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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Transcoding VS Remuxing? MS where's the native support? Have your say!

Ever since I got in to Media Center DVD playback and now Blu-ray and MKV playback on extenders has really really frustrated me! In the fact that they don't support it!

I still can't believe in this day and age, that we are unable to natively play ripped DVD's on extenders. I was amazed MS even gave us native DIVX/XVID support in 7MC MCX on the XBOX 360. After 18 months of moaning about it I was happy to see they eventually did it and I'm sure other people were waiting a hell of a lot longer than I was.

It's not a technical limitation but must be political one with the big Hollywood content providers, but as a comsumer I don't care frankly. I've purchased my DVD and Blu-ray's discs, I should have the right to consume them in my home with my family anyway I choose and on any device.

What are the current options for DVD playback on extenders ? Transcoding where the VOB's are remuxed on the fly to MPG. Transcode 360 is a life saver no doubt but it's just not reliable enough for my liking. Transcode 360 can be used with MC, My Movies and Media Browser and gives it more scope over the newer Vaders's transcoder which only works with the Vista Media Center native DVD Library, I could never get it working on the native 7MC Movie Library and am not aware of anyone having done so ?

So transcoding in my mind is flakey at best and not 100% reliable. Then there is talk of this new native transcoding in 7MC. The ideal idea is that anything I can play in 7MC on the PC can be transcoded to the extenders natively. I have yet to have seen this in action. I'm not sure anyone really knows how and when or if this native Win7 transcoding occurs? What's the process that runs?

It certainly doesn't transcode my MKV's or DVD Vob's to my extenders so is it even there? And the newly added DIVX/XVID support on the XBOX 360 MCX seems native to the XBOX side to me via a dashboard update which re-appeared in the 7MC MCX the first time when trying to play DIVX/XVID on the 7MC MCX.

What are the other options then? The best I have found for DVD is remuxing the container to DVR-MS using Video Redo Plus for seamless DVD playback (Main Movie Only) on extenders with full FFWD capabilities. And TSMuxer to remux MKV's in to M2TS files which 7MC natively supports.

It's still all a mess it's still way too much hard work for the average guy in the street when will it ever end ???

5 comments:

Allan said...

I couldn't agree more. I've just spent 3 days at home on sick leave doing nothing but research HD media playback and streaming via the new Windows 7 framework.

Media Foundation is a disaster in my opinion, the native codecs are not working properly, M2TS files are being split correctly, MC7 IS transcoding my M2TS files during playback on my XBox360 and it is causing horrible slowdown and image deterioration.

I really don't know any more. DirectShow has just got the point where it's mature and 3rd party codecs are working well and you can get almost anything to play properly if you mix the right filters and now MS go and introduce Media Foundation and break everything again.

Divine said...

Has there been any progress on this front? I'm the average joe you mentioned. I thought Win7 was finally going to make this possible for someone with my abilities. I'd really love to be able to watch my movies throughout my home, but transcoding and remuxing is really pushing the limits of my abilities.

Stuart said...

This is an old post. What are your requirements? Are you using Media Center Extenders like the XBOX 360? Or Mini PC's like the ION Nettops?

If you are talking about playing DVD movies around the home you have a few options depending on how you want to go about doing things.

Media Center Extenders still don't natively support playing DVD movies. Here I'd say either use the in-built Transcoder in My Movies 3 or convert your DVD's to DVR-MS or WMV format using something like VideoRedo.

If you are using mini PC's around the house then they will play everything the main MCE PC will. The main downside is Windows 7 PC's acting as clients can't play live TV from the main MCE PC that has the TV tuners.

But you can play DVD's with full menus. If you use PowerDVD on each PC and VirtualCloneDrive you can mount and play ripped Blu-ray ISO images over the network on any PC in the house. .

What other files formats will you be using? AVI's are supported now by Windows 7. MKV are not supported. Easiest thing to do is install the Shark 007 Codec Pack.

I'd definitely recommend a Windows Home Server for centralized data storage of your movie and music etc.

Or maybe go for something like Sage TV and their extenders that support DVD playback or maybe even some relatively low cost media streamers like the Western Digital HD media player all depends if you are stuck on the Media Center User Interface or not?

Divine said...

Thanks Stuart. This gives me some more to think about. I'm not wedded to any particular program or configuration. My initial plan was to use media center extenders located around the house, since I already have an XBOX 360 and a machine running Win7. It sounds like I can make this work by ripping DVDs and converting to DVR-MS or WMV format. What are the downsides to using the DVR-MS or WMV formats?

I have not yet invested in Blueray player, but it is on my list of upgrades in the near future.

Also, I had been planning to store movies/music on an external USB hard drive connected to my router. What are the pros/cons of doing this vs. storing content on a machine running windows home server as you suggest?

In your opinion, what would be the best configuration (hardware and software) for someone with my objectives? Thanks in advance!

Divine said...

Thanks Stuart. This gives me some more to think about. I'm not wedded to any particular program or configuration. My initial plan was to use media center extenders located around the house, since I already have an XBOX 360 and a machine running Win7. It sounds like I can make this work by ripping DVDs and converting to DVR-MS or WMV format. What are the downsides to using the DVR-MS or WMV formats?

I have not yet invested in Blueray player, but it is on my list of upgrades in the near future.

Also, I had been planning to store movies/music on an external USB hard drive connected to my router. What are the pros/cons of doing this vs. storing content on a machine running windows home server as you suggest?

In your opinion, what would be the best configuration (hardware and software) for someone with my objectives? Thanks in advance!