View Full Version : Optimal video playback of Tivo .ty and .vob, .mpg files

07-12-2004, 08:00 PM
Hi Everyone,

Since this post is too long, here is part #1:

I'm looking into setting up a HTPC (home theater PC) and using my Dtivo (Phillips DSR60000R01) as a significant source of content. The content will be either streamed, xfered to a local PC, or edited via tytools. Thus, I need a fairly flexible playback solution. Oh, and I want maximum quality. :)

Some of the time I will be playing back on my local monitor, and others I will be playing back on a HDTV via DVI (yet to be purchased).

Anyway, I've noticed a few video problems and I'd like to share my solutions and hear what others are doing. These problems have been discussed in other threads, but I've yet to see a definitive set of solutions. So, hopefully this thread can be a collection point for optimal video playback.

Issues I've noticed:

1) Video noise on the top few lines of the screen. I've heard that this
is the close captioning info.

2) Video "distortion" on fast moving objects during playback. This is especially noticable on cartoons (yes, I'm a Spongebob fan). I've heard this is due to displaying interlaced content on a progressive monitor.

3) Aspect ratio problems (videos showing up as square instead of the
proper 4:3).

4) While not a problem, I'd like to maximize playback quality while upscaling the picture from 480x480 to the native resolution of my TV or output window.

Note: I know that these are only problems when you are not playing back to a standard, interlaced TV with overscan.

*** First, a big thanks to everyone at this and other forums for even making this possible (CacheCard folks, Tytools, Tyshow, mfs_ftp, tivowebplus, vserver, etc, etc.... ***

To start things off, here is an inspiring link htpcnews (http://htpcnews.com/main.php?id=ffdshowdvd_1) as to what is possible with DVD as a source. Can we do someting similar?

Software I'm using for playback:
Media Player Classic (http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/)
ffdshow (http://ffdshow.sourceforge.net/tikiwiki/tiki-view_articles.php)

My solutions so far:

After installing Media Player Classic and ffdshow.

Open the ffdshow configuration window. Click on the Crop box. Make sure this is the first checked box (see HTPCnews article above on how to do this). Select the Crop radio button. Enter 8 for each of the Top, Bottom, Left and Right lines. This will get rid of the junky lines.

Next, Click on Deinterlacing and move it just below crop (i.e. next in priority for ffdshow). Select the Method as "ffmpeg deinterlacer". This is the one that I found that works/looks best to me. You can try other methods and/or load Dscaler (http://deinterlace.sourceforge.net/) plugins for yet more options. In any case, deinterlacing will get rid of most of the motion "distortion" that I described above when the display target is a progressive scan device (such as a computer monitor).

Next, Click on Resize and aspect. Click on Resize and specify the new size as 1024 by 768 (or whatever you want). Under Aspect Ratio, select (set aspect ratio manually to 1.33). This will both resize your image to the desired final size as well as make sure that it is displayed in the proper aspect ratio.

In Media Player Classic, select View - Options Menu. Click on Formats, Select Windows Media File (make sure it is checked). Add the extensions ".ty .asx" and click on set. This should enable you to click on a file in explorer to play it. Then, Select Filters. I've unchecked all of the built-in filters (just so that I have maximum control). Then, select Filters-Overrides, click on "Add filter". You will wand to add the "ffdshow MPEG-4 Video Decoder". If you have other video codecs (e.g. like Cyberlink), you can select that as well.

With the changes above, I'm able to stream files from my Dtivo and play local .ty files with fairly impressive results. Everything comes up in media player classic with the correct aspect ratio, no video noise or motion artifacts. Yeah!

When you are playing files that you have already converted with tytools (e.g. .vob or .mpg files), you may want to experiment with alternative codecs. I am using Cyberlink's codec that was included in my PowerDVD installation. There are many other codecs.

One advantage I've noticed of the Cyberlink codec is that it appears to automatically deinterlace with fairly good results. As such, you may need to tweak your ffdshow configuration accordingly (i.e. turn-off deinterlacing).

Part #2 to follow...

07-12-2004, 08:02 PM
Part #2...

If you have problems with the above, I highly recommend these debugging applications:
Graphedit (http://www.digital-digest.com/dvd/downloads/graphedit.html)
Radlight Filter Manager (http://www.dvbviewer.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=2543&st=30)

And here is a helpful Link (http://forums.divx.com/viewtopic.php?topic=57166&forum=5) which (while somewhat unrelated), at least explains how to use graphedit and radlight filter manager to solve codec problems. The tools and information were *very* helpful to me in understanding how all of the plumbing for rendering files actually works. Just start media player classic playing a file. Then start graphedit. Click on "Connect to Remote Graph" and select the active graph. You should then have a flow chart showing you which codecs are in use. Way cool. You can even open files directly in Graphedit and play them. You can also add and remove codecs, reconnect them, etc...

Now for some questions for everyone else:

1) What other settings have people used to tweak the video quality while upsampling to a larger screen (e.g. with ffdshow or other utilities)? For those videophiles out there, let us know what your setting are!

2) Do I always have to use the "mpeg2dec" codec included with Tyshow? I have been unable to get tysplitter.ax to "connect" with anything other than the included mpeg2dec codec. To my eye, the results from Cyberlink and the Sonic Codecs seem better (and seem to automatically do the de-interlacing). What is the difference between mpeg2dec and other Video Codecs?

3) Anybody using Zoom Player or TheaterTek? If so, what advantages do you see over media player classic? BTW: I heard that a new version of TT is coming soon.

In closing, I'd like to say this is way more complicated that I'd like. I'm sure, I've left out some important steps (it has taken me days of experimentation to get this far). I'm certainly no expert in this area and have only gotten this far using bits and pieces of what others have posted. But, at least it works!

I look forward to any corrections, suggestions, etc!


07-13-2004, 03:09 PM
Hi Again,

One step I forgot to mention above in configuring ffdshow in my previous post s was to set the "Supported codecs" for "Raw Video" to "all supported. This is also described in the htpcnews article.

I've yet to fully understand all the conditions that trigger which codecs are used in each application. Note that ffdshow has the ability to load presets based upon which application is running or even what file extension. I'm thinking I could set this to trigger special behavior for .ty and .asx files. More stuff to dig into.

For those interested in learning more about ffdshow, the only source of documentation that I've found is a huge thread over at the avsforum: ffdshow FAQ thread (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?threadid=246752&highlight=ffdshow)

I'm also interested in optimal audio codecs as well. I have occasionally noticed sync problems between the audio/video streams. Of course I have been playing with many different variables, so it is probably my fault. Currently, I'm not having problems.

I'd be really interested to see if playback of recordings made in digital dolby can be played back correctly on a HTPC setup (e.g. driving a receiver with a digital input).

Same goes for playing back closed captions. I've seen threads on both topics, but haven't gotten that far yet.

Have fun...

07-13-2004, 04:27 PM
I would be interested in your opinions on using mplayer to play the .ty files directly without all that post processing.

Also, if I follow your posts (lot to absorb and I am lazy:)) you are doing this with the .ty files and NOT after they have been made into VOB files by tytools - right?

Any chance I could talk you into trying your method on this High Definition clip from an HD-TIVO?
I would appreciate it.

You can grab it here:

Thanks a lot

07-13-2004, 07:01 PM
I would be interested in your opinions on using mplayer to play the .ty files directly without all that post processing.

Also, if I follow your posts (lot to absorb and I am lazy:)) you are doing this with the .ty files and NOT after they have been made into VOB files by tytools - right?

Any chance I could talk you into trying your method on this High Definition clip from an HD-TIVO?
I would appreciate it.

You can grab it here:

Thanks a lot

I have only used mplayer briefly, so I can't comment on if it has the same functionality that I need from ffdshow (crop, deinterlace & resize). I do remember there were *a lot* of options with the player.

ffdshow is useful for .ty files, streaming .ty files as well as .vob files. All of these will have the problems I outlined in my earlier posts when played on a progressive scan device (at least with the players that I've tried). Keep in mind, I'm only talking about content from my standard definition Dtivo.

Since you have a HD-Tivo, you may not have the same issues that I have. My tivo outputs 480i, I'm not sure about the HD-Tivo. If you get a nice clean picture displaying your video clips, then don't worry about it. If not, then you may want to look into ffdshow to fix the problems. However, with HD content, you might need a substantial PC to process the larger files! I tried your clip and it wouldn't play on my PC, but the stills sure looked sharp.

Let us know what works for your with your HD-Tivo setup, as I will likely upgrade to one eventually!


07-13-2004, 09:31 PM
mplayer can do a LOT. gmplayer is a gui for mplayer and looks really nice. mencoder also comes with mplayer and is for reencoding files and will work with any thing mplayer can play. you might want to check it out. I know that with mencoder you can crop but I think you can also crop with mplayer

07-13-2004, 11:50 PM
If there's a runtime version of kernaldeint, give it a shot. It's based on a hardware deinterlacer used with large screen TVs.

Try a graphic overlay, not cropping, to cover up the overscan. Your suggestion breaks the standard size which means a lot of degradation during resizing.

Square image? DTiVo is 480x480 for NTSC. If you see it as square, you're trying to work with square pixels but the source is video pixels.

There can be audio problems with MPC and DTiVo. I have NOT installed the release of ffdshow from a couple of days ago. Perhaps using it for audio decoding, instead of MPC, will help with blips and volume drops.

TyShow does a crude deinterlacing. d7o said development had started again but that was weeks ago and nothing new has really shown up. It's based on ffmpeg, IIRC, and suffers the same problems. I was really hoping a new version would show up keeping the original color model, making deinterlacing optional and properly regenerating "missing" fields to handle DTiVo field dominance flips. Oh, well...