1080p .mkv with MBA 1.6 Rev B

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by emrah.gokmen, May 10, 2009.

  1. emrah.gokmen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #1
    I know its an old story but I really need help and comments about this weird problem of MBA.

    Recently I bought a MBA 1.6 Rev B.

    Quicktime 1080p HD movies such as movie trailers play at fixed 24 FPS which I suppose is the standart for theater versions of movies. And Im ok with it because its stable and also there are no signs of over heating etc.

    But when the subject is .mkv movies I think It still has huge problems. This expensive toy has a down-locked version of Nvidia 9400M graphic adapter (as far as I know, to 75% of standart 9400M in other new macs), it also has one of the newest and fastest architecture of intel which is running at 1066 Mhz and still unable to play 1080p .mkv files. I mean it really CANT play those movies even for 10 seconds.

    I tried same movie with unibody Macbooks and new iMacs, unsurprisingly they were smooth as they could be. Even stupid PCs with onbard ATI radeon X3200s can play two HD movie at the same time. I can play PES 2009 smoothly with my 1.6 MBA at 1280x720 resolution..but cant watch a movie !?

    Please don't tell me that its screen has 1280x800 resolution and 720p is more suitable because its not the subject. Subject is that they should have been fully supporting a hardware they are producing and selling.

    Everyone knows that Apple didn't support Intel GMA X3100s as much as they should do and users who bought previous macbooks had so many problems with this stupid graphic adapter (slow animations in Leopard), I believe we currently have the same situation. It's obviously a graphic driver and/or a codec-player issue. None of them are optimized for MBA and with previous reputation of Apple it's really not a good sign for future.

    What did I try?

    Latest VLC in 10.5.6 -> Unstable unwatchable.. disaster!
    MPlayer in 10.5.6 -> Unstable unwatchable.. disaster!
    Some other stupid players in 10.5.6 -> Same story
    Quicktime with Perian in 10.5.6 -> barely-watchable to non-watchable

    VLC in XP SP3 -> watchable (not that smooth) .. black & white (!?)
    GOM Player in XP SP3 -> watchable (not that smooth) .. black & white (!?)
    WMP in XP SP3 -> Uh..never tried..never will :)
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    Try Movist, others have reported that it works with 1080p mkvs where VLC and others have struggled.
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #3
    Plex and Mplayer OS X Extended as well but that's going to be brute force on the CPU.

    The OP might have already covered this in "Some other stupid players in 10.5.6 -> Same story" though.
     
  4. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    ^^ I thought about that, but since he wasn't specific ...
     
  5. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #5
    Thanks for quick response.

    You won't believe this, but just after posting this thread I decided to try Plex.

    It played 1080p .mkv video incredibly fast and smooth. Pure success.. Im really shocked. Its exactly the same performance I saw in iMac 2.66, in fact it was one of the best 1080p video performance I've ever seen!!! (JB Quantum of Solace!) How could this happen?

    The only problem is that Plex is indeed not a video player but a multimedia interface. Ok if it is the only solution then I will be happy with it but I start to think (and read something about this) that apple is supporting hd video decoding only with Quicktime. That means QT is using 9400M and 1.6ghz cpu together to decode HD videos, but since apple is not supporting 3rd party applications with this feature, applications using their own codecs have no ability to reach 9400M HD video support. Thats why I believe that plex's advantage is using the same Quicktime components to decode videos.

    Then the last quesion appears.. is there any other video player using the same components with plex or quicktime?

    Ill try Movist and MP Extended and give you guys feedback

    by the way sory for not being specific about other 'stupid programs' because I realy dont even remember their names. Im sure they were not Plex Movist or Mp extended (i tried standart mplayer)
     
  6. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #6
    movist feedback

    Movist couldnt handle it.

    The performance was better than VLC but slighlty worse than Quicktime.
    Uncomparable with Plex...

    MPlayer extended is worse than Movist (like in slow motion) but better than VLC. So the final top 6 performers are as below

    1- Plex (very smooth no playback problem at all - only problem is the interface)
    2- Quicktime with Perian (barely watchable)
    3- Movist (not wathcable)
    4- MPlayer extended (not watchable at all)
    5- VLC (disaster)
    6- MPlayer standard and others (disaster - like HD picture slideshow with 2 second transition time)

    Thank you guys for helping me to solve this problem with Plex
    For today It seems that I have to use this player for 1080p.
     
  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #7
    I was just going to say, try Plex.

    I think the problem you are having is with the poorly written software and OS X's problem with those programs, AND the fact that you have a 1.6 CPU.

    I had a 1.86 CPU, with Nvidia MBA, and everything ran smoothly on it in VLC and Plex. Almost everything worked on Quicktime, but it's a major drain as well as Flash. I have read some performance articles about what (specs) for graphics GPUs, cards, OSs, CPUs, and etc HD video needed for proper performance playback of HD video.

    The main thing needed is a minimum of 2.0 GHz CPU and graphics card ability and VRAM. As we all use our 1.6 and 1.86 GHz CPUs expecting perfect playback we don't all get. I believe that the 1.6 CPU is a limitation as well as a 4200 rpm HDD for many with a rev B MBA.

    Apparently, people can play HD fine with the same CPU and graphics with Windows OS and Quicktime and other players. So, we can all blame certain things, but apparently software isn't written as well for OS X as for Windows. Well, 90% of people use Windows PCs, so it makes sense to cater to the masses, as that is what Apple does within its own customer base.

    One thing is for certain, blaming the Nvidia graphics is not the right place for blame. Don't blame your MBA. Blame the poorly written software and Apple for not fully disclosing why the MBA is limited. As fast as the SSD MBA is for common tasks, some things do not work perfectly as the 1.6 and 1.86 CPUs do not meet minimum requirements for some tasks, like HD video playback. I know it works with some apps sometimes, but it doesn't always work all the time.

    I think a rev C MBA will have an SL9600 2.13 GHz CPU, and finally will meet the performance needed and required by Apple's own iTunes for video playback. I read here that iTunes requires a 2 GHz CPU for HD video playback (someone stated that, and I am assuming that as fact).

    Now, I always brag on the rev B MBA, but my use has primarily been with a 1.86 SSD MBA. At the same time, any rev B is less problematic as it does have better hardware computing components inside it. I have seen HD video play on a 1.6 with SSD, and so I expect that it would work on all of them. We get what we pay for, and the MBA is not for everyone, especially the low end MBA. The high end MBA, has the SSD which makes up for most of the other limitations of the hardware to make the MBA feel faster than a MBP. It doesn't mean that an MBA can outperform a MBP, as it's just about speed of transfer of data from drive. But, as with video playback, the MBA is LIMITED. It does not match the unibody MB or unibody MBP in terms of computing capabilities. Unfortunately, that is true. The MBA is meant mostly for portability and does what it can with the limited space for performance. Some people, like me, do not need ultimate performance. For me, the SSD makes the MBA fast for the applications/tasks I use it for, because I am not doing CPU intensive tasks. For professionals who are not graphics professionals, the MBA is a really nice Mac, but it really does NOT match the other Macs... it kills me to admit that, because I love the MBA.

    The MBA is not for everyone. It is limited, but the average Mac user would love the MBA as a secondary Mac or Primary Mac! It is absolutely FUN!
     
  8. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #8
    I believe that in year 2009 "movie playing" shouldnt have anything to do with the clockspeed of CPU.

    Nvidia 9400M is probably able to play two 1080p movies at the same time but Apple's driver support is not open to any other 3rd party codec except quicktime's. As I sad we had similar story with X3100 (they were using old dusty OpenGL 1.2 drivers for X3100)

    But still you are right, because if there is no support from graphic driver, CPU has to handle all the job by itself. Here, the art of technology which runs @1.6Ghz struggles because OSX and 3rd party apps are not optimized for it. In deed, even without the support from integrated H.264 support of graphic driver, 1.6 Ghz C2D should still be able to play 1080p movies at an acceptable level of performance.

    The only thing remains is to find a VLC-like basic player using same codecs with plex (or may be a VLC plugin/codec). But I'm getting used to Plex, it is really a perfect media center and doing a good job by organizing movies ad tv shows like iTunes.

    Finally, I think Plex will be the only saviour of hd movie lovers stuck with 1.6 Ghz MBA Rev B but surely for a while. Because definetely with OpenCL and QuicktimeX in 10.6 we will have signifacantly powerful MBAs. May be even with 10.5.7 some of these hidden force could become visible.
    Lets hope.

    PS: MBA 1.6 Rev B owner please write your experiences here to share with us.

    Again again thanks to you all for your comments.
     
  9. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #9
    facts

    By the way I completely agree with you about the things you said about MBA. But I'm still not convinced about the limitations of CPU. Its only a software and/or driver support limitation.

    Lets check the hardware limitations of Quicktime HD support (iTunes)

    from > http://www.apple.com/quicktime/guide/hd/recommendations.html

    For 1920x1080 (1080p) video at 24 frames per second:
    QuickTime 7 for Mac OS X:

    Dual 2.0 GHz PowerMac G5 or faster Macintosh computer;
    2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo or faster
    At least 512MB of RAM
    128MB or greater video card

    Lets interprete this with facts,
    It says that the first macbooks with 2.0Ghz core duos are able to play 1080p HD movies but -here is the point- only in "Quicktime" . I think its clear now. Core2Duo 1.6 Ghz should perform better than 2.0 Ghz PowerMac G5. Thats why I said even with 128 Mb GMA950 or X3100 MBA should play 1080p videos. I saw with naked eyes that these tiny little EEPCs (ASUS 1000h) are playing 1080p videos without any problem. They have almost no graphic adapters and Atom 1.6 Ghz CPUs :)

    Apple should do something! thats the final comment.
     
  10. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #10
    I have NEVER heard of any Atom processor being able to run 1080p videos without the use of a GPU like a 9400m. Maybe I am wrong here, but I highly doubt a 1.6ghz single core atom will play 1080p video, heck I don't think it could play 720p.
     
  11. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #11
    facts2

    Unfortunately mac users are used to believe that playing a HD video or running a basic 3d game is something that only a powerful and very expensive computer can do. Regular computers are just able to play .avi files, audio tracks, browse web and show pictures. But its not the case. Even Asus 1000h (and as you will see in the video also some other netbooks) which costs something like 400USD can play 1080p better than MBA with some simple adjustments (codecs and integrated overclock options). For 720p you just use WMP with the regular codecs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85W1UdgUsMU

    My friend has one of these netbooks and I saw it running in front of me so please don't tell me that it is impossible. Ok its not perfect and its not a native support but I've spent my weeks to make my MBA which costs 1800 USD to show the same performance, but until I found plex it was a big failure. My friend also has a home theater PC which is able to run PES 2009 at medium settings and play 1080p .mkv videos like a regular divx video. It only costs 300-400 USD... it has ATI X3200 integrated.

    Im now on my sisters macbook 1.83 and tried Terminator salvation 1080p movie trailer with quicktime. It played without any single frame skip.

    So please do not under-estimate your macs potential and realize that our MBAs are able to play two 1080p videos at the same time but there is no real support from its producers.

    I'm not blaming anyone, because I know that we get used to it. But dont forget that simplicity shouldn't end in inability. If MBA cant play 1080p videos its only because with its increasing popularity Apple is currently not spending time to use the real capacity of the hardware. They are forcing us to buy Rev C for some tasks even Rev A could be able to do in the first place.

    I hope that they are focused on Snow leopard (Open CL) and quicktime X because of these reasons.
     
  12. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #12
    So I watched the video and it was skipping all over, not watchable at all. Not to mention idk what codec it is considering it is an ad for the T2 DVD doubt it is VC1 (hell the BD disc is Mpeg-2), it's not going to be H.264 as it's WMV. When people talk about playing 1080p video usually they mean H.264 at 24-30fps with a bitrate over 8Mb/s. It's hard to know what quality video is used in the video. Not all HD is the same, try running one of those Apple 1080p trailers on one of those netbooks and it will be way worse then what we just saw, possibly no video at all.
    But it goes without saying a 1.6ghz core 2 duo =! a 1.6ghz Atom.
     
  13. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #13

    I didn't mean that no 1.6 GHz CPU could play HD. I meant that on OS X, even Apple says it needs a minimum of 2 GHz. It's sad, but Apple is not helping the situation at all. Apple should be helping third party vendors to ensure the user experiences are similar on OS X as to what the software can do on Windows. I fear Apple's attitude often gets in the way.

    It all comes down to piss poor software integration. Apple should be just as quick to help a software vendor make the software work on OS X as it should its own software. We all need OS X to run the same software as Windows or else we would all leave OS X in the long run. So, Apple should be helping with problems like Flash by Adobe. Flash sucks on OS X, and it cannot even work on an iPhone. Apple and Adobe should be working together to make this work. We shouldn't accept Apple blaming Adobe. Quicktime is a joke too. Why cannot it run as well on OS X as VLC or Plex? Apple needs to make sure OS X supports all of the popular software and that OS X can play videos just like a Windows PC can, but I never hear of Apple giving a crap or working "with" any other company.

    The loser, in the end, is the Mac OS X user. It isn't Apple, they blame the software vendor instead of assisting which would lead to more OS X users if all the software just worked. It's sad that we have to boot into Windows to do things because software is so poorly written for OS X. Apple should focus on integration of software now. It should be just as important as Snow Leopard or new hardware or a new iPhone.

    It all really ticks me off, so I am going to quit thinking about it before my blood pressure rises for no reason. Not like Apple's execs are losing sleep.
     
  14. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #14
    True, not all HD is the same. But a lot of GPU's, even low-end ones now, have hardware video decoding. More often than not this hardware decoding is not actually utilized in Macs.
     
  15. jharju macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    #15
    I have rev. a MBA with 1.6GHz CPU. After CoolBook I have been able to watch 1080 material without any problems. Before CoolBook CPU speed was constantly reduced to 800MHz-1200MHz and that caused my problems. I have also tested rev B 1.86GHz model and it had same overheating/cpu speed reduce problems. Try MSRTools when watcing 1080 mkv video. Your cpu speed for both cores should be 1600MHz but I doubt it.

    I also prefer Plex for .mkv material but other files I try to avoid it. I really don't like the UI at all. Quicktime with Perian is what I mainly use.
     
  16. EnderTW macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #16
    I have 1.6 rev b mba.

    Plex could not play my 1080p Eagle Eye .mkv smoothly. However it did play it the best of them all.

    I don't like the way Plex organizes stuff and I am not sure why Plex is doing so well.

    If Plex is using quicktime, then shouldn't Qucktime with Perian peform with the same results?
     
  17. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #17
    10.5.7 Miracle!!!

    I was thinking that Apple will definetely update their Nvidia drivers in 10.5.7
    But now even with plex 1080p movies became unwatchable ! :mad::mad::mad:

    Now I'm really pissed off but will give it another chance.
    I hope that the problem is about coolbook.

    Because I was also using cool book to keep my MBA in 1.6 Ghz mode, which by the way didn't help me at all with 1080p videos, now I think the problem is that the cool book drivers is hopefuly deactivated after 10.5.7 update. I will try to re-activate them and if it is not the case thenk I think I will kick some genius:)

    I don't want to discuss about the 1080p requirements because I'm very sure of it. Because if you think that a $1800 notebook with Intel C2D (1066Mhz FSB) and Nvidia 9xxx series may not be able to run a VIDEO then probably they will get your another $1800 on the date of next update. But believe me I will not pay for that. Because if this the case I'd rather go for a netbook...
     
  18. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #18
    He will then steer you towards a Mac Pro or MBP. ;)

    LOL, if you're going to buy a small notebook that can't do 1080p, might as well spend $400 instead of $2000!
     
  19. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #19
    Yess I was right.. the problem is that coolbok is deactivated after 10.5.7 update. Now the video is flawless with plex but still the same story with VLC and quicktime..

    I dont need MBP or mac pro, because instead of playing they are made for making or editing an HD movie;)

    So you all say I have to pay another $2000 to be able to watch a movie well then Im not going to do that because being a blind fan :apple: is something that Im not going to accept
     
  20. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #20
    The reason why the Quicktime H.264 movies play so well is because they can take advantage of the 9400m iirc. Other programs like VLC can't do any sort of GPU decoding and is made to be cross ported on many systems so it relies heavily on the CPU.
    Now getting made at Apple for 3rd parties inability to make a program that can play videos as well as quicktime makes no sense, it clearly is the developers fault when a Mac exclusive program like Plex can play them just fine. What Apple is trying to do to remedy this problem is to incorporate new technologies like grand central in to Snow Leopard to make it easier for developers to take advantage of all the power the Macs have to offer.

    Oh and just to trow this out there MKV always seems slower then MP4 in VLC even when they are encoding exactly the same, now I'm not sure if it's just me but there seems to be something weird going on with MKV. Otherwise it's a really amazing wrapper, just needs more support.
     
  21. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #21
    I couldn't aggree more... Im waiting for Snow Leopard too..
     
  22. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #22
    Sold and solved

    I have sol(ve)d the problem :)

    Yes I sold my MBA RevB 1.6 3 days before the WWDC RevC announcement...that was so close:)

    As you can see even Apple realised that these prices were not accceptable for this baby.. but some users do not understandt that !

    Now I'm using my old Macbook 1.83 which is -believe me- faster than MBA almost everywhere. They both unable to play Full HD videos:)

    And I've also setted a home theater pc connected to my LCDTV.. it is working like movie and multimedia HQ.

    Do you know how much I've spent??
    I sold MBA for $1600 and bought this PC for $360 :)))
    Nice move:)

    I'm planning to buy 13" macbook pro just after the release of snow leopard and next hardware boost.

    Good by MBA forum and thanks to all of you..
     
  23. darrellishere macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    #23
    I don't know if it has been mentioned as I haven't yet read the entire thread LOL!

    But rather than using your old 1.83 Macbook! Buy and download Cool-book! It is your answer!

    It un-throttles the macbook airs chip, so it runs at full speed! (And it now, definitely works on 10.5.7).

    To those of you that don't know, Coolbook literally turns your Macbook Air from an underpowered machine,
    that struggles to play 1 frame from a 1080p vlc file, into the opposite!
    Playing them on 32" display without a hiccup and all Flash HD too!

    I haven't noticed any noticeable difference in battery life but it can be switched off if you need the extra battery life.
    And you have to activate it every time you reboot, but its still an amazing solution! Check it out!

    http://www.coolbook.se/CoolBook.html

    http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/23183
     
  24. emrah.gokmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #24
    Yes you didn't read previous messages:)

    I did try for several time because without it even in low temparature MBA drops frequency to 800Mhz which is just silly. If you cant keep it cool then don't build it ! Anyway... By using this 3rd party app I was just able to play 1080p videos with another 3rd party application which is PLEX. Only with this one I was able to play those full HD videos.

    My problem indeed wasn't a technical one, I just wasn't aggreed on apple's marketing strategies for MBAs... Now they dropped prices and increased the performance of these products... so I believe I personally won:)
     

Share This Page