A Slew of Problems

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A Slew of Problems

Postby Fishbeans » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:12 pm

I'll be to the point. I've been having no end of trouble with the PS3 Media Server recently. I started using it when it was released because it just worked without having to jump through a thousand hoops like TVersity. As updates have come in, it has become less and less reliable. All of these problems are fairly recent (possibly related to updating to SP1 and later SP2?), the server used to run flawlessly at all times. I'll list my problems here. Any insight into how to fix them would be great.

1. When the server says it can see the PS3, the PS3 can't see the server. When the server can't see the PS3, the PS3 can see the server (and play video without issue). This seems to be somehow related to running the server as a service. This has suddenly stopped happening since the last time I reinstalled the server.

2. Frequently the server just stops working, always during playback. When this occurs, playback ceases abruptly and the PS3 often freezes for upwards of a minute. When it does not freeze, I can quit playback and attempt to play the video again, or another video. If I do this, it always freezes the PS3. After this (whether or not I tried to play another file), the server is no longer seen by the PS3 and is never recognized again. I have to reinstall it to get it to work again. I spent about 3 hours recofiguring my router a couple nights ago, as this seems like the obvious culprit. The router is fine, and the settings are fine. My ports are forwarded correctly, I do not have an antivirus or software firewall interfering. This is 100% the media server. This problem happens very frequently, but without any discernible pattern. Once it does happen, it always reports that it has detected the PS3, but the PS3 cannot see it. Restarting the PS3 does nothing, nor does disabling and re-enabling the media server connection. The PS3 is able to access the network just fine. Traces reports no errors, ever.

3. Seeking is EXTREMELY slow. Rewinding is useless. It takes about 30 seconds to rewind even a single frame. When I tell it to play again after a rewind, it takes 20-30 seconds to resume playback. Fast forward is substantially faster, but still not at all acceptable (10x is closer to 2x). Fast forwarding at higher than 10x causes playback to freeze until I tell it to stop fast forwarding.

4. Transcoding is unacceptably slow. I have an E6600 running at 3.2 GHz, and the server is incapable of streaming 1080p files over a 100 Mbps wired network without stuttering. CPU utilization is typically pretty low during these times, despite the server not being able to keep up. The PC is certainly never maxing out.

My system specs:

Windows Vista x64, SP2 (latest updates and drivers always, I'm obsessed with keeping things updated)
Radeon HD 4870 1GB
Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.2 GHz
4 GB DDR2 800 @ ~1000 MHz
1TB 7200 RPM Hitachi HDD, SATA II (Where my media is stored)
2x 400 GB 7200 RPM Seagate HDD as RAID 0, SATA II
1x 250 GB 7200 RPM Western Digital HDD, SATA II

My media hard drive is filled to about 60% capacity, fragmentation is low (files are rarely deleted). More than capable of processing the necessary reads without creating a bottleneck. No other programs are accessing the hard drive while transcoding is taking place.

PS3 Media Server Settings:

Transcode Buffer: 400 MB
Cores: 2
Audio Channels: 2 channels Stereo
AC3 Audio bitrate: 640
Maximum bandwidth: 0
keyint=1:vqscale=1:vqmin=2
Definitely disable subtitles
Enhanced multicore support for H264 HD content
A/V sync alternative method
Deinterlace filter
Switch to tsMuxer
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Re: A Slew of Problems

Postby meskibob » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:50 pm

Fishbeans wrote:2. Frequently the server just stops working, always during playback. When this occurs, playback ceases abruptly and the PS3 often freezes for upwards of a minute. When it does not freeze, I can quit playback and attempt to play the video again, or another video. If I do this, it always freezes the PS3. After this (whether or not I tried to play another file), the server is no longer seen by the PS3 and is never recognized again. I have to reinstall it to get it to work again. I spent about 3 hours recofiguring my router a couple nights ago, as this seems like the obvious culprit. The router is fine, and the settings are fine. My ports are forwarded correctly, I do not have an antivirus or software firewall interfering. This is 100% the media server. This problem happens very frequently, but without any discernible pattern. Once it does happen, it always reports that it has detected the PS3, but the PS3 cannot see it. Restarting the PS3 does nothing, nor does disabling and re-enabling the media server connection. The PS3 is able to access the network just fine. Traces reports no errors, ever.
Look at the debug.log file, which can be found in the PMS install directory. If necessary you can post it to the forum for further assistance (needs to be zipped first). However, the PS3 freezing end of it is probably a separate issue with your PS3, as PMS crashing just causes the PS3 to stop playback and disconnect from the media server. Nothing special there that should crash the PS3...
Fishbeans wrote:3. Seeking is EXTREMELY slow. Rewinding is useless. It takes about 30 seconds to rewind even a single frame. When I tell it to play again after a rewind, it takes 20-30 seconds to resume playback. Fast forward is substantially faster, but still not at all acceptable (10x is closer to 2x). Fast forwarding at higher than 10x causes playback to freeze until I tell it to stop fast forwarding.
Known issue, especially with transcoding. Easiest solution is just to use the Go To feature available from the PS3's playback Control Panel. Works fine for both streamed and transcoded files.
Fishbeans wrote:4. Transcoding is unacceptably slow. I have an E6600 running at 3.2 GHz, and the server is incapable of streaming 1080p files over a 100 Mbps wired network without stuttering. CPU utilization is typically pretty low during these times, despite the server not being able to keep up. The PC is certainly never maxing out.
Depends on the 1080P file. Currently only H264 decoding is multicore capable, so if the video is VC-1 you're pretty much stuck. Post the MediaInfo to confirm.
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Re: A Slew of Problems

Postby Fishbeans » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:00 pm

Thanks for the quick reply, very much appreciated.

meskibob wrote:Look at the debug.log file, which can be found in the PMS install directory. If necessary you can post it to the forum for further assistance (needs to be zipped first). However, the PS3 freezing end of it is probably a separate issue with your PS3, as PMS crashing just causes the PS3 to stop playback and disconnect from the media server. Nothing special there that should crash the PS3...

I think you misunderstood. Nothing is crashing. The PS3 just freezes for a bit (around a minute) while it tries to communicate with the media server. Afterward, I get a media server error (probably should have mentioned that), and it boots me back to the video section of the XMB, where the server is no longer visible. The media server never crashes, it just stops streaming the video. Debug.log is attached. I couldn't find any errors in it. I left it running through the night after it failed, the PS3 was not on (though I don't have any times I could give you when the error occurred, nor do there appear to be timestamps).

Some more information that may be useful (it was very late when I posted, and I completely forgot). Several days ago when it did this last, I spent a very long time trying to fix it without a reinstall. Eventually, the PS3 did recognize the server again, but the icon was not the normal icon, instead it was just a white box. When navigating into the media server, it listed no directories or files, not even the settings directory. The PS3 also flashed very rapid media server errors and DLNA errors. Restarting the media server connection in network settings caused the server to disappear again. My first thought was that the server was still functioning, just incredibly slowly (hadn't yet sent the icon or server contents, and the PS3 attempting to communicate was met with silence or errors). I run the server on two different PCs, and during this whole time, the second PC's server can be seen and used normally, so the PS3 does not appear to be at fault. Both PCs are running Vista x64 SP2.

meskibob wrote:Known issue, especially with transcoding. Easiest solution is just to use the Go To feature available from the PS3's playback Control Panel. Works fine for both streamed and transcoded files.

Thanks for the tip.

meskibob wrote:Depends on the 1080P file. Currently only H264 decoding is multicore capable, so if the video is VC-1 you're pretty much stuck. Post the MediaInfo to confirm.

Checked, and the codec is AVC, which appears to be H264. The only 1080p file I had to check didn't stutter that badly, though. It would play fine for a couple minutes, then the stuttering would start, presumably because it was unable to transcode as quickly as the buffer was depleted, causing it to slowly empty and eventually begin to stutter as it would have to transcode in real time. I would assume the unplayable files are ones that are not using the H264 codec, which exacerbates the problem dramatically.
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Re: A Slew of Problems

Postby Fishbeans » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:09 am

A new problem. Tried to launch it just now, gives me an error saying "unable to access jar file." Had to reinstall again to get it to even launch.
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Re: A Slew of Problems

Postby Fishbeans » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:32 pm

Another one to add to the mix. Go To is causing playback to fail. Takes about 15 seconds to generate the thumbnail for each frame. After waiting for about a minute, I got a media server error and was booted back to the directory list. Tried again, and it instantly gave another error.
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Re: A Slew of Problems

Postby meskibob » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:36 pm

You're using Scene Search, not Go To: http://manuals.playstation.net/document ... nel.html#9
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Re: A Slew of Problems

Postby bahamot » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:50 pm

If you want to use scene search, try AviSynth/FFMpeg. I get error when using MEncoder or AviSynth/MEncoder.
But Go To is better ... scene search is too slow if transcoding is needed.
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