Uconnect movies via USB, what format? - Page 21 - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #201 of 208 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 09:26 PM
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That's a good discovery. I hadn't realized that the volume name could impact the ability to read it.

For loading times, do you continue to get slow loading? I've had it take a while to index the drive the first time it's used, but then it's faster after that. There isn't a difference in the m4v vs mp4 file format, but there could be something associated with bitrate that makes it load slower. I'm curious if you find a connection.
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post #202 of 208 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 10:37 PM
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That's a good discovery. I hadn't realized that the volume name could impact the ability to read it.

For loading times, do you continue to get slow loading? I've had it take a while to index the drive the first time it's used, but then it's faster after that. There isn't a difference in the m4v vs mp4 file format, but there could be something associated with bitrate that makes it load slower. I'm curious if you find a connection.
I'm encoding test files now. The tv episodes I had, while smaller in file size due to shorter total running time also had a bit rate that was a quarter of the bit rate of the movies I tested. (4200 kpbs on average for the movies and 800 kbps on average for the tv episodes) I'm encoding test files of the movies at 2000 kbps now to see if that improves the speed. You mentioned indexing the drive taking some time. Is there any way to know if the drive is currently being index and when it completes indexing? That could very well be an issue instead of, or in addition to the bit rate issue.

I've been delivering video files to corporate and commercial clients for about 20 years...that's included creating files for very odd and specific playback devices for museums, corporate theaters, and even massive screens at trade shows (I work for Caterpillar). With proper documentation this device would be a breeze to prepare files for...too bad uConnect didn't do a better job there. I am sure thankful to have found this forum. Back in the early days of HD, I delivered a lot of 720p content at a 1500 kbps data rate that looked pretty darn good. I may try encoding that low as well, as the higher quality files will still be living in my iTunes library for in home playback. These files just need to be good enough for my family not to complain about the car's video quality. I'll keep testing to see what I can find.

I've only been testing with about 6 files on the drive so far. Once I'm satisfied with the speed with which those six files can begin playback after selecting them from the file browser I will then move the other files (probably around 80-100 files) onto the device. At that time I might give it 20 minutes to index before testing. If you have any suggestions for other things to try, please let me know.

If I didn't mention, this is a 2019 Pacifica Touring L...not sure if that's germane to the discussion or not.

Ben

Last edited by benyzboy; 03-21-2019 at 10:46 PM.
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post #203 of 208 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 11:00 PM
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I'm encoding test files now. The tv episodes I had, while smaller in file size due to shorter total running time also had a bit rate that was a quarter of the bit rate of the movies I tested. (4200 kpbs on average for the movies and 800 kbps on average for the tv episodes) I'm encoding test files of the movies at 2000 kbps now to see if that improves the speed. You mentioned indexing the drive taking some time. Is there any way to know if the drive is currently being index and when it completes indexing? That could very well be an issue instead of, or in addition to the bit rate issue.

I've been delivering video files to corporate and commercial clients for about 20 years...that's included creating files for very odd and specific playback devices for museums, corporate theaters, and even massive screens at trade shows (I work for Caterpillar). With proper documentation this device would be a breeze to prepare files for...too bad uConnect didn't do a better job there. I am sure thankful to have found this forum. Back in the early days of HD, I delivered a lot of 720p content at a 1500 kbps data rate that looked pretty darn good. I may try encoding that low as well as the higher quality files will still be living in my iTunes library for in home playback. These files just need to be good enough for my family not to complain about the car's video quality. I'll keep testing to see what I can find.

I've only been testing with about 6 files on the drive so far. Once I'm satisfied with the speed with which those six files can begin playback after selecting them from the file browser I will then move the other files (probably around 80-100 files) onto the device. At that time I might give it 20 minutes to index before testing. If you have any suggestions for other things to try, please let me know.

If I didn't mention, this is a 2019 Pacifica Touring L...not sure if that's germane to the discussion or not.

Ben
You have a Uconnect Theater in the Touring L? I thought they didn't have that as an option. Or is this the single overhead DVD player? My presets were made for the seat-back monitors. I don't know how optimized they are for the overhead since I don't have one. The things I figured out about it I've encapsulated in the handbrake preset. Mostly that it prefers H.264 in either an MKV or MP4 container, and previously couldn't handle the main profile, so it had to use baseline, but that got fixed in a software update, so the main profile is good now. And the output resolution can't exceed 1280x720 or the file won't even be listed. I found the settings I used in my preset pretty acceptable on the screens, although there's still some choppiness that I can't get rid of despite codec or encoding settings. These are good enough. I keep around higher quality versions if I want to watch them on a TV.

There's not a way I know of to tell when it's done indexing, but at some point after using a new drive or changing the contents on it, things were slower, and then shortly afterward sped up. I made the assumption it was indexing.
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post #204 of 208 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 12:27 AM
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You have a Uconnect Theater in the Touring L? I thought they didn't have that as an option. Or is this the single overhead DVD player? My presets were made for the seat-back monitors. I don't know how optimized they are for the overhead since I don't have one. The things I figured out about it I've encapsulated in the handbrake preset. Mostly that it prefers H.264 in either an MKV or MP4 container, and previously couldn't handle the main profile, so it had to use baseline, but that got fixed in a software update, so the main profile is good now. And the output resolution can't exceed 1280x720 or the file won't even be listed. I found the settings I used in my preset pretty acceptable on the screens, although there's still some choppiness that I can't get rid of despite codec or encoding settings. These are good enough. I keep around higher quality versions if I want to watch them on a TV.

There's not a way I know of to tell when it's done indexing, but at some point after using a new drive or changing the contents on it, things were slower, and then shortly afterward sped up. I made the assumption it was indexing.
I believe this is a 2019 Touring L...would be great if it said anywhere. I wasn't very involved in the purchase as my wife got it as a company car (family business) so I didn't ask hardly any questions. It does indeed have the two monitors in the seat-backs.

I encoded another three movies to test with (one at 2500K 2-pass, one at 1500K 2-pass, one at 1500K 1-pass). I can definitely tell a difference in the response of the system in terms of beginning playback after selecting a movie from the file browser when using these three files. Reducing the bit rate helped. I noticed a little macro-blocking in the 1500K files...but then again after 20 years of creating files I am fairly good at noticing things that perhaps most people would not. I think it would pass for most people without issue. I'm going to go ahead and mass-encode my library over night. I'll use your preset, the only changes I'm making based on my testing are as follows:
ēSource files are .m4v and will output as .m4v (they've been working beautifully in all my tests)
ēVideo > Quality will be set to Average Bitrate 2000 kbps, 2-pass

I think this encoding recipe (at least for this vehicle) will provide the system the ability to switch playback between files quickly while still providing passable visual results. I'll post my thoughts/results this weekend when I can test the mass encodes.

My source files had artwork and metadata already embedded...that said, I notice the uConnect interface cuts off the top third and the bottom third of the movie poster. I haven't tried your recommended settings for this, does your artwork get cut off too or does it display the full poster?

Thanks so much!

Ben
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post #205 of 208 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 10:33 AM
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I believe this is a 2019 Touring L...would be great if it said anywhere. I wasn't very involved in the purchase as my wife got it as a company car (family business) so I didn't ask hardly any questions. It does indeed have the two monitors in the seat-backs.

I encoded another three movies to test with (one at 2500K 2-pass, one at 1500K 2-pass, one at 1500K 1-pass). I can definitely tell a difference in the response of the system in terms of beginning playback after selecting a movie from the file browser when using these three files. Reducing the bit rate helped. I noticed a little macro-blocking in the 1500K files...but then again after 20 years of creating files I am fairly good at noticing things that perhaps most people would not. I think it would pass for most people without issue. I'm going to go ahead and mass-encode my library over night. I'll use your preset, the only changes I'm making based on my testing are as follows:
ēSource files are .m4v and will output as .m4v (they've been working beautifully in all my tests)
ēVideo > Quality will be set to Average Bitrate 2000 kbps, 2-pass

I think this encoding recipe (at least for this vehicle) will provide the system the ability to switch playback between files quickly while still providing passable visual results. I'll post my thoughts/results this weekend when I can test the mass encodes.

My source files had artwork and metadata already embedded...that said, I notice the uConnect interface cuts off the top third and the bottom third of the movie poster. I haven't tried your recommended settings for this, does your artwork get cut off too or does it display the full poster?

Thanks so much!

Ben
Ah. For the gas model, it looks like the theater is an option on the Touring Plus, and standard on the Touring L Plus and Limited. On the Hybrid it's only available on the Limited. I have a 2018 Hybrid Limited.

As I'm sure you can see I went with variable bit rate to keep the size down on the easy-to-compress animated movies, but it can make some of the visually complex movies fairly large. I also like that it can dedicate more bitrate to the more complex scenes, and it only needs a single pass.

For the art, the van displays a 4x3 thumbnail, and if you give it something a different size, it will crop it down to 4x3, rather than displaying the whole thing. What I've done is use imagemagick to take landscape artwork and fit it into a 4x3 png then embed that in the Uconnect mp4s. My artwork comes mostly from themoviedb where they are called "Backdrops" in English language or fanart.tv where they are called Movie Thumbs. The imagemagick command I use is "convert $FILE -background none -gravity center -resize 800x600 -extent 800x600 cover.png"
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post #206 of 208 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 10:52 AM
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So, tons of good stuff in this thread and it got me started. However, I was looking for a KISS method that would take less setup and tweaking to convert some of my old files. So, I started playing with my MCEBuddy ( MCEBuddy - Home ) install (yes, I still use Windows Media Center for recording OTA TV Shows...) and with my 5 sample tests, it looks like it can do the job fairly painlessly.

I configured a "needs to be converted" folder, and then a "converted" folder. I set up my job, threw 5 videos in the "needs to be converted" folder, and when I came back later (didn't baby sit), all 5 were converted and played on UConnect theater. If anyone is interested in a bit more on my set up, I'll try to write up a quick how to with some screen shots as well.

2019 Touring L + (Tow Package, Harmon Kardon upgrade, 18" Wheels/Tires, Running Boards, Advanced Safety Tech, and Inflatable Spare)
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post #207 of 208 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 11:18 AM
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So, tons of good stuff in this thread and it got me started. However, I was looking for a KISS method that would take less setup and tweaking to convert some of my old files. So, I started playing with my MCEBuddy ( MCEBuddy - Home ) install (yes, I still use Windows Media Center for recording OTA TV Shows...) and with my 5 sample tests, it looks like it can do the job fairly painlessly.

I configured a "needs to be converted" folder, and then a "converted" folder. I set up my job, threw 5 videos in the "needs to be converted" folder, and when I came back later (didn't baby sit), all 5 were converted and played on UConnect theater. If anyone is interested in a bit more on my set up, I'll try to write up a quick how to with some screen shots as well.
Would love a write up of your method. Did you use H.264? If so, do your videos play smoothly in the Pacifica. Any time Iíve used H.264 Iíve not been able to get videos to play smoothly in the Pacifica (they almost look a bit choppy). Using the older standard MPEG4 compression they play smoothly, but video files are much larger and donít look as sharp.
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post #208 of 208 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 05:46 PM
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Would love a write up of your method. Did you use H.264? If so, do your videos play smoothly in the Pacifica. Any time Iíve used H.264 Iíve not been able to get videos to play smoothly in the Pacifica (they almost look a bit choppy). Using the older standard MPEG4 compression they play smoothly, but video files are much larger and donít look as sharp.
Yes, it looks like MCEBuddy uses FFmpeg to convert and it says it's using H.264. As for quality? Well, have only done animated kids shows, and they seem ok so far. We haven't watched one 100% of the way through in the car yet though... Mostly just 15 - 20 minute segments. I haven't tried any real movies with lots of action / adventure to see how they fare. I may have to do that tonight and see if I can sneak out in the car for a while to check one out.

Note, I do have the paid version of MCEBuddy, and I don't think it's much different than the free version other than faster Comskip (commercial skipping) and possibly the Graphics Card acceleration. There may be other differences, so I apologize if my screen shots differ from the free copy.

Note 2: Typing this up while kids running around. Apologize for any typos or missed stuff. If something doesn't look complete, let me know and will try to clean it up.

Here we go....


Step 1)
Install MCEBuddy. ( Can download here: MCEBuddy - Home ) Don't worry about installing ffdshow or the haali splitter, and don't install the optional commercial skipping program. (Unless you want to, of course.)
Step 2)
Create a "source" directory and a "output" directory on your PC. While this isn't 100% necessary (you can point to your library of ALL files as source, for example), I go this route as I share these in my home network, and then my wife can throw a video into the source directory, and just check the output directory later for when it is done, and she can grab the file and load it on a USB stick, etc...

I created some that are uniquely named "UConnect ToConvert" and "UConnect Converted"
3) Configure MCEBuddy

Launch MCEBuddy and go into the settings. You will see a screen similar to my attached "Settings Overview" image. The setup is two parts. The "Monitor Location" and the "Conversion Tasks".
3A) Configure Monitor Location

Click on "Add" under Monitor Locations and configure it to point to your source folder ("UConnect ToConvert" in my instance). You can refer to the MonitorFolderSetup and the -Expert Settings images. Tweak as desired. Since I have a safe source of the original files, I delete files after conversion (expert settings), but you definitely don't have to do that. Click on "Ok" on screens as necessary to finish them and complete the Monitor Location task.
3B) Configure Conversion Task

Click on "Add" under the Conversion Tasks. Please refer to UConnect conversion task screen shot for more details. Note the "Profile" is what conversion will be ran. As you can see, I chose the MP4 Normal task for this. There are other profiles, but this one seems to work so far. Destination is, of course, your output directory. Set Ad Remover to "None" as we don't need that for this process. Click the "Monitor Locations" button and choose your source folder monitor location there. Not really necessary if you only have one monitor location though... I set the "Max Width" to 1280 as well.

Next, click on "Expert Settings". Here is where you can enable hardware acceleration. Again, I am not sure if this is in the free version, so you can skip this if it isn't there. Also, I set a work directory up as well, but not needed if you don't care what drive it uses for temporary files.

Click on "Ok" as necessary to close out your windows and save the conversion task.
4) Start MCEBuddy Monitoring
Click on the "Start" button in the main form. This will start the program monitoring your source directory.
5) Try it out!
Copy a file into the source directory and wait.... MCEBuddy by default waits 1 minute for a new file to begin processing (can adjust in the monitoring location settings if desired, but I figure there must be a good reason for it so I leave it alone). If you are impatient, you can also click the "Rescan" button after copying is complete to kick it off a bit earlier.

Once it does it's thing, you should see that MCEBuddy is done, and your converted file is in your output directory.
Put it on your favorite storage medium and give it a go. Hopefully it works for you too!

David
Attached Images
File Type: png MonitorFolderSetup.PNG (11.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: png MonitorFolder-ExpertSettings.PNG (12.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: png UConnect Conversion Task Screen.PNG (40.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: png UConnect Conversion Task Screen - Expert Settings.PNG (41.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: png Settings Overview.png (28.7 KB, 5 views)

2019 Touring L + (Tow Package, Harmon Kardon upgrade, 18" Wheels/Tires, Running Boards, Advanced Safety Tech, and Inflatable Spare)

Last edited by SkidMarks71; 06-12-2019 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Updated Settings Overview screen shot
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