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Help please on mpg and DVD files

Discussion in 'HDR-FOX T2 Freeview Recorder' started by johnb, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. johnb

    johnb Member

    I'm looking at buying a HDR-Fox T2 and I have been reading the invaluable threads here but I would very much appreciate some help on a few things.

    I have a fair number of mpg files recorded from a Hauppage USB tuner stick, edited and converted from ts to mpg VideoReDo. From reading the forum I can see that the HDR-Fox T2 will play these from a PC but the only navigation will be Play and Pause (this is a great pity).

    If I copy the files onto the HDR internal HDD will the nagivation still only be Play and Pause?

    Is there any way round this?

    Also - if I have a ripped DVD on my PC, or the files from a DVD authoring package (i.e. the standard DVD folders with the usual DVD file contents) - can these be played by the HDR and will there be the normal navigation?

    Many thanks for your help.
  2. Black Hole

    Black Hole May contain traces of nut

    DVD files are generally a series of .vob files, and I do not believe the HD/HDR-FOX will play them. I don't have experience of .mpg, but I know .mp4 works.

    In the Index to Existing Informative Threads (see the pinned topics at the start of the forum listing), see "video files" (by coincidence I only found the reference this morning.

    I'm using a mobile browser at the moment so I will add links later.
  3. fenlander

    fenlander Active Member

    I just checked a file I saved this morning and can confirm: VRD .mpg files copied to the Hummy internal disk are play/pause only - no transport control.
  4. johnb

    johnb Member

    Thanks for your help.

    I started off looking for a means to stream video files from my PC (e.g. WD TV Live or Boxee Box, etc) but then I happened upon the HDR-Fox T2 and thought it would be an absolutely ideal combination of TV recorder and local network media streamer, with iPlayer access thrown in.

    The HDR seems a great piece of kit but as the local network media streaming seems rather limited I need to think again. (Image of a dog chasing its tail comes to mind!)
  5. oijonesey

    oijonesey Hummy.tv SEO Guru

    Have you taken the modifed firmware media server into account? I don't use it that much but my understanding is that it fills in the blanks left by the standard Humax media server. Its probably a bit worrying to think of hacking a box you've not even bought yet but it really does make the box more than the sum of its parts (and it's completely undo-able :))
  6. Drutt

    Drutt Active Member

    Don't know if this is an option for you, but using something like Handbreak or Avidemux (or one of many other mp4 converters out there) to convert your mpgs (and DVDS) to mp4/h264 would give you transport controls back again (and smaller files too:)). It might also be possible to use a media server that does on the fly transcoding to h264 which I think would give transport controls too (anyone tried this?). I do a lot of media serving using the modified software on my HD Fox T2 to mount network files shares, rather then using DLNA, and this works brilliantly, but most stuff I play tends to be h264 (either converted by Handbreak or from get_iplayer). If you're looking for a cheaper option the HD Fox T2 + a usb drive is also worth considering, if you're not bothered about having 2 tuners.
  7. johnb

    johnb Member

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I try to avoid transcoding from one lossy format to another, especially with audio, but I've done some tests out of curiosity.

    First I transcoded a mpg file to mp4 using VideoReDo (I already had the software as I am a long time user of VideoReDo). The resulting video, displayed on my HP x23LED monitor, was pretty reasonable but did show some transcoding artefacts.

    I then transcoded the same file to DivX using TMPG Express 4. The video was actually very good and any difference from the original wouldn't really be noticed. The audio was also transcoded from mp2 to mp3 but I set the audio bitrate to 320, hoping to minimise the transcoding loss.

    So - that is possible, especially as it will only be relevant to my existing files (plus any DVD rips).

    One thought though - HDDs eventually die. If I do get e HDR-Fox T2, as an insurance measure, I will probably look what HDD it is using and buy a spare HDD of the same type. (HDDs develop so rapidly that there is no guarantee that a compatible drive will be available if and when the original drive fails.) It should then be possible to clone the existing drive using, say, Acronis.
  8. Black Hole

    Black Hole May contain traces of nut

    I think it is less likely that a suitable drive was not available than the drive you had in stock didn't work when you got it out. If the original drive fails, then you won't be able to image it anyway.

    If you have precious content, you need to keep it in at least two places (and keep checking it).
  9. drummerboy46

    drummerboy46 New Member


    I've been thinking about getting a HDR-Fox T2 again since the introduction of custom firmware after being very disappointed with the DLNA media support OOTB. I specifically wanted to build a library of my DVD collection and have invested a lot of time in the MKV format as it supports MPEG2/AC3/Sub without the need to re-encode. They all live on my rather fab Buffalo Linkstation LIVE 2TB and i'm currently streaming reliably to a fetchTV. But as a PVR/Freeview+HD solution, it's really awful!

    From what i've read about the custom firmware, I can mount network shares as if they were USB drives and playback direct, without the need for DLNA (or copying to the local drive). Can someone confirm this for sure???

    Also has aspect ratio switching (16:9 , 4:3) support improved at all. I remember it wasnt switchable or detectable on MKV files. Although I seem to remember it did detect the correct aspect with .ts files. Finally will it ff/rw files? I also remember that it didnt over DLNA.

    Thanks in advance if anyone can clarify.

  10. Drutt

    Drutt Active Member

    You can indeed :)

    Sorry not sure about aspect ratio on MKVs, but if ff/rw worked when they were local, then it should also work over a network share. If no-one else can answer, I can encode an MKV and give it a try sometime...

  11. GeoffHL

    GeoffHL New Member

    I have an input to JohnB's message of 17th October 2011 (near to the top of this thread): re streaming DVDs to the Hummy. Now that I have my brand-new HDR-FOX T2 (with modified software installed and MANY THANKS to all the efforts that have gone in to a fantastic set of additional functionality) I want to rationalise my set-top boxes and in particular junk my old PVR/DVD player. But the FOX doesn't have a DVD slot so I looked into streaming a DVD playing on my PC (Lenovo 3000 C200 laptop running Ubuntu 10.04. DVD drive is a Matshita DVD-RAM UJ-850) I have found a solution by using VLC to stream a DVD into a temporary file and simultaneously stream the file to the Hummy using a DLNA streamer (ushare) across my home network (wifi connection to the PC, wired connection to the Hummy. The Router is a Belkin 802.11 b/g.) VLC and ushare are easy to install in Ubuntu and fairly easy to use; they are both available from the Ubuntu repositories. At present they are providing "VLC media player 1.0.6 Goldeneye" and "ushare v 1.1a". I write my temporary file into /tmp/streaming/. All files written to /tmp/ are deleted automatically on logout because of the settings on my system.

    The streaming seems to work well but I haven't overcome these limitations:

    1) plenty of (unnecessary) hard disk accesses writing and reading the temporary file! My Lenovo seems able to cope as long as VLC does not simultaneously render the video onto the PC screen,

    2) no solution for DVD menu navigation
    3) no success as yet with getting DVD subtitles to render on the Hummy. The worst issue for me because my wife and I are both deaf.

    4) the Hummy does stop rendering the stream at random times. I'm not sure whether this is a problem in the streaming from my PC or in the rendering of the incoming stream by a Hummy. I would be very interested in what others find here.

    5) no solution for blu-ray

    I copied the temporary file onto my external hard disk and plugged it into the Hummy's front USB socket. The file rendered fine that way, but no subtitles, so if JohnB wants to just copy the DVD onto the FOX as a "flat" mpeg-2 he can do that too.

    If anyone is interested in the above, I can provide more information on request.

    Unanswered questions:

    1) The more obvious choice for streaming is PS3 Media Server (I have PMS v. 1.50.0). That's also fairly easy to install and use in Ubuntu (just needs the Java Run Time installed and also a few additional apps that it tells you about). The advantage is that VLC can be registered as an "engine" in PMS and the DVD can then be streamed straight out of VLC, via PMS, without the need to mess about with temporary files. Also, it might be possible to stream subtitles - not sure if the ushare solution above will do that.

    I was able to get the PMS streamer working and the top of the pc directory structure visible on the TV, BUT - will the Hummy render a streamed subtitle via this method? I haven't been able to find out because I then hit head-on the Hummy reboot bug (well documented elsewhere in these forums); it's possible to descend one or two levels in the streamed directory but the Hummy crashes EVERY TIME I try to open a directory containing a streamed file! I tried every PMS parameter change that I could think of but could not change the Hummy's behaviour.

    If anyone knows how to set up PMS to successfully stream (for example an mpeg-2 file) to the HDR-FOX T2, I would be very grateful to hear.
  12. jack616

    jack616 Member

    I suspect (but dont quote me) You'd need to use .TS to include subtitles - ie put your sub-titles into a .TS stream with the mpeg-2 video and stream that
    (Try TSMuxer) - either that or re-encode the mpeg-2 with subtitles imposed on the video. I would think both solutions SHOULD work on the Humax.

    My needs are somewhat similar to the original posters and after much experimentation I've come to the conclusion
    that menu/chaptering on the Humax will always be impossible. The boxes only support plain video formats (eg AVI) and TS/M2TS
    I cant even get fast forward/reverse to work in TS streams I encode myself but that should be possible somehow.

    MKV keeps being raised but nobody has ever produced a single MKV file I can find that even plays. And I've tried lots from many sources
    as well as encoding them myself. I've come to the conclusion that MKV is never going to be possible on the Humax. And TS files are pointless elsewhere.
    I'm getting pretty proficient with the MKToolnix chain now though.

    Given the low cost of physically small USB powered 1TB external drives I've also settled on avoiding streaming issues entirely and am now
    converting my DVD collection to MKV files with chapters/some audio tracks for visual impaired.
    These I'm collecting on a hard drive for LG TV use. If I want to watch via the HUMAX I do a quick TsMuxer on the MKV and keep them as temporary
    .TS copies in a seperate partition. These I delete after watching. The original purchased DVD serves as backup for the hard drive.

    This seems to be the best I can find to do with current limitations. It avoids all re-encoding at every stage. A full 8GB DVD
    takes about 12-15 minutes to process this way including chapters every 5 minutes. The only issue I have is my LG TV doesnt do DTS
    audio so on some DVD's I do have to re-encode to AC3 - fortunately theres a simple solution for that avoiding demuxing and sync issues entirely.
    I have done this with a couple of bluray discs also without problems.

    It would be nice to find a good menuing system for the portable drives for when plugged into a laptop but i'm not there yet.
    The good thing about the LG TV is it does that for you.

    If anyone can improve on that I'd welcome any (practical) input but I'm not interested in streaming.
  13. fenlander

    fenlander Active Member

    Maybe you don't read answers to your own queries in other threads. Please see my answer here. I'll provide you with an .nzb file if you wish - assuming you have usenet access.
  14. GeoffHL

    GeoffHL New Member

    More on: streaming a DVD to a Humax HDR-FOX T2

    I wrote earlier above about my attempts to stream a DVD from my PC to my new Hummy and success in finding a method of streaming the audio and video on the FOX. I also reported my lack of success in rendering subtitles (which we need in this house as both myself and my wife are deaf).

    I've made some further tests and conclude that it's not straightforward, and maybe impossible at this stage of the Humax software development, to render streamed sub-titles on the HDR-FOX T2.

    Test 1:

    I streamed an mpeg-2 (in a TS container, as with all my test files) to the local network from my Ubuntu PC, using ushare as described earlier in this thread. On a second Ubuntu PC I started VLC and activated the uPnP function. VLC then rendered the streamed mpeg-2 perfectly INCLUDING rendering the embedded subpicture subtitles. So ushare does a great job in streaming complex mpeg-2 content.

    Test 2:

    I again streamed the same mpeg-2 by the same method and this time rendered the file on the Hummy (i.e. by selecting "Network Storage"). Once again the audio and video rendered properly but the subpicture subtitles did NOT.

    Test 3:

    I copied a Hummy SD recording (with subtitles) onto a USB memory stick. I then played this copy back in the Hummy (i.e. by selecting USB storage). The copy rendered perfectly including the subtitles.

    Test 4:

    As always the copy placed 3 files on the memory stick, filename.ts - the actual mpeg, filename.hmt and filename.nts. I renamed the *.hmt file (using my PC) then put the USB memory back into the Humax and replayed the copy. Now the Hummy refused to display subtitles although they were still embedded in the mpeg file (The file plays AND displays subtitles using Xine or VLC on my PC). Just to round this off I restored the filename and repeated the exercise. Once again the Hummy rendered everything perfectly, including subtitles!

    Test 5:

    I copied the mpeg-2 that I had used in tests 1/2 onto the USB memory and played that using the Hummy. Once again the HDR-FOX T2 rendered sound and video but refused to render sub-titles. An associated *.hmt header file seem to be an absolute requirement to do that. It seems unlikely that any streaming software will send those across a network! Pity.

    I hope that this is of some interest to the user group. I'll report this as a bug to Humax and see what they have to say.
  15. Black Hole

    Black Hole May contain traces of nut

    Many thanks for your forensic analysis. Employing a proper scientific approach and writing up the method and results so that others can verify and extend the research is key to progress.
  16. oijonesey

    oijonesey Hummy.tv SEO Guru

    Would that mean you should also write to the DLNA group with your findings/request? As far as I have learnt on my travels through the streaming world it is compliance with and/or support of DLNA or streaming protocols generally that dictates how it works. Case in point the hummy will play some video files locally but cannot stream them. I wonder - have the people out there who defined streaming requirements missed out the wants of those needing subtitles?
  17. Ezra Pound

    Ezra Pound Well-Known Member

    So has a crime been committed?
  18. GeoffHL

    GeoffHL New Member

    I just make the observation that broadcasters don't send *.hmt files via DVB-T. So why should dlna servers? Surely an issue for Humax - not the Digital Living Network Alliance?
  19. oijonesey

    oijonesey Hummy.tv SEO Guru

    Good point well made - where are subtitles stored? In the video stream presumably based on your point. So perhaps like you say it is an issue for Humax to build something that has to rely on something outside the norm. So bearing in mind Humax built an HD machine that can't stream anything over 4gb ( which is less than an hour of HD) it seems they might have also missed something else on the streaming front as well.
  20. GeoffHL

    GeoffHL New Member

    In an earlier reply to this thread I opined that it is not straightforward, maybe impossible at present, to render subtitles on the Humax HDR-FOX T2 when playing incoming streams of mpeg containing subtitles. This was a bit disappointing as both myself and my wife are deaf and need them!

    I wondered whether it would be possible to import a file, a properly constructed MPEG containing AV and subtitles and have the Hummy display all the content including the subtitles. The obvious way to do that would be to use Raydon's excellent AV2HDR-T2 program. Unfortunately he doesn't address the subtitle issue and actually removes the subtitle streams from a recording. I hope that he will enhance the application at some time soon (I have v1.0.0.0).

    I have therefore investigated further and found that this time there IS a solution. So I'm now able to record material using my Skystar II DVB-S card onto a USB memory stick, insert the stick into the Hummy's front panel and play immediately with subtitles properly rendered. In case there might be some interest about this, and encouraged by Black Hole's comment about my previous input, here's what I did.

    Note: I made these tests using the Skystar installed on my Linux Ubuntu system computer; I have experimented only with SD channels.

    1. Use a program like VLC to write a file into a usb device (example a memory stick). For example the instruction:

    cvlc dvb-s:// --dvb-frequency=10803000 --dvb-voltage=18 --dvb-srate=22000000 --programs=6422 --sout "#standard{access=file,mux=ts,dst='/media/Transcend/Import/test.ts'}"

    writes a BBC2 England broadcast in a TS container into the file 'test.ts' on /media/Transcend/Import. Because the "--programs" switch has been specified (note the "s") all streams associated with Broadcast Service ID 6422 (BBC2) are copied into the recording. The PMT (Program Map Table) is also written.

    Other software might work but it MUST write the PMT and subtitles into the container along with the AV streams. I've only tried VLC.

    2. Copy any original Hummy recording's header files (*.nts and *.hmt) into the same folder. Both MUST be installed. Rename them (in this example) to test.nts and test.hmt. (Use the FTP facility or copy any Hummy recording to the USB to get the header files. Another method is to use AV2HDR-T2). Delete any test.thm file in the folder.

    3. Update the test.hmt file with the appropriate Audio, Video, Service and PMT IDs. Use an application like ProjectX to find out the values. I found that VLC always writes the streams with the same IDs regardless of the channel tuned. You can even instruct VLC to set the ID values that you prefer. You'll need a binary editor (e.g. "hexeditor") or another app to make the changes in the *.hmt file.

    4. There is one additional complication. The Hummy will play test.ts OK (without subtitles) regardless of the TS packet length (192 or 188 bytes) and provided that there are NO header files. To play the subtitles the header files must be added as described above. With header files in place the Hummy will only render the mpeg if the packet length is 192 bytes. If, as in my case, packets dumped by the capture device are 188 bytes they must be converted. Unfortunately VLC cannot do that so another app is required. (Not AV2HDR-T2. It makes the conversion but the resulting *.ts file can't be used if subtitles are to be rendered).

    The file will now play perfectly AND WITH subtitles. It will also fast forward and reverse and step forward and reverse but all the position indications will be incorrect. Fast play is VERY heavily pixellated. The Information panel will also display values associated with the original Hummy recording. To "fix" the I panel it's necessary to edit further fields in the *.hmt file.

    Notes: the file won't play beyond the record length set in the original broadcast. Any *.nts file can be used but it has to be "long enough" otherwise, again, the playback will suddenly stop. Best to use a pair of header files from a very long Hummy recording?

    Now I just need to find out how to convert my DVDs into mpeg files with subtitles and I shall be able to "play" them on the Hummy. Anyone know how to do that please?

    Footnote: I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED with my Hummy. I love its functionality and THAT is tremendously enhanced by the "modified software". Thanks again to all the contributors. I hope though that Humax will put a bit of effort into improving the file importing capabilities of a future release.