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Hardware Acceleration problem for HD video?

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  • Message 1. Posted by tonyddd (U14413313) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    I have a brand new Core2 Duo nettop PC with Nvidia graphics card and HD video is unwatchable via both iPlayer streaming and iPlayer Desktop download. It is choppy and jerky and it is not due to streaming/bandwidth problems.

    I have installed the Flash Player 10.1 beta and HD content plays from from all other sources and in other programs just fine. Only iPlayer has the problem.

    Any ideas?

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  • Message 2. Posted by tonyddd (U14413313) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    Sorry, running Windows 7 if that helps.

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  • Message 3. Posted by matt (U8621220) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    Hi Tony,

    and it is not due to streaming/bandwidth problems.

    How do you know?

    It might not be a good idea to install a beta version of Flash. Does it make any difference if you use the latest non-beta version?

    If downloads are also struggling, that could be down to Flash or it could be that the CPU can't cope with the playback.

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  • Message 4. Posted by tonyddd (U14413313) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    Thanks for the reply. I know it is now a bandwidth problem as it is exactly the same for downloaded files in the Desktop version. Also, I have a broadband sync rate of 14Mb and performed a speed test that showed me at over 9Mb when I was having problems (no other programs running).

    I tried the Flash Player beta as 10.1 enabled hardware acceleration. The problem also occurred with the standard release. The problem seems to be that the BBC HD content is not using hardware acceleration from my Nvidia GPU as I have played lots of HD (1080p res) content from other sources (in WMP and VLC media players) and it runs just fine, when hardware accelerated.

    Also, HD streaming worked for me fine a while back so I wonder if there has been a change to the encoding or DRM that may be causing this?

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  • Message 5. Posted by EggOnAStilt (U7111730) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    I think in the past turning off hardware acceleration has been the remedy for some users, it makes the cpu do the grunt work and not the graphics card if I remember correctly? The cpu usually being more powerful therefore able to handle it. I may of course be wrong <biggrin>

    <friedegg>

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  • Message 6. Posted by tonyddd (U14413313) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    Thanks, I just tried that but the CPU seems to hit 100% with or without hardware acceleration as the realtively low powered duel core CPU doesn't seem to cope alone. I can watch 1080p files using other players and the GPU seems to take the load off the CPU but it doesn't seem to be the case in iPlayer.

    I think if I can get iPlayer to use the Nvidia hardware acceleration that would do the trick (I've been using the CoreAVC drivers to accomplish this in other players). Does anyone know if the iPlayer is compatible with hardware acceleration?

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  • Message 7. Posted by EggOnAStilt (U7111730) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    to take the load off the CPU but it doesn't seem to be the case in iPlayer

    That is indeed the root of the problem here, iPlayer (HD) is notoriously cpu hungry often pushing them to the limit, it used to cause older computers to shut down.

    I'd be interested to see if you could find a way to make the GPU, rather than the CPU, do it without frying it.

    <friedegg>

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  • Message 8. Posted by jwsg (U14223122) on Wednesday, 7th April 2010 permalink

    As I posted under TV, everything was fine until about the 24th.

    I only have an Atom processor but the Ion chipset with latest Nvidia drivers and Flash 10.1 beta 3 was quite happy to accelerate the h264 decode and take the CPU load right down.

    There were occasional glitches that a browser page reload or cache clear resolved, but now any iPlayer HD stream episode released since the 24th simply does not enable acceleration and so you will get a slideshow unless you have a fairly powerful CPU.

    I've tried a 'Contact Form' to ask what has changed but no reply in a week.

    In the meantime try streaming anything off iPlayer HD dated before the 24th. Downloaded HD programmes are not accelerated even with Adobe Air 2 beta which is a great shame too as this would eliminate download speed issues.

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  • Message 9. Posted by Wally (U14414065) on Thursday, 8th April 2010 permalink

    I had similar problems, I was using an old Dell as a HTPC as it was relatively quiet. It used to stream iPlayer with ease and HD caused the CPU fan to increase in speed but not to the extent that it was overly intrusive. Now iPlayer causes the machine to sound like a vacuum cleaner and I have had to stop using it for iPlayer . The processor was a P4 2.8 ghz and the graphics card was an ATI 1650. Old equipment but should be able to stream normal iPlayer?

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  • Message 10. Posted by Jacob A (U14414387) on Thursday, 8th April 2010 permalink

    I too am now suffer problems playing back anything in the desktop iPlayer, HD or SD. It was fine till I stupidly accepted the update. (Why did I do that?)

    Streamed content is just fine but downloaded is just painful.

    I had the same issues with the previous release until I tried the beta flash drivers but no luck this time.

    Wish the BBC would stop messing with the iPlayer as it was working just fine.

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  • Message 11. Posted by matt (U8621220) on Thursday, 8th April 2010 permalink

    Hi CurreidCat,

    Wish the BBC would stop messing with the iPlayer as it was working just fine

    It wasn't working fine. That's why they updated it. Noone ever said that you need to use the latest version though.

    Release notes for iPlayer Desktop version 1.5
    www.bbc.co.uk/iplaye...

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  • Message 12. Posted by thatchamjag (U14421337) on Tuesday, 13th April 2010 permalink

    I have a Dell Zino HD.
    This worked fine until the April update. I only installed it due to the claim, "Optimisation of CPU usage in full screen - 20% - 40% improvement"

    It doesn't. I notice much more detail than with the previous software, but the picture is so jerky it's unwatchable.

    BluRay playback is fine, as is other HD content.

    BBC, what can be done to resolve this?

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  • Message 13. Posted by saytoo (U14421976) on Tuesday, 13th April 2010 permalink

    There is a duplicate thread on this on the TV forum
    www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    and also on Adobe forums
    forums.adobe.com/thr...

    Adobe claim that BBC have changed to interlaced content which they removed hardware acceleration support for due to problems with some hardware, and they do not plan to reinstate it.

    I just cannot believe BBC made this switch without consulting with Adobe- not only have they now made Iplayer HD completely useless on Ion based HTPCs and laptops, they are forcing all PC users to use the incredibly efficient Adobe software H.264 decoder, which uses about twice the CPU of ffdshow or CoreAVC, running up at over 70% CPU on my dual core machine, making doing any other task virtually impossible with slow down or picture breakup. BBC need to reverse this decision ASAP!

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  • Message 14. Posted by tonyddd (U14413313) on Wednesday, 14th April 2010 permalink

    Hi saytoo. Can I suggest that anyone else who is having this problem contacts the BBC directly for support as I'm not sure that they are fully aware of this problem yet and I'm not sure if these messageboards are monitored by the iPlayer development team.

    I say this because, after waiting around a week for a reply to my enquiry, I got a standard-looking response telling me that if the video is stuttery I should try clearing my cache, re-installing Flash Player etc. This implies to me that they are not fully aware of the Interlaced H.264 problem with hardware acceleration as it was not mentioned at all in their reply.

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  • Message 15. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Wednesday, 14th April 2010 permalink

    BBC does seem to be making an effort to make comments now, for instance I think they managed to fix today the problem with early licence expirey eg see thread www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb... which now has some BBC response in it eg msg#23 & 31

    With any luck the BBC will also comment on this subject shortly

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  • Message 16. Posted by Simon (U14426119) on Friday, 16th April 2010 permalink

    I recently purchased a Dell Zino HD which exhibited the same problem. I installed the latest Flash 10.1 RC which made no difference. However, when I downloaded and installed the older Flash Beta version 10.1.51.66 (downloaded from a Bittorrent site) the HD streamed perfectly. Hope this helps.

    Simon.

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  • Message 17. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Friday, 16th April 2010 permalink


    Adobe claim that BBC have changed to interlaced ( msg #13 )

    Whilst it may be reasonable for the BBC not to support or comment on users with RC or Beta third party software IF you are sure the BBC has made a recent change that you think affects your use of iPlayer then in my opinion you could expect the BBC to be able to comment on that.
    You may of course be interested in the long ongoing discussion about HD changes in BBC blogs. Are you merely asking about the original changes in HD rather than anything specific to iPlayer ?

    If you are sure of your facts use the contact form, in addition to posting on the messageboard. But are you sure there was a BBC change ?
    You could even ask if there was a change, (Other than the recent iPlayer Desktop update from v1.4 to v1.5)
    who knows the BBC may comment,. but try to word your question accurately.

    John

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  • Message 18. Posted by jwsg (U14223122) on Saturday, 17th April 2010 permalink

    Hi. I think I might have been amongst the first to post, over on TV, after I found that all new episodes on HD iPlayer were no longer accelerating. At the same time I sent a Contact Form which has still had no response.

    It was possible to play each successive episode in any given series and clearly see that ones dated after about March 24 were slideshows which is fairly good evidence of a change. After another week or so other posts (e.g. this thread) started to appear including on Adobe Labs Forum.

    Adobe techincal do seem quite responsive to feedback and their analysis was that H264 Interlaced is being used, expressing surprise about this for web content, and confirming that Interlaced is not supported for acceleration on the new FLASH 10.1. They also have tried to contact iPlayer.

    Without GPU acceleration only a powerful PC is able to smoothly display HD iPlayer ruling out the smaller ones more likely connected to TVs.

    There are occasional messages from the iPlayer team on this Board so I haven't yet given up all hope but remain disappointed and uable to enjoy recent programmes in HD.

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  • Message 19. Posted by Tom (U14210634) on Tuesday, 20th April 2010 permalink

    I'm afraid the BBC 720p streaming is still very inefficient. The beta Flash Player has helped reduce the load but until you will still need a more powerful CPU. You need to get the load down to around 50% to stand a chance of smooth playback.

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  • Message 20. Posted by duck4cover (U14369307) on Tuesday, 20th April 2010 permalink

    Apart from the obvious video performance descriptions above, how do you know for certain that the GPU processing is taking the load or not?

    I have a pretty good spec Mac that's GPU capable, but completely unaware as to how you view it happening eg CPU usage I can see in the Mac's equivalent of Task manager.

    Are there online tools? Also, how would you differentiate between two video files as being GPU enabled or not?

    PS I don't have of the video playing issues, just really curious to know....

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