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Old MBP, new Samsung TV, varying playback quality

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lentolento

Serviio newbie

Posts: 2

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:35 pm

Post Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:19 pm

Old MBP, new Samsung TV, varying playback quality

Hi! I would basically just want to understand the logic of it all, since the combination mentioned in the topic produces a result that is kind of hard to comprehend.

- I'm running Serviio 2.2 on an old but upgraded Macbook Pro (early 2011) with 500Gb SSD (OS install), 2Tb HDD (Serviio library), 16Gb Ram, OS 10.13.6
- Transcoding disabled
- The TV is Samsung QE43Q60TAU and I'm using the Samsung DLNA
- In Serviio the generic DLNA profile is used (no Samsung Q series to choose in the menu)
- WiFi network connection, tested with speedtest resulting in 100Mbps connection, so this shouldn't cause any problems whatsoever

The library consists of filetypes mostly mkv and mp4, and quality usually up to 1080. I initially set up Serviio since a HDMI cable (tried many of them) produces an annoying jitter in the playback – to my rather big surprise since a previous HD monitor worked fine. As of now I don't have any reasonable and bullet proof way to watch the library with the Samsung TV.

My problem with Serviio playback is that it has played long HD movies without any fuss at least at some point, but other times I might get buffering problems. And there seems to be no logic as to why. For example right now I checked hat almost any file I play cannot be properly fast forwarded (not enough buffer). And usually when this is the case, once I start watching a movie I can be sure that at some point of it it starts to stop to buffer every half a minute or so, even if I would wait for it to buffer. But then some files don't have any problem with this. For example the whole 11 season library of Frasier or the Season 3 of Twin Peaks can be fast forwarded right now without any problems. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the filetype. For example the Frasier files are of course smaller and therefore need less buffering but there just doesn't seem to be any logic regarding this.

Also, the ffmpeg process in osx runs at 300 % CPU usage (and naturally high fan speeds) during most of the attempts. Yes, this indicates that the MBP CPU can't keep up, but then again I've watched whole movies without problems. And also worth noting is that for example yesterday I watched a HD version of The Green Knight with completely silent fans and no problems whatsoever. So could it have something to do with how MBP and Serviio handle the ffmpeg process? I find it weird that sometimes it eats CPU and sometimes (though seldom) not. And like I wrote, transcoding is disabled so at least that is not the cause of high CPU.

So I would just like to understand what the logic is here. So any time I start Serviio everything sort of "starts all over again"? In other words, the program only sends the file played by MBP to the TV and there is no backup process which would store/buffer the stuff for future use? And in this sense the transfer (and therefore buffering) always happens on the go?

It's just so annoying that it *almost* and *sometimes* works, so I would appreciate a helping hand, or would like to hear if Mac/Samsung users have had similar problems. I know the laptop is old, but I still feel there's something more to the problem. For example, I've never had any buffering problems streaming from some of these illegal sites that offer full HD movies, but the subtitles don't get sent to Samsung from those players (and if someone happens to know why that is the case, I'd appreciate that too!). Also, sorry for the wall of text and also my sort of poor understanding of DLNA stuff, as this might be some kind of no brainer, but the search didn't provide any help.
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atc98092

User avatar

DLNA master

Posts: 4546

Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:22 pm

Location: Washington (the state)

Post Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:37 pm

Re: Old MBP, new Samsung TV, varying playback quality

Do you have "burn in subtitles" enabled in the Serviio console? If so, that forces transcoding even when it's turned off. And it would also explain your CPU usage. When I stream material that doesn't require transcoding, the CPU on my media server usually never exceeds 15% or so. Transcoding audio only might raise it to 25-30%. But video transcoding pushes it to near 100%, even though the computer itself remains usable on the desktop, so it's not totally maxed out.

I gave up using the Samsung player years ago. No metadata availability, doesn't support lossless HD audio (almost no TV does that), and just generally not a good user experience. My first external players were just DLNA capable Blu Ray players (Samsung, Sony and Panasonic), along with an early Sony media player. I then moved to Roku players (and still use them) and finally the Nvidia Shield on my two large screen TVs with AVRs. You can also get a very inexpensive Android based player now at Walmart. They have a 4K Onn (Walmart house brand) media player for $30 that does almost everything my Shield players will do. It doesn't handle lossless audio, but using Kodi it plays everything I have without video transcoding. Since it's Android based, it can also run a number of other video player apps, such as VLC (plays everything, terrible user interface) and MrMC. I have all three, and while Kodi is my preferred player they all work great with Serviio.
Dan

LG NANO85 4K TV, Samsung JU7100 4K TV, Sony BDP-S3500, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Insignia Roku TV, Roku Ultra, Premiere and Stick, Nvidia Shield, Yamaha RX-V583 AVR.
Primary server: Intel i5-6400, 8 gig ram, Windows 10 Pro, 22 TB hard drive space | Test server Windows 10 Pro, AMD Phenom II X4 965, 8 gig ram

HOWTO: Enable debug logging HOWTO: Identify media file contents
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lentolento

Serviio newbie

Posts: 2

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:35 pm

Post Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:27 pm

Re: Old MBP, new Samsung TV, varying playback quality

Wow. I never thought it might be solved with one click in the subtitles section! But it was. It seems I have sometimes clicked burned-in subtitles on and off, which explains most of the varying experiences (although not all of them for some reason). It seems that now most avi files won't work, so this probably means that checking the burned-in subtitles box means some sort of permission to transcode other stuff as well? Anyway, this is a minimal worry now. Thanks a lot for the quick help!

I've been looking into external players at some point (mostly chromecast and apple tv) but I don't mind the ugly and clumsy interface once the playback works. However it's good to know more about those, and now I guess I also understand more of how the dlna shit works in general so I get how Shield would rid me most likely of all problems.
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atc98092

User avatar

DLNA master

Posts: 4546

Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:22 pm

Location: Washington (the state)

Post Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:14 pm

Re: Old MBP, new Samsung TV, varying playback quality

Yeah, it was transcoding your unsupported media because of the burn-in being selected. Now to get some of those files playing, you might experiment with some of the other TV profiles. The Roku TV profiles will transcode AVI files, since Roku doesn't support those. But it also might transcode files that don't need it. I'd have to look at other profiles to see if one might be a better fit.

I did take a quick peek at the Samsung NU profile, and I see a Matches line for all AVI files. If you haven't tried that profile, give it a shot.
Dan

LG NANO85 4K TV, Samsung JU7100 4K TV, Sony BDP-S3500, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Insignia Roku TV, Roku Ultra, Premiere and Stick, Nvidia Shield, Yamaha RX-V583 AVR.
Primary server: Intel i5-6400, 8 gig ram, Windows 10 Pro, 22 TB hard drive space | Test server Windows 10 Pro, AMD Phenom II X4 965, 8 gig ram

HOWTO: Enable debug logging HOWTO: Identify media file contents

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