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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I tried posting in another PS3 thread but got nothing in reply, so I figured I should set up a thread of my own. I'd be really, really grateful if anybody could help me out with this.

I've ripped about 1500GB of .VOBs from my DVD collection to two external 1TB HDDs that I've connected to the PS3 via USB. Ripping that mass of data took absolutely ages, so forgive me for lacking a sense of humour about the files not working properly...! :hissyfit:

Here are the problems, in descending order of severity:

1). Audio/video synching:

House M.D. is one of my favourite shows, so doesn't it suck that these DVDs are the ones giving me the most trouble...

Several episodes from seasons 2, 3 and 4 lose the synching between the video and the audio partway through - they run fine to begin with, but then the video starts running faster than the audio, which remains at normal speed. The problem resolves itself after a few minutes, but it's extremely infuriating.

It's predictable as to which ones are going to give me trouble, because their running times are around ten minutes too short - most House episodes are between 40 and 43 minutes long, but the running times of the episodes that don't work properly have running times of around 30 to 32 minutes.

I'm thinking it's a timecode problem, but I've no idea how to fix that.


2). Anamorphic discs:

Again, this is a problem with House, but also The Office, some sports DVDs and quite a few Woody Allen movies.

When the .VOBs are copied over, they run perfectly fine, except that the anamorphic coding that was present on the disc is gone. This means that I need to zoom the picture, rather than stretching it, which means that the picture loses definition.

This is not the end of the World, but it would be nice to resolve it if anyone can help. I've tried using both DVD Shrink And DVD Decrypter to rip the .VOBs, just in case the ripping program was to blame for missing the anamorphic coding on the disc, but it didn't make any difference.


3). Region 1 movies:

This is the least concerning, because it's currently only affecting three of my region 1 (NTSC) movies - these being South Park, American Grafitti and The 'Burbs.

These movies lock-up during playback - what happens is that the picture freezes, but the audio continues for ten seconds or so, after which the audio stops, the screen goes black and the PS3 crashes out to the dashboard. This happens even when the .VOBs have been copied to the PS3's internal HDD, so it's definitely not a streaming issue.

Again, I noticed that these .VOBs have incorrect running times. So, I figured this might also be a timecode problem... but I don't know what to do about it!



If anybody can offer any advice on any/all of these problems (particularly the first one, which is breaking my heart...!), I would be eternally grateful. It's such a shame that these problems are dogging my experience, because in all other respects the PS3 is doing a wonderful job for me.

If you made the effort to read this, thanks. And if you can help, please do get in touch.



DH
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Someone suggested I try DVDFab to get around the anamorphic problem - sadly, that didn't work either.
 

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Hi DH,

I can't really be of much help fixing your playback problems, but I do have a question and a suggestion.

Do the problem VOB's play back properly on a PC using a software DVD player like PowerDVD or VLC?

You might try using a free program called AVICodec and see what it says about your VOB files.
http://avicodec.duby.info/
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, Don. After two weeks of being ignored I was beginning to wonder whether I'd breached some kinda secret code around here...!

The three .VOBs that don't work properly (the NTSC ones); I can't honestly say I've tried running them on my PC from beginning to end. I guess that'd be a good starting point for resolving my third problem - ascertaining whether the .VOBs themselves are to blame, or whether it's something at the PS3 side of the equation.


Regarding my second problem (the anamorphic issue), I can't really test this on my PC because I don't think anamorphic coding responds to widescreen monitors in the same way that it does a widescreen TV. Like I said, that's pretty much a cosmetic issue. I can live with the definition being slightly impaired...

... though I must say that on having another closer look at my rips, I've counted 32 out of 132 movies that have lost their anamorphism - that's almost 25%. Surely, I'm not the only person in the entire history of internet forum'ing to have this problem...?! Yet nobody has replied to my questions about this, across three different forums.


Thanks again, Don. Maybe somebody else will recognise my existence sometime soon!


DH
 

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DH definitely didn't mean to make you feel ignored. Work has been hectic and I didn't see the posts.

I can honestly say I haven't run into any audio sync issues, my son ran into some issues on his but it was because he was using max compression.

I have all seven seasons of The Highlander on one of my My Books and they all playback perfectly. No freezes or audio sync issues. These are full one hour shows (minus the commercial breaks of course). I also have the animated half hour series Drawn Together on a drive and haven't seen any playback or audio issues with that either.

One thing is I have the original PS3 which has different hardware than the new models. Also from what I understand the firmware updates aren't always exactly the same for other countries/Regions. Those two items could be the problem or one of them could be.

dh2005 said:
Regarding my second problem (the anamorphic issue), I can't really test this on my PC because I don't think anamorphic coding responds to widescreen monitors in the same way that it does a widescreen TV. Like I said, that's pretty much a cosmetic issue. I can live with the definition being slightly impaired...

The main reason I went this way was so I wouldn't lose any playback quality. Everyone else on the net was doing conversions, and anytime you start converting from one format to another you take a hit in image quality. Sure I've seen the argument that it's minor, but I didn't want to settle for any drop in quality... it defeated the purpose in my opinion and if I was going to lose image quality then why not just walk across the room and put the disc in?

There has to be some step or common item at play here. I honestly don't think it's Shrink because it doesn't convert anything. For episodic TV series, each episode is well under the 4GB limit so absolutely no compression is needed and playback is identical to the disc. I've even put the DVD in my HD DVD player and queued up the PS3 on different inputs and when I switch back and forth there is no difference.

Some discs just won't go though. I've had some that I couldn't archive to my PS3 setup while others archive and play flawlessly. Since the same steps are used for both, I chalked it up to the problem being on the disc end and not Shrink or the PS3 side.

... though I must say that on having another closer look at my rips, I've counted 32 out of 132 movies that have lost their anamorphism - that's almost 25%. Surely, I'm not the only person in the entire history of internet forum'ing to have this problem...?! Yet nobody has replied to my questions about this, across three different forums.
I notice in another post you said you have 1.5TB archived. Above you mention 132 movies at a 25% failure rate. What settings and compression are you using? 132 movies at 4GB should be around 528GB of drive space. Are the ones giving you problems the Region 1 titles?

There has to be some common point that's the culprit. Once we find that we'll get you running 100%.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Sorry, Bill. I meant those comments with more humour than apparently came across! I'm not getting mad at anyone for "ignoring" me.

I've replied on your sticky thread. If there's anything more you need to ask, just let me know.


EDIT: I've ripped 132 movies with DVD Shrink. The only setting I recall changing is the one that breaks-up .VOBs into 1GB chunks - I rip my discs as individual .VOBs. Nearly all of my movie .VOBs are lossless, with a few slightly compressed (none are smaller than 95% of their original size - quality is important to me, hence my annoyance with the anamorphic discs).

The other 900+GB are rips from TV shows - 24, House, Scrubs, The X Files, Quantum Leap, The Office, Arrested Development and others. Arrested Development and 24 are examples of anamorphic widescreen rips that work perfectly (very, very pleasing...).


EDIT EDIT: ... oh, and, to answer another question of yours, the majority of the discs that are giving me the anamorphic trouble are in fact Region 2, though a few of them are Region 1. So, it doesn't seem to be a region-specific issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I couldn't edit my last post again... it was just getting embarrassing!

Bill - as for your point about not wanting to lose any quality, I agree. The reason that I'm archiving my discs is because I want to "retire" as many of them as possible back to my bookcase at home (I'm a student, and I live away for ten months of the year). I could always keep my discs here, but I have more than 600 of them and they take up so much space...

... plus, when it works, running video files from the PS3 is such a graceful, compact and pleasing solution that I'm willing to put some hours into this. And I'm very grateful for your help, and anyone else's.
 

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DH I am in total agreement and that's what I was trying to say.

Others kept telling to to convert to this or convert to that and would say 'It's almost DVD quailty'. Thing is we don't want almost, we want the same quality or what's the sense right? ;)

I think it is very cool having my drives tucked away and out of sight and by a quick navigation through the menu with the remote I have access to hundreds of shows and movies. That is a coolness factor of 10+ :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Couldn't have put it better myself...!

The anamorphic issue is not so much of a problem because the films affected, typically, are not films that trade on their looks - Woody Allen's only genuinely beautiful film is Manhattan and, for some bizarre reason, that one works fine!

So far, I've archived around 300 of my discs (132 movies, and lots of TV). The discs I've not archived required more than 5% compression to get them under the 4GB FAT32 limit (curse you, PS3...!), so those discs need to stay here because, as I've mentioned, I'm not willing to compromise on quality.

If only I could get this working perfectly, it'd be absolutely gorgeous...
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I don't want to call it too soon, but...

... I think that I've found a solution to my timecode problems. I downloaded a freeware program called TS MuxeR, and when I run .VOBs with incorrect running times through it, they come out the otherside with correct ones.

Once the timecode breaks in a .VOB are repaired, it's possible to fast-forward and rewind at all the available speeds (x1.5, x10, x30, x120) and restart it immediately, on the fly. And where my .VOBs lacked thumbnails on the PS3 dashboard, after their timecodes have been repaired, sure enough, they have fully functioning animated thumbnails.

Maybe this will be the solution to my more serious playback troubles... still no word on an anamorphic fix, though.


EDIT: well, TS MuxeR is great, but it's not perfect. The .VOBs that used to break down are now .MPGs that work...! Sadly, there's very, very occasional picture breakup during the playback (like, once or twice in a whole movie), which is irritating, but not as irritating as not being able to watch the movie, so... I'll handle it.

But if anyone can give me some guidance on how better to use TS MuxeR, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Hello folks,

Thought I'd check back to update you on my progress, which has been reasonably good.

1). Audio/video synching:

This is no longer an issue - TS MuxeR can repair .VOBs with broken timecodes and convert them into .M2TS files with perfect timecodes, which the PS3 reads as straight .MPGs. So, thanks to the person who recommended this program to me...

... however, I remain slightly peeved about the fact that these repaired, "remuxed" files show occasional video disruption - smearing and artefacting, like you'd see if you were watching a damaged DVD. It doesn't happen often, but it always happens at least once in every file that I've repaired with TS MuxeR, which is irritating and takes the shine off an otherwise excellent job - if anyone can help with this, you'll become my favourite person overnight.


2). Anamorphic discs:


Still no word on this - and it stinks. I have upwards of 100 files with messed-up anamorphism.

An update, however - it's definitely not the PS3's fault. When I run back the .VOBs (or .M2TSs, for the files I've remuxed) on VLC player on my laptop, the same problem occurs.

And, strictly speaking, it's not the anamorphism that's gone - it's the vertical height of the image. The playback is still the full width of the screen, but the height is something like two thirds of what it should be. Which is even more weird!!! I mean, WHY would that happen with SO MANY discs...?!

I tried to use DVD Patcher to resolve this. I patched the height of the image from 576 lines to 720 lines (making the PAL image 720x720) to see whether I could force it to stretch the image vertically, but it didn't work - it just shifted the image up, and put 144 lines of green underneath it (weird...). It also completely messed up that particular .VOB, and I had to re-rip it.

So, I still have a significant problem with certain anamorphic discs. Please, if anyone can help, let me know...


3). Region 1 movies:

Identically to my first problem, TS MuxeR has solved this - though not without some annoying video break-up that I'd love to sort out if anyone can advise me.


Thanks again for reading.


DH.
 

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Well, I have the almost the same problem with House M.D. I play it in english and the spanish subtitles appear faster thant the sound. I'm using right now a sony DVD player.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey there,

yeah, I think the authoring on the House DVDs is a bit dubious... but I'm amazed to hear that a standalone DVD player from such an esteemed manufacturer is having a problem like that.
 

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DH,

On the anamorphic issue, when you use VLC you can play around with the aspect ratio a bit; does that help or cause weird artifacts too?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Hey there,

Thanks for taking an interest. It's much appreciated.

You may be onto something...

... when I use VLC with anamorphic .VOBs that work correctly, they look perfect immediately - that is to say, the "default" aspect ratio option produces a correctly-proportioned anamorphic picture.

When I play back one of my many (many, many...) .VOBs with this anamorphic problem, the "default" setting produces an image as I've described - the full width of the screen, but squashed vertically. However, when I force the aspect ratio setting in VLC to "16:9", they look perfect.

This suggests that there's something about the errant .VOB files that's giving incorrect information to the player, does it not? Otherwise it would know that the file is 16:9 anamorphic, and default to "16:9" mode.

Sadly, I don't know of any similar way to force the PS3 to treat a .VOB file as 16:9. The only "Screen mode" options during playback of these files are "Normal" (which produces a full width, vertically squashed picture), "Zoom" (which zooms the "Normal" image so that the there are no black bars, but leaves the picture distorted), and "Original" (which places the image in the middle of the screen with black bars all around it, again, distorted).

Another thing I've noticed - when watching anamorphic .VOBs that work properly on my PS3, the only "Screen mode" options available are "Normal" and "Original", whereas all non-anamorphic .VOBs (like 4:3 ratio TV shows) have "Normal", "Original" and "Zoom". Clearly, the PS3 cannot tell that these .VOBs I'm having trouble with are anamorphic. There must be a piece of information in the working anamorphic .VOBs that's lacking in the ones that don't work...

... but where is this information?! AND HOW CAN I CORRECT IT?!?!


EDIT: ... and PS - this very firmly refutes that DVD Shrink, DVD Decrypter, DVD Fab, Smart Ripper etc. create perfect copies when they rip .VOBs. As far as I'm concerned, there's no two ways about it - these programs definitely lose something when they rip, at least they do from certain discs.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Something else I've found out from another forum...

... apparently some discs store aspect ratio information in their .IFO files, which I don't think get carried over when you rip a standalone .VOB. Maybe this is the problem...?
 

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Hey there,

Thanks for taking an interest. It's much appreciated.
You're welcome! I'm very interested. I have a similar problem, but I don't use a PS3 for playback; don't even have one. My problem is some DVD's play back with black bars on the top, bottom and both sides! I'm fairly sure that what is happening is that my playback programs (PowerDVD and VLC) see the movie as being in 4:3 format when it is really in 16:9 or other theatrical ratio. The problem is with the DVD's themselves and not just the rips (which just mimic the DVD's encoding). BTW, I rip to .ISO files (the whole DVD disc image) and not just the main movie to a single .VOB file.

You may be onto something...

... when I use VLC with anamorphic .VOBs that work correctly, they look perfect immediately - that is to say, the "default" aspect ratio option produces a correctly-proportioned anamorphic picture.

When I play back one of my many (many, many...) .VOBs with this anamorphic problem, the "default" setting produces an image as I've described - the full width of the screen, but squashed vertically. However, when I force the aspect ratio setting in VLC to "16:9", they look perfect.

This suggests that there's something about the errant .VOB files that's giving incorrect information to the player, does it not? Otherwise it would know that the file is 16:9 anamorphic, and default to "16:9" mode.
I'm suspecting that your ripping program is misreading, or ignoring, the correct aspect ratio info in the DVD when it rips it. Is there any way to force the program to rip to 16:9? I just checked and I don't see any way of doing this with DVD Shrink, DVD Decrypter, ImgBurn or DVD Fab Platinum; bummer!

Sadly, I don't know of any similar way to force the PS3 to treat a .VOB file as 16:9.
And there's the rub... unless you can find a ripping program that will let you specify the aspect ratio when it rips the DVD, you would have to use a program such as MediaCoder to re-encode the ripped files in the proper AR. :gah: I don't think MC will rip from DVD itself yet, but I'm not sure.
http://mediacoder.sourceforge.net/

Clearly, the PS3 cannot tell that these .VOBs I'm having trouble with are anamorphic. There must be a piece of information in the working anamorphic .VOBs that's lacking in the ones that don't work...

... but where the Hell is this information?! AND HOW CAN I CORRECT IT?!?!
I don't think it's being copied to the VOB file, so there can be no correction per say. You might search the 'net for programs that will correct for errant AR's.

EDIT: ... and PS - this very firmly refutes that DVD Shrink, DVD Decrypter, DVD Fab, Smart Ripper etc. create perfect copies when they rip .VOBs. As far as I'm concerned, there's no two ways about it - these programs definitely lose something when they rip, at least they do from certain discs.
I agree; they are missing something somewhere. Just for grins, why don't you try ripping one of the problem discs to an ISO file and see if VLC will play it properly in it's default mode; that should at least tell you if the ISO contains the AR data that is missing from the VOB.

... apparently some discs store aspect ratio information in their .IFO files, which I don't think get carried over when you rip a standalone .VOB. Maybe this is the problem...?
That could very well be the case.

-----------

OK, did some research and there may be a chance that MC will allow you to re-encode your existing VOB files with only an AR change. Don't know if it will work, but it might be worth a shot.:dontknow: I think you can choose to copy the video without re-encoding it so it shouldn't change the image quality, just fix the AR (which you set manually).
 

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Maybe I can offer some advice to you...?

... a few of my DVDs came out with a totally crocked aspect ratio. As in, not only were the .VOBs not anamorphic, they were squashed both horizontally and vertically, giving black bars on both sides and distorting the image. Does this sound like the problem you're having? Or is it simply an anamorphic image that the player fails to recognise?


EDIT: I'll tell you what I did anyway!

I used DVD Patcher to correct the aspect ratio. When I opened these .VOBs I found that their aspect ratios ("ARs", are we calling them...?) were set to 4:3. So, I copied all the other information from the existing file (bit rate, frame rate, size) into the grids below and changed the AR from 4:3 to 16:9, and checked the "Patch: Entire file" option. Then I clicked the "Patch now!" button, then "Start". Less than two minutes later, the errant file was fine.

Sadly, this doesn't work for my AR problem - as far as DVD Patcher is concerned, these .VOBs of mine are set to 16:9 already, so it can't do anything to fix it... bummer, indeed.
 

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... man... this is getting ridiculous!

Okay, so, I installed MediaCoder on your recommendation, and set about configuring the necessary settings to repair the AR. But just for the sake of my own amusement, I decided to play one of the .VOBs I was about to transcode. And guess what...? IT WAS ANAMORPHIC!!!

Seriously, dude. How is this possible? All I did was open up a single .VOB, with no associated .IFO files, that VLC and my PS3 cannot recognise as being anamorphic... yet MediaCoder can.

Madness...
 

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... man... this is getting ridiculous!

Okay, so, I installed MediaCoder on your recommendation, and set about configuring the necessary settings to repair the AR. But just for the sake of my own amusement, I decided to play one of the .VOBs I was about to transcode. And guess what...? IT WAS ANAMORPHIC!!!

Seriously, dude. How is this possible? All I did was open up a single .VOB, with no associated .IFO files, that VLC and my PS3 cannot recognise as being anamorphic... yet MediaCoder can.

Madness...
Yep, that's a good term for it.:wits-end::gah:

Perhaps if you run the movie through MC, the resulting file will be seen properly by the other programs. One can hope!
 
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