8 Replies Latest reply: Aug 5, 2010 8:34 PM by whitestar11 RSS

    Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse

    whitestar11

      I have been watching my slingbox on a Gateway laptop for six months, but today I set up a new computer, and one of the first things I noticed is that slingplayer looks a lot worse even though I upgraded from a decent laptop to a much more powerful desktop.  Here are the pertinant specs and links:

       

      Gateway Laptop:

      http://support.gateway.com/s/Mobile/2007/Oasis/1014360R/1014360Rsp3.shtml

       

      HP Desktop (base model)

      http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store&category=desktops&a1=Category&v1=High+performance&series_name=HPE300z_series&jumpid=in_R329_prodexp/hhoslp/psg/desktops/High_performance/HPE300z_series

       

      Gateway Laptop:

      Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core Mobile Processor T2060 1.6 GHz | 1 MB L2 cache | 533 MHz FSB

      15.4-inch WXGA (1280 × 800)

      2048 MB 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2 × 1024)

      Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 Up to 224 MB of shared video memory (when 512 MB or more system memory  present)

      Windows 7 Pro (32 bit)

      Wireless G Internet connection (same home network)

       

      HP Desktop:

      AMD Athlon(TM) X4 635 quad-core processor [2.9GHz, 2MB L2, up to 4000MHz  bus]

      19 inch LCD (1440 x 900)

      6GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [3 DIMMs]

      512MB ATI Radeon HD 5450 [DVI, HDMI, VGA adapter] (using VGA at the moment)

      Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)

      LAN connection (same home network)

       

      Is there anything that stands out to anyone that shows why this new desktop computer would be worse at slingbox than my old laptop?  So much is different: quad core AMD processor, 64 bit OS, an actual graphics card, and a larger display. I thought all of that would help but its really much much worse.  I can return this computer for 2 more weeks and I am seriously considering it. I am running the latest version of slingplayer, 2.0.4.521 (just checked).

        • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
          eferz Expert

          Couple of questions.  Does this happen with both Slingplayer Desktop (http://support.slingbox.com/go/downloads) and Web Slingplayer (http://watch.slingbox.com)?  Could you also be a little more descriptive of the issue?  Maybe provide a screen shot.  The description is a wee vague.

           

          Also, here's a shot a dark... through long series of troubleshooting, (http://placeshiftingenthusiasts.com/forum/slingbox-hardware/slingbox-pro-best-firmwareslingplayer-version/), someone else experience degraded performance using Windows Classic theme.  But, saw a dramatic improvement in picture quality when they turned on Windows Aero theme.

            • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
              whitestar11

              Here are some screen shots. I did not resize the images when I saved them and uploaded them. However, I don't know if slingbox.com is going to resize them when I post them here.  I have attached all 5 originals in a zip file attached to this post. Before taking each screenshot I allowed the bandwidth to warm up to about 2000 kb/s, which is about my peak performance.

               

              The first two screenshots are in "player" mode and I tried to get them to be about the same size, the size I like viewing at on my laptops smaller screen. The 3 after are in full screen mode. When I compare screenshots myself, I do notice a difference, but perhaps I overreacted as I have gotten used to the quality in the past couple days.

               

              I've only watched in the program at home (I do not live near my slingbox) and not the web version.  I've used the web version when travelling, and the quality, while good, is not up to what the program provides. And I do have both my computers running in Aero. Thank you.

               

              1. Laptop Player Mode:

              laptop_small.jpg

               

              2. Desktop Player Mode:

              desktop_small_2.jpg

               

              3. Laptop Full Screen (1280 x 800)

              laptop_fullscreen.jpg

               

              4. Desktop Full Screen (1440 x 900)

              desktop_full_2.jpg

               

              Desktop Full Screen (changed display to 1280 x 800)

              desktop_full_800_2.jpg

                • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
                  eferz Expert

                  Okay, it looks like your Slingbox is encoding the video stream in QVGA which should be 320x240 resolution.  With Slingplayer Desktop you can see the exact SlingStream Encoding Statistics by pressing [Alt]+[Shift]+[i],

                   

                  This means that the operating system and your video card is actually stretching the image if the resolution is different from the original size.  If you want to see actual size of the image then you can press [Alt]+[F] or from the window menu uncheck View | Display Mode | Fit TV to Player.

                   

                  fit-to-tv.jpg

                   

                  On of the troubleshooting steps that Quick tried was using an older version of the Slingplayer Desktop 1.5 (http://support.slingmedia.com/get/sp1-win-us.html).  This version existed before Vista's Enhanced Video Renderer included with Vista and Windows 7.  Therefore its video rendering process will default back to either Legacy (GDI), VMR-7 (DirectDraw), and VMR-9 (Direct3D).  Furthermore, you can actually change which one it is using within the Slingplayer Desktop 1.5 control panel, whereas the Slingplayer Desktop 2.0 is greyed out for video rendering choices.

              • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
                Bryanod Novice

                Loose the VGA cable. On your laptop thats slower and smaller the quality is better because its all digital.  On your bigger faster desktop your taking Digital out then converting it to analog then back to digital.  The analog quality is what you see.

                • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
                  whitestar11

                  Sorry for the late response. Thanks for the advice and suggestions.

                   

                  I checked the encoding statistcs, and you were right about everything. Fit tv to player was already selected.  I don't see how knowing this helps though? With the same display settings on both computers, the better computer looks noticably worse. Perhaps I should hook up my monitor to the integrated graphics output and see if that makes a difference.

                   

                  I have hooked up using a DVI cable as well, but it looks exactly the same. Using VGA right now because the DVI cable is too short for my set up at the moment.

                   

                  Thanks again.

                    • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
                      eferz Expert

                      I checked the encoding statistcs, and you were right about everything. Fit tv to player was already selected.  I don't see how knowing this helps though? With the same display settings on both computers, the better computer looks noticably worse. Perhaps I should hook up my monitor to the integrated graphics output and see if that makes a difference.

                       

                      I was trying to let you understand that the resizing of the window is dependant of the graphics subsystem of the operating system.  This includes the graphics hardware, video drivers, and the Direct X graphics system.  This explains the difference in picture quailty between the two systems.

                       

                      However, what I don't understand is why you're limited to QVGA encoding.  This leads me to wonder which Slingbox model you have and if you're streaming remotely or locally.  Obviously, if the picture from the Slingbox has a higher resolution then the graphic subsystem wouldn't have to work as hard to resize the screen.

                       

                      Also, I wonder if you've skipped over the second part of my last message which discusses using Slingplayer Desktop 1.5 (http://support.slingmedia.com/get/sp1-win-us.html).   This version existed before Vista's Enhanced Video Renderer included  with Vista and Windows 7.  Therefore its video rendering process will  default back to either Legacy (GDI), VMR-7 (DirectDraw), and VMR-9  (Direct3D).  This version allows you to change which one it is using  within the Slingplayer Desktop 1.5 control panel, whereas the  Slingplayer Desktop 2.0 is greyed out for video rendering choices in Vista and Windows 7.

                       

                      You can actually have both copies of Slingplayer 1.5 and 2.0 running on the same computer.  Uninstall Slingplayer 2.0, install 1.5 then copy Slingplayer folder to another folder, uninstall 1.5 and reinstall 2.0.  Since Slingplayer 1.5 is self-contained within its folder, you can just run it from within its copied folder.

                      • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
                        Bryanod Novice

                        What driver version are you using for your vga card on your desktop?  I remember having performance issues when I installed the full ati suite.  Uninstall the drivers and install only the display driver http://sites.amd.com/us/game/downloads/Pages/radeon.aspx?os=win7-64&lang=English   Then I installed the full suite and it worked perfect.

                         

                        Also check the cpu usage of the slingplayer when its playing

                         

                        Both the speed and resolution indicate that when you connect locally you might be connecting to the internet and back,  Open a dos window while the player is running and type netstat -n

                      • Re: Upgraded to new computer, slingplayer looks much worse
                        whitestar11

                        Sorry for lateness of responding, I appreciate all the help.  I tried installing slingbox 1.5 and it wouldn't connect to my slingbox.  I've noticed I'm having trouble connecting with Slingplayer 2.0 now, as well as the web interface.

                         

                        I also tried updating my graphics drivers, that that just made everything worse (didn't get a chance to run the slingbox though). I was lucky to find a windows automatic update that downloaded and appears to have reverted me back to my original driver. My orignal driver was from March 2010, and the update was for July I believe, so perhaps I'll wait a bit longer to update.

                         

                        I guess I'll just live with it and sit further back from the monitor than normal.