Thursday, May 10, 2012

WDTV Live Streaming issue from share with poor Internet connection

I have had my WDTV Live and FreeNAS server setup and working together for awhile now.  Recently, my Internet has been very intermittent due to my underground being damaged.  Because of this, I noticed that when attempting to connect to my FreeNAS share on my WDTV Live box, it would hang while connecting and eventually error out saying it could not find a connection!  Lies!

At first I didn't realize this was causing it.  Eventually I figured it out when the WDTV couldn't connect to my server, my Internet was non-functional as well.  Since we have cellular service with a data plan, the Internet has not been too huge of an inconvenience.  Now that it was affecting TV time... that's a problem.

I was able to get it to work by logging into the Tomato web interface of my router and "Release" my IP which effectively disabled my WAN port and defunct Internet connection.  The problem with this work around was when my signal was sufficient for Internet access, I would have to log back into the router and "Renew" my IP. When the signal worsened, Internet access would be unheard of and my WDTV would not connect to my server.

After battling it out for a few weeks, I eventually had a revelation.  I simply restricted all Internet access from my FreeNAS server at my router.  This Access Restriction allowed me to specify all day every day, the IP Address of my FreeNAS server was not able to access the Internet.  Upon saving this configuration, my WDTV was able to connect to my server without any hanging or issues.

Only downside I see to this method is now I cannot access any Internet media through the WDTVs slow/poorly designed interface.  I rarely used it, but now it's no longer a possibility.  Oh well.

One day I plan on building a little media PC to connect to my TV and allow me to access files on my server.  Hopefully the interface will be better thought out and less crappy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Play MKV files on Xbox 360

I've been working on a number of projects that I want to post about, but one that's been a little frustrating was getting certain MKV files to play on an Xbox 360 using the Windows 7 Media Extender.

I was helping a friend setup his network so he could stream movies from his computer to his 360 and we found that only certain movies would play.  MKV files would not play.  Research showed that this was due to the type of audio the files were using.  Even though the video would play on the computer in Media Player (with the appropriate codecs installed), it would not play on the 360.  The 360 would not play DTS (Direct Theater Systems) audio tracks but would play AC3.

Searching various keywords returned a lot of results stating DTS won't play on 360 and a bunch of tutorials on how to convert the video files to a supported format.  Unfortunately none of these results were helpful.  Maybe it was dumb luck or initial my poor choice of keywords but we finally came to a post on that was also a walkthrough on converting your files.  The steps were fewer and only required one application.  We gave it a shot on some files and it worked great.

Here are the steps from carbonize explaining what to do in XMedia Recode (get the Portable version).  The only thing we did differently was step 5.  We did not select Copy, but convert with the defaults.  Worked like a champ!  Thanks carbonize!!

  1. Drag the video file you want to convert over on to the XMedia Recode window and wait for it to finish checking it
  2. Click on the video in the list near the top of the XMedia Recode window
  3. Click the Format tab and change Profile to Custom, Format to MP4 and File Extension to mp4
  4. Click the Video tab and tick the Video Copy box at the bottom of the options
  5. Click the Audio tab and under Modus select Copy. If your file has multiple audio streams you can choose to remove some at this point.
  6. At the bottom, under Output, change it to Source Path so the mp4 version appears in same folder as the original (optional)
  7. Click Add Job at the top
  8. Click Encode