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Posted 08-17-2011 at 07:48 AM by disturbed1

Recently purchased a new Panasonic 1080P plasma. The Panasonic has nice streaming features which include - Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Napster, built in media (Picture, Video, and Audio) playback from USB devices and SD cards, along with a DLNA receiver.

The manual boasts media compatibility with AVCHD and even avi/mpeg4 + MKV!! Something I had to check out, considering our vast movie library is all backed up to MKV files.

The recordings from our Backend show up and play without an issue. I'm even presented with a nice folder list which gives the option to sort recordings, such as by Title, or Date, and some others. I only wish commercial skipping would work, but I can hit UP for a 30 sec skip, and there is multi-speed fast forward.

Was not so lucky with our Videos.
The complete list of Videos is displayed, but none are playable. Thankfully I had some free time today, and figured out and fixed the various issues.
  • httprequest.cpp
  • frame rate
  • audio codec
This file handles the mime info for the various extensions. On/around line 90 I made the following change -
 // This formerly was video/x-matroska, but got changed due to #8643
    { "mkv" , "video/x-matroska"                },
Previously it read video/x-mkv and simply changed it back to read matroska. According to the commit mailing list, this change was made because some other receivers did not work properly with video/x-matroska. This only allowed a handful of videos to half-ass work. That is, most had no sound, and played entirely too fast.

frame rate
99.9% of my mkvs are created with Handbrake, and (re)muxed with mkvmerge from MKVToolnix. Handbrake supports variable frame rate encoding. Meaning that the actual frame rate may vary throughout the film (this is done to ensure sync), or the frame rate may be reported at an incorrect rate. This is easily fixed by adding the --rate 23.976 (if the frame rate is 23.976) flag to my encoding script. The previously encoded files only needed to be re-muxed with mkvmerge with the frame rate specified.
The above allowed all of my MKVs to at least display a picture, but most still had no audio

audio codec
We live in a townhouse, with great quiet neighbors, and we respect each other. Regular stereo sound has always suited us just fine. Even though we do have a decent receiver and a lovely hand crafted 7.1 speaker set - albeit stored in the basement. I've always re-encoded the audio track to 2 channel ogg-vorbis. The Panasonic does not support Ogg Vorbis.

Once re-encoding the audio tracks to ac3 (with aften) and remuxing with mkvmerge, the Videos play back perfectly through DLNA.

I have no plans to re-encode the audio tracks and re-mux every single movie in our collection. That's absurd.
At least from here on out, all of our newly added media files will playback through DLNA.

Up next, I'll comptemplate the removal of our living room frontend after I compare the quality of VDPAU over HDMI (Nvidia GT220) versus the Panasonic's on board renderer and scaler.
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