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dbeales
Topic Author
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:18 pm
Location: London, UK

Long pause displaying "Working..." before .m4a son

Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:26 am

Anyone come across this - when I try to play an AAC music file (i.e. .m4a suffix) using Sonata ("Listen"), there is a pause of about 2 mins before anything happens.
During this time, "Working..." is displayed. When it kicks back into life, there is the "Buffering 25% 50% 75% 100%" message over maybe half a second, then the song plays.
This only affects .m4a files, which I have created using both iTunes 5 and 6 on a Mac. When playing .mp3 files created from iTunes there is no delay. The bitrate is 160kbps for both.

To take any network issues out of the equation, I reloaded the current PB firmware (2.0.36) - so losing all the network shares - and copied a .mp3 and .m4a file to a CF card, and played from there. Same problem.

I also tried installing soiaf's ALAC/AAC auto-switching codec, just to see if that made a difference, but it didn't.

Any idea what the PB is trying to do when it's displaying "Working..." ?

I've tried files with and without embedded cover art, but it makes no difference.

Any help would be appreciated.

Damon
 
soiaf
Posts: 785
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:19 am

Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:48 am

I encountered the same problem when trying to play AAC files from a compact flash card, see:

http://www.rokulabs.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3169

I haven't tried playing AAC files from the network using 2.0.36, but I know I used to be able to play AAC files fine over the network.

Unfortunately my M4A 'psuedo' codec wouldn't help in this situtation, it would just recognise that the file is an AAC file and then call the appropriate AAC codec, which is where the problem lies.
 
dbeales
Topic Author
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:18 pm
Location: London, UK

Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:09 am

Thanks for the quick reply - very interesting.
However, I see this problem when playing files from the network - I only reverted to putting files on a CF card to take the network out of the equation.
(Exactly the same symptoms as the problem you reported, however).

I'll try reverting to an older version of software to see if this is something recently introduced. Did your problem get solved by the way? The last post on your thread was in June, and doesn't really reach a conclusion.

Although this beta does support .m4a, it's very basic when compared to .mp3 - I mean, "Listen" shows shows name, artist and album for .mp3 files - but only the basic filename for .m4a files

I would have though an increasing number of people will have .m4a files, seeing the huge numbers of iPods being shifted, and AAC is iTunes default.

Damon
 
dbeales
Topic Author
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:18 pm
Location: London, UK

Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:50 am

Here's my finding based on different software revisions, with attempting to play a .m4a file from both CF card and network share.
Each time, I used the CF card method to update the software.

2.0.28
CF: long pause, displays "Working..."
NETW: perfect

2.0.34
CF: long pause, displays "Working..."
NETW: perfect

2.0.35:
CF: long pause, displays "Working..."
NETW: unreliable performance - pauses for 15-30sec when song first selected, THEN "Working..." is displayed very briefly, then song plays

2.0.36:
CF: long pause, displays "Working..."
NETW: long pause, displays "Working..."

So,

1. It looks like soiaf's problem he reported in JUNE about playing via CF card has never been fixed (6 months ago - appalling!)

2. Instability in network access when accessing .m4a using Sonata was introduced in 2.0.35

3. This was made worse, possibly by introducing a further access misconfiguration when the segment size fix was made for improved video performance

It's a shame in order to get correct video performance (via 2.0.36), we have to lose audio performace!

Roku, please check for anything that needs to be tweaked in Sonata to match the recent segment size adjustment. Give us a Xmas present!

Damon
 
dgburns
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:37 am

Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:03 am

dbeales wrote:
1. It looks like soiaf's problem he reported in JUNE about playing via CF card has never been fixed (6 months ago - appalling!)


Shouldn't be any surprise, really. Unfortunately, there's NO indication from anyone at Roku that there's ANY development underway.
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soiaf
Posts: 785
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:19 am

Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:35 am

dbeales wrote:
Although this beta does support .m4a, it's very basic when compared to .mp3 - I mean, "Listen" shows shows name, artist and album for .mp3 files - but only the basic filename for .m4a files


Unfortunately Sonata only supports ID3 tags, M4A files use a tagging system called QT tagging. Many months ago there was talk of a possibility of a tagging plugin model (to compliment the codec plugin model), but nothing has appeared I'm afraid, development resources in Roku seem to be focussed on the SoundBridge models.

I've actually written code to read the tags from a number of different file formats, including M4A (cover art as well), and this code has been incorporated into the 3rd party music player Sonica, so maybe you should give this a go (though it looks like you should use 2.0.34 as your firmware). Sonica doesn't need server software.

If you don't mind having a server running, then theres also SlimRoku which should handle AAC fine as well.
 
chackett
Posts: 212
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2005 12:37 pm
Location: Wallingford, CT

Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:16 pm

dbeales wrote:
2. Instability in network access when accessing .m4a using Sonata was introduced in 2.0.35

3. This was made worse, possibly by introducing a further access misconfiguration when the segment size fix was made for improved video performance

It's a shame in order to get correct video performance (via 2.0.36), we have to lose audio performace!

Roku, please check for anything that needs to be tweaked in Sonata to match the recent segment size adjustment. Give us a Xmas present!

Damon

It's more complicated than that, as I'm streaming m4a files (Apple Lossless) created in iTunes 5 and 6 on my mac (via SMB) just fine running 2.0.36 on my PB.

soiaf's suggestion to try SlimRoku is a good one, as an ad hoc solution to the problem you're having, but if you'd be running SlimServer on your mac, and you're using lossless codecs (Apple Lossless for your music files, and transcoding to FLAC for network streaming), you're not going to have much luck with SlimServer on your mac based on my experience. You'd have to either stream as mp3 (which doesn't sound quite as good), or run SlimServer on a PC or a unix machine if you happen to have an extra computer around.
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dbeales
Topic Author
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:18 pm
Location: London, UK

Sat Dec 24, 2005 3:56 am

I have been using Sonica, which is great, but was suffering the same fate as Sonata under 2.0.36.

I've now reverted to 2.0.34 and the audio is fine again.

It may be this problem only affects compressed AAC, not Apple Lossless.

Thanks for all your replies.

Damon
 
lewis
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:20 pm

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:41 pm

I'm seeing the same thing using Sonica - extremely long pauses before beginning to play any m4a (AAC) files. Anyone at Roku looking into a fix for the next beta or need any additional information? Looks like its back to 2.0.34 until this gets resolved. Thanks.

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