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Windows 98 as high quality video player

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#1
Sfor

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For quite a time I'm using Windows 98 SE as video player. The idea was to connect a 42" plasma TV to a computer in order to play video files. In either case, the most efficient software I've found so far.

GOM Player - quite a nice video player with many advantages and a few problems.
- does not support a** subtitles
- does not resolve correctly time conflicts in subtitles
- the efficiency of the built in h264 decoder and mkv and mp4 splitters are not that great
+ high quality subtitles
+ supports many video formats with built in codecs
FFDShow - it covers for almost everything what GOM Player is lacking
+ does support a**
+ the built in h264 decoder is a fast one
- the non a** subtitles are poor in quality
- does not seem to be able to play subtitles directly from MKV files. It is necesary to extract them to separate files, first. (It is not a problem for me, since I'm using an additional tool for subtitles timing and font enhacement.)
- there are rare problems with system resources in case of some a** subtitles.
Haali Matroska Splitter - a fast MKV and MP4 splitter

It requires some tweaking to get the best performance, but these were the best I found.

I've tried a few operating systems in order to find the one fastest on a single core CPU. Windows 98 appeared to be the fastest one. Currently I'm using a Pentium 4 2,8/800 HT CPU with DDR400 memory in dual (or rather quadruple) channel. The power is more than enough for smooth play of 1280x720 h264 coded video, but is not enough for 1920x1080. So, the question is where to go from here.

It is possible to aim for multi core CPUs, but it would require to change the OS to some Windows NT core system or Linux, probably. On the other hand I've heard something about DXVA being available on Windows 98.

- According to my research the newer versions of FFDShow are able to use DXVA. The newest one comes in two different builds, one is Windows 2000 compatible, the other is not. Perhaps, it could be possible to port it to Windows 98 with KernelEX.
- DXVA 1.0 was released for Windows 2000 and newer. I've heard some rumors about Windows 98 compatibility, however. The DXVA 2.0 seems to available from Vista up.
- It could be difficult to find a DXVA compatible graphics card able to work in Windows 98.

I'm curious, if anybody was able to get the full HD with Windows 98. In my case the the playback is not efficient, enough.

--------
For GOD sake. Why am I not able to write Advanced Substation Alpha file format? It always ends up as a**. The HELL with the automatic word correction on this forum.

Edited by Sfor, 22 September 2011 - 04:57 AM.



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#2
technoid

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This is a shout out for GOM Lab (Korean company). Their GOM Player is my primary DVD movie player on my HTPC, with FFDS attached to GOM for additional fast video/audio settings and effects. But I am doing this in Win 2kPro, not 98SE. I require 2k for compatibility with Videolan, Winamp, DVDFab and other stuff. It is sufficient and fast. My HTPC is a Pentium III 1.0 GHz box from HP. This is connected to a DLP projector (for a ~100-200 inch screen) via DVI, as DVI is preferred than VGA or Component, for best video quality (due to digital data, not analog). Sorry I don't know any of the other stuff you mentioned, my projector is not HD, but it's tweaked enough that I get maybe 10%, maybe 20%, better quality than DVD. Surround sound is only 4.1, but it works perfectly. All this for about 400 bucks.

#3
Sfor

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Well, I'm aiming much above the DVD level. The Blu ray and HD DVD resolutions are gaining market, right now.

I'm also using the DVI interface. To be more specific DVI is compatible with HDMI. The difference is, the HDMI can also transfer audio, while DVI can only transfer video data. Using DVI to HDMI cable it is possible to connect to any new TV. My 42" plasma is only 1024x768, so it is not a HD screen. But, the h264 1280x720 and 1920x1080 are more and more common. In order to play them back smoothly, significant processing power is necesary.

I started from a 1GHz PIII CPU as well. I noticed, it plays video much more smoothly than the PIV does. But, at 1280x720 video data resolution it is not able to keep up. The video playback is getting choppy. It looks like frame rate gets reduced. It also depends on the software used. Either the video or audio smooth play has to be sacrificed if the processing power is insufficient.

In case of the P4 CPUs it seems the high resolution data stream is played smoother. Instead of a general frame reduction either video or audio gets frozen for some time, when the processing power is insufficient. It appears, the P4 is significantly faster with multimedia processing than PIII, but in case of a processing power shortage it takes much more time for it to recover the smooth play. It mostly happens on a scene changes, when the amount of data to be processed is highest. The whole thing can be related to a fact the PIV CPUs have a faster memory access in general. In case of PIII the CPU can not play smoothly high resolution video, because the amount of data to be transferred does not go through system buses.

Edited by Sfor, 23 September 2011 - 04:10 AM.


#4
jds

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Have you tried the current version of VLC Player with KernelEx?

Joe.

#5
Sfor

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I've been playing with older versions with VLC player, only. As far as I remember there were no functions necesary for me. I wanted to have audio video time shift correction, video size and position correction, an a few others. It was not efficient enough, as well.

#6
jds

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I've been playing with older versions with VLC player, only. As far as I remember there were no functions necesary for me. I wanted to have audio video time shift correction, video size and position correction, an a few others. It was not efficient enough, as well.

Ah, but the newer versions are much faster than the old ones (yeah, you don't hear that often)!

Joe.

#7
Giant2011

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Well I use potplayer which you can find here : http://codecpack.co/...PotPlayer.html.
It is a very nice video and audio player.

#8
e-t-c

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YEAH - PotPlayer is a smart Mediaplayer based on KMPlayer
here a (non-gatored ;) Link with Infos & Downloads http://www.videohelp...tools/PotPlayer

Posted Image

Portable Version: http://laxorm.devian...table-257544238

Edited by e-t-c, 24 September 2011 - 08:06 AM.

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#9
loblo

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YEAH - PotPlayer is a smart Mediaplayer based on KMPlayer
here a (non-gatored ;) Link with Infos & Downloads http://www.videohelp...tools/PotPlayer

Posted Image

Portable Version: http://laxorm.devian...table-257544238

You're not running Potplayer on Windows98/ME or are you?

Reason I am asking is that you operating system seems to be 2003 and that the only gripe I have with PotPlayer on Windows ME is that I can't access any configuration page in it aside from the initial one and that your screenshot shows a page I can't access.

#10
loblo

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In addition to the already mentioned players, others worth a look are:

Zoom Player which natively supports 98/Me in it's latest beta and has the unique feature of being able to play DirectShow graphs/

http://www.inmatrix....ayer_beta.shtml

MPlayer WW is the only current Mplayer based player that is fully working (must be used without skinned border as to avoid a resource leak when moving the window around).

http://sourceforge.n...cts/mplayer-ww/

BSPlayer: http://www.bsplayer.com/

JetVideo which is very nice and use by default its own proprietary decoders which aren't based on ffmpeg/libavcodec like most of the rest so it is interesting to have.

http://www.jetaudio....ducts/jetvideo/

Also of interest is that 2010 versions of MainConcept DirectShow MPEG-1/2 Demultiplexer, MP4 Demultiplexer, AVC/H.264 Decoder and AAC Audio Decoder are for grabs in the free Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 package:

http://www.microsoft...s.aspx?id=24601

The files you want to get from it are:

mc_dec_aac.dll
mc_dec_aac_ds.ax
mc_dec_avc.dll
mc_dec_avc_ds.ax
mc_demux_mp2_ds.ax
mc_demux_mp4_ds.ax

And there is also LAVFilters a relatively new and interesting open-source alternative/complement to Haali/ffdshow which I have managed to hack so it does fully work under 98/ME. Here:

LAVFilters 0.35 4 98/ME: http://www.mediafire...0va7iua91htbco8

LAVFilters 0.36 4 98/ME: http://www.mediafire...um1602u7i5a5h1p

If you want to use that as file source splitter replacement then either get the installer available on Doom9 or edit the relevant registry keys under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Media Type\Extensions.

And of course for everyone who likes to mess with DirectShow and test out various splitters/decoders configurations, GraphStudio is an invaluable tool with more feature than Graphedit and, best of all it doesn't crash before inserting any filter like Graphedit most often does.

http://blog.monogram...am-graphstudio/

Edited by loblo, 01 October 2011 - 06:41 AM.


#11
loblo

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- According to my research the newer versions of FFDShow are able to use DXVA. The newest one comes in two different builds, one is Windows 2000 compatible, the other is not. Perhaps, it could be possible to port it to Windows 98 with KernelEX.
- DXVA 1.0 was released for Windows 2000 and newer. I've heard some rumors about Windows 98 compatibility, however. The DXVA 2.0 seems to available from Vista up.
- It could be difficult to find a DXVA compatible graphics card able to work in Windows 98.

The only way to get some GPU decoding acceleration under Windows 98/ME would be to use the old and unavailable nVidia software package DVD Decoder (precursor to nVidia Pure Video).

I might be wrong but I think you can forget about anything else since I believe that DXVA 1.0 which is part of the DirectX 8.1 specs and is therefore Windows 98 compatible has never been implemented apart from perhaps in the above mentioned nVidia payware decoder.

#12
loblo

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I'm curious, if anybody was able to get the full HD with Windows 98. In my case the the playback is not efficient, enough.

Well I have tried to play some HD video sample (1920x1072 AVC at 23.976 fps video in mkv container without audio) on my system which is probably as fast as a Windows ME system can get (Opteron 154 2.8GHz CPU and nVidia XFX 7950 GT graphic card) and I got low framerate, always under 20 fps and if I recall correctly more like around 15/16, regardless of what player/splitter/decoder configuration I used.

HD video is not for Windows 98/ME I am afraid since either GPU decoding nor multiple CPU cores decoding is available to us.

Edited by loblo, 01 October 2011 - 07:02 AM.


#13
TmEE

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I would believe the bottleneck would be lack of real video driver and due to that, fast interface to video memory which limits your FPS figure to what it is, no matter what are you using, the data just cannot be moved fast enough... ?

Edited by TmEE, 02 October 2011 - 02:14 AM.

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#14
Sfor

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I did an experiment with a 1920x1080 video clip with a little over 23fps. To get the best out of the computer I disabled the GOM Player internal filters, so the only available performance data were from FFDshow OSD filter. Still, the speed was changing so fast, I could not read the result. The first digit was 1 or 2, the second 0 or 6. So, the fps readouts could be anything between 10, 16, 20 or 26. On scene changes the video was often freezing with 9 or 8 fps on diplay.

While using GOM internal filters the speed was changing in 15-25fps range, with video freezing from time to time.

The test was performed on Windows 98 with P4 2.8Ghz/800Mhz/512kb using DDR400 in qadruple channel and ATI All in Wonder 9000.

The overal experience: It is usable, yet, the frame rate is visibly lower and video freezing on scene changes effect is quiite annoying. The sound was working perfectly.

Edited by Sfor, 02 October 2011 - 02:37 AM.


#15
loblo

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I would believe the bottleneck would be lack of real video driver and due to that, fast interface to video memory which limits your FPS figure to what it is, no matter what are you using, the data just cannot be moved fast enough... ?

Interesting thought but nope, I forgot to say that this was only for decoding the video stream using null renderer so no video card involved.

An Mpeg-2 video of same dimension and a bit higher framerate plays almost normally and this includes rendering but AVC decoding is very demanding in terms of CPU, this is well known.

I think the video hardware I have can cope with the 150-200MB/s of decompressed video frames the playback of those videos require. If you think I am wrong about that, please let me know why.

I think that Sfor has somehow better results than me because I am on an AMD64 whose SSE/SSE2 performance is reportedly very poor.

#16
loblo

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I did an experiment with a 1920x1080 video clip with a little over 23fps. To get the best out of the computer I disabled the GOM Player internal filters, so the only available performance data were from FFDshow OSD filter. Still, the speed was changing so fast, I could not read the result. The first digit was 1 or 2, the second 0 or 6. So, the fps readouts could be anything between 10, 16, 20 or 26. On scene changes the video was often freezing with 9 or 8 fps on diplay.

You can use GraphStudio to do video decoders and renderers performance tests, it's under the view menu, or you can also use haali timecodec (requires to have the haali splitter installed).

Short video segments are recommended in both case since everything will be played back before results are given.

Edited by loblo, 02 October 2011 - 10:52 AM.


#17
TmEE

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Interesting thought but nope, I forgot to say that this was only for decoding the video stream using null renderer so no video card involved.

An Mpeg-2 video of same dimension and a bit higher framerate plays almost normally and this includes rendering but AVC decoding is very demanding in terms of CPU, this is well known.

I think the video hardware I have can cope with the 150-200MB/s of decompressed video frames the playback of those videos require. If you think I am wrong about that, please let me know why.

I think that Sfor has somehow better results than me because I am on an AMD64 whose SSE/SSE2 performance is reportedly very poor.


In that case the generic driver is not the culprit, when you can play different kind video at same res without much problems. I mostly see poor performance from such drivers, but I guess some cards work better than others. I'm soon getting a 3.2GHz/800/1M CPU in mail, perhaps I can try some stuff out, but I think I will be limited by video bandwidth as my Radeon 9600XT is not performing too well on 1680x1050. I will get a Radeon X850XT in future and that runs circles around the 9600 I got right now. nVidia is not an option, I have had nothing but trouble with their cards/drivers, but Ati almost always works flawlessly.
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#18
shae

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I started from a 1GHz PIII CPU as well. I noticed, it plays video much more smoothly than the PIV does. But, at 1280x720 video data resolution it is not able to keep up.

That can't be. Strange and conflicting results on Pentium 3 and 4 must be due to software.

Anyway, other things to try in general:

CrystalPlayer, for its ability to buffer ahead and for letting you configure the behavior when it can't keep up. It also has pretty nice contrast control, and decent subtitles rendering (though it can't be positioned arbitrarily).

MPC is my secondary player when CrystalPlayer isn't sufficient (>2GB files mostly, but not only).

For h264 decoding, old/beta CoreAVC versions might be the fastest decoder that works on 9x.

#19
rilef

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PotPlayer and MPlayer Lite, referenced above, both use MPlayer to play video. MPlayer is awesome in Linux, less so in XP and much less so in 98se/me.

I use SMPlayer, an MPlayer front-end, as my default video player in Linux. SMPlayer also runs in Windows 98SE, using a cygwin build of MPlayer. How to do this is explained here:

http://smplayer.berl...8381f9e6562ec4a

A cygwin build of MPlayer is available here:

http://sourceforge.n...indows/09_2008/

#20
Sfor

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I've been playing with SMPlayer on Windows 98, some time ago. It worked, but I had no possibility to controll the playback with keyboard commands, then. On the other hand it works much better on Linux. I have a Ubuntu with SMPlayer installed on the same computer Windows 98 is installed on. The difference in speed between Ubutu + SMPlayer and Windows 98 + GOM Player is huge. To put it simply, Ubuntu + SMPlayer combo does not stand a chance when facing Windows 98 + GOM Player on a computer with a single core processor.

I noticed my ATI All in wonder 9000 is able to use AGPx4 only. I'm curious if the performance will be better, if I replace it with AGPx8 capable GeForce FX 5500.

Edited by Sfor, 02 October 2011 - 01:44 PM.


#21
PROBLEMCHYLD

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MPlayer WW is the only current Mplayer based player that is fully working (must be used without skinned border as to avoid a resource leak when moving the window around).
http://sourceforge.n...cts/mplayer-ww/

Are you using the latest version?
https://sourceforge....Player_Release/

Edited by PROBLEMCHYLD, 02 October 2011 - 05:53 PM.

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#22
loblo

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Are you using the latest version?
https://sourceforge....Player_Release/

Of course. ;)

#23
PROBLEMCHYLD

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Are you using the latest version?
https://sourceforge....Player_Release/

Of course. ;)

Are you using KernelEX?
When I try running i keep getting a corrupt file error.

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Repent for your sins now or there will be
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#24
loblo

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I couldn't use Windows ME without KernelEx those days, I'd be losing out too much. ;)

Edited by loblo, 04 October 2011 - 02:10 PM.


#25
loblo

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For h264 decoding, old/beta CoreAVC versions might be the fastest decoder that works on 9x.

Yes it seems like it. Here are some results made with haali timecodec using null renderer.

Video file used: http://e.dl.playstat...HD_EN_1080p.zip (AVC - 1920x1080 - 59.940 FPS - 71s)

62s CoreAVC (CoreAVC.ax 2.0.0.0)
73s FFDSHow Video Decoder (ffdshow.ax 1.1.3984.0)
83s MPC Video Decoder (MPCVideoDec.ax 1.5.2.2993)
89s DivX H.264 Decoder (DivXDecH264.ax 9.0.1.21)
97s LAV Video Decoder (LAVVideo.ax 0.36)
112s MainConcept AVC/H.264 Decoder (mc_dec_avc_ds.ax 8.7.0.37256)

Edited by loblo, 05 October 2011 - 04:56 PM.





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