I'm hoping somebody can help me fix or workaround a very frustrating problem...
I have three media player / DMA devices in my house:
1. Sony PS3
2. ACRyan PlayOnHD DVR
3. Sony Bravia KDL-24EX320 TV
Until recently, I used TVersity as DLNA server for all three. My desktop PC died, so I've now switched to using a Synology DS1812+ NAS as DLNA server.
I have quite a large collection of WMV files which don't use square pixels.
The PS3 plays these files at the correct aspect ratio (as does Windows Media Player), but my other two devices don't - the picture looks horizontally squashed (so widescreen programmes play in the area that a 4:3 programme would occupy on the screen, with black bars either side - people look very thin!).
I can 'cheat' on the ACRyan by manually setting the options to say it's connected to a 4:3 TV, which it isn't. That has the effect of filling the screen with the picture, although it's a pain to have to keep switching the setup options in between playing these files and other types of files.
The Bravia TV simply refuses to play them at the correct aspect ratio - whether playing the file via DLNA over the LAN, or locally from a USB flash key. And because the media player is integrated into the TV itself, I can't use the "4:3 TV connected" trick to workaround the problem.
The pixel dimensions of a typical sample file exhibiting this problem are 672 x 544 (so SAR is 1.235). Using the WMV-aspect-ratio-changer tool by crypto (WMVARChanger.exe), I can see that the PAR is already set to 1.44 (16:11)... implying a DAR of 1.78 (16:9), which is presumably why my laptop and the PS3 play them just fine.
My Synology NAS's DLNA server has the ability to set "custom MIME types" and you can manually override the auto-selected device profile to select another one (the auto-selected one is called "Sony BRAVIA")... but at this point I'm at the very limits of my DLNA expertise - I don't know which MIME type string and/or profile might help me to fix this (if any). And, regardless, the Bravia telly has the same problem playing the files from a USB flash device, so it's not really the DLNA server's fault...
Is there any way to get the TV (and hopefully the ACRyan) to respect the aspect ratio flags in the ASF header of these WMVs?
I really don't want to have to re-encode everything if I can possibly avoid it, but at this point I'm struggling to think of another solution.
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
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Thread: WMV aspect ratio frustrations
Have you checked for firmware updates for you players?
But I doubt they are fixing such issues. Many players are ignoring display aspect in some containers like wmv and avi.
Thanks for the reply. I haven't (recently) checked for the ACRyan player, since I discovered I had a workaround for that - I probably should though as they used to update it quite frequently...
But the Sony Bravia is definitely bang up-to-date. The 'compatibility matrix' on Sony's site says that WMV9/VC-1 is supported... the problem is obviously that, as you say, the aspect settings in the container are ignored.
I guess I might be able to remux the files into MKV..? But I don't think the Bravia likes Matroska containers, and I don't think the PS3 will cope with them either.
Just an update on this...
I was using the "Media Server" (official Synology) DLNA server package on my NAS before. But I've just got Serviio 1.1 working on it in the past couple of days.
It seems that Serviio has far more granular control over different players/renderers than Media Server does. Serviio uses a 'profiles.xml' config file to define different profiles for different devices, which are either auto-selected (e.g. by HTTP header parsing or uPnP device name) or can be selected manually via Serviio Console. Each profile defines how to present different types of files to the player.
A real bonus is that Serviio can be configured to perform real-time remuxing/rewrapping or even transcoding of files, effectively enabling players to play stuff they usually reject or get wrong.
I've managed to make myself a custom profile for my ACRyan player which transcodes ASF container files into mpeg2 and ac3 audio, and it works! I was amazed, but it seems that the little dual-core Atom processor in my NAS can handle this transcoding on-the-fly... albeit I've only tried it with standard def files or smaller. The CPU usage goes high and it takes maybe two seconds longer to start playing, but it doesn't max out the CPU or stutter the video.
I'm having more trouble getting the Sony Bravia to play nicely in the same way though. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know what some of the Serviio settings mean and it doesn't help that the Serviio forums have been down for the past few days (due to moving host, apparently).
Still, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel! I reckon with some more experimentation with settings and/or help I'll be able to get the Sony working with these files too.
So far, my Synology NAS has not ceased to amaze me - I never expected realtime video transcoding to be something it was capable of.