A while back there was an Airport update (7.4 I think) that while it added all sorts of features if you were a MobileMe user, it basically cratered the speed of the network for doing useful things like SMB mounts and streaming video. Thankfully on the Airport, it is easy to roll back drivers. One of the ways that I knew that I had to roll back the drivers was that the video stream to the AppleTV was very slow to start and when it did finally start, it was choppy to be generous.
So this weekend after watching both the AppleTV and the Wii blink for my attention for many days, I did the updates. The Wii being a normal update went fine, providing the promise of being able to make use of the SD slot to do new and amazing things to be sure. The ATV mod installs also went in easy enough. I updated Launcher first and then Boxee (both came down like greased lightening), finishing up with XBMC 9.04Alpha 1. This download came in stops and starts, but other than that it was nothing to worry about. This may however have been telling of what was to come.
I tested out the new players, and true to form, the new Boxee as slow as ever, even though it provided solid decodes if it was able to play the video; it seemed to bork on some larger files. XBMC was also true to form, playing all manner of codecs and all file sizes with ease until I hit AppleTV encoded m4v.
Movies played fine (after clunking through the interface a bit), TV shows on the other hand, played like FMV on a 386! It wasn’t a buffering issue, it couldn’t have been a codec issue, it must have been something else. So after some thinking I figured that there must be something different between movies and TV shows… and the only thing that I could think of was framerate. So I asked GoG and come up with this. Framerate was indeed the culprate.
So lucky for me, the new version of Handbrake will convert file formats, so to get my TV show M4Vs to play properly, all I have to do it encode them to 23.976 fps (in MKV to boot) and everything will be smooth as glass. I will also test out a WDTV shortly as one has entered the family to see how well that does as well. I am thinking that will be the perfect replacement for the DVD players around the house as they die off. Using SDHC card readers and cards as drives, I can load up cards with entire series and play them with the same ease as we do DVDs now. It would be nice if they were networkable, but then WD wouldn’t be able to sell drives. But if they come out with a wireless NAS that can also mount via USB (ala Drobo), then we would certainly not having to worry about shuffling cards anymore.