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On the verge of buying a new Mac mini!

 
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Chrjy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:36 am    Post subject: On the verge of buying a new Mac mini! Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm on the verge of buying a new Mac mini to use solely as an HTPC. I had a mini a couple of years ago but it was all a bit fiddly trying to get things to work so sold it. I've noticed things have come on quite a bit since then with the likes of Plex and the fact the new mini has an HDMI port.

Before taking the plunge I decided to install Plex on my brand new MacBook Pro (i7) and bought a 'Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter' which also included audio. Plugged it into my TV and voila, it all worked nicely....well nearly!

Basically I switched my TV to PC mode and everything fits the screen beautifully, it's good quality and I get full surround sound.

Here's the problem....during panning sequences in movies (my movies have been ripped straight from my DVD's without compression, so video_ts) there is a very slight stuttering going on. I've compared both the original DVDs and then running from the Mac and there's definitely a difference. It is only small and not something my girlfriend is likely to notice but I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Anyway I played around with a number of settings but to no avail. I went into 'Display Preferences' and noticed options for either NTSC or PAL. The problem I am having is that it defaults to NTSC (I'm in the UK) and the PAL option is there but greyed out.

I'm not sure if this would cause the panning problem but I feel it's likely to but am unable to change the setting. I can't even change it if I change the screen resolutions in preferences.

Is there anyway around this and do you think this is likely causing the issue with the panning?

If there isn't away around it will the Mac mini offer me the PAL option or will that be greyed out as well?

I'm so close to buying but this could be the deal breaker for me.

Thanks for any help.
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your teevee is in PC Mode, I don't think it matters whether it's working in NTSC or PAL from the OS point of view.

Is the stuttering just when you are using Plex, or DVD Player.app, or both? If it's just in Plex then you might want to check out the stuttering issues at the Plex forums. If it's both, I'm not sure. It does seem to be a problem that is cropping up more and more. Sad

Have you also tried VLC?

SC
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Chrjy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Smithcraft for the reply.

I actually did a couple of other tests and found a way around getting my MBP to show the PAL option, it's a bit long winded so won't explain it although this didn't solve the issues!

The strange thing is that I can open the Video_TS file in DVD player (this is where the slight stuttering happens) but everytime I try to open it in Plex it crashes Plex?! I have a couple of other Video_TS that will play in DVD Player but Plex crashes everytime I try to play them...it's very odd.

Do you know what Plex uses when playing video....does it just tap into DVD Player or does it use it's own video player?

I haven't tried VLC yet.

Is anyone experiencing the same problems on their Mac mini...more so the new one?
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I recall correctly, Plex uses a slightly older version of FFMPEG.

I've never had it crash while playing a VIDEO_TS folder.

One other thing to try, unless you love DVD menus, is MakeMKV. See if the files from that will let playback without stuttering.

SC
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swordsandtequila
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reiterate what SC said, go to Plex forums. There's a post concerning playback issues (stutter, judder, ts_video, etc.) Don't believe it's your mac. Here's one of many links:

http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/20689-possible-causes-for-stuttering-juddering-and-stalling-playback-2010-11-23

Good luck
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Chrjy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again...thanks for the replies.

It's incredibly frustrating because it's so near to being perfect for me but that slight judder (and it is slight) on panning sequences is so annoying.

The thing is I've tried it by just using DVD player but still have the same issue.

I've changed all sorts of settings but it's still there....I guess I'll have to keep trying!
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swordsandtequila
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you close your macbook when playing video through Plex? There seems to be some kind of issue with dual monitors and playback. I started a thread on the Plex forums concerning this. I get a slight judder (stop/start @ regular intervals) when I turn off my monitor (23' Samsung/mac mini), regardless of tv. When monitor is left on, playback is smooth, doesn't matter what kind of file. Trying to narrow this down, thought it might be a hardware/power issue, but another user with a mac pro has the same problem. Now I'm thinking it may be an OS X issue. Leave your macbook open and try playback, see if there's any difference. Cheers.
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Phase 700B
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I would try using different ripping software as an experiment. Not sure what you use, but try mounting the disk image using Fairmount. You can download it here http://www.metakine.com/products/fairmount/ It comes with other things, but just install Fairmount. It's free. Start up Fairmount, put in a DVD, it will mount as a disk image, double click the disk image, drag the VIDEO_TS folder to wherever you want it copied to. Try playing that file with DVD player or VLC to test it out.

I think Ripit offers a free trial. http://thelittleappfactory.com/ripit/ Might also be worth a try.
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