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Ensuring Proper DirectShow Filter Setup in Windows 7

DirectShow problems

It’s funny, I just recently built a new computer for my personal use, along with supporting my master’s thesis research, and I went about installing Windows 7 64-bit.

I went ahead installing my standard media workflow, which includes, BDtoAVCHD, AVStoDVD, MeGUI, Avisynth, and LAVFilters. I continued on, thinking that everything was just fine and dandy with my current install. Then, I attempted to convert a movie to a quick DVD5 (single layer), and I noticed that my audio was way out of sync, along with some strange decoding issues in the first few frames of the movie.

I’d already completed several successful conversions already, so I was a bit baffled about what could be going wrong. I had LAVFilters installed, and everything played fine in Media Player Classic Home Cinema. The one exception is that when I previewed the title in AVStoDVD, the audio desynchronization reared it’s ugly head. Again, I was dumb founded for a second.

It was then that I remembered an old post that I had written a year or so ago. I’d forgotten to organize my DirectShow chain again. Or more specifically, I used the wrong program. You see, in the year or so since I’d first had to organize my Windows 7 DirectShow filters, I’d completely forgotten about what a hassle it was. I also forgot the name of the handy dandy little program that lets you organize the filters in their proper order.

What I did first on this machine was use the CodecTweakTool. It was definitely a different interface than (I thought) I remembered, but I figured it had just been updated and it didn’t matter. But I was wrong. I should have used (and did end up using)  the Preferred Filter Tweaker for Windows 7 (and now 8!). Can you blame me for getting the two mixed up? Tweak this and codec that, it’s easy to get lost in there.


So, I went ahead and ran the correct software (the Preferred Filter Tweaker), thereby wrestling away DirectShow decoding control from Windows and giving it to LAVFilters, which decoded my movie just perfectly (with hardware acceleration nonetheless!).

Just a funny story that I thought readers could appreciate. Long story short, be sure about your DirectShow Filter setup on your Windows 7 box, as the default Microsoft filters are not the greatest and either don’t support all H.264 material properly, or have random bugs in them.

Oh, and I obviously haven’t forgotten about this little site. I’m trying to find time to redesign it (thereby making it faster) and write more content for it (there is a giant TODO list of tutorials that I need to write/update).

  • Morris

    Thanks for keeping us posted on everything you discovered
    I read your site all the time
    Keep it up

  • Morris

    So you definitely prefer LavFilters than using directshow or even CoreAVC for decoding?

  • Adub

    Actually, LAVFilters and CoreAVC are DirectShow filters. DirectShow is a media decoding framework created and used by Microsoft. It’s similar to GStreamer for Linux.

    I like LAVFilters because they are a free and open source project, as well as supporting hardware acceleration through NVidia CUDA/Intel QuickSync/DXVA2.

    I know that CoreAVC is an excellent product, although I have heard of a bug or two, but I’m sure they were resolved quickly. I’ve been moving more towards LAVFilters from FFDShow recently, as they have full 10-bit decoding support as well.

    (Although after researching a bit, I believe FFDShow now offers 10bit support).

  • Morris

    Thanks for your answer.
    I meant ffdshow as you said in your response not directshow. Thanks for clearing that up. I will give it a try as i use ffdshow now.

    Later Adub

  • Adub

    Yeah, LAVFilters and FFDShow are very similar, often sharing a lot of decoded code through the LibAV project.

    It’s pretty much a personal preference, as both projects do pretty much the same thing in terms of decoding, except FFDShow has a ton more post-processing and other “tweaking” features. But if you are just watching a clip, they don’t differ too much.

  • darkwstuff

    adub, can you have ffdshow and lav filters installed at the same time with no problems? I would still like to keep ffdshow for encoding and lav filters for watching videos through MPC HC.

  • Adub

    Yup, they work just fine together. You mention keeping one for encoding and one for playback. Why the difference? Why not just use one for both encoding and playback? I personally use LAVFilters for just about everything, encoding and playback, and it works like a champ.

    I keep FFDShow around for it’s raw video decoding support, along with it being required by BD Rebuilder and RipBot (I’d like to see that change in the future, and I know that you can force BD Rebuilder to ignore that requirement).

  • darkwstuff

    Thanks for reply. I use Ripbot so I cant get rid of ffdshow just yet! I have always used AC3 Filter along with ffdshow, but do I still need this with the Lav filters or is it kind of redundant?

  • Adub

    Indeed, LAVFilters with FFDshow is mostly redundant. FFDshow does have raw video handling (I haven’t checked if LAVFilters has it yet or not), but as long as you only want video decoding support, you should be fine with LAVFilters. The problem is that the program author requires FFDshow, at least he did last time I checked.

  • Richard

    Great to see you posting again Adub!