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Playing Blu-ray m2ts in Windows Media Center

The Problem:
I recently started backing up Blu-ray discs to file using DVDFab 8, which produces an m2ts file.The video and audio can vary depending on the disc, but my sample movie contains H.264 video with DTS-HD Master Audio audio.The video played fine in Windows 7 natively, but the audio did not play.I run Windows Media Center on this computer which is the TV/Movie/Music/Picture/Phone hub of the house.

For these movies to be useful on this computer, I need them to play directly via Windows Media Center without breaking my existing videos and TV/DVR functionality.I have used Media Browser to launch Media Player Classic – Home Cinema (MPC-HC), which is a great media player, but I didn’t like the inability for this setup to stop the video and resume later. Also, the player’s controls don’t map to Media Center remotes properly, So that is what prompted me to find a way to have it run natively within Media Center.

The Solution:

Step 1. Backup your registry, create a restore point or create a whole system backup. This will require registry hacks and changes to essential dll files.

Step 2. Download and install the latest Microsoft DirectX runtime

Step 3. Install ffdshow-tryouts. This will provide all the video and audio decoders you need. As I was using 64 bit Windows 7, I installed both 32 and 64 bit versions. I installed the latest Subversion(SVN) build.

Step 4. Download the MPC-HC Standalone filters. You only need one version of these filters. I downloaded the 64 bit filters. This will provide the MPEG splitter that will properly split the m2ts file video and audio that is capable of handling DTS-HD MA audio. Later we will configure Windows to use this splitter when opening m2ts files.

Step 5. Disable Media Foundation DirectShow Wrapper (mfds.dll). Do this by renaming the file (found in Windows\System32 and or Windows\sysWOW64). This will allow you to bypass Microsoft’s wrapper and use your own DirectShow decoders.

Step 6. Register the MPEG splitter downloaded from Step 4 above by running:

\Windows\sysWOW64\regsvr32.exe MpegSplitter.ax

Step 7. Download GraphStudio. This program is useful for finding CLSIDs and displaying filter information.

Step 8. Edit the registry to associate .m2ts files with this MpegSplitter. Use GraphStudio to double check the CLSID of the MPC (Gabest) MpegSplitter. Copy the following into a .reg file and execute:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Media Type\Extensions\.m2ts]
"Source Filter"="{1365BE7A-C86A-473C-9A41-C0A6E82C9FA3}"

Step 9. Find the CLSIDs of the filters you want to use by using GraphStudio (CTRL-F to view filters). I am using the ffdshow dxva video decoder (for minimizing CPU load by transferring decoding to the graphics chip) and ffdshow audio decoder (which is capable of decoding DTS-HD MA). You will use these filters to override the default Microsoft DirectShow filters found in the registry (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DirectShow\Preferred).

H.264 String name: {31435641-0000-0010-8000-00AA00389B71}
MPEG-2 String name: {E06D8026-DB46-11CF-B4D1-00805F6CBBEA}

Step 10. See the links below for more information on the decoders and how to configure them for your setup.

Notes:

  • Other guides recommend using certain tweaker programs to do these regristry modifications. I prefer to modify it manually so I know exactly what’s happening to my registry.
  • The videos are currently not playing in Windows Media Player. I don’t really have much use for this function so I haven’t looked into this too much. Odd thing, is WMP plays it fine on my 32 bit Vista machine. Speaking of which, the steps for Vista are very similar except you don’t need steps 5 and 10.
  • I am unable to stream these videos to my other TV, which is using an Xbox 360 (either in Media Center Extender or from the Dashboard). I’ll have to evaluate my options (transcoding, using another media box, etc.).
  • Any comments and recommendations would be most certainly welcome.

Links: These are the pages that I found most useful while working on my setup.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=16951614#post16951614
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=16974976#post16974976
http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-entertainment-pcs/1213173-guide-setting-up-ffdshow-win7.html
http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-entertainment-pcs/1215711-lpcm-dts-hd-ffdshow-chapters.html