Slow GUI and no sound after initial installation
#1
Problem: slow gui and no sound after initial installation (as read through out the forum). AE is setting HD audio by default if this is detected that it could be used however for a lot of people the other end doesn't support this which causes problems.

Solution: disable HD audio by default so it works for the majority of noob users. Audiophiles will find it anyway so no need to bog down the default users who don't understand what is going on.
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#2
Following on from this I'd go further


Problem: Choppy video and no audio.

When setting Audio Output to the Optical/coax or HDMI options all the capable receiver passthrough items are enabled (apart from AAC capable receiver it seems), however not all systems will support the passthrough of some of the encoded formats such as DTS. This mismatch between what is supported at the OS/driver level and what is enabled in XBMC causes video & audio playback problems that causes much confusion for new or inexperienced users. There has been many occassions where I've had to talk users through finding out what their system supports and then disabling the "capable receiver" items that their av setup does not support.

Solution: In nearly all the cases where choppy video and no audio is experienced, this can be solved by setting Audio Output to Analog so that XBMC sends all audio as PCM with encoded formats such as DTS being decoded by XBMC where necessary. Since XBMC doing the decoding for encoded formats like DTS offers the greatest & simplest compatibility for users then I would suggest that the quick win is that XBMC by default for both the Optical/coax and HDMI options for Audio Output should have all the capable receiver passthrough items disabled. Forcing user to enable the capable receiver items for passthrough if they want to bitstream means they are more likely to investigtate what their system supports or only be touched by experience users, it also has the benefit of the users more likely having an initially working setup thus if they enable any of those items then experience problems then it should hopefully be obvious to them they need to be disabled again.

Perhaps in the long term the enumeration of the audio devices by XBMC can be used to set the defaults for the capable receiver passthrough items.

Hope that all makes sense.
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#3
(2013-01-14, 14:45)DDDamian Wrote:
(2013-01-14, 14:05)jjd-uk Wrote:
(2013-01-12, 15:00)Martijn Wrote: Problem: slow gui and no sound after initial installation (as read through out the forum). AE is setting HD audio by default if this is detected that it could be used however for a lot of people the other end doesn't support this which causes problems.

Solution: disable HD audio by default so it works for the majority of noob users. Audiophiles will find it anyway so no need to bog down the default users who don't understand what is going on.

Following on from this I'd go further


Problem: Choppy video and no audio.

When setting Audio Output to the Optical/coax or HDMI options all the capable receiver passthrough items are enabled (apart from AAC capable receiver it seems), however not all systems will support the passthrough of some of the encoded formats such as DTS. This mismatch between what is supported at the OS/driver level and what is enabled in XBMC causes video & audio playback problems that causes much confusion for new or inexperienced users. There has been many occassions where I've had to talk users through finding out what their system supports and then disabling the "capable receiver" items that their av setup does not support.

Solution: In nearly all the cases where choppy video and no audio is experienced, this can be solved by setting Audio Output to Analog so that XBMC sends all audio as PCM with encoded formats such as DTS being decoded by XBMC where necessary. Since XBMC doing the decoding for encoded formats like DTS offers the greatest & simplest compatibility for users then I would suggest that the quick win is that XBMC by default for both the Optical/coax and HDMI options for Audio Output should have all the capable receiver passthrough items disabled. Forcing user to enable the capable receiver items for passthrough if they want to bitstream means they are more likely to investigtate what their system supports or only be touched by experience users, it also has the benefit of the users more likely having an initially working setup thus if they enable any of those items then experience problems then it should hopefully be obvious to them they need to be disabled again.

Perhaps in the long term the enumeration of the audio devices by XBMC can be used to set the defaults for the capable receiver passthrough items.

Hope that all makes sense.

Quite agree! The enumerations will be used for enabling/disabling default "receiver-capable" settings - that's coming. They can still be overridden by the user.

I'd made the argument some time ago that the whole "analog/optical/HDMI" setting is redundant now - it just confuses users as it has nothing to do with where the audio is sent. It provides general guidelines only e.g. no DTS-HD over optical etc.

It would be just as easy to remove that setting, default on install to basic 2.0, no passthrough (decode all) and have a radio button for "Enable reported formats" to go with the enumeration settings, or if not checked allow users to manually select the "receiver-capable" buttons.

That *should* be an out-of-the-box sound works scenario, with one button to enable all the reported formats, and a manual override in case they're wrong or if a user wants to force decoding of a specific format.
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#4
(2013-01-14, 15:16)jjd-uk Wrote:
(2013-01-14, 14:45)DDDamian Wrote: It would be just as easy to remove that setting, default on install to basic 2.0, no passthrough (decode all) and have a radio button for "Enable reported formats" to go with the enumeration settings, or if not checked allow users to manually select the "receiver-capable" buttons.

That *should* be an out-of-the-box sound works scenario, with one button to enable all the reported formats, and a manual override in case they're wrong or if a user wants to force decoding of a specific format.
That sounds good to me.

Personally I'd also like to see a new Audio section in System Info which displays all the enumerated info, I think this is something you started work on if I rightly remember.


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#5
I suggest that the default is changed then.

@DDDamian: mind doing up a PR to change the default on win32?
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#6
please also on linux
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#7
Here are some further thoughts I've had on this.

Why do we need both and Audio output device and Passthrough output device on Frodo? There was only one output device selection on Eden so was there a specific reason for the introduction of separate output devices for decode and passthrough? The only use case I can think of is if HDMI is connected to TV for video playback and SPDIF is connect to amp for music playback, in which why not have Music output device for PAPlayer and Video output device for DVDPlayer instead?

XBMC enumerates devices so why not use this information to set the defaults? anything not supported according to enumeration should not be selectable . Thus a system that can't do DTS-HD won't allow a user to select that option and then wonder why they get crappy video playback, and similarly don't allow the number of channels according to Speaker configuration to be set above what the enumeration reports the hardware can support.

Why also is there need of Audio Output with Analog/SPDIF/HDMI choices, this again is confusing to users while not seeming to really offer anything other than telling XBMC the LPCM capabilities, but again this information could potentially be gathered from the selected audio device and the enumeration.

IMHO the Audio Output screen should be something like:

Code:
[Audio Output screeen]
*Audio Output Device:
*Speaker configuration
*Boost volume level on downmix
*Output stereo to all speakers
*Play GUI sounds
*Passthrough settings ->
         [Passthrough settings screen]
       - Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiver
       - DTS capable receiver
       - AAC capable receiver (this doesn't appear to do anything)
       - MultiChannel LPCM capable receiver
       - TrueHD capable receiver
       - DTS-HD capable receiver

The capable receiver items are confusing as presently implemented but worth retaining to allow people the choice of XBMC decode or passthrough, so my solution is to move them from the main Audio Ouput screen to a new Passthrough settings screen selected from within Audio Output. This cleans up the Audio Output screen whilst still retaining choice for more advanced users, in case they want to override what the enumeration has selected as enabled for passthrough so that XBMC can decode. Any format not supported according to enumeration would be greyed out and not selectable so XBMC always decodes.
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#8
Bumping this as it seems relevant after the new settings refactor merge by Montellese.

At the moment audio settings are a confusing mess IMHO.

I've brought it up here as Montellese's work rightly tries to prevent confusion by hiding advanced settings, however the way things work at present all audio settings need to be Level 1 as all user's will need to adjust them at some point. This could be solved by adjusting behaviour which is why I bring it up here 1st of all.

Solution 1 - Adjusting working of existing settings

Level 1 - Audio Output Device
Level 1 - Speaker configuration
Level 2 - Boost volume level on downmix
Level 2 - Output stereo to all speakers
Level 2 - Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiver
Level 2 - DTS capable receiver
Level 2 - AAC capable receiver (this doesn't appear to do anything)
Level 2 - MultiChannel LPCM capable receiver
Level 2 - TrueHD capable receiver
Level 2 - DTS-HD capable receiver
Level 1 - Audio output device
Level 2 - Passthrough output device
Level 1 - Play GUI sounds

For this to work the operation of Audio Output needs to change, when selecting Optical/Coax or HDMI then all capable receiver options must remain disabled so XBMC continues to decode audio. The passthrough options should only be presented when switching to Level 2 or higher.

Currently selecting Optical/Coax enables AC3 & DTS and selecting HDMI enables everything apart from AAC, as mentioned above this creates problems if the connected AVR, TV or speakers does not support these formats, so if passthrough options are to remain hidden from Level 1 then XBMC must always decode as default.

Solution 2 - The much more work required solution

Can we do away with Audio Output? As the audio devices are now enumerated by XBMC so it knows the channels & formats each device can support, is it possible for the "capable receiver" defaults to set from the currently selected device? this would give:

Level 1 - Speaker configuration
Level 2 - Boost volume level on downmix
Level 2 - Output stereo to all speakers
Level 2 - Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiver
Level 2 - DTS capable receiver
Level 2 - AAC capable receiver (this doesn't appear to do anything)
Level 2 - MultiChannel LPCM capable receiver
Level 2 - TrueHD capable receiver
Level 2 - DTS-HD capable receiver
Level 1 - Audio output device
Level 2 - Passthrough output device
Level 1 - Play GUI sounds

Do we even need the separate "Audio output device" and "Passthrough output device"
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#9
The desired solution should be #2 IMO. As for the enumeration - IIRC the issue there is/was that XBMC is enumerating at startup, but the receiver/TV could be turned off at that time. Thus enumeration fails and you wouldn't ever get any audio output. So in addition to the enumeration only thing we would also need a "hot plug" detection bound to the enumeration.
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