[vlc-devel] [PATCH] Option to ignore PRC jitter

David Robison drrobison at openroadsconsulting.com
Fri Sep 13 14:43:29 CEST 2013

We are playing live video encoded at the cameras and sent over the network as multicast traffic. We are also trying to run with minimal buffering. This is to make the video seem more "responsive" when the user uses the software to pan/tilt/zoom the camera. With high buffering the user may pan the camera and wait seconds before they actually see it move. We are seeing a lot of jitter in the data feed and the PRC is resetting often which causes 1) the video to momentarily go black and then "rebuild" as the video "trickles" in, and 2) causes the buffering to increase. Normally the buffer increase is small, for example, growing from 200ms to 270ms. However, at times when jitter is a problem, the buffer can grow expectantly large. For example, the following VLC log shows that the buffer was attempting to increase to 381ms but actually got increased to 2202ms. At times we have even seen the buffer grow to over 4 seconds of video. 

main error: ES_OUT_SET_(GROUP_)PCR is called too late (pts_delay increased to 381 ms)
main error: ES_OUT_RESET_PCR called
main debug: Buffering 0%
main debug: Buffering 0%
main debug: Buffering 0%
main debug: Buffering 0%
main debug: Stream buffering done (2202 ms in 1025 ms)
main debug: End of video preroll
main debug: Received first picture
main debug: Decoder buffering done in 0 ms

The proposed patch is to allow the PRC reset and re-buffering to be disabled when the "clock-jitter" option is set to zero. When playing live video we are not as concerned with synchronicity of the video as much as we are the size of the buffer. We made these changes and tested the video for a prolonged period of time and it responded as we expected. We were also able to replicate the issue of high jitter by using a bandwidth limited connection and actually saw the video artifacts in QuickTime while VLC with these changes played the video without incident. 

Does this change sound reasonable? Could I be missing something by not resetting the PRC and not flushing the buffer? Any other comments?
Thanks, David

diff --git a/src/input/es_out.c b/src/input/es_out.c
index 6b0e9ad..f44e04f 100644
--- a/src/input/es_out.c
+++ b/src/input/es_out.c
@@ -2311,19 +2311,20 @@ static int EsOutControlLocked( es_out_t *out, int i_query, va_list args )
         if( p_pgrm == p_sys->p_pgrm )
+            const mtime_t i_jitter_max = INT64_C(1000) * var_InheritInteger( p_sys->p_input, "clock-jitter" );
             if( p_sys->b_buffering )
                 /* Check buffering state on master clock update */
                 EsOutDecodersStopBuffering( out, false );
-            else if( b_late && ( !p_sys->p_input->p->p_sout ||
+            else if( b_late && i_jitter_max > 0
+                            && ( !p_sys->p_input->p->p_sout ||
                                  !p_sys->p_input->p->b_out_pace_control ) )
                 const mtime_t i_pts_delay_base = p_sys->i_pts_delay - p_sys->i_pts_jitter;
                 mtime_t i_pts_delay = input_clock_GetJitter( p_pgrm->p_clock );
                 /* Avoid dangerously high value */
-                const mtime_t i_jitter_max = INT64_C(1000) * var_InheritInteger( p_sys->p_input, "clock-jitter" );
                 if( i_pts_delay > __MIN( i_pts_delay_base + i_jitter_max, INPUT_PTS_DELAY_MAX ) )
                     msg_Err( p_sys->p_input,

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