Preparing Movies (and other media)
! Note !
A few more notes or links may be added,
if/when I re-visit this page.
In June 2011, I replaced a ten-year-old cathode-ray TV set with a recent model Samsung LCD TV (model LN46D630) --- 46 inch screen.
This TV has several USB ports with one port being designated for an HDD (hard disk drive).
With this TV, I could put movie files on either a USB memory stick (a.k.a. flash drive, a.k.a. thumb drive) or on a USB hard-disk drive --- for playing on this TV, via its menu system.
NOTE: There are definite limits to the flexibility in media (video/audio/image) playback options when using the software system built into the TV. Alternatively, one could connect a netbook or laptop computer to the TV and use software on the computer to playback movie files, audio files, and image files.
One could connect a computer to the TV via a VGA or HDMI cable --- depending on the connection options available on your computer. But then one gets into issues of starting up your computer with a monitor resolution that is supported by the TV. In a section at the bottom of this page, there are details on connecting a computer to this Samsung TV model and playing media files on storage drives connected to the computer.
Movie Formats supported by this Samsung TV :
There are certain movie formats that the playback software in this TV supports --- certain combinations of video-audio-container format. (There is a lot of background information on video-audio-container formats on this web page.)
The Samsung-LN46D630-supported video-audio-container formats are shown in a table below. The table is a reorganized version of a table in the user manual for the TV.
Note that you are not limited to these formats if you are playing the movies via a computer connected to the TV via a VGA or HDMI cable.
Disk Drive Requirements for connection to the TV :
The 'Media Play' system (file navigator) of the Samsung TV supports only Microsoft file systems: FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS.
So I need to use USB sticks and USB hard drives that are formatted in one of those file-system formats.
I had some troubles with a Seagate drive that was pre-formatted in the NTFS format. I had to re-format the drive. (Some notes on formatting a USB hard drive on Linux are below the Samsung-LN46D630 supported-formats table, below.)
The main advantages (in 2011) of using a USB 'hard drive' over a USB 'thumb drive' are
Choosing a Movie File Format :
On Linux, using the Nautilus file manager, I can simply drag-and-drop movie files from my Linux file system directories into directories on a USB drive.
The video-audio-container format that I favor (in the 2011-2013 timeframe) is H.264-AAC-MP4 (with a file suffix of '.mp4'), because
According to the Samsung supported-formats table, it would appear that the popular Flash movie format (typical file suffix '.flv') is not supported by this TV. So I MAY have to use some of the 'VIDEOtools' in the 'feNautilusScripts' system on my Linux PCs to convert Flash movie files --- such as Linux 'how-to' (short) movies or funny (short) movies from YouTube --- to a format supported by this TV.
Some notes on PLAYABLE and NON-PLAYABLE movie file formats (determined by using test files) are below the supported-formats table.
In those notes, it is pointed out that a H264-AAC-FLV file (suffix '.flv') played on the TV --- even though the '.flv' suffix does not appear in the Samsung supported-formats table. Further testing is needed to determine just what '.flv' files are supported. See the notes below this table.
(In alphabetic order by 'file extension'.)
|'.avi' or '.mkv'||AVI or MKV||Divx 3.11/4.x/5.1/6.0||MP3 / AC3 / LPCM / ADPCM / DTS Core||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.avi' or '.mkv'||AVI or MKV||XviD||MP3 / AC3 / LPCM / ADPCM / DTS Core||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.avi' or '.mkv'||AVI or MKV||H.264 BP/MP/HP||MP3 / AC3 / LPCM / ADPCM / DTS Core||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||25|
|'.avi' or '.mkv'||AVI or MKV||MPEG4 SP/ASP||MP3 / AC3 / LPCM / ADPCM / DTS Core||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.asf'||ASF||Divx 4.x/5.1/6.0||MP3 / AC3 / LPCM / ADPCM / WMA||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.asf'||ASF||XviD||MP3 / AC3 / LPCM / ADPCM / WMA||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.asf'||ASF||MPEG4 SP/ASP||MP3 / AC3 / LPCM / ADPCM / WMA||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.wmv'||ASF||Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9)||WMA||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||25|
|'.mp4'||MP4||H.264 BP/MP/HP||MP3 / ADPCM / AAC||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||25|
|'.mp4'||MP4||MPEG4 SP/ASP||MP3 / ADPCM / AAC||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.mp4'||MP4||XviD||MP3 / ADPCM / AAC||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.3gp'||3GPP||H.264 BP/MP/HP||ADPCM / AAC / HE-AAC||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||25|
|'.3gp'||3GPP||MPEG4 SP/ASP||ADPCM / AAC / HE-AAC||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||8|
|'.vro'||VRO or VOB||MPEG2||AC3 / MPEG / LPCM||1920x1080||24/25/30||30|
|'.vro'||VRO or VOB||MPEG1||AC3 / MPEG / LPCM||1920x1080||24/25/30||30|
|'.mpg' or '.mpeg'||PS||MPEG1||AC3 / MPEG / LPCM / AAC||1920x1080||24/25/30||30|
|'.mpg' or '.mpeg'||PS||MPEG2||AC3 / MPEG / LPCM / AAC||1920x1080||24/25/30||30|
|'.ts' or '.tp' or '.trp'||TS||MPEG2||AC3 / AAC / MP3 / DD+ / HE-AAC||1920x1080||24/25/30||30|
|'.ts' or '.tp' or '.trp'||TS||H.264||AC3 / AAC / MP3 / DD+ / HE-AAC||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||25|
|'.ts' or '.tp' or '.trp'||TS||VC1||AC3 / AAC / MP3 / DD+ / HE-AAC||1920x1080||6 ~ 30||25|
FORMATTING THE HARD DRIVE
In June 2011, I had a Seagate 320 GB 'FreeAgent GoFlex' USB hard drive that is upgradeable from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0. (Manufactured in 2010, Part Number 9ZF2A1-570.)
On my main Linux desktop computer, I had some sample movie files in a directory called 'VIDEOtestfiles', in subdirectories named after the file suffixes: avi, flv, mkv, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpg, wmv.
I attached the USB drive to my main Linux PC running Ubuntu 9.10. The drive was recognized within a few seconds after plug-in, and I was able to see the drive in the Nautilus file manager. It displayed as a name like 'Freeagent'.
After removing some Seagate utility files and directories from that drive (using drag-and-drop in Nautilus) --- files that were meant for use on Microsoft operating systems --- I made directories on the USB drive (using Nautilus 'File > Create Folder') corresponding to the filetypes: avi, flv, mkv, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpg, wmv.
From the 'VIDEOtestfiles' subdirectories (on my Linux PC disk drive), I started dragging movie files to these USB drive directories, but 'flaky' things began to happen. After dragging some files into a directory, the USB drive would suddenly (seemingly at random times) lose its mount.
I was able to remount the USB drive several times and continue dragging files, but it lost the mount about 4 more times --- and then I could not even remount it.
The drive would still show in the Nautilus file manager, when I went to 'Places > Computer'. I right-clicked on its volume name and chose 'Properties' from the Nautilus popup menu. 'Properties' would not reveal the format of the drive, but one of the error messages that popped up when I was trying to drag movie files to the USB drive revealed that the drive was in NTFS format.
I decided to reformat the USB drive. While it was unmounted, I selected it from Gnome upper-panel 'Places > Computer' and was able to use a Nautilus right-click menu 'Format ...' option to format the USB drive in an 'MS-DOS' format. (It was not clear whether this is FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS.)
The formatting took about 15 minutes for the 320 GB drive. Then I made directories on the drive, corresponding to the filetypes: avi, flv, mkv, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpg, wmv. I was able to successfully drag movie files into these directories --- with NO 'flaky' unmounts and error message popups.
I right-clicked and chose to 'Safely remove' the USB drive. (It took several minutes after choosing 'Safely Remove Drive' to, apparently, finish writing files from buffers.) Then I plugged the USB drive into the Samsung TV.
SELECTING THE DEVICE CONTAINING
I changed the 'Source' on the TV to the HD drive, using the 'Source' button on the Samsung TV remote control. Then I used the 'Media P.' (Media Play) option button on the Samsung TV remote control. That option provides several icons on the screen that provide for playing back
Using arrow buttons on the remote control, one can navigate to the movies icon, say, and press a select button. Then a display of 'folders' and files on the USB drive appears. One can use the arrow buttons and the select button on the remote control, to navigate to a video-file and select it for playback.
SOME PLAYABLE MOVIE FILE FORMATS :
The files in the 'mov' directory would not display at all. This corresponds to the fact that the Samsung supported-files table does not indicate support for files with the '.mov' suffix.
I read in a web forum thread that one person found that they could rename their '.wmv' files to '.asf' files and their particular TV model would then play the '.asf' files, whereas it would not recognize the '.wmv' suffixed files. So there may be a possibility of renaming some '.mov' files to a suffix like '.mp4' and getting this Samsung TV to recognize the files --- and play them if the video and audio encodings are supported.
I have found that the following video-audio-container formats play on the Samsung LN46D630 TV :
I may add other formats to this 'DOES-play' list in the future.
SOME NON-PLAYABLE MOVIE FILE FORMATS :
Some movie files do not show up in the Samsung Video files display, such as files with suffixes like '.mov'.
Others show in the Samsung Video files navigation display, but the files do not play --- usually resulting in a popup that says 'Video codec not supported', after selecting the movie file with the remote control. Here are some specific video-audio-container formats that would not play :
I may add other formats to this 'would-not-play' list in the future.
Note that all of these formats would play with the 'Mplayer' software on my Linux desktop and netbook computers. Hence another reason (besides the flexibility of the software on a Linux computer versus the limited options of the software built into the Samsung TV) for playing movies via a computer connected to the TV.
And hence the reason for the next section.
Computer software vs. TV software :
As mentioned in the introduction above, one could connect a computer to the TV via a VGA or HDMI cable --- depending on the connection options available on your computer.
Then you can use a multitude of software options on the (Linux) computer to play media files on storage drives connected to the computer.
However, around 2009-2010, with the 'Display Preferences' Gnome2 utility (in Ubuntu Linux 9.10), I got into issues of starting up my netbook computer with a monitor resolution that is supported by the TV.
Following are details on connecting a computer to this Samsung TV model and playing media files --- especially movie files.
The following description is based on connecting a little Acer 10.1" netbook (screen resolution 1024x600 pixels) to the Samsung TV.
I did not experience the frustrating issues that are described below.
Startup of the computer connected to the TV :
The netbook had a VGA port but no HDMI port, so I connected the netbook to the computer with a VGA connector. (I later used a Y-cable --- with 1 mini plug connected to 2 RCA plugs --- for an audio connection to the TV from the stereo headphones port on the netbook.)
I used the 'Source' button on the remote control for the Samsung TV, to choose 'PC' as the source.
When I connected the VGA plug to the netbook AFTER the computer was powered up (with Ubuntu 9.10 Linux on it), the screen suddenly turned black with just a small rectangle of colored pixels at the top of the netbook monitor and at the top of the TV.
I found that I had to plug the video cable from the TV into the VGA port on the netbook BEFORE powering up the computer. Otherwise, if your TV does not support a resolution like that of your computer (like 1024x600 for this netbook), the display of your entire computer desktop may appear as a squashed, multi-colored rectangle near the top of your computer's monitor screen.
On consulting the manual for this Samsung TV, I found that it supported a multitude of resolutions --- but not 1024x600.
The resolutions said to be supported by this Samsung model LN46D630 TV include (sorted by vertical resolution):
The 1024x600 resolution (of the typical 10.1" netbook monitor) is not in the list of supported resolutions of this Samsung TV. But 800x600 and 640x480 are.
On Ubuntu 9.10, the bootup process appears to settle on the 800x600 mode as a mode that will work for both monitors (TV and netbook).
On checking the 'Preferences > Display' option via the top panel of the Ubuntu 9.10 (Gnome 2) desktop, the 'Resolution:' popdown menu of the 'Display Preferences' window showed that two compatible options were available for the 2 monitors: 800x600 or 640x480.
I stayed with the 800x600 option. But some of my desktop icons (that were positioned when I was working in the 1024x600 mode) were off screen. I have found in the past that when this happens, the next time one logs in (at a bigger screen resolution), the icons may be in a different place on the desktop than where I last left them. So be aware that you may have to accept that drawback.
Playing media files on the TV, via the computer :
I could now attach a USB drive (stick or disk) to the netbook.
Note that in this mode of operation, I can have the disk formatted in a Linux-friendly format (such as ext3 or ext4 or ...) instead of a Microsoft format (such as FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS). Then I don't have to deal with Microsoft 'idiosyncracies' such as treating upper-case letters and lower-case letters in filenames as being the same.
For info on re-formatting USB disks from a Microsoft-style disk format to a Linux-style disk format, see this page on Linux disk formatting.
I could use a 'media player' program such as 'mplayer' or 'gnome-mplayer' to play movie or audio files on the USB disk.
I could use options within 'gnome-mplayer' to play the movie (or audio) files from various 'play lists'. Or, for even more flexibility, I could write scripts to use media players available on Linux (such as 'ffplay', 'Totem', 'SMplayer', 'VLC', and others) to play chosen movie and/or audio files automatically, in a variety of ways.
I could use an 'image viewer' program such as 'eog' (Eye of Gnome) to view JPEG files (or other image file formats such as PNG or GIF) in a manual mode or an automatic, fullscreen slide-show mode, with a fixed delay-time between each image. I could use various keys on the computer keyboard (such as F5, F11, spacebar, arrow keys) with 'eog' to control the slide-show in various ways.
I plan to look into some script-based options for showing a slideshow of JPEG files --- in order to get around some things that I do not like about the 'eog' program. I may describe such options here, at a later date.
I could use a media-player program to play audio files (or one audio file in a loop), while showing a sequence of image files.
The possiblities are endless when using a (Linux) computer attached to the TV --- to play media files from a USB drive attached to the computer.
I may provide more details on some of the playback options (complete with scripts, if any) on this page someday.
Furthermore, I may look into using only the TV screen (not the computer monitor) when playing media on the TV --- so that I can display the media files at a resolution higher than 800x600. I may eventually describe doing this by either the 'Preferences > Display' option of the Gnome 2 desktop or via the 'xrandr' command.
Note that using only the TV screen as the monitor will require using the TV screen to view the computer 'desktop' as I start up playback of movie/audio/image files.
This is enough for now. Signing off.
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Page was created 2011 Jun 19.