Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
jinzora
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:52 am

MPlay wishlist

Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:12 pm

First let me start by thanking you guys for MPlay. It is really great, and the only reason I'm taking my time to write all this is because I want to help. Some of this will be obvious, some maybe not. Again you guys are doing a great job, this is not critisim, it's just meant to help move things along.

In writing this I have one primary goal in mind - to leave my DVD player behind and NEVER use it again. I'd stream ALL DVD's from my PC...

I'm also putting this in psudo-order of what I feel is most important:

MUST HAVE
----------------------------------
- Subtitle support. I think this one is HUGE. Yes, I watch a lot of forigen films, but this is important even in films like Star Wars. A MUST to make this a full switch. This is the biggest problem right now IMHO.

- DTS audio support. Gotta have. This might be a hardware issue? (I haven't really looked into this one much so forgive me...)

- "True" progress reporting. Yes, it shows me where I am in the current VOB - this does me NO good at all. I need to be able to see where I am in entire movie. This is the biggest thing that bugs me personally - I love to know where I am in the movie, drives me nuts that I can't know...

- TRUE fast forward and rewind - not 3 minutes ahead and 30 seconds back. Variable speeds based on how many times I press FF or RW. Just like my TiVo. Another biggie...

- Each time I resume from Pause it takes about 3 seconds for the "Play" icon to show on screen - and when it does the audio jumps. Bug I guess...

Would be VERY nice...
----------------------------------
- A progress "bar" - graphically showing me the above. When you press Play or Pause it comes up. Pressing Play again makes it disappear, after say 2 seconds. My DVD player does this, WMCE does this, MPlay should :-)

- Being able to see time remaining, and time played. So you could see "13:18" and "-1:23:17" - and could switch on the fly.

- Resume from last. Say I'm watching something. I decide I'm done for the night with that film - I switch to audio. It would be nice to easily come back to where I left off - WinDVD does this - asking do I want to resume where I left off last time... You get the idea...

Would be nice, but low priority...
----------------------------------
- True DVD menu navigation. Since I rip with Shrink and re-author I don't really care about this one but it should be supported.


That's about all I can think of at the moment. I'd love to hear ideas from everyone - guys maybe even some bounties to get this stuff done? As I too run a project I know how busy one can get - so maybe some motivation to get you guys going ;-)

Again thanks for all your hard work with MPlay - right now it is the ONLY thing keeping me from selling my Roku, which is sad. It's sad that I paid them $500 and not you guys...

Ross
Project Leader - Jinzora
Jinzora :: Free Your Media
http://www.jinzora.com
 
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TheEndless
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Re: MPlay wishlist

Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:14 pm

Ok, well.. you're not going to like this response, but here goes :P
Many of the features you've suggested have been discussed in length in other posts in this forum. For consolidation purposes, I'll go through them one by one.

jinzora wrote:
- Subtitle support. I think this one is HUGE. Yes, I watch a lot of forigen films, but this is important even in films like Star Wars. A MUST to make this a full switch. This is the biggest problem right now IMHO.

We couldn't agree more. This is a very oft-requested feature. Unfortunately, the Cascade SDK provided by Roku does not expose sub-picture streams in videos. FYI, contrary to what I originally thought before doing the research (and probably a popular misconception) subtitles are actually stored as pre-rendered sub-picture streams in the video that are overlayed on top of the main video. They are are not stored as simple text as one might think. For more information on how subtitles are stored, see this link: http://sam.zoy.org/writings/dvd/subtitles/

jinzora wrote:
- DTS audio support. Gotta have. This might be a hardware issue? (I haven't really looked into this one much so forgive me...)

Again, this is a Roku issue. As soon as Roku adds support for DTS in videos, it will automagically start working in MPlay.

jinzora wrote:
- "True" progress reporting. Yes, it shows me where I am in the current VOB - this does me NO good at all. I need to be able to see where I am in entire movie. This is the biggest thing that bugs me personally - I love to know where I am in the movie, drives me nuts that I can't know...

MPlay works the way it currently does for one main reason. It doesn't assume that the full video is available when you start playing, so you can actually start playback while the video is still being captured/transcoded/recorded. As such, MPlay doesn't assume that the available files and file sizes are the final files and file sizes. We could probably come up with something that recalculates every time you hit Info, but I'm not certain. I'll let Marcelo address that further.

jinzora wrote:
- TRUE fast forward and rewind - not 3 minutes ahead and 30 seconds back. Variable speeds based on how many times I press FF or RW. Just like my TiVo. Another biggie...

Again, we're stymied by the Cascade SDK. True FF and RW require being able to only decode i-frames in the video. Currently these aren't exposed to us. This is a feature I think everyone wants.

jinzora wrote:
- Each time I resume from Pause it takes about 3 seconds for the "Play" icon to show on screen - and when it does the audio jumps. Bug I guess...

This isn't actually a bug, it's a feature. When you resume from a paused state, MPlay attempts to re-sync the audio. The intended purpose was to allow you to hit Pause/Pause to re-sync if the audio drifted. Marcelo is already working on making it so this only happens if you do indeed do a Pause/Pause, so it won't happen when pausing for other reasons.

jinzora wrote:
- A progress "bar" - graphically showing me the above. When you press Play or Pause it comes up. Pressing Play again makes it disappear, after say 2 seconds. My DVD player does this, WMCE does this, MPlay should :-)

Not a bad idea, but likely only possible if we can address the issue above.

jinzora wrote:
- Being able to see time remaining, and time played. So you could see "13:18" and "-1:23:17" - and could switch on the fly.

I'd like this one, too. It's a bit tricky, though, since we can't (I think) get at the timecodes in the video. We could probably approximate based on calculated bitrates and actual "playing" time, but it's unlikely we'd be very accurate. For DVD rips, we could probably make assumptions based on info available in the IFOs as well. Definitely something worth looking into.

jinzora wrote:
- Resume from last. Say I'm watching something. I decide I'm done for the night with that film - I switch to audio. It would be nice to easily come back to where I left off - WinDVD does this - asking do I want to resume where I left off last time... You get the idea...

This feature already exists. As long as the Roku has write access to the shares hosting the video, it automatically bookmarks where the video was last stopped, and will ask you to resume the next time you go to play it. You should see a <videofilename>.mplay file in the same folder as the video, which contains this and other information.

jinzora wrote:
- True DVD menu navigation. Since I rip with Shrink and re-author I don't really care about this one but it should be supported.

We've already been working on this one, but as you may have guessed, we're again hindered by the current SDK. Quoted from this post (http://www.rokulabs.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=28109#28109):
TheEndless wrote:
The main problem is with the internal buffering in the MPEG decoder. There is no way currently from the SDK to determine the buffer fullness of the decoder, nor is there any way to find out what frame was last decoded. Another problem is there is no way to flush the decoder without closing it and re-opening it, which as can be seen in MPlay when you fast-forward/rewind, causes a noticeable black screen. The result is either a black screen when you access a menu item, or a several second delay before the menu item is accessed due to the decoder playing out it's buffer.

On top of those issues, sub-picture streams are also not exposed by the SDK, so menu overlays (and subtitles) are not available.

The question is, how difficult is it to expose the information detailed above? The answer is, I don't know...

I've actually written a working DVD player application for the Roku, but the inability to display still frame menus (because of the first point above) makes it virtually unusable with 90% of the DVDs out there.

jinzora wrote:
Again thanks for all your hard work with MPlay - right now it is the ONLY thing keeping me from selling my Roku, which is sad. It's sad that I paid them $500 and not you guys...

You can still send us the $500 if you want. There's a donation link on the web site ;)

TheEndless
My Channels: http://roku.permanence.com - Twitter: @TheEndlessDev
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jinzora
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:52 am

Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:44 pm

Endless,

Again I am amazed by your quick and detailed response. Rather than doing a point by point quoting you let me point out a few things:

- I assumed much of this was already posted - I wanted to get all my thoughts in one place

- I also assumed much of what isn't implemented is due to Roku and not you. You have confirmed what I already know - Roku is a half baked company tha doesnt' really do anything 100%. They have an SDK - awesome. It's woefully inadequate - not suprising.

- I also understand the sub-video stream issue with the sub-titles. That's a bummer - that may be the no-go that keeps me from switching 100%. Especially when there are solutions out there that do support this.

- Of all the things you counter pointed on the one that seems doable is the "progress bar" or "time left" features. To me this would be huge. Not sure how much but I would certainly make a donation for these features. I'm sure others would use them too.

Again you guys have a great app here - seriously it's the ONLY reason I'm keeping my Roku for now. Your support is the second reason I don't want to give up - I want to be part of the community you guys (NOT Roku - you guys) have built here.

Hopefully Roku reads these from time to time. I hate to keep bashing them, but they clearly as a company just don't get it. The PB should be their "Premiere Product" yet they treat is like a second class citizen - no support, no excitement, no development, so much left un-done. As I said it should be called a "reference platform" - not a 2.x product.

Thanks again, I'll await the time remaining features with baited breath ;-)

Ross
Project Leader - Jinzora

Jinzora :: Free Your Media

http://www.jinzora.com
 
dgburns
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:37 am

Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:55 pm

jinzora wrote:
- I also assumed much of what isn't implemented is due to Roku and not you. You have confirmed what I already know - Roku is a half baked company tha doesnt' really do anything 100%. They have an SDK - awesome. It's woefully inadequate - not suprising.


Keep in mind much of the what the SDK can offer is limited by the ATI hardware. The Xilleon (sp?) chip.

jinzora wrote:
Hopefully Roku reads these from time to time.


Please don't hold your breath. From time to time, but no evidence of any regularity, let alone responsiveness.

jinzora wrote:
but they clearly as a company just don't get it. The PB should be their "Premiere Product" yet they treat is like a second class citizen


Isn't it sad? This think could be SO great.
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