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).