I have been in the video business for over a year now, but these formats always seem to send a new surprise my way - and I really would like to know what I am dealing with.
First off, my computer in theory SHOULD be able to handle just about anything. i7-980x (3.33 GHz hex core processor). 12GB DDR3 1600 RAM. 2x nVidia GTX-285s with 1GB memory each.
Windows recognizes a variety of file types as AVCHD: .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, .ts and maybe a few more I can't think off off the top of my head. Even .mp4 shows as having some kind of AVC structure to it.
Up until recently, I had no issues whats so ever playing back what windows recognized as AVCHD - with the exceptin of Vegas created m2ts files - but I strongly think this is a Vegas issue, and not a computer issue that I will get into below. The biggest baffling surprise came with the Panasonic camcorder as I have also described in detail below.
Here are the formats I have used:
.m2t 24 MB/s from Sony Z5U- These come off of my Sony HVR Z5U cameras via the MRC1 CF recording unit. I believe they are 1440x1080 - and they play prefectly smooth, and editing them is not a problem at all.
.m2t 24 MB/s Sony Vegas Pro 10 - These are files I create in Sony Vegas from edits (usually for testing what a video might look like as it renders in double real time for me), and the end result again plays back perfectly smooth. 1440x1080 or 1920x1080 same result.
.m2ts 15 MB/s Sony Vegas Pro 10 - This default Vegas Pro option I use the most to create my blu-ray disc files. However, playing the files back on the computer, they play fine for 2-3 minutes and then become extremely choppy and you cannot skip anywhere within the video past7 minutes or so. I REALLY think this is something Sony Vegas is doing (maybe proprietary?). I can throw these same video files on an older computer and they play fine to the exact second as my editing computer, and then start stuttering and freezing again. However, if I go to DVD architect and make a blu-ray disc from these files, everything works 100%. Theyeven play back just fine through Vegas and DVDA just fine, but using anything else such as Windows Media Player, PowerDVD, VLC and some othe players I have downloaded they always fall apart at the exact same second of video and cannot finish. 1440x1080 or 1920x1080 same result.Additionally The video only .avc option gives the same playback result.
.m2ts 21 MB/s Pinnacle Studio - These files created from Pinnacle Studio have no issues at all. I can play them back just fine on any computer in my house. It has a higher bit-rate than Vegas Pro 10, and there are no issues... hmmmmmmm.....
.m2ts 13 MB/s Hauppauge PVR - Yup, still showing as .m2ts, and this plays back perfectly as well, and I can edit these in Vegas without a problem. This is installed on an older computer (not my editing computer) and is great for recording anything HD off of cable/sat. No monthly TiVo or DVR fees involved, and you can go straight to editing in NLE - ok enough of the promo...
.MTS 24/MB/s from Sony NX5U - looks great, plays great, edits with ease. These are full 1920x1080 files. My computer laughs at the format.
Now, this past week I was in the hunt for a small consumer camera that I would be able to use on Vacation. I settled on a Panasonic HDC-SDT750 with the added 3D feature to have fun making some videos with my 7 year old this winter:
.MTS 24 MB/S from Panasonic Camcorder - This baffles me the most. These files straight up are suppose to play back just fine if you insert the card into a Panasonic Viera HDTV (I do not have). While I can still edit these files pretty easily, if I play them back straight off the camera created files, it is not smooth at all. It is pretty choppy. I have to edit them and convert them to .MP4 or .M2T to be able to watch them cleanly. Now I am not sure what the problem is with this one. I have tried playing them off of secondary HDs, my SSD, externals, and even the SDHC card with the same problem. The mode that has the issue is the 1080 60p and records in 1920x1080. I am not sure if this has anything to do with it? The bit-rate seems to be pretty standard - but my PC seems to bow down to this format.
What does an HDTV have for processing power in it that my computer does not? And why does the similar format from Sony (NX5U) play back just fine?
Is this just a software play back issue I am having? What is some of the best software out there to play back these kinds of files? I use Windows Media Player 90% of the times as it never really gives me issues, and it is clean cut and straight forward.
Thanks in advance for any advice, and I hope reading this was not too painful! I just wanted to document it as best I could.