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Thread: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    32

    All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    So close.

    OK, I've tried and failed many times at getting a linux dvr working. We've had Tivo for the last year and like it a lot (OK, we like DVRs, not necessarily Tivo). I really want to make it work, I just have one issue left. My video is choppy. Too choppy to watch. I've read several threads about this and have tried some of the advice offered, but I still haven't gotten it to work. A couple of years ago I actually did have good video (but other issues), so it's pretty irritating that I can't get it now. Here's my setup:

    Mythbuntu 8.10
    IBM Netvista P4 1.8GHz
    796MB RAM
    160GB IDE HD
    WinTV PVR-150

    I've got everything working except, well... the most important part. I have tried a few things to fix the video, but have been unsuccessful so far.

    My first thought was that my video card needed something other than the "open source" drivers. Do the open source drivers typically work just fine? I tried getting the updated driver for my card, but it said that it was built into Ubuntu and no longer needed/offered. So thinking that was the problem I went to a (gave up) Windows XP MCE setup. I didn't like it much, but the video worked perfectly! I decided I wouldn't wimp out that easily (though I've spent way too much time on this already).

    So I changed to a better video card. Couldn't get X to work after that, so I just reinstalled. Once everything was good to go I tested again and... same problem! It was also using the open driver, but it looks like I have the option now to use the proprietary one. I tried to install it, but it wouldn't download for some reason. Anyway, I would assume the open driver would be good enough, but correct me if I'm wrong. So I'm ruling out the video card since they both are giving me the same problem.

    Here are my other red flags and things to note:

    I'm pretty much using the out of the box install. Haven't changed anything yet. Ext3 file system.
    I've installed in the "safe video" or whatever mode. Seemed like I had to, not sure if that matters.
    System seems to work fine until I watch live TV, then HD immediately starts working hard.
    Recorded TV choppy too.
    What should my screen resolution be on the TV?
    My cable connection isn't that great. My Tivo works good enough. An issue?
    Initially I thought it was a slow hard drive, so I used a newer one. Didn't fix anything.
    I turned off the IDE acceleration stuff in my BIOS thinking it was causing issues. Didn't fix anything.
    I'm using S-VIDEO out to a CRT TV. Is S-VIDEO good enough?
    For a CRT TV, do I need to change my video size, bitrate, etc? Am I doing extra work with too high of settings?
    DVD playback seemed to be just as bad.

    A separate question... Once I get this perfect, how do I image the setup for a quick reinstall? Ghost didn't seem to be able to handle Ext3, etc.

    Thanks,
    Damon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Beans
    32

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    Update: Installed the proprietary ATI/AMD driver and watching live TV... worse. It froze on a single frame although it continued to record. Playing it back showed the same single frame, but in the thumbnail area it showed perfectly that it had recorded.

    Any ideas?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Location: Location:
    Beans
    1,246
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    open a terminal ( applications > accessories > terminal )

    type this command

    gstreamer-properties
    click the upper right tab and select (NoXv) from the dropdown list.
    click Ok
    viola!
    clear && echo paste url and press enter; read paste; (youtube-dl $paste) | zenity --progress --title="" --text "Downloading, please wait" --auto-close --pulsate && ans=$(zenity --file-selection); gnome-terminal -x mplayer "$ans"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Beans
    32

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    Nope, that didn't work. App wasn't installed, but after installing it and running it as you said, it didn't change anything. Clicking on the test button suggested it was a valid configuration.

    I tried a couple of other things as well:

    1. Enable OpenGL vertical sync for timing. (This improved it some)
    2. Change from MPEG2-PS to MPEG2-TS. (No noticeable change)
    3. Turn off audio in BIOS. (No noticeable change)

    There's something in there that's eating up too much CPU. When running the frontend and watching TV, here's my load:

    2.1

    mythfrontend.re 65% CPU
    Xorg 7%
    mythbackend 4%
    lirc_dev 1%

    Seems pretty CPU-intensive since I have on-board MPEG encoding (PVR-150). Correct me if I'm wrong. But a load of 2.1 I would think would be enough to do it.

    Getting out of the frontend and live TV the load is around 0.05.

    Also, watching the video with an LCD monitor through VGA looks the same.

    So, is it a problem with my system being to slow? Is there some eye candy I can turn off that will help? Everywhere I read says I have more than enough hardware for this modest DVR.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Beans
    85
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    Quote Originally Posted by carrucha View Post
    A separate question... Once I get this perfect, how do I image the setup for a quick reinstall? Ghost didn't seem to be able to handle Ext3, etc.

    Thanks,
    Damon
    Hi Damon,

    Seems you are in a similar situation to me. Desperately wanting to use Linux but are hitting major hurdles, and the Windows MCE demon is starting to appear on your shoulder as you know it will just work without all this fuss. For you it is video, for me it is the remote control/IR receiver.

    Anyway, I can't offer you much advice as far as your card goes. I currently use the onboard Nvidia 6150 which is perfect for anything upto 720p or 1080i, but doesn't cut it for 1080p. I'm about to upgrade to an Nvidia 8400GS to get VDPAU support as it makes a HUGE difference when watching mpeg 1/2, x264, wmv or vc1 encoded 1080p material. I've seen systems go from near 100% cpu usage with drastic stutter and audio sync issues to only using 15% CPU with no issues simply by using VDPAU. That's Nvidia only though, not sure what vendor you are using.

    For backups I'd suggest using remastersys. It is about the closest thing you'll get to ghost on linux from my experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Beans
    32

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    Thanks for the tip on remastersys, I'll have to give that a try.

    Anyone have any other thoughts on the video issue?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Beans
    100

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    Try recording a program, then opening the file with a different player, for example mplayer. I guess that if this plays back ok, then there isn't a problem with your tuner.
    You could also try using something like MeTV, to prove you have enough processing power to capture and play TV at the same time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio
    Beans
    43
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    What playback profile and on screen display are you using? I had a machine with almost the same specs and I had to change those settings to it working right. Once I changed the OSD and Playback to slim and CPU-- it worked fine for me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Beans
    32

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    I haven't tried the other stuff yet scary_jeff, but rschapman I did change the playback profile to CPU-- and then to slim. Not sure if that's what you meant. I didn't see anything in the OSD to change for that. Please clarify if you meant for me to do something else. Doing that looks better and lowers the load on the system a lot. It's still hovering around 1.2 I think. My understanding is that a load of 1 means the computer can keep up with exactly what it's doing and a load of 2 means everything takes twice as long since the system can't keep up with the demand. Correct me if I'm wrong. So if that's true, I would think I'd need to get below a 1 to not lose performance.

    The picture looks really great now, but it still seems like it's dropping a lot of frames. Anything with much motion in it looks bad. I'll take a look at the other stuff though.

    Any other thoughts? This same hardware seemed to work better when I tried this a couple of years ago. And do the open video drivers work fine for most people?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Beans
    32

    Re: All I Need to Fix is the Choppy Video

    So, I tried changing some of the recording bitrates, size, etc and it made a little difference, but not much. It just seems like my hard drive is working too hard.

    I tried playing a recording in the VLC Media Player and the picture looked much better!

    So... where do I go from there? I can't be opening up some other player all the time. How can I make mythtv show the recording better?

    And is this the effect of my computer being so slow? Because it's true, this computer is getting older, but it's plenty powerful enough from the documentation I read. They need to change it if that's the case.

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