermind...got it to work

Last edited by Deadbolt; 08-31-2006 at 04:13 PM.
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