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Understanding MediaBrowser

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MikeL

Serviio lover

Posts: 56

Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:43 pm

Location: New Hampshire

Post Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:05 pm

Understanding MediaBrowser

Good Day.
I am new to this forum and a relatively new user of Serviio and as such I am trying to understand a little more about how the MediaBrowser (MB) works.
I primarily use Serviio's MediaBrowser so my family can remotely access videos that I have captured and stored on my computer using Applian’s Replay Media Catcher. The majority of these videos are in FLV container files with the following video attributes:
HD 1280*720 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, 25 fps, AVC format (High@L4.1), variable bit rate
Or
SD 832*468 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, 25 fps, AVC format (Main@L3.1) variable bit rate.

Viewing is typically via an iPad which in turn uses airplay to an AppleTV (v3) and an HDMI connection.
Everything seems to work fairly well with very infrequent buffering. My questions are as follows:
1. In the above scenario of streaming to iPad – AppleTV – TV what processing is done by the various components?
a) Does MB transcode the video as it is being streamed to the ipad? Are both the SD versions and HD versions transcoded? If so what transcoding is performed?
b) If the iPad is one with the HD retina display Vs the older display on the iPad2 is the transcoding any different?
c) Does the ipad or AppleTV does any further transcoding – if so – what?
d) The TV (Samsung D Series) shows that it is receiving a 1920*1080 60p input from the AppleTV. So is the AppleTV upscaling the resolution as it streams?
2. If the source file container was an mp4 would the answers to 1 (a) change?
3. When MB is transcoding what is it actually changing? Maybe I’m using the wrong terminology but when other programs (e.g., Handbrake) transcode the process is quite lengthy so how does MB do it in real time while streaming?

Is there a write up anywhere that describes how the profiles in the MB config files are interpreted? I see that the application-profiles.xml file has some information about an "ios" profile but I couldn’t quite follow what was going on.

I also use MB to stream captured videos to my own TV at home. I tried doing it directly from MB to the TV but got frustrated with random hangs and then not being able to fast forward to where I left off (I blame the sw in the TV). So I also started to use the iPad – Apple TV approach. This worked better and I had a modicum of control of fast forwarding after a hang through the iPad browser window – but it was still frequently a frustrating experience. In the latter case a hang was usually due to Airplay freezing and I would have to reboot the iPad to continue. I never had any problems if I just watched the video streaming to just the iPad. I also used the iPad to stream videos over a VPN connection and would have the same airplay issues. To resolve this I invested in a Zotac ZBOX nano (Ci320) PC which came with Windows 8.1 already installed. It connects to the Samsung TV with an HDMI cable with 1920*1080 resolution. I use this box for both streaming over the VPN as well as streaming from MB with much better results. This brings to me to my second set of questions:

1. The Zotac ZBOX, as far as MB is concerned, is a Generic device. Does this mean that when streaming the FLV videos described above that no transcoding of the video is taking place and that the video is being handled by the Flash Video player in Internet Explorer?

Sorry for being so long winded but I’ve just started trying to understand what is going on under the covers with so many devices, protocols, codecs etc. If anyone could point me to a good write up on getting a better grasp of the technology I would be grateful.
Thanks in advance
Cheers
Mike
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jhb50

DLNA master

Posts: 2856

Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:32 pm

Post Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:01 am

Re: Understanding MediaBrowser

I'll try and answer your questions, and show you where to look on some of them.
1. In the above scenario of streaming to iPad – AppleTV – TV what processing is done by the various components?
a) Does MB transcode the video as it is being streamed to the ipad? Are both the SD versions and HD versions transcoded? If so what transcoding is performed Only Serviio transcodes videos per the rules in the profile for the device. The mediabrowser profiles are in C:\Program Files\Serviio\config\application-profiles.xml You need to learn how to read the rules per the transcoding documentation in http://www.serviio.org/ (click the Servio logo above)
b) If the iPad is one with the HD retina display Vs the older display on the iPad2 is the transcoding any different?
There is only one ios profile so rules are the same
c) Does the ipad or AppleTV does any further transcoding – if so – what?
You need to ask apple. Serviio will deliver the video to them per the profile.
d) The TV (Samsung D Series) shows that it is receiving a 1920*1080 60p input from the AppleTV. So is the AppleTV upscaling the resolution as it streams?
Need to ask apple,
2. If the source file container was an mp4 would the answers to 1 (a) change?
Yes if the rules for an mp4 are different than for the format in 1a
3. When MB is transcoding what is it actually changing? Maybe I’m using the wrong terminology but when other programs (e.g., Handbrake) transcode the process is quite lengthy so how does MB do it in real time while streaming?
When serviio transcodes it is typically to mpeg2video which is non cpu intensive and can be done in realtime on most 2 core systems.

Is there a write up anywhere that describes how the profiles in the MB config files are interpreted? I see that the application-profiles.xml file has some information about an "ios" profile but I couldn’t quite follow what was going on.
Yes big logo obove

I also use MB to stream captured videos to my own TV at home. I tried doing it directly from MB to the TV but got frustrated with random hangs and then not being able to fast forward to where I left off (I blame the sw in the TV). So I also started to use the iPad – Apple TV approach. This worked better and I had a modicum of control of fast forwarding after a hang through the iPad browser window – but it was still frequently a frustrating experience. In the latter case a hang was usually due to Airplay freezing and I would have to reboot the iPad to continue. I never had any problems if I just watched the video streaming to just the iPad. I also used the iPad to stream videos over a VPN connection and would have the same airplay issues. To resolve this I invested in a Zotac ZBOX nano (Ci320) PC which came with Windows 8.1 already installed. It connects to the Samsung TV with an HDMI cable with 1920*1080 resolution. I use this box for both streaming over the VPN as well as streaming from MB with much better results. This brings to me to my second set of questions:

You mean serviio to tv per the Samsung Profile (per model B/C/D/E/F) oe generic for ZBOX. Why not just hook your TV via HDMI to the PC with the video and play it with GOM or some other PC player. Serviio is not required.

1. The Zotac ZBOX, as far as MB is concerned, is a Generic device. Does this mean that when streaming the FLV videos described above that no transcoding of the video is taking place and that the video is being handled by the Flash Video player in Internet Explorer?
See the profile.. depends on the video format.
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MikeL

Serviio lover

Posts: 56

Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:43 pm

Location: New Hampshire

Post Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:48 pm

Re: Understanding MediaBrowser

Thanks for the response jhb50.

I spent some time reviewing the info at the links you sent to me and running some tests with debug set in the log file. I think most of my questions were answered.

I was curious when looking at the logs as to why when supporting streaming of an mp4 file to an ipad that it always seems to do it via some form of progressive download directly from the native file Vs the segmenting approach of creating a playlist file and transcoding to a series of .ts files. I thought I read in one of the apple ios developer docs that the latter was the preferred method for mp4 files that were more than 10 minutes duration. But of course I can't find the reference now !

Also by reviewing the log files I was able to get confirmation on how airplay behaves when used in the mix. If I stream a video from MB to my ipad and then turn on airplay to watch it on the TV, the streaming session is diverted to run directly between the Apple TV and MB so the ipad is taken out of the data streaming path but still maintains a control session for pausing, stopping changing position etc.

This explains why, when watching a UK based streaming service on my ipad over a VPN connection , and trying to turn on Airplay - the Apple TV returns an error saying a connection could not be made. Presumably because the Apple TV, which is not going through a VPN connection, appears (from its IP address) to the streaming service as being outside of the UK. I always thought that was the case but hadn't been able to prove it.

My Zotac box is connected to my TV via HDMI but it is a very small physical device and has very limited local storage. My PC where my media library is stored is not within HDMI range of the TV so I need some way of accessing the files over the network. Since I already have Serviio MB installed for other purposes it made sense to use it. The Zotac box can also connect to the UK streaming service over the VPN negating the need for Airplay to watch on the TV.

Again, thanks for the pointers.

Mike

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