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Old 11th January 2009, 22:05   #1  |  Link
Crono141
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Windows 7, x264, and Media Center Extenders

Well, the windows 7 beta was "officially" unleashed upon the public on Friday. Windows 7 promises integrated support for h264 content. Additionally, it claims to be able to send that same h264 content to media center extenders natively, without the need of third party transcoding programs such as transcode360 or TVersity.

Well, I've been testing at these claims and so far I'm disappointed. It seems that Divx and Xvid do come across the MCE without need of a third party transcoder. I even managed to get a h264 file with 2 channel AAC audio to play without a hitch.

Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to get a 5.1 stream to the extenders. I tried h264 with AC3 in m2ts, but that didn't go at all. It seems Win7 only really like h264 in the mp4 container, and then only with AAC 2 channel.

Has anyone had a chance to play with this yet besides me? Has anyone had any success with multichannel h264 on media center extenders?
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Old 11th January 2009, 22:21   #2  |  Link
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It seems Win7 only really like h264 in the mp4 container, and then only with AAC 2 channel.
The sane story with XBox360. only mp4 with stereo
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Old 11th January 2009, 22:38   #3  |  Link
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I guess I should clarify: I can get h264 with multichannel to play on the PC in WMC and WMP12(?), but the extender only likes 2 channel audio. I'm currently encoding a movie with a max width of 640, because I heard a rumor somewhere on these internets that 640 is the maximum width the extender supports for h264. After that i'll try to encode standard width with 2 channel audio and see if that plays. If so, I'll be quite disappointed, because whats the point of h264 2 channel support with no 5 channel support?

The whole reason I'm going through this again, is because I recently acquired a PS3, and it playes H264 with AC3, H264 with multichannel AAC, and just about anything in between. I'd like to be able to rip my DVDs to a universal format that plays on the 360 and the PS3 so I don't have to go and buy more PS3 or similar devices to get maximum compatibility (I already have 2 Xbox360s).
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Old 11th January 2009, 22:54   #4  |  Link
Jeff Flowerday
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I can't get h264 to play from a mkv container.

I installed haali splitter and madflac. vc1, mpeg2 play fine, h264 not at all.
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Old 11th January 2009, 23:33   #5  |  Link
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but the extender only likes 2 channel audio.
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The sane story with XBox360. only mp4 with stereo
Forced compatibilty with Microsoft's console ... Do you understand now?
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Old 12th January 2009, 00:54   #6  |  Link
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I understood before. I just realized what I'd said was not what I'd meant and wanted to clarify.

This Most recent encode didn't work either. Its odd, because the error isn't "incompatible format or codec" but "files required to play not found, restart extender or computer".
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Old 12th January 2009, 05:55   #7  |  Link
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Forced compatibilty with Microsoft's console ... Do you understand now?
Microsoft gave an inch when asked to give a Mile.
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Old 12th January 2009, 11:55   #8  |  Link
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The only full Interoperable solution you will be happy with as a Microsoft Customer is WMV and Windows Media Audio 5.1 Channel sound unless Million of Microsoft Customers write to them and force them to support 5.1 AAC
That is reallity they try to force you to use their stuff the options you have are limited either throw away their Hardware or Fight for it supporting more formats then their own in a interoperable way
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Old 12th January 2009, 12:46   #9  |  Link
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I've had some success with Win7 Beta1 64-bit and the Xbox MCX

Everything was encoded with Ripbot264 and I was able to play
H.264 High Profile M2TS with AC3 5.1 (played a 1080p video too but its a bit buggy)

H.264 High Profile MP4 with AAC HE or AAC LC (2 channel)

It would not play the AAC 5.1 Ripbot264 created though it played fine in WMP12 and Win7 media center. There is supposed to be a transcoder built in to help when media does not play I'm guessing its not working in beta 1.

However some test AAC-HE/LC MP4 videos I made using XviD4PSP caused the Xbox MCX to freak out and stop all video playback until it was restarted.

I also tried some videos encoded from Nero v8 and only the MP4 with 2 channel audio would play the AAC 5.1 and AC3 from Nero would not in the Xbox MCX (Nero's AAC 5.1 plays fine in WMP12/WMC and the AC3 MP4 plays video but no audio)

Overall it sorta works but its pretty buggy, obviously given its beta 1 status. Try Ripbot264 Crono141 if you want to get some videos working.

As far as I can tell the Xbox dash is still the same though the M2TS/MP4 videos now show if streaming from WMP12 but its still H.264/AAC-LC in MP4 only.

Last edited by Ronin-7; 12th January 2009 at 14:56.
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Old 12th January 2009, 15:11   #10  |  Link
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I'll have to try RipBot264. I made several h264\AC3 rips, and I couldn't get them to play in Win7 at all (wmc or wmp12). I used autoMKV for my conversion though. My next idea was to create an mp4 with 2 audio tracks. The first being 2 channel AAC for wmc compatibility, the other AAC 5.1 for ps3 playback. I've already walked the WMV5.1 road, and now I have a hdd full of movies that don't look quite as good as dvd, and no audio on ps3.
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Old 13th January 2009, 05:02   #11  |  Link
Crono141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronin-7 View Post
I've had some success with Win7 Beta1 64-bit and the Xbox MCX

Everything was encoded with Ripbot264 and I was able to play
H.264 High Profile M2TS with AC3 5.1 (played a 1080p video too but its a bit buggy)

H.264 High Profile MP4 with AAC HE or AAC LC (2 channel)

It would not play the AAC 5.1 Ripbot264 created though it played fine in WMP12 and Win7 media center. There is supposed to be a transcoder built in to help when media does not play I'm guessing its not working in beta 1.

However some test AAC-HE/LC MP4 videos I made using XviD4PSP caused the Xbox MCX to freak out and stop all video playback until it was restarted.

I also tried some videos encoded from Nero v8 and only the MP4 with 2 channel audio would play the AAC 5.1 and AC3 from Nero would not in the Xbox MCX (Nero's AAC 5.1 plays fine in WMP12/WMC and the AC3 MP4 plays video but no audio)

Overall it sorta works but its pretty buggy, obviously given its beta 1 status. Try Ripbot264 Crono141 if you want to get some videos working.

As far as I can tell the Xbox dash is still the same though the M2TS/MP4 videos now show if streaming from WMP12 but its still H.264/AAC-LC in MP4 only.
Can you please detail exactly what settings you used for RipBot264 to get h264/ac3 in m2ts to play on Media Center Extender. I just finished an encode that didn't work, and I just found all the possible settings inside the program. h264/AC3 in m2ts would be perfect if I can get it to play in an Extender.
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Old 13th January 2009, 14:01   #12  |  Link
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Originally Posted by Crono141 View Post
Can you please detail exactly what settings you used for RipBot264 to get h264/ac3 in m2ts to play on Media Center Extender. I just finished an encode that didn't work, and I just found all the possible settings inside the program. h264/AC3 in m2ts would be perfect if I can get it to play in an Extender.
What I used in Ripbot was the
Level 4.0 profile
audio = copy stream
Save as Blu-ray disc [look in bdmv\stream for video]

Thats all I did, the source material were some mpeg-2 clips I had.

Xvid4PSP also managed to output a working one select M2TS as container and copy audio and that worked for me.

[Now maybe there is something else going as I installed Ripbot264/ffdshow on the Win7 box and it worked perfectly, maybe the transcoder is active and working in the background which is why M2TS are playing for me but I cant really tell as the MCX gives no info about the video that is playing]

Playback was buggy though so you couldn't rely on it for normal usage, for example seeking in M2TS is broken in WMP12/WMC anyway.

I used the feedback tool about the various issues above so hopefully comes beta 2 we'll see some improvement.
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Old 12th January 2009, 15:39   #13  |  Link
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The H.264 decoder of Windows7 only works in WMP12/MC (since it uses Media Foundation instead of DirectShow/DMO) and only for MP4/MOV files.

So for MKV files you still need ffdshow/coreavc/divx to decode the video.

MPEG-4 decoding does work in other DirectShow players since that is a DMO decoder.
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Old 12th January 2009, 16:12   #14  |  Link
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The H.264 decoder of Windows7 only works in WMP12/MC (since it uses Media Foundation instead of DirectShow/DMO) and only for MP4/MOV files.
Oh why, oh why, did they cripple H.264 support in that bad way?

It basically means that Windows 7 still doesn't support any useful video format natively (in a useful way). What a bummer!

Would it be so hard to include ffdshow in their 3,2 GB installer image?
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Old 13th January 2009, 05:22   #15  |  Link
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The H.264 decoder of Windows7 only works in WMP12/MC (since it uses Media Foundation instead of DirectShow/DMO) and only for MP4/MOV files.
Better late than never, but also with m2ts files.
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Old 13th January 2009, 14:48   #16  |  Link
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The H.264 decoder of Windows7 only works in WMP12/MC (since it uses Media Foundation instead of DirectShow/DMO) and only for MP4/MOV files.
Are you sure? I couldn't get it to connect to any splitter but it does work in DVBViewer.
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Old 13th January 2009, 14:58   #17  |  Link
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Weird, thats exactly what I did with no success. Only difference is I'm running 32 bit win7. Do you have ffdshow set to decode h264? I've also left feedback asking for support for multichannel ac3 and aac in m2ts and mp4 containers.

EDIT: Turning of H264 decoding in FFDshow didn't help me. I have noticed that MCE now plays all the old Divx/Xvid content natively, which is very nice.

The next thing I think I'm going to have to settle for is 2 channel AAC in mp4, but encode it as Dolby Pro Logic II. I'm no expert when it comes to DPLII. How does it compare (as far as channel separation/quality) to its source AC3? If its "close enough" I'll just run with that, as my receiver does DPLII.

Last edited by Crono141; 14th January 2009 at 03:36.
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Old 17th January 2009, 03:47   #18  |  Link
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Just to update and bump: the best solution right now is to encode DVD to h264/2 channel AAC with Dolby Pro Logic II. While not "true surround" I've found DPLII to be close enough, at least for my uses. Hopefully, since MS is pushing the whole "Windows 7 is built using user feedback" line, they'll take the user feedback submitted by members of this forum and build in h264/AC3 in their final win7 build. So in other words, if you want an instant gratification solution, h264/DPLII is the way to go. If you want to back up your DVDs once, I'd wait until Win 7 Beta 2 or final to see if they'll add in this feature.

In other news: Windows 7 is so much better than vista, it isn't even funny. I believe Vista will go down as the "Windows Millennium" of this generation of OS's, with Windows 7 being the new XP.
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Old 18th January 2009, 05:21   #19  |  Link
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In other news: Windows 7 is so much better than vista, it isn't even funny.
Do you have anything more specific? Since the H.264 and MKV support turned out to be more or less useless, I wonder whether any of the other promises prove true.

For example: Did they reduce the install size of Windows 7 significantly compared to Vista? And is UAC really less annoying than it used to be under Vista?
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Old 18th January 2009, 08:32   #20  |  Link
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I'd wait until Win 7 Beta 2 or final to see if they'll add in this feature.
OT: I think they said there is no beta 2 as such, just one beta (and then possibly release candidates? - thats what they usually do)
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