Best codecs for XBMC playback?

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one800higgins Offline
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Post: #1
I'm trying to find the best combo of codecs... I have a great system built with awesome components for audio and video playback, but I'm getting some stuttering on video playback.

I went to the avsforums.com and followed some of their suggested codec settings for windows media player playback (figured it was worth a shot). They use ffdshow and shark007 codecs together and I followed their settings guide... The first night I had XBMC running I noticed no stuttering in 90% of my files. Basically I was only getting a TINY amount of stuttering on older SD files, which I was okay with.

After a couple days I've noticed that the stuttering has come back with no explanation.

I know this isn't a hardware problem so don't question that... This is definitely a software / codec issue of some sort.

So, what codecs and settings are you guys running on your HTPC setups?
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Hannes The Hun Offline
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Post: #2
one800higgins Wrote:I have a great system built with awesome components for audio and video playback, but I'm getting some stuttering on video playback.

I have a crappy little Atom&Ion netbox and an old DELL notebook, but I'm getting ZERO stuttering on video playback with both systems and with both windows and linux XBMC or any other media player.

best of all? I don't have any special codecs installed whatsoever!

man, your posting really made my day Cool

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craigd Offline
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Post: #3
XBMC uses it's own codecs to play back media and most should be fine, except on occasion some wmv files.

what awsome components are you using and what types of files are you having issues with?

***edit***
also what platform and version of xbmc are you running
(This post was last modified: 2010-07-01 16:53 by craigd.)
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one800higgins Offline
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Post: #4
I've got a quad core CPU with 8 GBs of ram and a radeon hd 4670 card. I know it's overkill, but I built it this way because I knew I'd only be using it as an HTPC for a year at most. I'm going to be building a micro-atx HTPC setup soon to replace this one and move this one into my room as my main pc. The computer is currently only being used to run uTorrent (acting as a seed box, basically) and XBMC.

I'm running optical audio to my HT receiver while video is running straight to the TV. I'm running at 60Hz too, so my TV shouldn't be confused by the signal at all.

As I'm typing this I'm starting to wonder if uTorrent reading/writing to the hard drive during playback is causing the stutter... It just hit me that this could be a possibility. Unlikely, but possible.

Anyway, I'm on Windows 7 64bit, running XBMC R26017. Any help would be appreciated.
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Mallet21 Offline
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Post: #5
You could also try updating your XBMC to one of the newer experimental builds that utilize DXVA2:
http://sshcs.com/xbmc/?mode=Notes

Make sure to enable DXVA in the settings under Video. You will probably also have to re-add your video sources as the library for the newer XBMC (10.5) is not compatible with the previous version (Camelot).

Not sure this will help considering you have a pretty robust CPU and GPU but it wouldn't hurt to update.
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craigd Offline
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Post: #6
Almost certainly not uTorrent.

May be the ati card, most of the development is geared to nvidia graphics systems. newer svn's have more support for ati I think but can cause other headaches depending on your experience with xbmc.

Let us know what files you're struggling with, extension, resolution and codec.

If it's all content make sure you've installed latest drivers and directx, if it's just hd check if dxva is enabled, not sure if it supports ati or not.

search for "stuttering" and you'll get a lot of similar threads with some solutions.

also press the menu button while video is playing and it'll monitor gpu and cpu performance, monitor for unusual behavior, big spikes, dropped frames etc.

more knowledgeable people than me could offer more advice with a debug log also.
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theuni Offline
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Post: #7
Mallet21 Wrote:You could also try updating your XBMC to one of the newer experimental builds that utilize DXVA2

Why would he use those when we have officially sanctioned builds of our own?

TheUni
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Mallet21 Offline
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Post: #8
theuni Wrote:Why would he use those when we have officially sanctioned builds of our own?

TheUni

My bad...didn't know you had started up again with the builds.
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one800higgins Offline
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Post: #9
Thanks guys. I'm going to try these suggestions out in a bit.

craigd Wrote:May be the ati card, most of the development is geared to nvidia graphics systems. newer svn's have more support for ati I think but can cause other headaches depending on your experience with xbmc.

Let us know what files you're struggling with, extension, resolution and codec.

If it's all content make sure you've installed latest drivers and directx, if it's just hd check if dxva is enabled, not sure if it supports ati or not.

I wondered about my card with XBMC too. I don't get any stuttering out of VLC, but do with XBMC. Almost all of the files I get are MKV, primarily in H.264. I notice the stuttering in just about all file types though, HD or SD.

I'm going to mess around with the experimental builds and DXVA in a little bit.
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vinistois Offline
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Post: #10
use the new builds. I have a similar system with an HD5850. Camelot has a sort of micro-stutter, not smooth at all. The new builds are smooth as silk. The new stuff is still a little buggy, but its worth it.
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one800higgins Offline
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Post: #11
vinistois Wrote:use the new builds. I have a similar system with an HD5850. Camelot has a sort of micro-stutter, not smooth at all. The new builds are smooth as silk. The new stuff is still a little buggy, but its worth it.

Sweet! That makes me feel a bit better. I just upgraded to it a minute ago... I'm a bit sad that I didn't think to write down what plugins I had haha. So now I'm going to have to setup XBMC from scratch again.

BTW, how's the 5850 working for you? I'm planning on building my micro-atx with an i5 CPU/GPU and seeing how well it handles HD video on it's own. I've been reading that the i5 is a very good GPU... But I'm still weirded out by a CPU/GPU combo and I've had my eyes on the 5850 since it has the best HD audio and video output for home theaters.
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vinistois Offline
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Post: #12
well, I absolutely love it. I had 3 x 3870's before, and the 5850 creams them in 3d gaming. I was frustrated that a high end gaming PC with a high end graphics card could not smoothly play video, when a $50 DVD player can do it fine. Finally, with the latest releases, we have smooth video playback on the ATI 5xxx cards.

I am building a separate HTPC and bought a passive HD5450 for it. Any 5xxx series card should be about the same for HTPC usage. They all have the same processor, and it hardly takes any effort for that processor to decode HD movies.

I think an I5 is a bit overkill. I'll be using a Zotac NM10-DTX motherboard with the 5450, and I expect performance to be excellent for XBMC.
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one800higgins Offline
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Post: #13
vinistois Wrote:well, I absolutely love it. I had 3 x 3870's before, and the 5850 creams them in 3d gaming. I was frustrated that a high end gaming PC with a high end graphics card could not smoothly play video, when a $50 DVD player can do it fine. Finally, with the latest releases, we have smooth video playback on the ATI 5xxx cards.

I am building a separate HTPC and bought a passive HD5450 for it. Any 5xxx series card should be about the same for HTPC usage. They all have the same processor, and it hardly takes any effort for that processor to decode HD movies.

I think an I5 is a bit overkill. I'll be using a Zotac NM10-DTX motherboard with the 5450, and I expect performance to be excellent for XBMC.

See, the i5 is a powerful processor at only $180 bucks. It seems a little high until you think about the fact that it's a CPU/GPU and you don't need a video card. I mean, you CAN get a video card, but the i5 (or i3/i7) are supposed to be very capable graphics processors. So if you take into account the $75-100 you are saving by not snagging a video card, then the i5 is a great deal.

The i3/i5 and Radeon HD 5xxx cards are the only GPUs that can handle all forms of HD audio. Other GPUs don't support TrueHD or DTS-HD.
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one800higgins Offline
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Post: #14
I just wanted to add that upgrading to the latest nightly build fixed the issue. I guess it was just ATI incompatibilities with the last stable XBMC release.

Thanks for the help guys!
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