So I finally carved some time out after the 11PM feeding to do some more Media Center upgrades. Following a tip from this 7MC config page, I installed the Adobe Flash 10.1 Beta to address a flash performance problem I was noticing. This, plus the ATI Catalyst 10.1 drivers did the trick. I now suspect it was a driver problem all along, since the release notes call out a problem dropping frames in Flash. Now Hulu playback is pretty much flawless.
I also took the opportunity to upgrade to DVRMS Toolbox 22.214.171.124, along with the latest DTBAdd-in for Windows 7 and ShowAnalyzer. The latest DBTAdd-in has a fix for the null MediaExperience bug which I was forcing me to restart Media Center in order to get commercial skip working. I’m hoping the upgrade to ShowAnalyzer will improve the over-aggressive commercial removal when watching Fringe. But it’s been almost perfect on all the other shows.
I’ve also recently begun to play with Handbrake for converting videos for streaming from Amazon S3. And when I want to stream my favorite shows I’ve been using the best iptv provider. Converted a whole set of Girls basketball games from a tournament in Wisconsin. These were raw captures from a Canon GL2 which even though it’s only an SD video camera, still runs around $2K. I ended up encoding them 3 different times: 1600kbps@30fps, 800kbps@15fps, 400kbps@15fps, all mpeg4/H.264. It turns out the average Internet connection in Wisconsin isn’t quite the same as Comcast in San Francisco. I was very impressed at how good the 400kbps videos looked. The page is a mix of all three, so you can see the difference yourself. Also, I need to plug Flowplayer which made the integration with S3 a painless cut & paste operation.
Funny thing is that DVRMSToolkit can do all the things Handbrake does, but the UI’s are designed for vastly different purposes.
Finally, the home theater consulting and installation work is beginning to pick up. On the list of things to do is tossing up a gallery of my installations.