Help solving the Fuze video mystery once and for all!

Get MediaInfo and open some of the video files that play on your Fuze (you don’t even need to install the program; the mediainfo.exe runs fine on its own); MediaInfo will show you detailed information about that file (like number of consecutive b-frames etc.) - please post this info in this thread.

This info will enable anyone to transcode videos for the Fuze without using Sansa’s application. All one has to do is use the information provided by MediaInfo to setup ones’ transcoder correctly.

This is very important for people who can’t use Sansa’s media converter because they use a Mac or - like me - Linux.

Sadly I’ve formatted my own Sansa Fuze and cannot examine the one video that came with it.

So - please help!

Message Edited by eet on 02-03-2009 05:19 AM

@eet wrote:

Get MediaInfo and open some of the video files that play on your Fuze (you don’t even need to install the program; the mediainfo.exe runs fine on its own); MediaInfo will show you detailed information about that file (like number of consecutive b-frames etc.) - please post this info in this thread.

 

This info will enable anyone to transcode videos for the Fuze without using Sansa’s application. All one has to do is use the information provided by MediaInfo to setup ones’ transcoder correctly.

 

This is very important for people who can’t use Sansa’s media converter because they use a Mac or - like me - Linux.

 

So - please help!

Message Edited by eet on 02-03-2009 05:19 AM

Here’s a report, with detail=10, from 5 videos converted through SMC.  When you get it working, be sure to share your success.

Cheers,

General
Complete name                    : C:\VideoFuse\Avenged Sevenfold - A Little Piece of Heaven Official Video.avi
Format                           : AVI
Format/Info                      : Audio Video Interleave
File size                        : 48.7 MiB
Duration                         : 8mn 31s
Overall bit rate                 : 799 Kbps
Writing application              : InterVideo

 

Video
Format                           : MPEG-4 Visual
Format settings, BVOP            : Yes
Format settings, QPel            : No
Format settings, GMC             : No warppoints
Format settings, Matrix          : Default
Codec ID                         : DX50
Codec ID/Hint                    : DivX 5
Duration                         : 8mn 31s
Bit rate                         : 662 Kbps
Width                            : 224 pixels
Height                           : 176 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 1.273
Frame rate                       : 20.000 fps
Resolution                       : 24 bits
Scan type                        : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.840
Stream size                      : 40.4 MiB (83%)

 

Audio
Format                           : MPEG Audio
Format version                   : Version 1
Format profile                   : Layer 3
Codec ID                         : 55
Codec ID/Hint                    : MP3
Duration                         : 8mn 30s
Bit rate mode                    : Constant
Bit rate                         : 128 Kbps
Channel(s)                       : 2 channels
Sampling rate                    : 44.1 KHz
Resolution                       : 16 bits
Stream size                      : 7.79 MiB (16%)
Alignment                        : Split accross interleaves
Interleave, duration             : 100 ms (2.00 video frames)

Message Edited by niko_sama on 02-03-2009 08:18 AM

General
Complete name                    : C:\VideoFuse\Anime EP 1(1).avi
Format                           : AVI
Format/Info                      : Audio Video Interleave
File size                        : 159 MiB
Duration                         : 27mn 10s
Overall bit rate                 : 817 Kbps
Writing application              : InterVideo

 

Video
Format                           : MPEG-4 Visual
Format settings, BVOP            : Yes
Format settings, QPel            : No
Format settings, GMC             : No warppoints
Format settings, Matrix          : Default
Codec ID                         : DX50
Codec ID/Hint                    : DivX 5
Duration                         : 27mn 10s
Bit rate                         : 681 Kbps
Width                            : 224 pixels
Height                           : 176 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 1.273
Frame rate                       : 20.000 fps
Resolution                       : 24 bits
Scan type                        : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.863
Stream size                      : 132 MiB (83%)

 

Audio
Format                           : MPEG Audio
Format version                   : Version 1
Format profile                   : Layer 3
Codec ID                         : 55
Codec ID/Hint                    : MP3
Duration                         : 27mn 10s
Bit rate mode                    : Constant
Bit rate                         : 128 Kbps
Channel(s)                       : 2 channels
Sampling rate                    : 44.1 KHz
Resolution                       : 16 bits
Stream size                      : 24.9 MiB (16%)
Alignment                        : Split accross interleaves
Interleave, duration             : 100 ms (2.00 video frames)

 

 

General
Complete name                    : C:\VideoFuse\Dead.Space.Downfall.2008.avi
Format                           : AVI
Format/Info                      : Audio Video Interleave
File size                        : 429 MiB
Duration                         : 1h 14mn
Overall bit rate                 : 806 Kbps
Writing application              : InterVideo

 

Video
Format                           : MPEG-4 Visual
Format settings, BVOP            : Yes
Format settings, QPel            : No
Format settings, GMC             : No warppoints
Format settings, Matrix          : Default
Codec ID                         : DX50
Codec ID/Hint                    : DivX 5
Duration                         : 1h 14mn
Bit rate                         : 670 Kbps
Width                            : 224 pixels
Height                           : 176 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 1.273
Frame rate                       : 20.000 fps
Resolution                       : 24 bits
Scan type                        : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.849
Stream size                      : 356 MiB (83%)

 

Audio
Format                           : MPEG Audio
Format version                   : Version 1
Format profile                   : Layer 3
Codec ID                         : 55
Codec ID/Hint                    : MP3
Duration                         : 1h 14mn
Bit rate mode                    : Constant
Bit rate                         : 128 Kbps
Channel(s)                       : 2 channels
Sampling rate                    : 44.1 KHz
Resolution                       : 16 bits
Stream size                      : 68.1 MiB (16%)
Alignment                        : Split accross interleaves
Interleave, duration             : 100 ms (2.00 video frames)

 

 

General
Complete name                    : C:\VideoFuse\virginterritory.avi
Format                           : AVI
Format/Info                      : Audio Video Interleave
File size                        : 546 MiB
Duration                         : 1h 33mn
Overall bit rate                 : 818 Kbps
Writing application              : InterVideo

 

Video
Format                           : MPEG-4 Visual
Format settings, BVOP            : Yes
Format settings, QPel            : No
Format settings, GMC             : No warppoints
Format settings, Matrix          : Default
Codec ID                         : DX50
Codec ID/Hint                    : DivX 5
Duration                         : 1h 33mn
Bit rate                         : 683 Kbps
Width                            : 224 pixels
Height                           : 176 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 1.273
Frame rate                       : 20.000 fps
Resolution                       : 24 bits
Scan type                        : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.866
Stream size                      : 455 MiB (83%)

Audio
Format                           : MPEG Audio
Format version                   : Version 1
Format profile                   : Layer 3
Codec ID                         : 55
Codec ID/Hint                    : MP3
Duration                         : 1h 33mn
Bit rate mode                    : Constant
Bit rate                         : 128 Kbps
Channel(s)                       : 2 channels
Sampling rate                    : 44.1 KHz
Resolution                       : 16 bits
Stream size                      : 85.3 MiB (16%)
Alignment                        : Split accross interleaves
Interleave, duration             : 100 ms (2.00 video frames)

 

General
Complete name                    : C:\VideoFuse\withinTemptation-Angel.avi
Format                           : AVI
Format/Info                      : Audio Video Interleave
File size                        : 23.3 MiB
Duration                         : 3mn 57s
Overall bit rate                 : 822 Kbps
Writing application              : InterVideo

 

Video
Format                           : MPEG-4 Visual
Format settings, BVOP            : Yes
Format settings, QPel            : No
Format settings, GMC             : No warppoints
Format settings, Matrix          : Default
Codec ID                         : DX50
Codec ID/Hint                    : DivX 5
Duration                         : 3mn 57s
Bit rate                         : 683 Kbps
Width                            : 224 pixels
Height                           : 176 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 1.273
Frame rate                       : 20.000 fps
Resolution                       : 24 bits
Scan type                        : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.866
Stream size                      : 19.3 MiB (83%)

 

Audio
Format                           : MPEG Audio
Format version                   : Version 1
Format profile                   : Layer 3
Codec ID                         : 55
Codec ID/Hint                    : MP3
Duration                         : 3mn 57s
Bit rate mode                    : Constant
Bit rate                         : 128 Kbps
Channel(s)                       : 2 channels
Sampling rate                    : 44.1 KHz
Resolution                       : 16 bits
Stream size                      : 3.63 MiB (16%)
Alignment                        : Split accross interleaves
Interleave, duration             : 100 ms (2.00 video frames)

You might find these posts informative,  if you haven’t seen them already.

http://spicifer.blogspot.com/2008/07/sandisk-sansa-fuze-8gb-on-ubuntu-804.html

http://spicifer.blogspot.com/2008/08/video-on-sandisk-sansa-fuze.html

http://spicifer.blogspot.com/2008/12/sansa-fuzes-video-format.html

http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27460

My understanding is that it’s not just a matter of figuring out the video parameters.  I believe that’s already been done.  I think the issue is that SMC adds some special metadata to the converted files that the Fuze currently requires.  Don’t know if this has been 100% confirmed, but I know other have produced videos with specs identical to that of SMC converted videos and they don’t work on the Fuze.

Sansafix has posted that they are looking at removing this requirement so popular 3rd party converters could be used without the need for SMC.  Don’t know if that will happen in the next FW or not, but clearly they realize SMC is a problem, so hopefully it won’t be too long.

In case it might help, I just posted some info here:

http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?s=929e83d02d566ca2eaa50844238cacb0&t=41976

&

http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?s=929e83d02d566ca2eaa50844238cacb0&t=41975

In a nutshell & IMHO it’s practically-speaking  a requirement that you use SMC. SMC is also a rather dismal product, again IMHO, & it’s my advice to convert SMC to a portable app, not for convenience as much as damage control, a preventative measure protecting you from the unintended consequences of SMC installation (& things like it’s ~3500 registry changes). 

I apologise for not posting the short articles here, but as I’m advocating something that might be considered similar to modding the © SMC install, I was/am unsure about the longevity of posting that advice in the official forums. 


@skinjob wrote:

My understanding is that it’s not just a matter of figuring out the video parameters.  I believe that’s already been done.  I think the issue is that SMC adds some special metadata to the converted files that the Fuze currently requires.  Don’t know if this has been 100% confirmed, but I know other have produced videos with specs identical to that of SMC converted videos and they don’t work on the Fuze.


 

That is correct, the fuze requires a secondary file installed along with the main video file. The reason for this has something to do with agreements amde with the movie industry. Sandisk and others have aligned themselves with the movie industry to severely limit video format compatibility

The OP should hold on till the next firmware is released. There’s talk of possible open format compatibility…or at least non-SMC compatibility.

Message Edited by lewislink on 04-08-2009 11:51 AM

The “secondary file” you are seeing when transferring a video file to the Fuze is a thumbnail taken from the opening image.  If a video is transferred to the µSD / HC hard, there are small “housekeeping” files for access with the SD card, part of the format.

The SMC exports your video to the Sansa within a “container” holding the parameters for the displayed video.

The thumb is generated during the transfer, onboard the Fuze.

It isn’t part of a movie industry scheme, or some other devious plan.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

Yeah, that’s exactly right neutron_bob.  My Prince Caspian gets a small file alongside it.  Since I finally got it converted, I copied the files onto my harddrive, that way I don’t have to convert them again.   It’s a “.thm” file.  In my case “Prince Caspian.thm”.

Here is a link to the file.  If you can interpret it, I guess you have a workaround…

Prince Caspian.thm


@neutron_bob wrote:

The “secondary file” you are seeing when transferring a video file to the Fuze is a thumbnail taken from the opening image.  If a video is transferred to the µSD / HC hard, there are small “housekeeping” files for access with the SD card, part of the format.

 

The SMC exports your video to the Sansa within a “container” holding the parameters for the displayed video.

 

The thumb is generated during the transfer, onboard the Fuze.

 

It isn’t part of a movie industry scheme, or some other devious plan.

 

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:


So what you are saying is I can delete that secomdary (thm) file and the videos will still play?

By the way, logic dictates that it is a scheme. Prior to the announcement of Sandisk getting involved with the movie industry my Fuze played non-SMC, very common MPEG-4, videos just fine. After the announcement and a subsequent firmware update, my Fuze no longer played those very same video files it played beforehand.

Message Edited by lewislink on 04-08-2009 05:22 PM

Does your statement

“After the announcement and a subsequent firmware update, my Fuze no longer played those very same video files it played beforehand” imply that loading the version from way back when would allow the viewing of non-SMC processed videos? 

And where can I get the old version? :stuck_out_tongue:

Message Edited by timn on 04-08-2009 05:48 PM

@timn wrote:

Does your statement

“After the announcement and a subsequent firmware update, my Fuze no longer played those very same video files it played beforehand” imply that loading the version from way back when would allow the viewing of non-SMC processed videos? 

And where can I get the old version? :stuck_out_tongue:

Message Edited by timn on 04-08-2009 05:48 PM

Yes, it would allow it. You’ll need to find the earliest firmware, though. I didn’t bother to look at the version number prior to updating. All I can say is my Fuze is one of the earliest Fuze’s. I bought it just after being released to the market in the USA.

If you do find the FW, and an earlier version of SMC isn’t necessary, simply initialize video playback by using SMC to convert a very small video file… like a 1 or 2MB music video… and let it install onto the Fuze. This will put the needed folders and such onto the Fuze…or you can download the needed folders from my link below and forget about SMC altogether. Once you have the needed folders on your Fuze, use Any Video Converter…free software…andconvert files to MPEG-4 at your desired qaulity (bitrate). Then drag & grop those files either directly into the Fuze video folder or into the preinstalled folders.

What happens is the Fuze will play the initial SMC file located in the preinstalled folders (you only need one actual video file in these preinstalled folders) and, I suppose, during refreshing or whatever, the drag & drop files in the main video folder get sorted to the preinstalled folders. All I can tell you is I did the initial SMC bit, installing a small video file onto my PMP with SMC and then I simply dragged & dropped the desired video files into the main video folder and after disconnecting and refreshing, those D&D files showed up in the SMC installed folders and they all played just fine; like normal.

Anyway, here’s the link to download the preinstall folders:

http://rs444.rapidshare.com/files/216368351/SYSTEM.zip
Message Edited by lewislink on 04-08-2009 06:14 PM

Let me save you some trouble. Forget about trying to make video files play on your Sansa. I’ve been trying to make some of the same format video filse play on my View…which the Fuze would also play…and am having zero success. There are currently several videos on it that were converted with “FLV to AVI MPEG WMV 3GP MP4 iPod Converter”…the actual name…and they all play just fine. These same video files also play on my Zune, iPods, Zens and nearly every compatible PMP I have. Trying to convert some more videos for my View and having D&D’d them onto the View, they won’t play no matter what. I used MediaInfo to view the values of the playable and non-playable files and all of the values are the same. So…I can’t figure it out…unless there’s a curse preventing success to make me out to be a liar. However, I will, if I need to, upload a video showing those non-SMC files playing just fine and include the MediaInfo data.

It just isn’t worth the frustration, so I inform you, you should not try this…unless you have plenty of hair or it is fast growing.

And by the way, I installed the latest FW on my Fuze and the speculation about non-SMC videos workingh on it is apparently bunk. I’m sure there is a formula to convert video files to work on the Fuze outside of using SMC, but the whole point of not wanting to use SMC is because there is zero control of the output file. What good is it to use another converter when you having to use the same settings as SMC uses? I normally convert video file to a size of around 200 to 4ooMB. SMC requres a file size that is at least double that size…actually anywhere from 600 to 900MB.

Message Edited by lewislink on 04-08-2009 07:44 PM

@xcfan wrote:

Yeah, that’s exactly right neutron_bob.  My Prince Caspian gets a small file alongside it.  Since I finally got it converted, I copied the files onto my harddrive, that way I don’t have to convert them again.   It’s a “.thm” file.  In my case “Prince Caspian.thm”.

Here is a link to the file.  If you can interpret it, I guess you have a workaround…

Prince Caspian.thm

It’s a jpeg. Rename it to Prince Caspian.jpg, then open it in any image editor.

Quite the contrary, SanDisk is working on simplifying the requirements for video, rather than complicating it.  The goal is being able to load the device more easily.  Development will take a little more time, but it is “on the list”.

Now, if I could only resolve the timing issues, so I can watch things blow up on cue (trust me, it’s a guy thing, we all love to watch things blow up)…

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

Sansa is merely a front for a joint NSA/CIA plot to infiltrate all electronic media and lock it up with DRM.  If you play mp3 or avi files now they can track you from anywhere in the world in realtime.

Hmmmm…no fooling.  Is that a real Fuze or a Sears Fuze?

Seriously, we all understand that it is frustrating and it seems nuts that the files for a 2-inch screen are 2 or 3 times the size of home-theater size!

Yet, we must remember that it is STILL a 2-inch screen folks.

You can get portable dvd players that play avi/xvid/divx out of the can for under a hundred bucks.

I suppose if I were completely homeless I’d appreciate having all my video on the Fuze, but on the other hand I’d still need a laptop to obtain the files and do the conversions.  and in that case, I’d just watch the movies on the laptop- or sell it and get an apartment.

Message Edited by blackdog-sansa on 04-09-2009 12:41 PM

FWIW & IMHO no one’s going to go to a lot of trouble to DRM a <320 pixel width video @ 20 or less fps, unless they’re mainly concerned with the audio track, & even that may be dying finally as the focus shifts to cutting off on-line access to those suspected of distribution.

re: the 2ndary files, I removed one or another & the video continued to play, & the only observable difference was it was missing the pic in the menu.

re: MediaInfo & similar… Video standards are generally for playback – the mpg2 also used for DVDs is a great example. Anyone designing an encoder can do whatever they want, as long as it plays on a std. mpg2 capable player. MediaInfo’s developer is only going to put in detection for those flags &/or specs that folks know about. I think it’s been well proven by now that if you have 2 video files that look identical in MediaInfo or whatever, likely the only one to work on the Fuze came from SMC. Logically this means there’s something else unique about the SMC file that the reporting apps just aren’t programmed to look for.

My suggestion, if you really wanted an SMC alternative would be to post in the forums like those at Videohelp.com &/or Doom9.org, asking the coders if they might please analyze these SMC video files for you. That’s a 1st step anyway… I have no idea if any difference would be something as simple as adding a flag or require a mod or even a new encoder, so I’ve also no idea whether anyone would write a program for you or not – if it’s just processing a DivX/Xvii file & adding a flag, that’s a whole lot less work than even modding an existing encoder.

@neutron_bob… re: audio sync/drift…
Has anyone watched SMC created video on a PC using something like VLC to determine if the drift occurs only on the Fuze, or is a problem with the video file itself? If it’s still a problem after whatever firmware &/or software update…

Video encoding software obviously goes through different internal paths depending on the input video source. If the problem is the SMC video file itself, feeding SMC one format vs… another *might* make a difference. Also please remember that none of these small players have hugely capable decoding chips – making it’s job easier might well provide at least a partial solution… try encoding video that’s already at 12 - 15 fps & see what happens. With this small a picture the fps difference isn’t as noticeable as larger sizes, so the tradeoff of lower fps vs… sync might be worth it.

@blackdog-sansa
Not disagreeing – at least about the parts not having anything to do with conspiracies   :wink:
These small players are incredibly portable, & if it’s a cheaper model, if you lose it, it get’s stolen, it get’s destroyed etc, it’s not nearly as big a deal. One family member likes to watch movies on her Zune in the tub – doing the same with her gaming laptop would be downright dangerous. My wife enjoys watching her favorite movies in waiting rooms, like at the doc’s office, & the player’s small enough to quickly slip in your pocket when the wait’s over. I’ve found that they’re nice to share things like a quick Jib Jab or YouTube file, when/where dragging along a laptop, having someone play a CD, converting to DVD is just too much bother for the quick chuckle the video’s worth.

OTOH I enjoy working with video, so any conversion is not a huge, disagreeable task… that’s me. Many (most?) people I know, including family members, are perfectly happy to watch video I’ve converted, but would sooner cut off a finger than go through the trouble of getting the video on whatever player.

As far as the file sizes go, the smallest video files often use both efficient compression & a lot of post processing  – that requires a bit of processing horsepower… most any PC can play a DVD full screen, but playing an AVC HD video is challenging enough that most current video cards include chips dedicated to playing HD. If the Fuze can’t handle std. 29.976 NTSC video frame rates, it can hardly be expected to handle the video processing necessary to decode these more efficient, more highly compressed video formats. That’s why the files are comparatively large for the frame size, fps, & bitrate – the decoding/display processing required is just too complicated for their small brains. :wink:

Yippee! Finally we have somebody that knows and understand the complexities of dealing with video files as much as I do, maybe even more.

Welcome to the forum mikiem!

Overall, I’ve never understood why some many people have issues with using the Sansa Media Converter. But, then again, having worked with video files on my computer(s) for several years now I don’t expect any one single program to be able to handle every possible video file format I throw at it either.

All of this discussion brings up another thing that (at least partially) baffles me. It has been mentioned that Sandisk is trying to eliminate the need to use SMC to convert videos for the Fuze. The _only_ reason I can see behind them doing that is simply so they don’t have to worry about updating one extra piece of software… While at the same time also no longer having to deal with customers about video conversion problems (since it won’t be their software to complain about anymore).

After all, people are still going to have to use some other kind of software to convert to whatever video file format the Fuze firmware will be able to play back. And, it doesn’t matter what file format(s) they put into the firmware either. People will still have to convert some videos they have over into that specific format one way or another anyway.

The very best Sandisk could possibly do is to make the firmware be able to play one of the more popular file formats that other similar portable devices use. That still will not eliminate the need to convert files to that format with some kind of software. And, whatever software one chooses to do so will still not be able accept all the possible file formats that are out there. So, there will still also always be times where a file will have to first be converted to a format the the other program can work with to then convert to what the Fuze can play.

I’ve really had a hard time understanding why so many other people just can not understand this. It’s simply impossible to design a single program that can handle every possible video file format that’s out there, not to mention all the new future formats that are showing up almost every day now.

So, even if Sandisk does eliminate the need to use SMC, the underlying problems of needing to convert files still are never going to go away. All that will happen is that people will either start complaining to some other software company about their software not being able to handler certain files. Or worse, they’ll start complaining about the Fuze not being able to handle the specific file types they want it to play.

Regardless, the underlying problem is never going ever disappear or go away. That’s just the way working with digital vide files is, has been, and always will be.

Message Edited by miltst on 04-10-2009 12:00 PM

Nice catch daytona955!  I never even realized that.  I tried making another jpg file and changed it to Prince Caspian.thm and replaced the first file, now it’s that picture!  (By the way, dimensions are 224 by 176)  Now, since we know the video parameters and how to make our own thumbnail, can we bypass SMC?  I guess we shall find out!

@daytona955 wrote:

It’s a jpeg. Rename it to Prince Caspian.jpg, then open it in any image editor.