Charles

Windows Vista WAVE - Windows Audio Video Excellence

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Description

Back in January of 2006, Scoble visited Steve Ball, Kirt Debique and the WAVE (Windows Audio Video Excellence) team to discuss their contributions to Windows Vista.  WAVE is the team responsible for Audio and Video infrastructure in Windows including, among other things AV class drivers, rendering and capture APIs (including DirectShow and Media Foundation), and end to end AV performance.  
 
We also get a preview of a feature called "glitch resilience" that enables very high quality audio and video playback performance on Windows Vista, even in resource-constrained situations.

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    The Discussion

    • LightRider
      Near the end, Robert asks if there is any special hardware needed for the machine, and the answer is no. Then there's the caveat that the whole system has to be Vista logo'd. Would that be a contradiction?
    • SteveBall
      Good question - this is not a contradiction, not precisely. 

      There is nothing "special"  about the hardware in a machine that gets the logo except that it has been tested.  The logo tests are the only real mechanism we have to set a minimum quality bar for end to end experiences.   

      If you throw a random piece of hardware with a mis-behaving driver into a logoed Windows Vista machine, then all bets are off for glitch-resilience.   

      This new infrastructure delivers better AV performance when there is CPU, GPU, and memory resource contention, but it does not perform miracles on random machines with random hardware configurations. 

      * * *
    • Cyonix
      LightRider wrote:
      Near the end, Robert asks if there is any special hardware needed for the machine, and the answer is no. Then there's the caveat that the whole system has to be Vista logo'd. Would that be a contradiction?
      What he was saying was: if you have 2 good computers (vista logo computer or a computer built in 2006) and you install Vista on one and XP on the other, Vista wont glitch where XP will.
    • mycroft
      Very nice video, how come it was delayed so long?

      The user rights focus was interesting and not something I expected the video to cover. Nice honest answers, looks like a passionate team.

      Does this system require any new APIs to take advantage of? What I mean is, is it only WMP that will support this out of the box or will all programs immediately benefit? Is this magic happening at the DXVA layer to determine what threads are audio/video related? If that's the case apps such as Quicktime won't immediately support this?

      What happens if multiple video threads are started, not that that would be a particularly useful scenario, I'm just curious. Would things then start to glitch or does it refuse to render them entirely? This Quality of Service kind of thing is something that doesn't sound like an immediate killer feature, but once you actually start using it in the real world it becomes indisposable. Has there been any new work in Vista regarding QoS for media streaming over networks? My system doesn't behave nicely when downloading or using P2P, but I suppose that's partially a router issue.

      Great work guys
    • staceyw
      Nice work guys!!
    • RobertScoble
      mycroft: the video was held for a few reasons. 1) I was overloaded and just let it sit around too long. 2) DRM is controversial so this is one of the few videos I asked the PR team to look at before it was published, that slowed it down. 3) It was about Vista, so it get sent to their marketing team, who had to consider it too. 4) I quit my job in that time, so wasn't pushing videos through as hard.

      In all of this, it was 89% my incompetence. Sorry about that. It's still a good video, though, and I'm glad it got out.
    • notuptome
      it is ok that that is why it was a delayed shown video. but now that it is out i would say it is  dang cool man what a differance. now robert i know you did alot of videos but what was your  WOW  factor like after ya stopped the camra , did you like keep  talking  in shock at the differances or   what  cause i know i would have wanted more he he
    • DigitalDud
      Ughh way too much DRM talk. Way to put a lot of poor developers on the spot, Robert.  I would have liked to hear more about the whole "quality audio/video playback" thing. You showed how it handles playing during high CPU demands but what about disk or network. Say you're copying tons of files and playing a video. Or your wireless signal isn't strong enough.

      And what happens if there simply isn't enough resources on the system to play back the video full speed? Does it skip frames or reduce quality?

      Also is there any API to tap into this multimedia scheduling thing. Can I have my game say, I'm a multimedia application please guarantee I run at high frame rates? Or, I require 4 mbps on the disk/network to play back this video.
    • efortier
      Very nice video, Robert. Thanks!

      I do agree that there wasn't nearly enough details on what makes the whole glitch resilience work, but it was still nice.

      How about that neat stressing tool? Is it available anywhere? I could really use that while testing some of my apps. It is a MS tools or maybe available in the SDK? I couldn't find mention of it.

      Eric
    • mycroft
      Cheers Scoble, thought it maybe something like that, I noticed a few parts were edited slightly. Smiley

      @DigitalDud - You don't find the developers views on DRM interesting? They are the people implementing content protection for next generation media, I thought it was refreshing to hear it from them. Glad Scoble asked some tricky questions to someone enthusiastic about the issues like Steve Ball. Some more technical detail would have been cool, but it wasn't that kind of interview.

      I'd love some more interviews with this group, and related groups in media areas like video encoding, HD-DVD etc.  Have Channel9 thought about interviewing Amir Majidimehr? He's a pretty prominent feature on the AVSForums and sounds like a cool guy
    • charleski
      Well I thought the discussion about DRM was interesting and well worth watching, if only to see what ideas they've absorbed. The 'users=creators' and 'long tail' stuff is pretty much just Web2.0 fluff though, hasn't the long tail idea been thoroughly debunked?

      You saved them with your comments about securing videos of your kids or medical records, though that sort of security is on a rather different level than the one-to-many system needed by the movie studios.

      Slightly ironically, I was intrigued by one of the posters I saw and typed 'winpmg' into google - it produced 2 pages of warez sites... Sad I'm still not sure what winpmg is, but it's clearly something worthy of a big poster.

      The video and audio playback optimisations were indeed impressive, I'm going to have to learn a bit about this MMS kernel stuff they mentioned.
    • Steve411

      Robert? Thought he left?


      - Steve

    • Charles
      Steve411 wrote:
      

      Robert? Thought he left?


      - Steve



      We still have a few of his videos in the pipeline...
      C
    • JohnAskew
      This deserves a DRM tag, Charles.

      Why isn't DRM in the description post? It's 75% of this video.

      I would never have found it, looking for a philosphical discussion on DRM... very nice work of your former teammate, Robert Scoble.

      Great jazz track they'd queued up.

      Vista will be worth the money for the A/V enhancements alone. Yep.



      "Spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down."

      This is more DRM than A/V. Nice work, needs description and tag, please.

      This is a special video imho. Wow.

    • gdesroches
      DigitalDud wrote:
      You showed how it handles playing during high CPU demands but what about disk or network. Say you're copying tons of files and playing a video. Or your wireless signal isn't strong enough.

      And what happens if there simply isn't enough resources on the system to play back the video full speed? Does it skip frames or reduce quality?

      Also is there any API to tap into this multimedia scheduling thing. Can I have my game say, I'm a multimedia application please guarantee I run at high frame rates? Or, I require 4 mbps on the disk/network to play back this video.


      These are good questions, and I would also like to know the answers to them. Steve, can you comment?
    • SteveBall
      Will do asap. 

      What you want is background on the new MMCSS (multi-media class scheduler service) that enables these 'Resilience' scenarios. 

      First priority today: prep a for DCR (design change request) presentation on feedback about the Pearl Animation (pre-logon) sound. 

      * * *
    • gdesroches
      Does this mean you guys are going back on your decision to hard-code the startup sound? I sure hope so. Smiley I still can't believe that idea came up in the first place. Edit: I have another question about the resilience feature. Can third party media players take advantage of this, and if so, do they have to rely on your codecs? How exactly does this work? Would Winamp or VLC Media Player be able to change their code to enable the resilience, and what pieces would have to change? Is it just a matter of calling an API on a thread to up the priority, or do you need to change the decoding or drawing code?
    • SteveBall
      Good questiosn gdesroches.

      Sound: I'll be ready for an update early next week on this.  

      Once more for the record, there are also many folks (inside and outside MS) who would have never predicted that this issue would become so violently polarizing and touch such a strong emotional nerve across so many people.   

      'Just turn down or mute your device if you don't want to hear it' was thought to be sufficient mitigation, even with the already well-known constraints around HW controls, laptops, bedrooms, trains, libraries, sleeping babies, etc.  

      This was the prevailing consensus among a wide and diverse range of very smart, sensitive people who have zero hidden (or obvious) agenda to force a branding event down thoats.   

      And, we all said: let's see what the feedback is over the next couple of months.

      So, while I can't announce an official POR until it is approved and reviewed across a number of teams, my feeling is that most will be happy with the current POR for RTM.   

      * * *  

      Regarding 'Resilience' -- this performance is possible for any media apps in Windows Vista that are built on the new MMCSS (Multi-Media Class Scheduler Service.)   I'll provide more detail on this here asap -- perhaps via another set of interviews with Charles?   

      Meantime, my team is 100% focused on keeping RTM on track!

      * * * 
    • androidi

      Is it just my Vista RC1 with ATI Mob Radeon 9700/64MB that starts freezing enough for video to halt for a relatively long time and audio to start glitching when you press ALT-ENTER 5 times quickly (under 1 sec) in WMP while playing 640x512 WMV Pro video with 1.5 PM in 1280x1024 screen res and the optional ATI 8.29.100.0 06/08/25 driver update installed.

      Seems like the full screen switching taxes the system a lot in Vista or there is a driver issue somewhere here. Maybe both.

      It's not exactly a common thing to do but serves as a quick resilience/bugginess test for now.


      I'd also like in future support for seeking in media files during progressive download, after all the data is there locally already so why not allow to play it. A pet peeve of mine since I could have used that feature thousands of times. Probably just a WMP issue though.









    • androidi
      One thing that particularly nags me is that even though the system and WMP can play "shoutcast" radios without any additional downloads if you enter the server url manually, the .pls files which the shoutcast based radios offer as user friendly way to begin playing of the streams are not supported. It just comes across as if MS wanted to turn people off of the sites that use this technology so that they come back to the oh so wonderful offerings that are in Windows Media format.
    • xpclient
      Your team should blog.

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