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Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - Piers - 2014-04-13

What is this?

Many of these problems may have obvious solutions to some, but recently I've seen quite a few posts asking why xyz isn't working. I've written this guide with best practice tips and updated screenshots and instructions for XBMC 13.0, Windows 8/8.1 and the latest AMD Catalyst Control Center. I'm not sure if this is worthy to be 'stuck' somewhere or moved to the guides forum, time will tell.

Image



Problem One - "Video looks smaller, or larger, than the screen"

Cause
This is caused by your television's refresh rate and the settings you have in Catalyst Control Center/Windows. Some displays have the ability to match scan and adjust accordingly, for example Samsung has an option to 'Just Scan'.

Image
An example of underscan


Image
An example of overscan

Solution

1) Open Catalyst Control Center

2) Go to 'My Digital Flat-Panels' and select 'Scaling Options (Digital Flat-Panel)'.

3) Here you should see the slider in a similar position to the screenshot below. Drag the slider right to '0%' to make the video larger when in playback, or towards '15%' to make it smaller.

Image
AMD Catalyst Control Center Scan settings


That will solve the problem, but only for the refresh rate your display is currently using. If you have XBMC set up to adjust the refresh rate to match the source then you need to continue reading from step four.

4) Next you need to go to Monitor Properties in Windows, I'm using a monitor to write this guide so yours will look different. The results you should hope for are: 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 50, 59, 60. You may have more - or less - options.

Image
Windows 8 Monitor settings


5) Starting with the lowest, select it and apply. If the lowest is 23 then you'll notice mouse lag - don't worry about that. Repeat step three above. You will need to do this for each refresh rate listed (adjusting the scan level in Catalyst Control Center.) Once you have completed that you can set it back to the highest your display supports and leave it like that.



Problem Two - "Video playback is stuttering, jerky, discoloured or similar"

Cause
There are many causes to this, some may be hardware or source related - it's hard to tell but you can get the software settings correct for best playback.

AMD CCC Solution

1) Open Catalyst Control Center

2) Go to 'Video' and select 'Quality'. You need to make sure you have none of options enabled, it should look like the screenshot below.

Image
AMD Catalyst Control Center Video Quality settings

3) The next step is to make sure the colour settings are correct. Whilst still in the 'Video' area navigate down to 'Color' and then 'Advanced Video Color'. Again your settings should look like the screenshot below.

Image
AMD Catalyst Control Center Video Color settings

NOTE: At time of writing there is a current problem with correct display of colour in certain situations using Windows. A thread explaining this is here.

XBMC Solution

1) Start XBMC and navigate to Settings -> System -> Video Output.

2) We're ignoring the Limited Colour option as explained above in the note. Ideally your settings should look like the screenshot below.

Image
XBMC 13.0 Video output settings


3) Next we're going to set up the playback option. Navigate to Settings -> Video -> Playback. There are quite a few options here and I've set the following screenshot up to show which settings should be enabled when you want the screen to match frames per second of the video. Please see the sub-points written below the screenshot.

Image
XBMC 13.0 Video Playback settings

Sub-points
(i) 'Pause during refresh rate change' can be set to a different amount of time if you desire.
(ii) 'A/V sync method' is set to drop or duplicate audio packets - this is best practice for bit-streaming audio as I'm sure a developer can confirm.
(iii) 'Display 4:3 videos as' will stretch any content with a 4:3 aspect ration, this can be changed to match your preference.



4) The final step is to set up hardware acceleration. Navigate one step lower (Settings -> Video -> Acceleration). I've set the following screenshot up to show which settings should be enabled to make sure you let XBMC decide what's best for your content. Again see sub-points below the screenshot.

Image
XBMC 13.0 Video Acceleration settings

Sub-points
(i) It's best practice to leave the Render Method set to Auto detect.
(ii) 'Enable HQ Scalers for scalings above' comes down to user choice and can be left at '0%'.




Problem Three - "Audio is choppy, doesn't play correctly, bit-streaming doesn't work or similar"

Cause
Since AMD Radeon and above cards support six audio channels or more, this comes down to settings in Windows and XBMC.

Windows Settings

1) Navigate to Control Panel -> Sound. 'AMD HDMI Output' should be selected as the default device.

Image
Windows 8 Sound devices


2) Next right-click on the 'AMD HDMI Output' device and select 'Properties'. You then need to go to the 'Supported Formats' tab and make sure the 'Max Number of Channels' is 8. You may see more options under 'Encoded Formats', this is fine. Please see the screenshot below for an example.

Image
Windows 8 AMD HDMI Output Supported Formats tab

3) Next you need to navigate to the tab named 'Advanced'. This is where we will set the option to make sure Windows allows XBMC to take control of the audio device. Please make sure your options match the screenshot below.

Image
Windows 8 AMD HDMI Output Advanced tab

4) Finally, and this is optional but best practice, we will move to the speaker set up within Windows. Go back to the Sound device list, highlight 'AMD HDMI Output' and select 'Configure' from the bottom left.

5) I am using 5.1 in the example as it's, from what I can tell, generally the most popular on the XBMC forum. If you're using a 7.1 set up then select 7.1 etc.

Image
Windows 8 Speaker Setup options

6) Click next and finally 'Finish'.

XBMC Settings

1) Start XBMC and navigate to Settings -> System -> Audio Output.

2) We've already completed the Windows part and now we're going to set up bit-streaming audio and best practice within XBMC. Please see the sub-points written below the screenshot.

Image
XBMC 13.0 Audio output settings

Sub-points
(i) 'Audio output device' can be WASAPI or DirectSound. WASAPI is best practice as it removes one point in the chain between your media and sound output. Please click here for a more detailed explanation and comparison.
(ii) 'Number of channels' should be how many speakers you have.
(iii) 'Play GUI Sounds' is optional but can cause problems when using WASAPI.
(iv) When you scroll down this screen you will see options regarding Supported Formats - only select the ones you know your receiver can process.





Problem Four - "Error - Unable to create GUI"

Cause
This is nearly always caused by not updating DirectX (included with the XBMC installation) or by using old display drivers.

The Solution

Make sure your drivers are updated, you can find the latest AMD GPU drivers by clicking here (this will take you to the official AMD Driver Autodetect page).



I hope you found this guide helpful and I intend to add more common points updated for Windows 8, AMD GPUs and XBMC 13.0

(sorry about all the hr bb - I wanted to use it to break up the Problem points but I forgot this forum only allows 6 images per post... if a mod could up that limit or edit it to remove the hr I would appreciate it.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - fritsch - 2014-04-14

Quote:(ii) 'Enable HQ Scalers for scalings above' comes down to user choice and can be left at '0%'.

There is no need to upscale e.g. 1900x800 via a hq scaler to 1920x1080. Set it to 10 or 20% and you are fine.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - Piers - 2014-04-14

(2014-04-14, 13:31)fritsch Wrote:
Quote:(ii) 'Enable HQ Scalers for scalings above' comes down to user choice and can be left at '0%'.

There is no need to upscale e.g. 1900x800 via a hq scaler to 1920x1080. Set it to 10 or 20% and you are fine.

I would update the post to reflect your comment, but if I try and edit it an error message about 6 images maximum is displayed. Is there anything that can be done about that?

edit: thank you for the sticky, I do hope people find this post useful.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - bluray - 2014-04-14

(2014-04-13, 23:42)Piers Wrote: 2) Next right-click on the 'AMD HDMI Output' device and select 'Properties'. You then need to go to the 'Supported Formats' tab and make sure the 'Max Number of Channels' is 8. You may see more options under 'Encoded Formats', this is fine. Please see the screenshot below for an example.

Image
Windows 8 AMD HDMI Output Supported Formats tab
Is your AVR not capable of decoding DTS-HD and TrueHD?


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - Piers - 2014-04-15

(2014-04-14, 16:41)bluray Wrote:
(2014-04-13, 23:42)Piers Wrote: 2) Next right-click on the 'AMD HDMI Output' device and select 'Properties'. You then need to go to the 'Supported Formats' tab and make sure the 'Max Number of Channels' is 8. You may see more options under 'Encoded Formats', this is fine. Please see the screenshot below for an example.

Image
Windows 8 AMD HDMI Output Supported Formats tab
Is your AVR not capable of decoding DTS-HD and TrueHD?

Not the one connected in the bedroom.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - noonzascript - 2014-04-19

Thanks for this. I'm curious to know what your video settings (the settings found in the Video OSD) are. Can you take some shots or give some insight regarding this?

Right now I have:
Deinterlace video - Auto
Deinterlace method - DXVA Best
Scaling method - auto (usually dxva since it's the only option for most of my videos)


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - Piers - 2014-04-19

(2014-04-19, 04:27)noonzascript Wrote: Thanks for this. I'm curious to know what your video settings (the settings found in the Video OSD) are. Can you take some shots or give some insight regarding this?

Right now I have:
Deinterlace video - Auto
Deinterlace method - DXVA Best
Scaling method - auto (usually dxva since it's the only option for most of my videos)

Sure, I'll take a screenshot - but the main HTPC I use has everything on Auto and Post-Processing enabled.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - TRaSH - 2014-04-19

nice guide.
but i got a few questions.

you say:
Quote:(ii) 'A/V sync method' is set to drop or duplicate audio packets - this is best practice for bit-streaming audio as I'm sure a developer can confirm.

i got this option disabled and never have any issues (i only got Adjust display refresh rate to match video enabled),
testing a few scenes with Avatar(start scene and the helicopter bird and waterfall drop scene) to stress the GPU.
and have 0 drops in frames or audio


when reading that options it sounds that it isn't a good option for bitstreaming to drop or duplicate,
wouldn't this cause drops or stutter ?

is there a more detailed explanation about "Render Method" and "Enable HQ scalers....." and the amount of % what it does.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - Piers - 2014-04-19

(2014-04-19, 11:07)TRaSH Wrote: nice guide.
but i got a few questions.

you say:
Quote:(ii) 'A/V sync method' is set to drop or duplicate audio packets - this is best practice for bit-streaming audio as I'm sure a developer can confirm.

i got this option disabled and never have any issues (i only got Adjust display refresh rate to match video enabled),
testing a few scenes with Avatar(start scene and the helicopter bird and waterfall drop scene) to stress the GPU.
and have 0 drops in frames or audio


when reading that options it sounds that it isn't a good option for bitstreaming to drop or duplicate,
wouldn't this cause drops or stutter ?

is there a more detailed explanation about "Render Method" and "Enable HQ scalers....." and the amount of % what it does.

The drop/dupe option is, from my understanding, recommended by developers when bit-streaming. I'm hoping one of them can confirm that.

I would like to expand that post - adding more about render methods and HQ scalers, there certainly is more content to add but I'm unable to edit it (forum restriction of 6 images really fucks that option up).


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - fritsch - 2014-04-19

When you bitstream, xbmc does not touch audio, it just puts it through package after package in 32 ms length. When now Sync between audio and video is wrong, the only thing we can do is a) drop one of such packages or b) add it twice. that makes it clear why passthrough audio is most of the time problematic to get going fine, especially over the complete video.

If you are not one of those "I want that my AVR tells Dts-HD or TrueHD or DTS or AC3", disable all of that and use normal pcm stream. Sync Method would then be Video Clock (Resample Audio).


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - Piers - 2014-04-19

(2014-04-19, 16:41)fritsch Wrote: When you bitstream, xbmc does not touch audio, it just puts it through package after package in 32 ms length. When now Sync between audio and video is wrong, the only thing we can do is a) drop one of such packages or b) add it twice. that makes it clear why passthrough audio is most of the time problematic to get going fine, especially over the complete video.

If you are not one of those "I want that my AVR tells Dts-HD or TrueHD or DTS or AC3", disable all of that and use normal pcm stream. Sync Method would then be Video Clock (Resample Audio).

Thank you clearing that up. Would you be able to edit my post and update that point? Another developer (can't find the post) said the Dupe/Drop option would be the best so I went with that.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - fritsch - 2014-04-19

There is no alternative to drop / dupe - if you want passthrough. So - reread what I have written.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - bluray - 2014-04-19

(2014-04-19, 16:41)fritsch Wrote: When you bitstream, xbmc does not touch audio, it just puts it through package after package in 32 ms length. When now Sync between audio and video is wrong, the only thing we can do is a) drop one of such packages or b) add it twice. that makes it clear why passthrough audio is most of the time problematic to get going fine, especially over the complete video.
XBMC passthrough codecs to my AVR fine since 2011 version...

(2014-04-19, 16:41)fritsch Wrote: If you are not one of those "I want that my AVR tells Dts-HD or TrueHD or DTS or AC3", disable all of that and use normal pcm stream. Sync Method would then be Video Clock (Resample Audio).
I paid a lot of money for AVR to decode and display DTS-HD and TrueHD, so I preferred having it decoding DTS-HD and TrueHD than HTPC. It works fine with everything disabled....


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - fritsch - 2014-04-20

Then you are as said none of those. I btw only described the technical background. Use whatever you like. Xbmc supports both.


RE: Guide: Audio/Video Problem Solving with an AMD GPU - FernetMenta - 2014-04-20

(2014-04-19, 21:35)fritsch Wrote: There is no alternative to drop / dupe - if you want passthrough. So - reread what I have written.

Actually sync method automatically falls back to drop/dupe in case of passthrough. So it is safe to leave it to resample.


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