Zidoo players still not supporting Seamless Branching a serious problem with UHD

Discussion in 'HDD Media player(RTD 1295)' started by Nice Monkey, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Unfortunately Zidoo players still don't support Seamless Branching only Menu Processing on DVD, BD and UHD/4K discs (folders and ISO's). Seamless Branching is essential for any discs with a more complex content. Today there is also still a problem with Menu Processing on some UHD-BD's of a specific source. By my knowledge all current media players have troubles with those (PowerDVD17, Egreat, Zidoo tested by me).

    Examples where these features are needed tells the story. A disc may contain multiple episodes or different cuts of the same movie. These are then put on different tracks on the disc. Without Menu processing to select the right track it is impossible to play these disc as mostly desired. This is the easiest variant as each video is still on an individual Track using a single Stream.
    Also discs with video clips and Audio only BD's will use a track per song.
    On a DVD it is not directly possible to see how many Streams and Playlists are being used but on BD, 3D-BD and UHD-BD this is easy to see by just looking into the respective folders. On most discs the main movie is a single Track using a single Stream (this is a very big file forming most of the total content).

    Players without Menu capabilities or when bypassing menu Processing (on players that offer that choice too) the media player will typically select the playlist with the longest duration. Most of the time the longest playlist is indeed what is desired and will play the desired Video completely. There are exceptions to this though and the likelihood is increasing especially with UHD-BD's now. The reason for using it more often on UHD is simple as the film-industry looks for simplification of their logistics and as such scrapped the 3 regions and different discs for standard versions ans special cuts. They now put all versions on a single disc with many audio languages and even more subtitle languages.
    - There may be a supplement/extra on the disc which in fact is longer in duration that the actual movie. One will then get e..g. "The making of that movie" instead of the actual movie.
    - Another problem is when there are special versions of the movie on the disc. A good example is "The Magnificent Seven 2016" which has a standard version and a special version with directors+actors comment inserted into the original movie. Obviously this version with comments is by far the longest one and will be played.
    Some players without menu processing have an option to select playlists by length. Despite being not very sophisticated this works remarkable well in most cases described (Xtreamer eXpress is a good example).

    Next to this movies may have multiple versions/cuts of the same movie on the disc using individual streams for any deleted/added/changed scenes on the various cuts. Menu selection options will enable the viewer to select the desired version like: Theatrical Cut, Extended Edition, International Version or Directors Cut. This technique was rarely used on DVD, occasionally on BD, I think never on 3D-BD but regularly now on UHD-BD. The movie-industry seems to have stopped making many versions of UHD discs and typically combine all available cuts on a single disc now (also region codes where dropped).
    The actual playback runs via a matching Playlist which pieces all corresponding streams of the played cut together. Obviously the media player must now being capable to jump multiple streams on the disc without causing any interruption of the playback. This capability is called Seamless Branching and as mentioned before already exists since the introduction of DVD. Zidoo players still will show a very visible glitch when jumping streams and even interrupt audio during such a jump the other players mentioned do this correctly.

    Seamless branching is used:
    • For movies that have more than version (extended, director's cut, etc.), because some scenes will exist in several versions
    • For movies which title is different depending on countries, and is displayed at the beginning or at the end
    • For cartoons that contain translatable text in some scenes (those parts will exist in several versions)
    As a result it happens a lot more for cartoons than for movies, as Pixar for example translates the text in images almost systematically.

    The story does not end here as lately we see also discs with "playlist obfuscation" on it. Also here the cut is crafted using multiple streams but not to support multiple cuts but just to jeopardize playback on media players. Typically they create multiple (can be very many) playlists with the same length using all streams but all except one being in the wrong order/sequence. So when playing these discs without proper menu processing there is a very high chance that one gets the wrong sequence on some places when watching which is extremely irritating. Also one needs to find out which is the correct playlist to re-mux such a movie into an movie-only copy. "The Age of Adeline" is a good example of a disc with playlist obfuscation on it. Again here both Menu Processing plus Seamless Branching are essential features for correct and fluent playback.

    Warning: It is very easy to confuse general player/network hick ups with seamless branching problems. Take a movie which you know very well which added just a few extra scenes like Avatar Extended Edition to see for yourself.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    videobruce, ursiel and nikos_a like this.
  2. spring

    spring Guest

    thanks for your information.
  3. ursiel

    ursiel Active Member

    This is indeed a major issue that they should have considered before it was even released. When I hear DVD/blu-ray/UHD support, I assume that means all playback features are supported. Seamless branching has indeed been around since DVD. My Close Encounters blu-ray, for example, uses seamless branching for all 3 versions of the film, since most of the film is exactly the same, except a handful of various additional/cut scenes which are seamless inserted during playback depending on which cut you play. Terminator 2 also does this for the 3 different versions of the film on the disc.

    If you look inside the m2ts folders, you can see the various separate segments, which are then "Stitched together" seamlessly during playback based on which playlist is selected (through the menu selection).

    Playlist obfuscation is also a concern lately, as some discs indeed try to trick the media players or ripping software by having several (or sometimes dozens) of different playlists, all with the same run time, but with the scenes jumbled out of order, to make the film unwatchable. Only one playlist is the "correct" playlist with the scenes in the correct order. Blu-ray players know how to handle that, as it's part of the spec. It can tell which one is the "right" playlist when you select "play" in the menu. All the fake playlists are just ignored. I would have expected this player to handle this issue.

    Is there any chance these issues will be addressed and supported? These are important. Without support for playlist obfuscation, and especially seamless branching, which is far more common, many discs will not be playable on the Zidoo players.
  4. PacoRabanne

    PacoRabanne Well-Known Member Beta test group

    For whom plays DVD/blu-ray movies with X9S: do you mean ripped ISOs, ripped folders, or directly DVD/blu-ray disks? If the latter, are you able to connect an external DVD/blue-ray (USB?) player ad play directly?

  5. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    There is no product support for USB attached DVD/BD players on any media player as far as I know. Using HiSillicon based players (Himedia, Egreat) some compatibility exists and some were able to get them playing in a bit clumsy way as loading/mounting discs is not foreseen.

    Maybe it comes in a future FW? We are talking ripped and next burned discs only then. None will handle original protected discs ever.
  6. nikos_a

    nikos_a Active Member

    +1 for Nice Monkey's request.
  7. PacoRabanne

    PacoRabanne Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Nice Monkey, agreed the question protected or unprotected, but now I'm still a bit confused: you mean that ripped DVD/BD (as ISO? as folders?) are played?
    Or you say that also unprotected DVD/BD disk are played?
    Or are you asking Zidoo (as me since X6 Pro) to add support for handling mount of external DVD/BD USB player in X9S?
    Sorry if I seem dumb, but english is not my native language :rolleyes:
  8. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    This is off-topic here but it would be nice if mounting physical discs using an external USB3 attached DVD/BD (UHD) player would work too. Some would like this very much and it seems not to be too complex to add. I am personally not interested in this feature myself. If you really want this I suggest to look for the right stop or open a new topic for it.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  9. ursiel

    ursiel Active Member

    He's talking about ripped ISO files and DVD/blu-ray/UHD full-disc folders.
  10. PacoRabanne

    PacoRabanne Well-Known Member Beta test group

  11. c4wiz

    c4wiz New Member

    seamless branched BD/UHD play perfectly fine as MKV!
  12. ursiel

    ursiel Active Member

    Not sure what you mean, but we're talking about full discs, not MKVs.
  13. c4wiz

    c4wiz New Member

    seamless branching has never worked properly on any disc rip.
  14. gadgetman

    gadgetman Active Member

    Could we have confirmation this is been looked into?
  15. videobruce

    videobruce Member

    I never heard or read about this term before. never saw it anywhere until now.
    I'd rip a DVD solely for it's movie or for the single episodes (TV series style) and that was all. I never cared for all of the crap they loaded in addition to the movie or series. Another reason I have stayed away from BluRay. :rolleyes:
  16. Uposmon

    Uposmon New Member

    yep, exactly the same here, i've never heard or read about this term in the past. thanks a lot for all the info here as i found lots of useful information. can i ask you questions in case i would have some as i can see that you know these things so much better than I do.
  17. c4wiz

    c4wiz New Member

    i have used media players for many many years, all brands, and NONE of them ever did seamless branching properly. the only way to fix the seamless branching issue is to convert to MKV
  18. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Depends on the players you own. I have some very old media players doing it correctly for DVD and BD. All HiSilicon based players like Egreat have no problems here.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  19. gadgetman

    gadgetman Active Member

    Would you like a list of media players which do seamless branching?
    Please do not come out with comments like the above zidoo will never make an attempt to solve problem, not that it's been looked into anyhow.
  20. gadgetman

    gadgetman Active Member

    Gladiator 4k to add to list with seamless branching not working.

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