Coffeehouse Thread

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What sucks about multimedia on your PC?

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  • User profile image
    scobleizer

    I was talking with Chad Gibson today. He's a lead program manager on the Windows Media team.

    He told me a whole bunch of things he's working on, but then turned to me and said "I wish I had better information from real-world customers about what sucks in their audio and video experiences?"

    What messes up multimedia for you?

    For instance, does your video get cruddy when you turn on a device?

    Is your audio glitching when your anti-virus program kicks in?

    Are you getting the video quality you'd expect?

    What's the first things you'd like to see us work on some more?

  • User profile image
    Neil

    I'll bite. It's the simple things: selecting a different song to listen to is so painfully slow. It's the task I do probably 10-15 times a day (I'm not much of a playlist builder), and it takes so long to bring WMP up, get to the search bar, filter, and then play the song. It's pure performance (the UI isn't so bad).

    It's even worse when I want to see the list of songs I've purchased through Napster. Those are typically the one-off singles that are running through my head, and it takes an excrutiatingly long time to click to the Napster tab, hit their site, and list the music I've purchased. There should be an easy way to do that!

    Neil

  • User profile image
    bitmask

    Maybe slightly OT but..

    Just this week I became frustrated with Windows Media Player 8 on my IPAQ (Pocket PC 2002) [perhaps an upgrade is in order?].

    I've found it impossible to play media files over 5 minutes in length. No MSDN TV, no .NET Rocks, no audio books. After about 5 minutes playback starts to garble. I tried a .NET Rocks episode and it started to loop, or skip like a bad CD after 6 minutes. Rory Blyth sounded like a barking dog.

    Is this just me? Is PPC 2003 better?

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Find a way to put some kind of order into the mystical and strange world of codecs. I lost the count how many times WMP9 tries to go "somewhere" to get a video codec and ends up saying "Error: codec not found" (or something like that)

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    And WMP9 for my Toshiba e740 PocketPC (2002), yes Smiley

  • User profile image
    MarcHoeppner

    - long start-up time of media player in general
    - things in the background (like copying a large file) bring the OS to a halt, consequently ruining the 'multimedia' experience
    - codec hassles (there never seems to be the right codec on the machine you happen to use)

    maybe the thing I really *hate* most is that simple tasks such as mentioned above (copying a large file) really mess with the foreground processes. Just try to copy 100GB to a network share and try to continue to work. Or open up VS.NET and a project from VSS and then try to use media player or even open windows explorer to look for a file...

  • User profile image
    androidi

    First entirely WMP related feedback:

    WMP has few minor gripes, some that were introduced after version "6.4".

    - Countless times I've tried to get the codec properties opened and never I manage to find where that is done from.

    - Also often I want to play video while doing something else but cannot, where did the "always on top" go?

    - I'd also default to not messing around with the video size while in full screen playback, currently video is resized when the control bars appear on top and bottom. There's a plugin to disable that but it often loses it's settings.

    - Also I'd love ESC to escape from both the fullscreen mode and the player when in windowed mode (especially when viewing certain educational material).

    - Double-click should go to full screen and back on DVD movies also, except if the mouse pointer is on top of a dvd menu hotspot.



    WM/Ch9 related feedback:

    The videos on Channel 9 take quite long to open even on a decent low latency 1 Mbit connection. Probably due to the bandwidth detection I'd guess. Also anything much less than 300 kbit is pain to both watch and listen. They should offer like 300,800,1500 kbit, after all broadband is quite common these days and if i had a slow connection I wouldn't stand the low quality anyway, I'd rather take a hour to download good quality for offline viewing. This could be achieved on Ch9 by categorizing the videos and having slow connection users subscribe to a "video push" service that sends the good quality videos when the user bandwidth is sitting idle and user has also been idle for a while.

  • User profile image
    ChuckBuc

    I had a project I had been playing around with to organize my mp3s. Shortly after I started it I was playing around with direct play form the DirectX 9 SDK. Absolutely brilliant; with just a few lines of code I had an organizer/player. I actually giggled when it worked.

     

    MyMed = Microsoft.DirectX.AudioVideoPlayback.Audio.FromFile(File)

    MyMed.Play()

            MyMed.SeekCurrentPosition(1, Microsoft.DirectX.AudioVideoPlayback.SeekPositionFlags.SeekToKeyFrame)

            'Hack: There is a problem with some mp3 files where it plays from position 0 then no sound is heard, the file will play if it is started from 1 though

      

                A few things that I ran into was that some mp3s would not play from the start, I would have to forward the position to one to get the mp3 to play. Another great thing would be have some equalizer control and play speed control.

  • User profile image
    androidi

    Perhaps I shouldn't start guessing, but I'll do it anyway:

    MarcHoeppner wrote:
    - long start-up time of media player in general
    - things in the background (like copying a large file) bring the OS to a halt, consequently ruining the 'multimedia' experience


    These can most likely be attributed to both the OS and FS implementation etc. Forgetting network copying, I have found that having atleast two drives, so that you never do copying inside the same drive together with HT P4 makes a quite good combination. Problems usually arise when many applications access same drive almost simultaneously. For this reason my minimum recommended configuration for XP power user is 1 GB memory, HT P4 and 3 HDD's with such setup that you can allocate heavy tasks to occur in different drives at the same time.

    MarcHoeppner wrote:

    - codec hassles (there never seems to be the right codec on the machine you happen to use)


    Lets see, maybe the video files could carry a source code for decoding the data and then the player would compile this if necessary before playing the file. LOL. Or perhaps MS doesn't want additional legal burdens associated with some codecs. Just guessing.

  • User profile image
    ChuckBuc

    - long start-up time of media player in general

    Warning, micro-rant:

    This is a big one for me. I actually miss the micro-player built into the OS of Windows 98 and on. There was no start up time. No big bulky program that had to go get a webpage from the net before it played the file, it just played it!

                A quick, out site player definitely should be the default. Not something I have to go back and reconfigure my file handling for because the media player is obliged to tell me the latest news that who knows has decided is more important then playing the file I just clicked on.

  • User profile image
    cwoodruff

    I always know that when I start any of the media players to rip CD's that my system performance is shot for a while until the CD is done.  Does not matter what player it is.  If you could have a way to rip the songs better even if they took longer I would appreciate it.  I don't care if a CD takes twice as long to rip as long as my system does not hang when I am writing a piece of code.  Could be a setting in Media Player.

  • User profile image
    cwoodruff

    I forgot this.  I wish I had someplace on the tool bar the ability to have a small embedded media player so I could just forward, reverse, pause and play.  Maybe even see the song number.  That's it!!  That would make my experience better.

  • User profile image
    Lowrez

    PaoloM wrote:
    Find a way to put some kind of order into the mystical and strange world of codecs. I lost the count how many times WMP9 tries to go "somewhere" to get a video codec and ends up saying "Error: codec not found" (or something like that)


    I've had this pain too often myself.  I made a short video for the amusement of my friends and then edited in MS Movie Maker and burned it onto CDs.  I figured that since everything had been done in MS software that it would be easy to get runing on other PCs.  No way.  People behind password controlled firewalls couldn't get the right codec.  Folks who had WMP8 could hear the audio, but not the video and assumed I had loused it up.  When it did play, it was great, but most often that meant I either had to set up their machine or play it on my machine for them.  Not good.

    The other thing that irks me about working with multimedia is getting the volumes all set right.  Some players use the wave volume control so cranking up the music also sets the system sounds to full blast.  You're in the middle of a good song and all of a sudden Outlook blasts its notice.  Sometimes you get the case where you've been playing music at a comfortable volume, then you fire up WMP to watch a video and the volume is blaring!  Well, player A used volume control C, but adjusting the volume actually increased the master, but WMP is using volume control Q which was already set to full blast so now you're going to bring down the house.  Aieeeeee....

  • User profile image
    amg

    Warning...this is harsh, candid feedback...

    I would love to see a version of WMP that is more than minor patches with a major new version and marketing campaign slapped on it.  I haven't seen an innovative version of WMP since I found the open-source Media Player 6.4...yikes!  When Apple can drop an application onto the PC and create an overnight standard...you know something is wrong in the world of multimedia in Windows...

    I would be overjoyed to see Microsoft providing a comprehensive codec collection in a non-critical section of windowsupdate (as well as pre-installed with the latest commercial release of WMP).  You won't be undercutting your WMA technologies by making the entire codec process more seamless...this will also work towards the "we give users choice" schpiel that is common amongst the upper-execs in Redmond.  Don't just talk the talk, folks... Wink
    This is only one, low-hanging fruit example of how to improve the WMP/WMA technologies.  There are countless ways to evolve.

    Microsoft is losing the multimedia battle on the PC.
    Real resources need to be focused onto the WMP/WMA platforms for a while...make WMP 10 something really special and people will have no reason to go to the fruity forest for their audio/video players... Wink

  • User profile image
    Foss

    PaoloM wrote:
    Find a way to put some kind of order into the mystical and strange world of codecs. I lost the count how many times WMP9 tries to go "somewhere" to get a video codec and ends up saying "Error: codec not found" (or something like that)


    Seconded! This is my main problem with Media Player. I have several files that'll play audio only in MP, but will play properly in some other media player, or even PowerDVD.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    The only thing that really annoys me about Media player 9 is that whenever I click on a link to some streaming video it always gives me that "Internet Sharing Configuration" message that wmplayer.exe is attempteing to change this computer's internet connection protection settings.

    I should simply be able to tell it to never ask me again.

  • User profile image
    Neil

    cwoodruff wrote:
    I forgot this.  I wish I had someplace on the tool bar the ability to have a small embedded media player so I could just forward, reverse, pause and play.  Maybe even see the song number.  That's it!!  That would make my experience better.


    You can actually do this today with Windows Media Player today! Right click on your task bar, go to Toolbars and pick Windows Media Player. When you minimize WMP now it'll go to a little slab in the task bar that you can use to control it. VERY handy!

    Neil

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    I have about 3 GB's of music on my computer, add them all to the windows media player 'playlists' and it freezes up the program.
     When loading the program it takes about 50 seconds, or less, not sure.
      But with a processor of 2.6 GHz i think that it should take less then  50 seconds, not to mention 5.. 
       The taskbar feature is great, though, when resizing it to the normal window and an audio is playing, it freezes up..
     Anything on that? 
     
    Ps. I lost an essay (eight pages) due to WMP...

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