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Latest version (stable):
SoftReel v2.20

Latest version (beta):
SoftReel v2.30b4

 


SoftReel FAQ and Troubleshooting

This is the SoftReel FAQ, which contains the most frequently asked questions about the SoftReel MPEG-2 video decoder.

Note: If you are experiencing issues with DVB applications (ProgDVB, DVBViewer, DVBDream, MyTheatre, AltDVB, etc), try SoftReel v2.10 (or newer). If your issue is still not resolved, please submit an online support request.

Table of Contents

Installation

  1. Installing SoftReel
  2. MPEG-2 files do not play after installing SoftReel
  3. After installing the trial version of SoftReel, MPEG-2 streams play but the Etymonix logo overlay does not appear over the video
  4. Installation fails on Windows Vista with the error message "NTVDM.EXE has stopped working"

Uninstallation

  1. Uninstalling SoftReel
  2. After uninstalling SoftReel, the Etymonix logo overlay still appears over the video
  3. Uninstalling SoftReel fails with the error message "The log file '<<Installation drive and path>>\Uninst.isu' is not valid or the data has been corrupted. Uninstallation will not continue."

Audio/video playback

  1. The video is squeezed or stretched incorrectly during playback
  2. Audio and video are playing out of sync
  3. There is no video but the audio plays properly
  4. There is no audio but the video plays properly
  5. Audio playback is choppy, breaking up or stuttering
  6. There are horizontal lines (jagged edges) in the video
  7. SoftReel does not appear in the list of video codecs in DVBDream 1.4i

DVD playback

  1. SoftReel is not getting used for DVD playback (in DVBViewer, etc)
  2. MyTheatre v4 displays the error message "AutoGraph error: can't connect SrcFilter: Source Filter to DstFilter: Etymonix MPEG-2 Video Decoder" when trying to play a DVD
  3. The video is partially corrupted

Developer - DirectShow programming

  1. The SoftReel video decoder fails to connect to the Microsoft MPEG-2 Demultiplexer
  2. When rendering a file, SoftReel is not used even though it has been added to the graph
  3. First-chance exception messages are output while debugging an application that uses SoftReel

Developer - Licensing

  1. I am a developer. Can I distribute SoftReel with my product?

 


Installing SoftReel

Before installing SoftReel, make sure that your computer meets the System Requirements.

Notes:
  • If you are upgrading from a previous version of SoftReel, you must uninstall the previous version before proceeding with the installation.
  • You must have Administrator privileges to successfully install SoftReel on Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000/NT4.

Download the SoftReel setup file to any location on your computer. We recommend that you exit all running programs prior to installing SoftReel. Double-click the setup file to start the SoftReel setup wizard.

Windows 7/Vista only: A User Account Control screen may inform you that "An unidentified program wants access to your computer". The SoftReel setup program is safe to install. Click 'Allow' to proceed with the installation.

You are prompted to confirm the installation of SoftReel. Click 'Yes' to continue.

A welcome screen appears. Click 'Next' to continue.

Read the Software License Agreement terms. If you agree to the terms of the agreement, click 'Yes' to go to the next step of setup. If you click 'No', the setup wizard will exit and SoftReel will not be installed.

You are prompted to select the destination location where SoftReel will be installed. Click 'Next' to use the default location.

At this point, the setup program will start copying files to your computer.

Once the installation completes, click 'Finish' to close the setup wizard.

Congratulations, you have successfully installed SoftReel!

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MPEG-2 files do not play after installing SoftReel

MPEG-2 playback can fail if your computer is not properly configured or if the MPEG-2 file is not supported by SoftReel.

  1. If necessary, install the latest version of DirectX runtime for your operating system.
  2. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, click 'Reset to default' and then click 'Ok'.
  3. The width and height of the video stream must both be even. SoftReel does not support odd size resolutions.
  4. For MPEG-2 transport streams (such as HDV), a third-party demultiplexer is required.
  5. If other MPEG decoders are installed, they might be conflicting with SoftReel. Try uninstalling them one at a time and attempt to playback MPEG-2 again.
  6. The MPEG-2 file could be damaged. Try playing other MPEG-2 files.

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After installing the trial version of SoftReel, MPEG-2 streams play but the Etymonix logo overlay does not appear over the video

If the Etymonix logo overlay does not appear, SoftReel is not being used. As a result, you are unable to evaluate SoftReel properly.

A third-party MPEG-2 video decoder may be interfering with SoftReel. Try uninstalling third-party MPEG-2 video decoders.

Note that the Microsoft MPEG-1 video decoder has priority over SoftReel when playing back MPEG-1 files, so the logo overlay is not visible by default. MPEG-1 video playback with SoftReel is only possible programmatically.

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Installation fails on Windows Vista with the error message "NTVDM.EXE has stopped working"

If this occurs, please report this issue to Etymonix Support by submitting an online request. Along with the problem details, please specify if you have an antivirus installed.

  1. When the User Account Control screen appears, select 'Allow'.
  2. Run the installation as an administrator. See details.
  3. Temporarily turn off User Account Control. See details.

If the steps above do not resolve the issue:

  1. Try the installation in compatibility mode.
  2. Try the installation in Safe Mode (press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts to enter Safe Mode).
  3. Install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 or newer.

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Uninstalling SoftReel

 

Note: You must have Administrator privileges to successfully uninstall SoftReel on Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000/NT4.

Exit all programs that may be using SoftReel. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->Uninstall Etymonix SoftReel.

Windows 7/Vista only: A User Account Control screen may inform you that "An unidentified program wants access to your computer". The SoftReel uninstall program is safe to execute. Click 'Allow' to proceed with the uninstall.

You are prompted to confirm the removal of SoftReel. Click 'Yes' to continue.

At this point, the uninstall program will start removing SoftReel from your computer. If you are prompted to remove shared files, click 'Yes' or 'Yes to All'.

Once the uninstall completes, click 'Ok' to close the uninstall program.

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After uninstalling SoftReel, the Etymonix logo overlay still appears over the video

SoftReel was not completely uninstalled, probably because shared files were not removed during uninstallation.

To resolve this issue, re-install SoftReel and then uninstall it. During uninstallation, when prompted to remove shared files, make sure you click 'Yes' or 'Yes to All'.

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Uninstalling SoftReel fails with the error message "The log file '<<Installation drive and path>>\Uninst.isu' is not valid or the data has been corrupted. Uninstallation will not continue."

Scan your computer for viruses to make sure it is not infected. Delete the specified "Uninst.isu" file, re-install SoftReel to the same location and then uninstall it again.

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The video is squeezed or stretched incorrectly during playback

This problem can occur with some MPEG-2 files or broadcast streams.

The aspect ratio may be ignored by the current video renderer. If your media application allows you to select the video renderer, try using the Overlay Mixer (OMR), Video Mixing Renderer 7 (VMR7), Video Mixing Renderer 9 (VMR9) or Enhanced Video Renderer (EVR) instead of the legacy Video Renderer. Otherwise, you can configure SoftReel to use the Overlay Mixer:

Windows 7/Vista/XP only: The 'Use Overlay Mixer' setting does not need to be enabled.

Windows 2000/Me/98/95 only: From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable 'Use Overlay Mixer' and then click 'Ok'.

Windows NT4 only: The 'Use Overlay Mixer' setting cannot be enabled because DirectX 8 or later is required. There is currently no workaround for Windows NT4.

Some MPEG-2 streams have an incorrect aspect ratio encoded in the video stream and this causes the video to appear squeezed or stretched incorrectly. SoftReel allows you to override the default aspect ratio encoded in the stream. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, set the Aspect Ratio to the desired value and click 'Ok'.

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Audio and video are playing out of sync

Verify that audio and video synchronization is enabled. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable 'Drop frames to keep audio and video synchronized' and then click 'Ok'.

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There is no video but the audio plays properly

  1. Enable all input and output formats. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable all input and output formats and then click 'Ok'.
  2. If the stream contains errors, frames may be getting dropped. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable 'Display frames with errors' and then click 'Ok'.
  3. The Overlay Mixer cannot be used with graphic cards that do not support YUV output formats. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, disable 'Use Overlay Mixer' and then click 'Ok'.
  4. Only one instance of the Overlay Mixer can be used at a time. If 'Use Overlay Mixer' is enabled, you may not be able to play multiple streams concurrently. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, disable 'Use Overlay Mixer' and then click 'Ok'.
  5. If you are using a licensed version of SoftReel prior to v2.10, make sure you haven't exceeded the maximum number of concurrent streams allowed by your license. Try closing any other program that may be using SoftReel, including the SoftReel Configuration program. Alternatively, you can upgrade to v2.10 (or newer).

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There is no audio but the video plays properly

  1. Verify the audio volume settings on your computer and in your media player to make sure audio can be heard.
  2. SoftReel only supports MPEG-2 audio. For AC-3 audio (e.g. in some VOB files or broadcast feeds), a third-party AC-3 decoder is required. A free AC-3 audio decoder can be downloaded here.
  3. Some files (e.g. M1V or M2V files) are video-only and do not contain any audio.

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Audio playback is choppy, breaking up or stuttering

When system resources (such as CPU usage or disk/network bandwidth) are maxed out, the computer is unable to play the audio and video in real-time.

  1. Verify the system requirements are satisfied for real-time playback.
  2. Ensure that the audio has priority over the video. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable 'Drop frames to keep audio and video synchronized' and then click 'Ok'.
  3. To improve playback performance, use YUV output formats. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable all output formats and then click 'Ok'.
  4. Configure your media application to use the Overlay Mixer (OMR), Video Mixing Renderer 7 (VMR7), Video Mixing Renderer 9 (VMR9) or Enhanced Video Renderer (EVR) instead of the legacy Video Renderer.
  5. Do not run other CPU-intensive, disk-intensive or network-intensive tasks while playing video.
Note: If you observe this symptom but the CPU usage is relatively low and the steps above do not help, please report this issue to Etymonix Support by submitting an online request.

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There are horizontal lines (jagged edges) in the video

This is often referred to as the "Venetian blinds" effect or combing. It typically occurs with interlaced video and is especially visible with fast moving objects, panning or zooming in/out. Note that the problem is not visible when the video is stationary. The horizontal lines are usually thin, but they can appear thicker if the video is being resized.

The problem can be solved by using deinterlacing. Deinterlacing is the process of converting interlaced video to a progressive (non-interlaced) format. Note that SoftReel uses the graphics card to perform hardware deinterlacing (software deinterlacing is not currently supported).

  1. Make sure deinterlacing is enabled for SoftReel. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, select 'Enable deinterlacing' and then click 'Ok'.
  2. Use the Overlay Mixer (OMR), Video Mixing Renderer 7 (VMR7), Video Mixing Renderer 9 (VMR9) or Enhanced Video Renderer (EVR) instead of the legacy Video Renderer since the latter does not support deinterlacing.
  3. Some graphics cards do not support hardware deinterlacing for RGB formats, so make sure YUV output formats are enabled. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable all output formats and then click 'Ok'. If both RGB and YUV output formats are enabled, YUV formats will have priority.

If deinterlacing is still not working after performing the steps above:

  1. Check your graphics card settings (ATI Catalyst Control Center, etc) to see if deinterlacing is disabled on any output device.
  2. Upgrade your display driver to the latest version.
  3. In Windows Vista, try turning Aero off by selecting the Vista Basic theme and check your graphics card settings again to see if new deinterlacing options became available.

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SoftReel does not appear in the list of video codecs in DVBDream 1.4i

By default, DVBDream version 1.4i does not recognize the SoftReel MPEG-2 codec. To add SoftReel to the list of supported video codecs:

  1. Close DVBDream
  2. Open the file c:\dvbdream\guids.ini in a text editor such as Notepad
  3. Add the following two lines (using copy and paste) under the [VIDEO_CODECS] section:
        VIDEOCODECzz=Etymonix SoftReel, {E5393C51-6386-11D5-B9FF-0050BABCB1D1}
        VIDEOCODECzz_DESC=* Supports 4:2:0, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4
    where zz is the next available number.

    For example, if the last entry used was VIDEOCODEC29, you would add
    VIDEOCODEC30=Etymonix SoftReel, {E5393C51-6386-11D5-B9FF-0050BABCB1D1}
    VIDEOCODEC30_DESC=* Supports 4:2:0, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4
  4. Save the guids.ini file and restart DVBDream
  5. The Etymonix SoftReel MPEG-2 codec should now be selectable in the DVBDream video decoder list under Options->Video->Video Codec.

Note that newer versions of DVBDream (starting with 1.5a) automatically recognize the SoftReel MPEG-2 codec since the latter is already included in the codecs.ini file.

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SoftReel is not getting used for DVD playback (in DVBViewer, etc)

The DVD input format must be enabled to play DVDs. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable the DVD input format and then click 'Ok'.

Note that SoftReel only supports playback of unencrypted/decrypted DVDs.

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MyTheatre v4 displays the error message "AutoGraph error: can't connect SrcFilter: Source Filter to DstFilter: Etymonix MPEG-2 Video Decoder" when trying to play a DVD

The DVD input format must be enabled to play DVDs. From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable the DVD input format and then click 'Ok'.

Note that SoftReel only supports playback of unencrypted/decrypted DVDs.

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The video is partially corrupted

The DVD input format must be enabled to successfully play DVDs. This option is disabled by default to avoid potential conflicts with third-party DVD applications. When the option is disabled, DVDs may still play but video corruption can occur.

From the Start menu in the Windows taskbar, select All Programs->Etymonix SoftReel->SoftReel Configuration. Under Video Decoder Settings, click Configure. On the Settings tab, enable the DVD input format and then click 'Ok'.

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The SoftReel video decoder fails to connect to the Microsoft MPEG-2 Demultiplexer

SoftReel versions prior to v2.10 do not support the Microsoft MPEG-2 Demultiplexer. This is by design. Use the Microsoft MPEG-2 Splitter or a third-party demultiplexer/parser instead. Alternatively, you can upgrade to v2.10 (or newer) which now supports the Microsoft MPEG-2 Demultiplexer.

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When rendering a file, SoftReel is not used even though it has been added to the graph

On Windows 7/Vista/XP, the Microsoft MPEG-2 Demultiplexer has a higher merit than the Microsoft MPEG-2 Splitter. When the file is rendered, the filter graph manager will first attempt to build the graph using the MPEG-2 Demultiplexer. Because SoftReel versions prior to v2.10 do not connect to the MPEG-2 Demultiplexer (by design), the filter graph manager will look for another video decoder to connect to the MPEG-2 Demultiplexer. If an appropriate decoder is found, it will get used even though SoftReel is already in the graph. To ensure SoftReel gets used when it is added to a graph, also add the Microsoft MPEG-2 Splitter (or a third-party demultiplexer/parser) prior to rendering. Alternatively, you can upgrade to v2.10 (or newer), which now supports the Microsoft MPEG-2 Demultiplexer.

Note that this issue can also occur with some third-party demultiplexers/parsers that do not connect to SoftReel.

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First-chance exception messages are output while debugging an application that uses SoftReel

This is by design. Some exceptions (Microsoft C++ exception: CxException) are generated by SoftReel but they are handled internally. They do not indicate a problem with SoftReel. They may occur before or after playback completes, but not during playback.

If these exceptions interfere with the debugging of your application, you can modify Microsoft Visual Studio settings to avoid breaking on them.

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I am a developer. Can I distribute SoftReel with my product?

Developers and integrators can purchase a distribution license for Etymonix SoftReel by contacting license@etymonix.com. Please include a product description along with your request. We offer very competitive volume pricing and flexible licensing options.

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