I recently built a x64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate HTPC. In the past I'd mainly stayed away from x64 bit OS and always used 32bit, mainly because I was usually testing lots of different applications and utilities and also just because I felt more comfortable with 32 bit and codec setup.
But on this latest HTPC for my own living room I decided it was time to try x64 bit properly and make it stable. If you are using the Shark 007 codec pack on x64 you first need to install the x86 version of the codec pack as nornal, in addition to this you then need to install the x64 components.
By default on 64 bit Windows 7, the default WMP12 player is the 32 bit version, there is also a 64 bit version of WMP12, Shark recommends sticking with the 32bit version of WMP12 and not changing the default to be the 64 bit version. The Windows Media Center by default is 64 bit ! The x86 version of the shark codec pack is used to configure 32 bit players such as the default WMP12. And you use the x64 bit version of the shark codec pack for configuring 64 bit players such as Media Center.
Before I continue, at this point I'd like to thank Shark for his help setting up my new x64 bit HTPC as I did get stuck in places and required his help, some of the below information was passed on to me from Shark and if you are using his codec pack and find it useful, please consider making a donation to him as I expect releasing these codec packs and supporting them is very time consuming indeed.
I'd like to state that the below settings are working for me on my HTPC for my files, this is not to say these exact same settings will work for you as you expect! I'd also like to point out that my HTPC is based on an AMD Processor and an onboard ATI HD Radeon 4200 graphics chip. Also I currently don't have an AVR so I am not passing through or bit streaming audio to the AVR, its just a simple HDMI connection from the PC direct to the HDTV. But I will mention audio pass through later.
When launching either version of the Shark codec pack from the start menu you should always right click the icon and run as administrator. Ok so lets get started!
The first tab is the configure tab, on here you can choose which version of WMP12 is the default, stick with the 32 bit version as recommended. I also never use subtitles so I change the Subtitle control to "No Subtitles". You probably want to change the Hardware Output to TV/Projector.
I found some of my HD MKV movies where stuttering so I decided to enable FDDShow DXVA (hardware acceleration) on the H264 tab, which meant on the Config tab clicking Configuration Items and selecting FFDShow DXVA
Under the FFDShow DXVA configuration, I unchecked Subtitles, as I found some MKV's were showing the hard subs. I also checked H264 and VC1 under DXVA codecs enabled.
I did not change anything on the Misc tab.
Ignore the tool tip on this screen shot, I don't think I changed anything on the Audio tab either, however if you have an AVR and want to pass through / bit stream the audio to the AVR you should select: use pass-through (Digital Audio) under FFDShow S/PDIF pass-through. You'd probably select 5.1 as well from the Choose speaker configuration. When I am using an AVR I don't use AC3Filter as I always had problems with it and just use FFDShow.
On the AVI tab I have been selecting Gabest's splitter lately, but Shark recommends using the Microsoft Splitter here. So that's what I am using at the moment.
On the H264 tab I select the settings you can see that have red rings round them, as I said I enabled FFDShow DXVA for hardware acceleration.
On the MKV tab I am using the Haali Splitter and there is also a DIVX Media Foundation Splitter, this is for XBOX 360 users apparently. However I had issues with this setting until Shark explained it to me, you MUST disable the DIVX Media Foundation Splitter on 64 bit OS. If you don't, when you play MKVs and other files in Media Center they will not use FFDSHow but the Microsoft codec. So I have to have this disabled on my X64 HTPC.
But I also have an XBOX 360 extender, I've not tested playing any MKV's on the extender yet, but ideally you would want the DIVX Media Foundation Splitter enabled for playback on the XBOX 360, which means manually changing this setting first. Also AVI's on my XBOX 360 MCX are not playing that well, slowing down and speeding up. But if I play the same movie that's on the WHS from the XBOX 360 dashboard video library it plays fine.
Apparently this is not a problem for 32bit OS as you can have the DIVX Media Foundation Splitter enabled and it will also still use FFDShow in Media Center OK.
MOV OGG tab I did not change anything on this tab, I can play some 1080p .MOV movie trailers I downloaded from Apple OK in Media Center, I've not tested the .MOV files my little digital camera creates yet.
On the MPG MP4 tab I am using Gabest's splitter for MP4 playback, I did play one sample MP4 video file OK in Media Center.
Under overall MPEG Playback 1/2/PS/TS I am using the default which is Automatic section.Below is a quote from Shark:
"To playback TS variations such as M2TS etc., it is imperitive that you disable Media Foundation on the swap tab. If the source was blu-ray, you will also need to select the blu-ray splitter on the MPG~MP4 TAB. many of these m2ts files use VC1 instead of AVC(h264) for the video so you will also need to select a different decoder on the SWAP TAB for WVC1 content. I prefer setting MPC-HC for WVC1."
So during my test I tried selecting the Gabest's Blu-ray splitter but I found my Blu-ray ISO images on the WHS were stuttering badly in Media Center on the HTPC. In the end Automatic selection seemed to be better for me.
Swap tab, below you can see the settings I am using. The main ones to point out are:
FFDShow codec for XVID/DIVX/MP4v in DirectShow.
FFDShow for WVC1 instead of Microsoft
I also had to disable Media Foundation for a sample .M2TS file to play in Media Center.
The thing that has changed, is in the past with an AVR and when playing AVI files with 5.1 audio tracks in them I would have to disable DMO for them to play. You don't need to do this any more apparently.
I can play the following on my Media Center:
- AVI's (XVID)
- DVD rips in VIDEO_TS
- Blu-Ray ISO images (PowerDVD 10 within 7MC)
- Media Center Live TV
- Recorded TV (WTV)
Above are the main video types I use, however I also tested the file types below in Media Center using sample video clips I have:
- .FLV (Flash)
I also used GraphStudio during my codec setup to render media files and see which codec were being used in the graph.
If anyone has any comments or suggestions please let me know, also I am not a codec expert who knows everything about them so please don't ask me for technical support with codec, I would recommend heading over to the Shark 007 forums here.