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Artifacts in upper left when playing some HD DLNA content

Discussion in 'Sony's NSZ-GS8 / NSZ-GS7' started by phm_gtv, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    Hi

    First time poster. Please forgive me if this has been asked and answered, I couldn't find it anywhere. I'm using ViMu to play content from my DLNA server (though other players seem to have the same issue).

    A small number of my files have artifacts at the top, left hand of the screen. Probably 5% or less. When played back on other DLNA devices, there are no issues.

    I would really appreciate it if someone had some advice.

    See attached.

    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. jschall

    jschall Member

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    Location:
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    Need more details.

    What server?

    Wired or wireless?

    What files?

    Try playing the same files from local storage.
     
  3. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    Is there any special about those files, or anything they have in common? Are they encoded at really high bit rates? Did this just start happening with a recent release? The only thing I've run in to is sometimes ViMu won't play back video at all (just audio) until I reboot the GS7.
     
  4. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    The bit rate is around 5.5mb. All the HD files are around that bitrate. H.264-encoded (MP4) with Handbrake after being ripped with MakeMKV. There's nothing "special" about the files compared to others that don't have this issue. And yes, I believe this did start happening after the latest update. I actually noticed it first in Plex (I tried Plex's server but wasn't impressed with the DLNA server component of Plex).

    My server is a Dell Zino HD running minidlna under Fedora 17. This server is plugged into my home network. Wifi is served by a Dlink DAP-2553.

    I use wifi for all my playback devices.

    Since the files are larger than 4GB, I will need a file system other than FAT to experiment with local storage. I'll investigate.

    The devices these files play perfectly on today:
    Sony PS3
    Sony SMP-N200 (last gen streaming box)
    Sony BDP-BX58 (blu-ray player)
    Mac mini runnig XBMC

    And yes, I have rebooted, even recovery mode to factory defaults.

    I even tried re-encoding with the latest nightly build of Handbrake. No difference.

    Again, I appreciate any insight anyone might have. Thanks

    UPDATE: Just tried with local storage. Issue is identical.

    UPDATE 2: Since the "Media Player" app (local storage) has the same issue as Vimu, does it perhaps point to an underlying problem with the video renderer?
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  5. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    I don't use MKV or Handbrake, and my videos are under 2GB, so I don't have any experience in that area. There are a number of different variations of H.264, and you might try encoding the video some different ways and try to narrow down what's causing the problem. I've found the PS3 to be a lot more picky than the GTV and if you don't set the level/profile information right, it won't play. One of the common problems is with variable bit rates. Even though the average bit rate of your videos may be a reasonable 5MBps, it's possible certain segments are encoded much much higher. The levels determine various things including how high of a bit rate can be used. Sometimes networking compatibility comes in to play as well.

    Here, check this out when considering which options to try when encoding your video: H.264 profiles and levels | Inside & Outside MediaCoder
     
  6. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    The sheer number of units that play these files without issue tends to point to a problem with the NSZ-GS7, IMHO. And while I can't be 100% certain, I'm fairly sure everything was good prior to the last update.

    Does anyone know how I could downgrade? I'm not looking to root or hack the box, I would just like to downgrade to the previous version of firmware to rule out (or not) the last update as the cause of the issue.
     
  7. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    If there is some way to get me a small file with this problem, I can check it with my three different Google TV models, including the NSZ-GS7. Might be able to pinpoint the issue to the NSZ-GS7. If we can tell Sony the NSZ-GT1 plays the files properly but the NSZ-GS7 will not, that could get their attention. Also make it a public domain program or other file legally obtained. Copies of Blu-ray discs and DVDs are not legal in the US and as far as know, most other countries, and telling Sony or Google you have these files obtained illegally won't generate any interest in a fix. I don't care if other media players play illegally obtained files or not, I don't think any Google TV participant is even going to care unless legally obtained files are a problem.

    If the files are a problem with only the NSZ-GS7 among my Google TV models, next we probably want to determine whether or not all Marvell Armada 1500 based players have the issue or just the NSZ-GS7. I have several Blu-ray players using Marvell Qdeo processing and video playback is always first rate so I don't expect the problem to be inherent with all Marvell Armada 1500 players but we can't rule it out until we see one play the file properly. Another member here has some video shot with his camcorder, the NSZ-GS7 can't play it properly but my Intel Atom based players can. It was reported to Sony a few months ago but I haven't heard a word from them on the issue.
     
  8. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    Hi Chris. I appreciate what you're saying, and I hope you'll forgive me when I say that it's not really helpful. Would you happen to know how I could downgrade to the previous firmware to continue troubleshooting? That would help in further narrowing down the problem.

    As an aside, can you point me to a source of public domain AVC content that I could download, transcode, and test with? Like I mentioned in the beginning, not all HD H.264 files in my library have this issue. And I didn't mention that all SD files I have play without issues.

    At this point, I'm not sure that it's hardware. It could be the latest firmware that's causing the issue. BTW, how does one "report" problems to Sony?

    Thanks for your time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  9. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I suggested a logical way to try to determine if the problem is hardware related with firmware as is, I have no idea why you would claim I wasn't being helpful. I don't know any way to downgrade firmware to an older version, perhaps clearing and deleting everything, then stopping the set up procedure before updating the firmware. I can't say whether that is possible or not but if that does return it to the original factory firmware, there would be no way to update to an interim version of the firmware. A hack of some sort would be the only way to update to the firmware version immediately preceding the latest version. I guess at least if you could get it back to original status and the files played properly, that would indicate firmware introduced the problem.

    As far as files that are within the public domain, I find them all the time. Internet Archive will have a list of movies within the public domain, that site is very good about only allowing public domain movies, maybe you can find one you want. Then you could use Mitty to download a version of that movie in HD, assuming it is available, of course not all will be. I don't have any idea how to use the software you have used to create these files or if that process can be applied to a file you have downloaded. If not, then the only way would be to copy a Blu-ray disc or other HD disc of a public domain movie, I am not an attorney but as far as I know after reading the DMCA, it only applies to copyright protected property so defeating digital copy protection to copy a movie that is within the public domain should be legal.
     
  10. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    Can you think of one example of BD content in the public domain? That might be a place to start. The idea of downloading gigabytes of public domain stock footage in the hopes that some of it might cause the issue I'm seeing seems like a lot of work with little chance for progress.

    At this point, I have to weigh several factors:

    • How many people with this device and a library of H.264-encoded HD content are having this issue?
    • What is the possible return on troubleshooting this to the next level?
    • Assuming a repeatable issue is found, would Sony even fix it?
    • Would it be easier to just wait for the next firmware and see if that makes a difference?

    Last question: Does anyone know of a MPEG4/H.264 analysis tool that I could use on the files? That might help to shed light on why some playback flawlessly and others do not.

    Seriously Chris, I appreciate your interest in my problem. I like the NSZ-GS7 because:
    1. ViMu is the best DLNA client I've seen on TV appliances (as opposed to computers)
    2. The Netflix interface is better than most I've seen, with the exception of Apple TV.
    But I can always fall back to other devices to view my DLNA library.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  11. phlunkie

    phlunkie New Member

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    I have seen that before and if i remember it is related to drm and ripping. I fixed it by downloading a different rip to verify.
     
  12. phlunkie

    phlunkie New Member

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    I have seen that before and if i remember it is related to drm and ripping. I fixed it by downloading a different rip to verify.
     
  13. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    He is saying he can play these files with other media players without this issue and also believes the NSZ-GS7 may have played the files properly before firmware update.
     
  14. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    Well, the thing is Sony probably isn't going to fix something that causes DRM ripped media to have problems. They used to call that a feature (Macrovision).

    btw, I've used a PC app called "MediaInfo" to get more information about how many videos are encoded.

    If the problem is just related to the encoding settings, it's ultimately an easy, but time consuming problem to fix. Only the op can decide how much of his time he wants to throw in to it, and the only thing we can do is offer ideas.
     
  15. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    I don't believe this is a DRM issue. But after looking at every HD file in my library, I do have a new piece of information.

    The issue only happens if:
    1. The file is HD
    2. The aspect ratio is 1.85

    1.78 look fine, cinemascope (2.40-ish) look fine. Just 1.85 (1920x1040-ish) has the issue.

    UPDATE: I just tried every anamorphic setting in Handbrake: Strict (what I usually use), Loose, & None. No difference, the artifacts persist.

    So now I'm hoping someone with some 1.85 aspect ratio HD content (network or local) can look at it on their NSZ-GS7 and confirm or deny what I'm seeing.

    I even saw this in Plex when I disabled transcoding on the server.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  16. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    How is the audio encoded? Dolby Digital 5.1/AC3?
     
  17. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    All the files in my library are have 5.1 AAC audio when available from the source. Otherwise, it's stereo or mono sometimes. This is the "lowest common denominator" with MPEG4/H.264 and works with the widest assortment of consumer hardware in my experience.

    Just curious how you think that might relate to the aspect ratio? I see the artifacts in HD 1.85 5.1, stereo, and mono files.
     
  18. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    You hadn't mentioned how the audio was encoded. I'm thinking there are two things that might be going on: a) there's a bug in the video decoder and there's something in your videos that it can't handle, or b) due to CPU load, bitrate, or network quality the GS7 is unable to keep up with the stream and the artifacts are due to dropped blocks.

    If it's (a) like you're thinking, then sure the audio doesn't matter. Either the video decoder gets it right or it doesn't. If it's (b) anything that increases the workload or delays the data flow could contribute to the problem.

    I've been re-encoding videos myself lately in to H.264 & AAC, but for some reason I thought I had some issues when I tried to play it using my PS3 and thought it was due to using AAC, but I read that it should work. Thinking about it, I think the problem was probably that Windows Media Player isn't too happy with AAC, and that's one of the DLNA servers I use. I'm also using an MP4 container and not MKV.
     
  19. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    It is a 1.85:1 frame, not 1.85:1 aspect ratio within a 1.78:1 frame? If that is true, you should be able to report that issue to Sony and get a response as it might be a known issue although I am not sure whether or not there is any requirement by Google for Google TV boxes to play anything other than 4:3 and 16x9 framed video. I don't think the audio has any relevance here.
     
  20. phm_gtv

    phm_gtv New Member

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    It is NOT matted. It is 1920x1040 active picture, NOT a 1920x1040 matte in a 1920x1080 frame.

    My next step is to find some public domain content that I can crop to 1920x1040 and see if that causes the issue.

    If it does, then I can say, "Look Google, fix this!". I can't imagine Google/Sony saying, "We only support 1920x1080".

    Thanks!
     

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