Windows 8 is finished and will soon be available for retail sale. With that in mind it seemed a good time to write an updated guide to getting codecs set up for a fully operational HTPC for both Windows 7 and 8. For this guide I’m using a new feature of HTML5 which creates expandable instructions. At the time of writing this is only supported by chrome and safari 6 but hopefully other browsers will add support in the near future.
Posts Categorised: Codecs
A couple of days ago version 1.6 of Media Player Classic — Home Cinema was released. Although I don’t use MPC-HC, I do keep an eye on the releases as it can be a useful back-up when a file wont play. It’s been quite a long time since the last official release so I had a quick scan of the changelog and one thing immediately leaped at me: “VC‑1 DXVA Decoder now decodes VC‑1 interlaced material”. Until now there has been no open source x64 codec that will decode interlaced VC‑1. Finally having this available completes coverage for all the media files I have ever tried to play. Hopefully this will also get added to ffdshow tryouts and LAV Video in the near future.
HTPC related sites and resources seem to be dropping like flies at the moment. First Media Center Studio disappeared, then TheHTPC.net developed problems, and now the official site for Haali Media Splitter is down. Fortunately the media splitter can still be downloaded from lots of other sites, and we will keep a mirror here in case other sites drop it. There are also alternatives, including the MPC-HC standalone codecs and LAV. Links to these are available on our downloads page. Lets hope that this is the last in the recent series of HTPC related losses.
I have recently been suffering corruption playing back some H.264 files with FFDShow tryouts. After a bit of experimenting I’ve found that the last build without this issue is build 3949 from 24th-July. I previously had issues with earlier releases of FFDShow that didn\‘t work with DXVA at all — fortunately build 3949 doesn’t suffer this issue. I also previously had a problem where some builds of FFDShow were less efficient on my HTPC and were unable to smoothly decode some high bitrate movies, e.g. a rip of the Inglorious Basterds Blu-Ray, which has forced me to continue to use an old build from mid-2010 until now. Build 3949 doesn’t suffer from these issues either — so in terms of the 3 problems I’ve had over the years with ffdshow, build 3949 doesn’t suffer from any of them, making it my build of choice for the foreseeable future.
DXVA in ffdshow, which was broken for the last few builds, appears to have been fixed, at least in the 3878 x64 build from 11th June.
Whilst my MediaPC setup can decode just about everything thrown at it, I have had problems decoding interlaced VC1 content. The problem is caused by the failure of ffmpeg to support interlaced vc1. Whilst there are other codecs (e.g. cyberlink or arcsoft) these are currently not available as x64. Cyberlink do have an x64 codec for h.264 and mpeg2, but I haven’t been able to get it to work with VC1 content. Hopefully ffmpeg will fix interlaced vc1 support soon, but as its been on the to do list for over 2 years I’m not holding my breath
A new directshow splitter has become available. If you’re not happy with the offerings from Haali and Gabest then you might like to try LAV. I haven’t tried it myself yet, so I can’t currently offer any more information. It does mention splitting wtv files though, so I will be trying it in the near future.
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I’ve previously posted several times about codec issues on 7mc, but I’ve now got a solution that is comprehensive, fairly simple and works consistently. With a few free codecs and utilities you can have full decoding support, DXVA, subtitles and fantastic flexibility working in 64bit (or 32bit) Media Center. The following instructions are specific to the x64 edition, but should work just as well on the 32bit edition.
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Ever since settings up a HTPC running Win7 Media Center I have had the occasional problem playing m2ts files. ffdshow supports all of the codecs used in m2ts files but still a few files play without without either audio or video, or the playback isn’t smooth despite more than ample hardware. I have experimented extensively with both haali matroska splitter and gabests mpeg splitter but both have their flaws.
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