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JRiver Media Center 18 for Windows


madVR Guide

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Topic: madVR Guide

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MC Beta Team

Citizen of the Universe

Posts: 919

madVR Guide


April 29, 2013, 07:54:59 am »

About a week ago, I said that I would write up a guide detailing the options available in madVR. Well I
had a
couple of hours open up this morning, so here's a first draft.

What is madVR?

madVR is an advanced video renderer written by Mathias Rauen, which leverages the power of your
graphics card (hereby referred to as “GPU”) for advanced video scaling and proce

Just some of the advanced features that madVR offers include: high precision YUV>RGB conversion,
telecine with decimation to extract 24p from a 29fps source; frame blending to play back video
smoothly regardless of the source framerate and y
our refresh rate; colorspace transformations and
3DLUT calibration.

How do I use madVR?

In JRiver Media Center, madVR is activated by changing the video mode from Red October Standard to
Red October HQ.

Tools → Options → Video → General Video Settings →
Video Mode: Red October HQ

The next time you play a video, Media Center will download the required files for the plugin to work.

Important Note by JRiver

Nothing further is required in order to enjoy the benefits of

The following instructions

should be considered for expert level users only.

Configuring madVR

madVR has a lot of options, which can be confusing for new users.

It can also be quite demanding of your hardware in its default configuration. Unlike most HTPC tasks,
madVR uses your G
PU to handle its advanced scaling and image processing, and that is often a
component that people do not consider when building a HTPC.

To access the madVR configuration, you need to start playing a video (I would then recommend pausing
it) right
click an
ywhere on the screen, and go to:

DirectShow Filters → madVR

The first section to configure is

There may be a few devices already listed here even if you have not used madVR

before, as the build
Media Center downloads has some pre
configured. You can simply right
click and delete them

leave the entry for your display.

You can select what type of device is connected in this tab, but it doesn
t affect anything other than th
icon displayed.

Below that is the Identification section, but there is nothing to configure there

it just gives you some
additional information based on your display
s EDID data.

Next is the
Properties Tab

This allows you to set the levels madVR wi
ll output to Windows, and the level of dithering used.

Regardless of what your display accepts, whether it is 16

235 or 0

255, it should be left at 0

255 to
avoid having the image appear “washed out”.

Typically if you need to send 16

235 to a display, you

will use the video card output to set that,

video renderer.

And unless you specifically know that your display is using less than 8
bit natively, you should leave that
option at 8
bit. Reducing it increases the amount of dithering (noise) madVR w
ill add to the image.


madVR has a number of advanced calibration options, but I will not be going over them in detail in this

calibration could have a whole guide written about it alone.

Unless you are looking to use the more advance
d calibration features of madVR, it is generally best to
leave it configured as shown above.

With HD content these settings mean that color should look the same as other video renderers, but with
SD video, it allows madVR to perform the colorspace transfor
mations required for SMPTE
C and
EBU/PAL content.

These colorspace transformations require a small amount of GPU power, so if your computer is really
struggling to play back video smoothly in madVR, it will have to be disabled.

The yCMS and 3DLUT options
are a lot more complicated to use, and are also more demanding of your

Display Modes

madVR includes a display mode switcher for automatic resolution and refresh rate changing.

Most people will be using madVR to handle video scaling, so it will on
ly be used to change refresh rates.

These are simply entered using comma separated values. Be sure that your display actually supports
the resolutions you have selected. I would suggest that you try switching to them via your graphics
s control panel

treat 25p movies as 24p (requires Reclock)

option is useful for those of us with PAL film
content (typically DVDs) as it allows either ReClock or JRiver
s VideoClock (the text needs updated) to
play back PAL content at the original 24p sp
eed, rather than being sped
up to 25fps.

All this option does is tell madVR to switch to the best display mode for 24p when you are playing back
25p content

how that is handled is up to the player. (which is fine if you are using ReClock/VideoClock)

s display mode switcher is a bit more advanced than Media Center
s switcher right now, so I
would recommend using it instead. With IVTC content (which I will detail later) it switches the display to
24p, whereas JRiver
s switcher does not.


There is an issue with Windows 8 where most video cards will switch to 23Hz
and 59Hz when an application tries to set the refresh rate to 24Hz or 60Hz. madVR 0.86.3 fixes this
problem. Media Center's switcher currently does not, and will switch

to 23/59Hz rather than 24/60Hz as

Color & Gamma

This section allows you to perform simple color & gamma adjustments to any video being rendered by

It is probably best that these are left alone for most users.


madVR has t
he option to handle video decoding itself. I recommend leaving that up to your player
though. Media Center uses LAV Video for decoding.

In Media Center, under
Tools → Options → Video

there is an option to use hardware accelerated video
decoding, which I r
ecommend trying if you are having difficulty playing videos, or want to reduce power
consumption during media playback.

Updated 13/06/2013:

Media Center now uses LAV's DXVA2 Copy
Back decoding with Nvidia cards, so
no further configuration is necessary wh
en using hardware acceleration.


The deinterlacing options in madVR are very specific to the types of content that you watch, so it is
difficult to make recommendations.

In my case, I have a lot of interlaced PAL DVDs, which are often
misidentified as being Video
content rather than Film
Type content, so forcing film mode works best for me.

Film mode will activate IVTC for interlaced video if madVR detects that it is natively 24/25p content,
regardless of the source framerate. (e.g
. 24p in a 29fps file)

You can always override the deinterlacing mode used either by adding

the filename, or switch modes at any time by pressing

when a video is playing.

The one recommendation I will make,

is to leave the
only look at pixels in the frame center


I have have problems with cadence detection not working correctly when this is off.


Windows 8 (64
bit) 4.5GHz 2500K, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 570, Benchmark DAC2

madVR Guide

(updated 13/06/13)


MC Beta

Citizen of the Universe

Posts: 919

Re: madVR Guide

Reply #1 on:

April 29, 2013, 07:55:13 am »

Scaling Algorithms

Image scaling is one of the main reasons to use madVR. It offers very high quality scaling options that
rival or best anything I have seen.

Most video is stored using
chroma subsampling

in a 4:2:0 video format.

In simple terms, what this means is that the video is basically stored as a black
white “detail”
image (lum
a) with a lower resolution “color” image (chroma) layered on top.

This works because the detail image helps to mask the low resolution of the color image that is being
layered on top.

So the scaling options in madVR are broken down into three different ca

Chroma Upscaling
, which is the color layer.

Image Upscaling
, which is the detail (luma) layer.

Image downscaling
, which only applies when the image is being displayed at a lower resolution than
the source

1080p content on a 720p display, or in a
window on a 1080p display for example.

Chroma upscaling is performed on all videos

it takes the quarter resolution chroma image, and
upscales it to the native luma resolution of the video. If there is any further scaling to be performed;
whether that is u
pscaling or downscaling, then the image upscaling/downscaling algorithm is applied to
both chroma and luma.

There are a number of different scaling algorithms available in madVR, and what you choose depends on
both the performance of the video card in
your system, and personal preference.

Image scaling is a balancing act (mostly) between three variables:




Sharpness is an obvious one

it's how sharp the image appears.


is often seen as jagged edges on diagonal lines/curves rather than smooth edges, or as moiré
patterns if you are downscaling.


often shows as “halo” artefacts or darkened edges around bright objects, which can sometimes
give the appearance of additional sharpness.

madVR gives you a rough guide when selecting algorithms, but may be misleading in some case

In terms of scaling performance (rendering speed, not image quality) the algorithms in madVR are
roughly tiered as:

High Performance:

Nearest Neighbor


Medium Performance:





Low Performance:


Lanczos 3 / Spline 3



Depending on your graphics card, the DXVA2 option may either be a high performance option, or a
medium performance one.

There is also an anti
ringing filter, and a linear light option, both of which increase GPU demands when
ed. (though I do not recommend the linear light option in most cases)

Initially, your goal should be smooth video playback rather than the best image quality, so I would
recommend setting all scaling algorithms to Bilinear.

I will write up a post later th
at will go into detail about the differences between scaling algorithms, and
which ones I recommend based on their performance and image quality.

As a rough guide,
this image

was based on settings
I recommended after some discussion over at the
Doom9 madVR topic


This section deals with what are mostly performance
related settings, and options that may be required
to get the best performance out of your specific graphics card.

Unless you are actually experiencing performance issues,

of these settings are best left alone.

General Settings

I have never used madVR on XP, so I couldn't tell you what the
use man
aged upload textures

setting does.

delay playback start until render queue is full

options will pause the video playback until a number
of frames have been rendered in advance of playback. This potentially avoids some stuttering right at
the start of
video playback, or after seeking through a video

but it will add a slight delay to both. It is
disabled by default, but I prefer to have it enabled.

If you are having problems where a video fails to start playing, this is the first option I would disable
hen troubleshooting.

Enable windowed overlay

changes the way that windowed mode is rendered, and will generally give you
better performance. The downside to windowed overlay is that you cannot take screenshots of it with
the “Print Screen” key on your key
board, and any transparent aspects of Media Center's UI which
overlays the video might look a bit strange. Other than that, it's mostly a “free” performance increase
for people running Windows 7/8.
It does not work with AMD graphics cards.

Enable automatic fullscreen exclusive mode

allows madVR to use “fullscreen exclusive mode” for video
rendering. This can potentially give you some big performance i
mprovements, and allows for several
frames to be sent to the video card in advance, which can help eliminate random stuttering during
playback. It will also prevent things like notifications from other applications being displayed on the
screen at the same

time, and similar to the Windowed Overlay mode, it stops “Print Screen” from

The main downside to Fullscreen Exclusive mode is that when switching in/out of FSE mode, the screen
will flash black for a second. (similar to changing refresh rates)

edia Center's mouse
based interface is rendered in such a way that it would not be visible in FSE
mode, so madVR gets kicked out of FSE mode any time you use it, and you get that black flash on the
screen. I personally find this distracting, and as such, h
ave disabled FSE mode, because I don't need the
additional performance for smooth playback on my computer. (I have an Nvidia GTX 570) The "10ft
interface" is unaffected, and renders correctly inside FSE mode.

Disable desktop composition

This option will d
isable Aero during video playback. Back in the early days of
madVR this may have been necessary on some systems, but I don't recommend enabling this option
now. Typically the main thing that happens is that it breaks v
sync and you get
screen tearing
(horizontal lines over the video)

Use a separate device for presentation
. By default this option is now disabled, but I see a big increase in
performance when it is enabled using Nvidia g
raphics cards. You will have to experiment with this one.

Use a separate device for DXVA processing

similar to the option above, this may or may not improve

CPU/GPU Queue Size

This sets the size of the decoder queue (CPU) and upload/render queues. (GPU)

Unless you are experiencing problems, I would leave it at the default settings of 12/8. The higher these
queue sizes are, the more memory madVR requires. With larger queues you
could potentially have
smoother playback on some systems, but increased queue sizes also mean increased delays when
seeking if the
delay playback…

options are enabled. Depending on your system, if you are having trouble
getting smooth playback with madVR,
sometimes turning the queue sizes all the way up

all the way
down seems to help. It really depends on the machine.

Updated 13/06/2013:

As of madVR 0.86.2, the decoder queue can now be increased to a maximum
of 128 frames. In my experience, this increas
es the amount of RAM madVR uses to around 800MB with
1080p video. It may also greatly slow down seeking or switching between full
screen/windowed modes
delay playback…

is enabled. If you have the memory to spare, and your system is capable of filling
the queues, it may result in smoother video playback. (far less chance of dropped frames occurring) In
general, the decoder queue should only be set as high as your system can actually fill. There's no point
in setting it to 128 frames if your system can o
nly fill 30/128.

Windowed Mode

As the name suggests, these settings apply to madVR running in Windowed Mode. That means they
apply when madVR is running in a Window, or when Fullscreen Exclusive mode is disabled.

Increasing the number of backbuffers c
ould potentially result in smoother playback at the cost of
increased memory usage. As always, I recommend leaving these settings at the defaults.

, if you plan on using Smooth Motion, I would recommend setting them to the maximum of 8.

The flush s
ettings could potentially be used to get more performance out of a struggling system, but
these days they are largely unnecessary and best left alone.

Exclusive Mode Settings

Show seek bar

has no effect if you are using Media Center

it draws a seek bar

which can be used in FSE
mode without kicking you back to Windowed Mode

but Media Center disables this and uses its own UI

Delay switch to exclusive mode by 3 seconds
. If your media player switches into fullscreen mode, and FSE
is enabled, it wil
l always switch instantly.

This option is for when something such as Media Center's mouse
controlled UI breaks FSE mode and
kicks it into Windowed Mode. If the option is enabled, it will wait 3 seconds returning to FSE mode,
rather than switching instantly

This can be useful if you are going to make a couple of changes, such as switching subtitle track, and
adjusting its size and position, without it going in/out of FSE mode each time you bring up the menus.

Present several frames in advance

should always

be enabled. Disabling this puts madVR into the legacy
FSE mode, which has not been supported for years at this point.

Similar to the Windowed Mode option, I would recommend leaving madVR presenting 4 frames in
advance, as is the default, unless you are go
ing to be using Smooth Motion, in which case you should
set it to the maximum. You may need to increase the CPU/GPU queues accordingly to fill the buffer.


Windows 8 (64
bit) 4.5GHz 2500K, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 570, Benchmark DAC2

madVR Guide

(updated 13/06/13)


MC Beta

Citizen of the Universe

Re: madVR Guide

Reply #2 on:

April 29, 2013, 07:55:24 am »

Smooth Motion

Posts: 919

Smooth Motion is a recently introduced frame blending system for madVR. What Smooth Motion
is not
is a frame


it will not introduce the “soap opera effect” like you see on 120Hz+
TVs, or reduce 24p judder.

Smooth Motion is designed to

display content where the source framerate does not match up to any of
the refresh rates that your display supports.

For example, that would be 25/50fps content on a 60Hz
only display, or 24p content on a 60Hz

It does not replace ReClock or

VideoClock, and if your display supports 1080p24, 1080p50, and
1080p60 then you should not need to use Smooth Motion at all.

Because Smooth Motion works by using frame blending you

see slight ghost images at the edge of
moving objects

but this seems
to be rare and dependent on the display you are using, and is definitely
preferable to the usual judder from mismatched framerates/refresh rates.

There are some cases where, even if your display

support 1080p24/50/60, you will want to use
Smooth Moti
on though. If you have a Plasma that displays 24p at 48Hz for example, you might want to
display it at 60Hz using Smooth Motion instead to reduce flicker.

Or if you have madVR's display mode switcher set up to only switch refresh rate when the player goes
fullscreen, you may want to leave it enabled when you have a 24p video playing in a window while using
the computer for something else at the same time with the display at 60Hz.

Updated 13/06/2013:

As of madVR 0.86.3, Smooth Motion is now working as I wou
ld have hoped on
my system, so when set to
only when there would be motion judder without it…
, it is no longer enabled
when the display mode switcher is used in conjunction with VideoClock.

So 23/24/25fps video played at 24Hz will not activate Smooth Motio
n, but 23/24/25fps video at 60Hz
will. This means that videos displayed full
screen do not use Smooth Motion, but when I play videos in a
window on the desktop at 60Hz, Smooth Motion is activated.

If your system can handle it, I now recommend enabling Smo
oth Motion, and leaving it at this setting.
This also requires that you increase the Windowed/Full
screen Exclusive buffers to the largest that your
system can handle.

Trade Quality for Performance

As the name suggests, these options exist to reduce im
age quality to improve performance.

Many of these options will only have a very small impact on image quality.

Generally, if you are having performance troubles, working your way down the list, enabling them one
at a time until playback is smooth, is the b
est way to approach them.

User Interface

This section allows you to view and change the keyboard shortcuts for madVR.


Windows 8 (64
bit) 4.5GHz 2500K, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 570, Benchmark DAC2

madVR Guide

(updated 13/06/13)