Custom Filters to the Rescue: Diagnosing and Solving Media Stream Woes

In a recent customer project, we encountered a longstanding problem related to a broadcasted media stream captured by software.

Our customer application, built on the hashtag#DirectShow framework, was responsible for capturing the media stream. The application needed to operate 24/7 and maintain stability during continuous live media broadcasting.

Unfortunately, sporadic crashes occurred due to a third-party DirectShow filter within the topology. This filter triggered memory access violations and crashed the entire application. The vendor of this problematic component was unavailable for maintenance. Given the low incident frequency, the customer was concerned about possible regressions in the case of any update of this part of the application.

The issue manifested only in the production signal, complicating troubleshooting, and the customer’s data center required remote access via VPN and several remote desktops.

To diagnose and solve the problem effectively, we introduced a lightweight DirectShow filter. This custom filter transparently captured a dump of the recently captured MPEG-TS signal, mirroring the data flow to the faulty component. In the production environment, this solution allowed us to analyze the content in sufficient detail to reproduce the problem outside the production setup.

Eventually, we replaced the problematic third-party DirectShow filter with an in-house development that handled that particular processing step reliably and maintainably.

In summary, our custom DirectShow filter provided crucial insights, enabling us to address the issue and enhance stability in the customer’s live media broadcasting application.

Beyond the Possible

I am replaying a pretty much regular MPEG TS recording taken from air, just with a MPEG TS rollover condition inside. Microsoft Media Foundation – ? FAIL Microsoft Movies & TV Application – ? FAIL (obviously because of #1 above, but let me double this down) Media Player Classic MPC-HC – ? FAIL VLC –…

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