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Playing video from WHS - WMPnetwork a CPU hog? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Made an interesting observation today... not entirely unexpected but the scale of it surprised me and really constitutes a problem or at least poor design, I think.

    Consider the two ways to play a video that's stored on your WHS2011 server:

    (1)  Point Windows Explorer on client PC at the WHS drive where the video is stored, and open it from there.

    (2)  Point WMPlayer on the client PC to the media server on WHS and play the video;

    Method (2) seems the more elegant and is certainly what a non-PC playback device would do.

    In method (1), the server disk & network activity are around 5mbps (this is H264 video) and CPU is trivial, perhaps 5%.

    In method (2), the server disk & network remain low but the CPU bounces between 30% and 65%.  This is on a quad-core 2.4GHz CPU, not some little Intel Atom!  That scares me - I'd like this server to be able to serve media to multiple clients at the same time.  By any reasonable measure, a quad-core machine has plenty enough power to do that without breaking a sweat.

    What is WMPnetwork.exe doing?  Transcoding the video on the fly to a different stream format?  Is there any known way to stop it behaving this way?  Seems silly that with a client capable of decoding H264 locally, the server side process decides to take the workload upon itself.  Definitively NOT the server's role, I say.

    Sunday, February 12, 2012 6:01 PM

All replies

  • This doesn't sound right.  On my system (also quad-core), wmpnetwrk.exe generally remains at less than 5% CPU utilization when I play back 1080p video over DLNA using Windows Media Player on my clients.  This is with either H.264 or VC-1 encoded video.

    It sound like there is some transcoding going on on your rig, but I don't know what would trigger this.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:09 PM
  • Gary,

    Your system's behaviour sounds more like the right thing.  Are your client devices Windows PCs?  Which version?  Am wondering if it's something specific to a client type.

    Thanks!

    Sunday, February 26, 2012 2:30 PM