Media Player Classic - Hardware Decoding for DVDs (Mpeg-2)

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ghadlock
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Media Player Classic - Hardware Decoding for DVDs (Mpeg-2)

Postby ghadlock » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:35 am

Just an FYI post for others installing Media Player Classic on their HTPCs that may be playing DVD (MPEG-2) content. While I believe most PCs will decode / play DVD content just fine with the MPC internal MPEG-2 filters and software based decoding, I wanted to offload the decoding of the DVD to the GPU on the video card and reduce the CPU utilization on the PCs to achieve the smoothest possible playback. Given the many, many options with configurations and filters for Media Player Classic (all subject to OS versions), this can take a bit of research and trial and error to achieve. Ultimately, for each of my HTPCs I found only one solution on the market that worked (i.e. GPU Hardware decoding for DVD playback) so I thought I'd post it here:

HTPC #1- Windows XP 32-bit with NVidia GeForce 6200 Video Card:
- Media Player Classic set to use Video Mixing Renderer 9 Renderless (View->Options->Output) - note that this seems to always be the recommended output renderer for Windows XP machines
- Install NVidia PureVideo (this must be purchased but from my experience can be used on multiple machines)
- Add NVidia Video Decoder as an External Filter in MPC (View -> Options->External Filters
- Set Nvidia Video Decoder to "prefer" in External Filters and uncheck the MPEG-2 internal filters in MPC
- CPU usage during DVD playback dropped from around 45% to 12% on this machine once hardware encoding was enabled (and there is reduced jitter when viewing renderer stats in MPC)

Now, as long as NVidia Video Decoder is set to use hardware decoding (you can double click on it in the MPC External Filters view for settings), the DVDs will pay with DXVA (hardware) based decoding

HTPC #2- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- This one is actually quite easy though I tried many different filter combinations before finding that the "optimal" one for hardware decoding came with Windows 7
- Install Media Player Classic x64 Version
- Media Player Classic set to use Enhanced Video Renderer Custom Presenter (View->Options->Output) - Note that this seems to be the recommended output renderer for all Windows 7 machines
- Add Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder as an External Filter in MPC (View -> Options->External Filters)- this is installed with Windows 7 so should already be present on machine
- Set Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder to "prefer" in External Filters and uncheck the MPEG-2 internal filters in MPC
- PC should now use hardware decoding for DVD / MPEG-2 playback; this was critical for smooth playback on my machines as they are Aspire Revos (small Nettops) with limited CPU power but GPUs designed specifically for video decoding and playback
- CPU usage during DVD playback dropped from around 55% to 15% on this machine once hardware encoding was enabled (and there is reduced jitter when viewing renderer stats in MPC)

Of course, these settings apply ONLY to DVD/MPEG-2 playback and further customization / tweaking may be required for playback of MP4, AVI, Blu-Ray, etc.

Anyhow, thought I'd drop a note for those of you trying to accomplish similar setups. As a recent converter to MPC from TheaterTek I have to say I'm quite pleased (especially for the price) though all of the config and filter options, while very powerful, can take some time to optimally configure.


Greg Hadlock

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