For those of you with slower PCs, like me, I have some suggestions for improving your H264 playback performance. In particular this will greatly increase your subtitle rendering speed, allowing you to play much more complicated subtitles that you were previously unable to. There’s some other tweaks in here as well, and this is written to use the Combined Community Codec Pack with only one minimal, and very simple to add, addition: xy-VSFilter.
Download the latest version of CCCP, available from here: http://www.cccp-project.net/ Install it, using the default install options, including VSFilter, otherwise this won’t work properly. If you already have the most recent version of CCCP installed you can skip this step.
Next get xy-VSFilter, available from here: http://code.google.com/p/xy-vsfilter/ Install it following these instructions:
- Extract VSFilter.dll from the archive you download.
- Move this file to C:\Program Files\Combined Community Codec Pack\Filters\ (for 32bit Windows) or C:\Program Files (x86)\Combined Community Codec Pack\Filters\ (for 64bit Windows). This will overwrite the existing VSFilter.dll installed by CCCP. If you’re using Windows Vista or Windows 7 you’ll receive a prompt from UAC to allow you to move the file into the directory and overwrite it.
- Run the CCCP Settings application, click “Next” on the first screen, on the second screen click on the check-box next to “Re-register Filters” (see below) and click on “Apply”.
Configure CCCP to use LAV Filters
- Run the CCCP Settings application. On the first screen click on the check-box next to “LAV Video (CCCP)” in the “Alternative H.264 Decoders” section (see below). Click “Next”, then click “Apply”.
- If you have CoreAVC installed, you’ll need to disable it being the preferred H264 decoder (which it is by default). To do that, run the Configure CoreAVC application, then remove the check in the check-box next to “Preferred Decoder”. It should look like below, click “OK” once you’ve done this.
Configure Media Player Classic – Home Cinema
Now you need to change a few configuration options in Media Player Classic – Home Cinema (MPC-HC). Run MPC-HC, then click on “View -> Options” to open the options dialogue. Under the “Playback” section make sure that the check-box next to “Auto-load subtitles” is unchecked (see below):
On the “Playback -> Output” page you will need to test to see which renderer works best for your system. I recommend you start with “VMR-9 (renderless)” and work your way down to “VMR-7 (windowed)”. You will need to close MPC-HC and restart it each time you change renderer for the change to take effect. To change renderers just click on the radio button next to the one you want and then click “OK”. On Windows Vista and Windows 7 you can try the “EVR Custom Pres.” & “EVR” renderers as well, but in my tests they caused problems. On Windows XP do not use the “EVR Custom Pres.” or “EVR” renderers. While it’s possible to have them available (thanks to one of the .NET update packages) they’re very unstable. EVR was developed for Windows Vista and was never meant for XP so this is no surprise.
For me, “VMR-9 (renderless)” worked best on my Windows Vista laptop, and “VMR-7 (windowed)” worked best on the XP desktop.
Questions & Answers
Why do you recommend LAV Filters instead of CoreAVC? CoreAVC is faster!
While CoreAVC is slightly faster, it has some pretty serious bugs in the 10bit decoder. The most recent version of the 3.0 line (which added 10bit support) was released back on 2011/09/09 and there’s no sign of another update being released anytime soon. There’s also a good chance CoreCodec will decide to make the next release a 3.5 version and charge everyone again for what amounts to bug fixes. Finally, CoreAVC is only slightly faster than LAV Filters at this point. The difference is not worth the bugs it introduces. As for the bugs, when testing playback of the 2nd OP of Nisemonogatari I discovered that CoreAVC introduced heavy blocking into it, something no other decoder did. (See below)
What kind of difference in performance will this make? Is it really worth doing?
It makes a HUGE difference! I’m now able to play videos that I was unable to keep the subs in sync on before. On my desktop PC (which is considerably older/slower then the laptop) I can play videos that I could not play at all before this. Just one example, with this setup I can now play both Nisemonogatari OPs (as well as our upcoming release of the 3rd OP), which are quite complex, on the desktop PC. Before I applied xy-VSFilter + LAV Filters on the desktop I couldn’t play any of them. The best way I can put it is this was like I had upgraded my computers. The change has been dramatic and it’s made watching fansubs immensely more enjoyable. It’s also a very easy change to make, not requiring installing and configuring lots of additional software, so it’s very much worth doing.
Do I need to have hardware video acceleration for this to help?
No, neither of my computers has hardware acceleration available yet this made an absolutely huge difference. If you do have hardware acceleration available LAV Filters can work with it, but it’s not required.
Why did you write this using CCCP?
CCCP is both simple to install and used by lots and lots of people. Also, I personally prefer to keep things simple. I’d rather spend my free time watching anime than tweaking software settings to try to get that anime to playback. This is simple, it works, and it’s a solution that everyone who already uses CCCP can apply quickly and easily.
What happens when I install a new version of CCCP in the future?
You will need to move the xy-VSFilter’s VSFilter.dll into the CCCP directory again to overwrite the default version it installs.
I use Zoom Player, can I use xy-VSFilter with it?
The latest versions of Zoom Player already include xy-VSFilter by default.