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Author Topic: Converting Hulu for use on Neuros OSD  (Read 21155 times)
boeinguy2
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« on: January 13, 2009, 01:23:19 pm »

I have been working on this for a while, with patches of success so far.  I thought I would chronicle my efforts here and see if anyone has other ideas.

I have purchased Replay Media Catcher and it downloads TV episodes from Hulu just fine.  The resulting files, both standard and high definition are FLV files.  The High definition are H264.  The framerates appear to be typically 23.976 and the bitrate of the video is variable.  Neither file will play on the Neuros OSD.

I have tried a number of tools for converting the files, to one of the playable formats for the Neuros OSD.  Most fail to convert the files to anything at all, because the header info either cannot be read by the app or is read as a 29.97 framerate.  Of the rest, most fail or convert and keep the audio in sync.  I have used programs including SUPER. Pinnacle Movie Studio 12, Replay Media Converter, AVS Converter and some others. I think that it is the variable bit rate that is the issue. I have run across this in the past. VBR is more difficult to process since any conversion must deal with the fact that as the bitrate changes, the audio syncing changes.

I have had small successes so far with ffmpeg and mp4box.  I have gotten a wonderful quality MP4 file with perfect sound syncing that will not play on the OSD.  I cannot figure out how to adjust the ffmpeg settings to make it readable.  The process I used is defined here:

http://forum.applian.com/showthread.php?t=318&page=5

After downloading an episode of Alias Smith and Jones in standard format, I discovered that the Neuros player cannot play the standard FLV file.  I used the Pazera tool (Pazera Free FLV to AVI Converter 1.1), and I was able to play the resulting AVI file.  Sound was in sync but it was highly pixelated.  Pazera is a gui for ffmpeg, So I just need to figure out how to get the settings correct.

I am converting the HD FLV file of the same episode and will see how it works this evening.

I learned abut Pazera by looking at the process defined here:

http://zunetips.wordpress.com/veohco...o-downloading/

If anyone has any insights or ideas, let me know.  I will continue to work on this for a while so fell free to pitch in.

Maybe one of these will work. I will also try the Format Factory as well as AVIDemux mentioned here:

http://www.videohelp.com/guides/how-...tc-id1086#1086
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greyback
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 04:48:49 pm »

Any chance you could supply a small sample file of the FLV, so us community members could try it? I would place my faith in ffmpeg, it is so damn flexible, but tricky to figure out.

I have little faith in the OSD's ability to play any MP4 file. The AVI codecs all work and play well, but I've quite a few MP4s that don't work, for no obvious reason to me. So I'd concentrate on converting the file to Xvid or DivX if possible, for maximum chance of playability.

The OSD does not have native support for FLV, and used a bodge for YouTube videos,  but I believe that it doesn't work any more (since the 16:9 conversion).
-G
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tkos
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 05:23:18 pm »

Would the WinFF program work? I would try it if you haven't yet. The Neuros setting will produce an MP4 with XVID codec in it. That seems to play back nicely. And I think it handles FLV. It is a free so worth a try if you haven't already.
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boeinguy2
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 06:04:47 pm »

Would the WinFF program work? I would try it if you haven't yet. The Neuros setting will produce an MP4 with XVID codec in it. That seems to play back nicely. And I think it handles FLV. It is a free so worth a try if you haven't already.

I saw this one, but have not tried it.  Does it have a specific setting labeled 'Neuros'?  Did you try it with the 480p FLV file (High Def)?

I noticed that it is also a front end for ffmpeg, like Pezara.
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boeinguy2
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2009, 09:48:21 am »

Okay, here are my results from last night:

1)  Pazera created an AVI that had nice quality but the sound was shifted.  This was baswed on the Hulu high def file

2)  I tried converting the file with Winff for Neuros, and it will not recognize the file.  Funny, Pazera and Winff are both Gui's for ffmpeg.

3)  I tried converting an mp4 file that was made with an ffmpeg/mp4box process i found elsewhere.  IT was a great file, perfect sound sync and great video.  It is a file that will not play on the Neuros OSD.  Using Winff for Neuros, I got a great file that is sound shifted by 8-9 secs.

4)  I am currently trying to use winff for Neuros to convert a standard definition copy of the same show.  I will post the results.  Trying to see of there is something unique about the high def files from Hulu.  In Pazera, this file converted andthe sound was in sync, only the video was highly pixelated.

greyback, how do I split an FLV so that I can give you a shorter segment?

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greyback
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2009, 10:11:27 am »

greyback, how do I split an FLV so that I can give you a shorter segment?
I was kinda hoping you knew:)

I'm just curious if Hulu uses standard FLVs or not (I live outside the US, so cannot get Hulu). Do you get identical results with a Youtube FLV?

It would be helpful if you could run the following command:
Code:
mplayer -identify "$1" -ao null -vo null -frames 0 2>/dev/null | grep ^ID_
where $1 is a video file name.

For example, for a file I got off Youtube, I get:
Code:
ID_VIDEO_ID=0
ID_AUDIO_ID=1
ID_FILENAME=Soupy Norman - 01 - Doctors.flv
ID_DEMUXER=lavfpref
ID_VIDEO_FORMAT=1VLF
ID_VIDEO_BITRATE=0
ID_VIDEO_WIDTH=320
ID_VIDEO_HEIGHT=240
ID_VIDEO_FPS=25.000
ID_VIDEO_ASPECT=0.0000
ID_AUDIO_FORMAT=85
ID_AUDIO_BITRATE=64000
ID_AUDIO_RATE=22050
ID_AUDIO_NCH=1
ID_LENGTH=558.48
ID_VIDEO_CODEC=ffflv
ID_AUDIO_BITRATE=64000
ID_AUDIO_RATE=22050
ID_AUDIO_NCH=2
ID_AUDIO_CODEC=mp3
which helps to know exactly what sort of file we're dealing with.

ffmpeg is very powerful, a lot of the time the GUI doesn't take advantage of certain abilities it has. Also the GUIs are often built around an older version of ffmpeg that may not support new stuff like FLV files (ffmpeg only recognised with FLVs in the last 12 months IMO).
-G
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boeinguy2
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2009, 11:44:49 am »

Thanks for the response greyback.

The Neuros plays Youtube directly so I have not tried converting one of their files.  There is however an indicator of differences, since the YouTube flv can be played but the Hulu flv cannot.

I am looking for a place to get more details on how ffmpeg works so that I can learn how to make intelligent changes to settings.

I am running under windows and don't have grep.  Can't remember how to do the same thing with a DOS window.  I can however get this info in other ways.  Interestingly various tools read the headers on the Hulu files differently.  Some choke and report no information, Some report errors in reading the header, some report incorrect framerates and bitrate, some report the correct framerate, etc..  The summary I have been able to put together is:  Framerate=23.976 Bitrate-variable Aspect ratio=4:3 640 x 480

Tonight I am going to try two things.  I will try Format Factory, someone has reported that it will make mpg form a 480p Hulu flv.  I would then need to see if the resulting mpg meets the OSD standards.

I am also going to try Pazera again, it gives access to a time shift setting in ffmpeg.  However, from past experience the issue with variable bit rate files is that you get a shift but also progressive shifting.  I will try to adjust the initial shift and check for progressive. shifting.

Finally, I will test the 360p Hulu file I am transcoding today with winff to see if it works.

I am hoping that someone smarter than me will see the issues and trends and help point me in a better direction.  I am just shotgunning the problem with various tools to see what I get.  There may be adjustments that I can make, but don't know how.  ffmpeg looks very powerful, but there sooo many options and details that I do not know where to begin customizing the setup.
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boeinguy2
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2009, 12:36:01 pm »

I just learned about the async option for ffmpeg.  Both Pazera and Winff have a means of putting in parameters so I can try this.  I will add it to my tests this evening.
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greyback
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2009, 01:45:15 pm »

Do keep us informed, am interested. So much content is FLV nowadays.
-G
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tkos
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2009, 07:24:02 pm »

The GSpot program that is freely available online is usable on Windows and can list all aspects of the video file. I too live outside the US so Hulu is not accessible to me.
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boeinguy2
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2009, 01:02:41 pm »

Yesterdays results:

1)  winff with the -async option set to 26 would not read the 480p Hulu FLV

2)  The mp4 version I made using an ffmpeg/mp4box process did not change the syncing problem I get.  The mp4 file is good but has some difference from the Neuros mp4 requirement that will not allow it to play.  I am wondering if there is a need to ensure the output framerate is the same as the input framerate.  I had read this before, and had been doing that, but the instructions for the winff for Neuros said that it did not make any difference.

ffmpeg can read the FLV I am trying to convert, I wonder if there is a way to do the ffmpeg process and end up with an AVI not an MP4, or if there are other settings for the MP4 that might make it compatible with the Neuros.  Not sure where to go there.

3)  I did have success with the 360p flv from Hulu.  winff did make a file that had synced sound, but it is pixelated and low resolution and is not a good picture at 640x480, the resolution I am aiming for to get a good picture on my TV.

I did not get to trying Format Factory 1.55 last night.  I have tried 1.65 but ran into the audio sync problem I have seen mentioned.

Anyone have additional ideas?
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greyback
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2009, 06:40:01 pm »

This much good to you:
http://www.linux.com/articles/56642
-G
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greyback
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2009, 07:19:34 pm »

This converts FLVs I got from YouTube to Xvids which play on my OSD:
Code:
ffmpeg -i input.flv -vcodec mpeg4 -vtag xvid -acodec copy  output.avi
Do try it on the Hulu file and see. I'd be interested to see how a/v sync works out.
-G
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videosnarf
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2009, 03:42:44 am »

Code:
ffmpeg -i input.flv -vcodec mpeg4 -vtag xvid -acodec copy  output.avi
These are AVC H.264 and AAC files. Can AAC audio be copied into an AVI container?
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videosnarf
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2009, 03:57:38 am »

greyback, how do I split an FLV so that I can give you a shorter segment?

Just grab a clip from another show. Something 480p that's 640x480 @ 29.97. Early Simpsons or Fanily Guy clips, some are 30 - 40 secs. They are encoded same as the Alias Smith and Jones you are after.
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