.M2TS File Breakthrough

New Sony HD camcorders present problems to their owners when it comes time to viewing and editing M2TS files created by the camera.  There is actually a lot of people having problems with this. If you Google the topic you will get lost in all the info of failures and attempts.

It is possible to view M2TS files using WMP10 with the Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra 7.3 installed. M2TS is an acronym for "Mpeg2 Transport Stream". Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra was reported that it cannot actually open M2TS files from disk for viewing like it can other video types but I can even after installing the updates. You just have to select open media files from the appropriate menu and build a playlist.

From what I have been reading, support from the OpenSource Community is likely over 2 years away. It will take someone with an intense knowledge of Mpeg2 among other things to come up with an OpenSource solution. Two major factors definately contribute to the ability to view/edit these files...System performance and codecs.

Anyone that HAS to deal with these file types is wasting thier time unless the system is HDV compatible. This dosen't necessarily mean 100% compatible.

 Using tools provided by Cyberlink though, one can determine if thier system is HDV compatible in general. Low-performing systems will have issues with choppy video/audio and likely audio sync issues during playback.


The Cyberlink Advisor http://tinyurl.com/3xfka5 


Cyberlink compatibility Chart http://tinyurl.com/3y84ra.



Sony, from what I understand, does include both a viewer and an encoder which is capable of re-encoding a M2TS file into a format that requires less overhead to play on a low-performing system. My guess though, based on my tests, is that even the re-encoded file will suffer from the choppy video/audio problem.

My workstation I do my video stuff on is on a Asus motherboard with a AMD 64X2 4800+, 2 gb ram ,Nvidea GEForce 7300GS 512mb. According to the Cyberlink Advisor my video card is not compatible. Of course, My card is compatible because I can play 1080p WMHDV downloaded from the Windows Media Showcase. My laptop is a POS Acer Aspire 3000 with 512mb ram. I didn't bother running the advisor on it I already know its not HDV Ready. But I have tested what I found works on my workstation and I do get choppy audio/video.

Windows Media Showcase http://tinyurl.com/oxf5o


MY $35.00 Solution: Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra 7.3 UNINSTALLED

I found an encoder while surfing the web that can convert M2TS files to .AVI files that are playable both in WMP10 and MPC. The installer is a 21-day trial and is not limited in any other way I could tell so-far. You can preview the files in a small window which is nice. I also downloaded a test video.

Sample Videos http://tinyurl.com/2zg6fs

Elecard AVC HD to DV Transcoder http://tinyurl.com/2x2xf2

The resulting encoded AVI file does play without a hitch on my 99% HDV compliant system. However, I'm not sure of how close to HD compliant the output file actually is. Next I looked at editing.

1.Womble has problem with the display of the Elecard encoded file. There are vertical lines in the preview video that get passed to an exported video. So Womble is out.

2.Sony Vegas Platinum 7.0 can import the encoded file and render as other types of .AVI files that play perfectly with WMP10 and MPC. Womble is still out using the Sony Rendered AVI.

3.Ulead DVD Movie Factory 4.0 can't open the Elecard encoded file but can open and play properly the Sony Rendered AVI. It can also export to a Vob set. Womble has no problem with the resulting file. So Womble is back in.

4.VirtualDubMod can[t open the source M2TS file or directly open either the Elcard or the Sony Rendered file due to a lack of a codec. It can open the Elcard file if at the bottom of the open dialog you select the DirectShow Source option next to where it says Use AviSynth Template. A basic stream dump to an AVI file can be opened by Womble.

5. Windows Media Encoder can render the Elcard AVI to a HDWMV but nothin on my system can play it.

6. Super© can convert the Elcard file with no problem to different iterations of AVI files using DivX or XVID and AC3 which is good news actually.


MY $135.00 Solution: Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra 7.3 INSTALLED

PowerDVD Ultra can play the HDWMV file but we are $100.00 over budjet.

VirtualDubMod can open M2TS files but does a lousy processing job.


Here's a sample of what I was able to do...

Video: XVID 1280x720 29.97fps 1314Kbps [Video 0]

Audio: Dolby AC3 48000Hz 6ch 112Kbps [Audio 1]

It's All related!

Troubleshooting software problems can often be difficult. When you encounter problems with a peticular piece of software, you may also have other software that does similiar things or rely on similar items to do what it does. Here's a personal story that heps describe what I'm talking about.

Recently, my video editor program stopped exporting and compressing my videos. It had been working properly with no issues. Re-installing the application had no effect on the problem. So I thought possibly something was wrong with the source video. Naturally of course the video played fine on the pc so I ruled that out.

My instinct was to suspect a corrupted codec on the system. Sure enough, my codec checking utility showed a bad codec and reported it had been installed by my DVD authoring program. I wasn't sure if my editing program was using that specific codec though.

Prior to reinstalling my DVD application, I decided to open up a folder that I store video in and preview a movie to test the DVD authoring program with. When clicking on a video, to play the movie, Explorer.exe crashed and closed all open windows into the file system. The peticular folder was set to thumbnail view.

Fortunately I was able to change the folder view settings to "Detail" view to alleviate that problem.

What was actually happening there was XP was using a 'broken" codec to try to display the starting frame of the video. Kind of a cool feature when it works, but I normally use Detail view to monitor filesizes and stuff.

Next I opened up my DVD authoring program to check it out. The last time I had used it there were no problems whatsoever. I was able to import a video and start a project with no problem. However, when I attempted to render the video to a folder to burn the video later...I recieved an error.

Magically, after re-installing that application, everything worked perfect.

So tracking down problems, often involves a little thought about what other software that is supposed to do "similiar" things and comparing notes.

Like I said..."It's All Related"!

Video Conversions - Part 2

Talk about beating your head against the wall! The hours figuring this out though was time well spent. To recap, I was capturing video with my video capture card, then editing out commercials and then compressing the output to a file to be stored and streamed to my tv.

The movies would play fine to a point then the audio would go out of sync and the video would go wacky. My goal was to get the file size down to under 1GB for a 90 minute movie. Acomplishing all this takes several steps and involves several processes to actually accomplish the task. Narrowing down where the process was breaking down though was the dilemma.

What turned out to be the problem was the source files I created in my video capturing process. I have several options to select as far as the type of capture file I want to create. Basically it just regulates the frame size and compression of the file that is created during the capture. The smaller the file, the tighter the compression.

Trying to compress the capture to the max was the actual problem. Discovering this though was difficult as all the capture files played on the pc end to end with no issues. But streaming them to the tv was another matter. I could even use the trancoder that comes with the media server to prep the file and that would play fine...it just doesn't do any compression. Setting my capture card to 12mb /sec CBR stream was the key. Since the files are .mpg files, they don't suffer the 4mb limit of AVI files imposed by the Windows VFW codec. So a 90 min movie captures to over 10GB.

It was very confusing to say the least to try to compress a capture file that would trancode and play fine without additional compression. I spent a lot of time looking at the two codecs I was using. Between DivX and XVid, I settled on Divx. Mainly because of the availability of support since it is a commercial codec. Both codecs yield close to the same results when you get the process right.

Anyway, re-capturing movies I had already burned to DVD is rather time consuming. I have an cheap stand-alone DVD player attached to my capture card. But this was better than trying to capture something off the tv to try to figure out where the problem was. At least, I could use the same source many times and measure the results start to finish. Must be the scientist in me.

Of course, re-capturing movies from DVD is not the optimal way to get a movie off the DVD in the long run. I don't really need to actually capture. I just need to put the DVD's I've already created into my DVD burner and copy the movie files to the HD and merge the files into a single video file. Then import it into my video editor and export to an AVI file using Divx. On a 90 min movie, this cuts down the processing time by about 80 minutes because I don't have to re-capture or do any actual editing.

I actually had a pretty good Idea this process would work so I focused on the making the capturing process work. Now I don't have to commit a video I capture to DVD when all I really want to do is capture something and store it on my media server....AND optimize the space for more movies than you can shake a stick at. Current count is almost 1300 and is only half full.

Another cool thing I setup today is a little webserver that is running on my pc to access all my video's and music over the Internet. So when I'm on the road I can ferret through the list easily. Otherwise I can use my remote access software to do the same thing basically. The difference is I can stream my music. The vids don't stream though.

I did install some streaming software on my system and was able to stream, but it kept buffering after about 2 seconds. I think the problem there is that the files are not actually encoded properly to do that over the Internet. And the streaming software doesn't do any transcoding. The same company makes a live-streaming software though that supposedly could possibly access my video capture card and stream live tv to my laptop. This might come in handy if the local cable doesn't carry the same channels I have on the satellite dish.

Since my Internet is actually fast enough, I might explore streaming video from my pc in more depth at some point.