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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone from Australia,

My wife and I just bought a new 2014 Highlander Grande (well Kluger Grande down here in Australia) with the Rear Seat Entertainment system. Being and IT professional and an A/V techhead with three kids I was interested to see that it had the ability to play of an SD card.

After reading the manual and a lot of reading on the net, including reading threads started by other Toyota owners I couldn't find anywhere where someone had any luck getting it to work well.

SO long story short I spent the last 3 days scouring the internet for conversion programs and trial and error I'm happy to report I seem to have got my first video to work....YAY! I've just managed to do this like 10 mins ago and I will be trying methods to get multiple videos on the SD card to read and play so I will update this thread as I go, but for now here is an outline of what I did.

Basically I took a standard .mp4 video of around 130mb and through the process below converted it to AVCHD format on an SDHC (16GB) Card and played in in the RSES on the toyota.

Step 1. Make sure your card is correctly formatted, that means for most of us either FAT32 for cards 4gb-16gb or EXFAT for 16gb-32gb. This can be done easily in windows by putting your card into an SD Card reader or if your using a laptop like me the SD Card slot on your laptop.

Step 2. Go and download MULTIAVCHD v4.1 from this link
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/multiAVCHD
Now please be aware that only the TOP link ie "Visit developers Site" seems to work well and the version it downloads it not the latest release i.e. its not build 771. For some reason I couldnt find this build on the net, but when you start the program it will ask you if you want to update it, for some other reason this took a fair number of tries for it to finally update for me, not sure why.

Step 3. Run MULTIAVCHD and click "Add Video File" - Choose your mp4 video (Im still testing avi's)

Step 4. Set your Destination Path (down the bottom left) to be your SDCard Drive. This is not strictly necessary as you can set it to be a directory on your hard drive and then copy the AVCHD folder over later to your SDCard

Step5. and the click "Start" and choose Panasonic Blu Ray Player. The program will them commence the process of converting your file to a .mts (AVCHD) format and writing a folder structure to your destination location. NOTE during the process you will most likely have windows come up with AVSinfo.exe has stopped responding, I believe this is because it is trying to find images on the net corresponding to the DVD your are using to use as thumbnail images, I just clicked cancel on these errors and let the process continue.

Step 6. Everything going ok you should not have a folder somewhere like H:\AVCHD (H drive is my SDCard slot).

Step7. Create a directory on your SDCard called PRIVATE i.e. for me H:\PRIVATE

Step8. Copy the entire AVCHD folder that MultiAVCHD just created into H:\PRIVATE

Step 9. You should now have a folder on your SDCard like this H:\PRIVATE\AVCHD

Step 10. Go stick your SDCard in the RSES of your Highlander/Kluger and see if it reads properly and the option to select "VIDEO" is enabled and that it plays your video.

So if you've read to here I'm just going to re-iterate that I am still testing the process to get multiple video's to work on a single SD Card, that I am still testing .avi files. Also be aware that due to the restrictions in FAT32 format you wont be able to copy files any larger that 4GB over to your SDCard so this may severly limit what video's you can convert to AVCHD as converting to AVCHD does make your file bigger.

I will post more updates to this thread as I go, but hopefully this has helped a few people, so feel free to send me beer! remember I have 3 kids :)

Update : ok to solve some of the issues with MULTIAVCHD program go follow the steps outlined in the thread by the author found here

http://multiforum.deanbg.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=17
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Ok so an update on this :

I have managed to successfully encode several videos using MULTIAVCHD and put them on an SD Card and have the Highlander recognize all the videos. It doesnt seem possible with the basic program the RSES is using to create a menu structure to browse the files, but by simply using the remote to skip forward (or backward) between titles you can load the next/previous movie.

A couple of things that I have noticed using MULTIAVCHD is that it will work fine with both mp4 (mpgs) and avi files, but the files you want to encode need to be in a strict resolution format, ie something like 720x480 pixels or any of the "set" resolutions above that. If you try to feed MULTIAVCHD a different resolution you may see it highlighted in red or green and if you hover over with your mouse it will say something like "X number of lines not supported". It will still encode the movie and copy it to your SDCard but when you play in on the RSES you will only have the audio play the screen will be black.

To resolve this you will need to have a copy of something like Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate, or WinX HD Video converter, both non freeware programs, and convert your movie files into a "proper" resolution before encoding them to the SDCard for the RSES.

Also couple of other things, just create a \PRIVATE\ folder on your SDCard and change the destination path of MultiAVCHD to encode to there, it saves you coping from your hard drive or having to move files around. Furthermore I havent tested what happens if you say use MultiAVCHD to encode and copy a bunch of movies to the SDCard then go back later and add more, at the moment I'm just going to do all my files in bulk when I have finished encoding them, so I'm not sure if it can append (add) extra files later.

Hope this helps

EDIT : Ok may not like .avi files, still testing this
 

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Got it to work per your instruction, but my God, what a painful process just to get some videos for the kids to watch without the discs. Thanks for the tip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah the process takes a bit, imagine all the fun I had coming up with this process :)

I've been working on it for the last couple of days to see what refinements/bugs I can find and I have found a couple of things so I will try to clean up the method and re-post again. I've already emailed Toyota Australia about this asking if they want a copy of the information for dealers, which they do, so I need to clean up and finalise the process.

A couple of quick things I've noticed in the last few days testing

MULTIAVCHD doesnt seem able to append new movies to the AVCHD directory it creates, when you try to do a new batch of movies it sees the folder already there on the SDCard and tells you it will create a new folder called something like AVCHD-3432423423blah

If your like me and download your kids movies, either by ripping stuff off youtube or 'cough' other internet sources you'll find movies encoded in a lot of different ways. MultiAVCHD seems very strict on what you feed it as input when converting to Panasonic Blu Ray, i.e. the resolution needs to be right format and the audio.

For example I've had files that are 640x480 res and no in H.264 codec, or with a weird audio codec that I have had to use Wondershare Video Ultimate to convert into say 720x480 H264 before I feed them into MultiAVCHD or you will see errors and the output will fail.

MultiAVCHD really seems to prefer mp4 (mpg) files rather than AVI so I'm doing all my converting into that format first.
 

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Any idea if other converters can create the Panasonic BluRay format? Just wondering if it might be possible to find a more user-friendly workflow. But hey, this is a HUGE step forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Exigent,

I tried looking around for other converters before I settled on MULTIAVCHD, but there doesnt seem to be a lot available. There are a few programs that seems to (or claim to) be able to convert to .mts/.m2ts format which is AVCHD, but the issue with that is although you can get it into .mts format, simply creating a \PRIVATE\AVCHD\etcetc. directory (or something similar) on your SDCard and copying over the file doesnt seem to be recognised by the RSES.

It seems that the RSES requires a very strict file and folder structure to be under the \PRIVATE directory on the SDCard. By which I mean that process used by MULTIAVCHD in converting files to "Panasonic Blu Ray" in which is converts the files, mux's the audio streams and creates the directory structure for the "Panasonic Blu Ray" creates all the necessary files/folders to be recognised correctly.

I had read somewhere in my research that Nero Vision had/has the ability to convert to AVCHD and write to an SDCard, with some fiddling around, but I couldnt obtain a copy by which to test this.
 

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Good afternoon. I'm a little late to the party here, but the SD Video format questions continue...

I have a 03 Tacoma and have been a lurking member for a while, but the wife and I just got a '15 Sienna with RES, so it looks like the same info would apply and I should share my results as I have yet to see reliable information on this.

I found a Sienna manual online with video specs for SD Card video (both AVCHD and Std Def). I've extracted the specs from it and will post it as the next comment (even a tiny 814byte text file gets rejected). I have spent many hours testing formats before I found that information, which helped focus the testing.

My goal was to have a 32 or 64GB SD card in there with multiple movies so we could keep our 3yr old happy on longer trips.

I played with settings and tested output using Std Def DVD rips I have for our home media center and this is what I found:

RES does not like any expanded audio built into the video stored on SD cards. No 2.1, 5.1, DTS, Dolby, etc. Just plain Stereo. They just won't show up.

Using the specs as a framework, I kept going until I found settings that worked is now successful for 3 different movies so far. I still need to test folder structure and multiple movie placement, but I'm confident I can overcome that easier than the format issue. I have to wait for the wife to get home so I can test further. Right now I have those 3 together at the root of the SD card and hope they will all just show up.

I used DVDFab as my converter as I bought the lifetime sub years ago to rip my DVDS to the media center. It works well, but isn't free, so you may be able to use Handbrake or other free solutions to help. These are my DVDFab settings:

Container: MP4
Video:
Codec: H.264
Resolution: 720 x (most were 392, but varied depending on the source).
Vid Quality: Fast encoding with deinterlacing, 1 pass, normal quality

Audio:
Codec: MP3
Channels: 2 (simple stereo)
Bit Rate: 128kbps, fixed
Sample Rate 48k.
 

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Copied from pages 171-173 of the RES/NAV guide provided by Toyota. These are the parameters they quote are compatable:
MPEG-4
Profile Simple Profile, Advanced
Simple Profile
Video codec MPEG-4 Video
Audio codec MPEG-4 AAC-LC
(AAC Low Complexity)
Resolution (pixel) Maximum 1920 x 1080
Bit rate Maximum 6Mbps
Frame rate
Interlaced video:
Maximum 60 fps
Progressive video:
Maximum 30 fps

H.264/AVC
Profile Baseline Profile, Main
Profile, High Profile
Video codec H.264/AVC Video
Audio codec MPEG-4 AAC-LC
(AAC Low Complexity)
Resolution (pixel) Maximum 1920 x 1080
Bit rate Maximum 20Mbps
Frame rate
Interlaced video:
Maximum 60 fps
Progressive video:
Maximum 30 fps

SD-VIDEO H.264 MOBILE VIDEO PROFILE
Profile Baseline Profile
Video codec H.264/AVC Video
Audio codec MPEG-4 AAC
Resolution (pixel) 640 x 480 and 640 x
360
Bit rate
Video: Maximum
1.5Mbps
Audio: Maximum
128kbps
Frame rate 30 fps
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi 22b22

I've been away busy with our new son, but those are pretty much the exact settings I'm using when bulk converting with Wondershare, and I also am limiting it to 2 channel audio after trying to play around with 6 channel, but I believe that if you leave the audio channel settings alone i.e. whatever the video already is, rather than forcing a conversion to 2 channel it can sometimes work. The reason I say this is that I have tested around 50 movies now that I have converted using the process, and some of the ones I've left in original audio settings sound "better" in the car but maybe thats just me.

The only thing I havent achieved is the ability to append movies to the SD card. I.e. convert a bunch to sd card and come back later and try to add more, and create any type of file menu, so if you have any luck with that using your process please let me know.

One question comes to mind though, what folder structure are you using on your sd card, are you creating the folder structure manually or does DVFab do it for you?
 

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Hi David. Congrats on your new boy!

I was able to briefly test multiple movies and it worked... just not well. All movies were single MP4 files at the root of the SD Card, and the RES was slow to respond and also would only show one file at a time when viewing the folder. I used "Aladdin", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Lilo and Stitch" as test files:

Hit SD once on remote and the only thing on the screen was:
file 1 of 3
Aladdin (movie)
Folder 1 (ROOT)

If I hit the Folder up or down button, nothing. If I hit the File up, it would stutter, then:
file 2 of 3
Beauty and the Beast (movie)
Folder 1 (ROOT)

Etc. The lag was killing me as was the single movie view per page. No list, no easy selection and no navigation from the head unit.

I will try again with each movie in its own folder tomorrow and see if that yields a better experience, if not, I may give in and just make a DVD binder to leave in the van for her.

It annoys me when tech doesn't work as well as it should (Yeah, I'm an IT guy too and I don't like being beaten, even if it's a bad design).

Interesting thought on leaving the audio channel alone. I was unsuccessful with 20+ videos with surround files (AAC 5.1 from 256 to 448 kbps). The only reason I tried the simple stereo option is the specs above "AAC-LC AAC Low Complexity". Looking up the ISO Standards for this led me to believe that even though AAC 256 should work, I couldn't drop it lower until I changed out of multi-channel and switched to a stereo option.

Specs are here: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000233.shtml

The part that made me think "Stereo" is this bit in the description:
"...The Low Complexity object has been singled out because it is specified as the audio elementary stream to be used in video files played on video-capable iPods and iPhones."

I look forward to your further testing as well. We don't have a trip planned for another 6 weeks, so I have a little time and worse case scenario is the DVD binder or I'll make a Rasberry Pi "RasBMC" and feed it through HDMI and I know what I'm in for there (plus I have all the movies already done)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks 22b22 my 3rd son heh!

Sounds like there might be some difference in the firmware between the system you have and what I have, although that would seem a bit strange, I'll have to go have a look again but I dont recall having a SDCard option on my remote. When I start the RSES I have two options on screen Pictures and Video. I can either start the movies by pressing play on the remote or via the front LCD screen by going into AUDIO->REAR->REAR Mode-> making sure it is on SDCard and then pressing play

With regards to the lag you are experiencing I'm not experiencing any of that placing the files I convert into the \PRIVATE\ folder on the card, i.e. I can skip from movie to movie just fine using the remote.

Out of interest I assume your system will only accept FAT32 cards as well?

Well just spent the last 5 hours driving back to my home city and the two SD Cards I have written to are working flawlessly atm with all the files I have written to them, so I'm thinking that (when I get some time) I will re-write my final process with all settings I'm using to make it clearer.
 

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I often enjoy getting feedback from those that think, so thank you. It's triggering different thoughts or things I glossed over, two eyes/brains are better than one!

Not sure about the differences in firmware of the RSES between the two, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Our remote has a button labeled SD which is how we access the SD card. I should also clarify the view I mentioned above still had the lower options, but all were grayed out other than video (I had no pictures on the card, or that would have been an option too), so I think we are talking about the same interface.

Hmmm. Since I chose to put each movie in a compiled container ( video.mp4 ), I wonder if that had to do with the slowness of the interface? My understanding of your setup is more like a DVD format, with the \PRIVATE\AVCHD\ as the folder for the files. I still need to test the movies in their own folders hoping that would help too. Did you test only with the Panasonic BR profile or also the "AVCHD - AVC/H.264 & MPEG-2 - USB/SDHC/MemoryStick/CompactFlash/HDD (solid media / Playstation 3)" profile? I may have to give this a go after reading it a second time. I like the concept of the menu options and it could be effectively acting as a Table of Contents with live links so RSES doesn't have to cache or remember anything, which would speed things up for sure.

I was testing with (2) 64GB cards in exFAT, and I have a spare 32GB card, so I'll format that as FAT32 and test as well.

This is an excerpt from the same manual as above listing SD Card compatibility:
"This system is compatible with SD memory cards that meet SD card specifications
FAT16 formats,
SDHC memory cards in FAT32 format,
and SDXC memory cards in exFAT format"
 

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I've been playing around with the suggestions that you guys have been posting. As a little background, I've been ripping some of our movies to MP4 files for streaming to our TVs (via Plex). I was hoping that I could just drop these files onto an SD card and pop it into the RES; that doesn't work...

My MP4s are all setup to be 1920x1080 with 5.1 audio. I first use AnyDVD to rip the disc to my HDD, then I use AVS4U to convert the DVD image to the MP4 file.

At first, I tried to use AVS4U to create M2TS files - a little googling made it seem that M2TS files were equivalent to the AVCHD files/folders; that didn't work. I then tried multiAVCHD to take my MP4 files to AVCHD, but I kept getting errors. I tried DVDFab; RES didn't see the files. I downloaded Handbrake; no good.

At this point I went back and re-read (multiple times) the suggestions and processes that you guys have draw up. I revisited multiAVCHD and actually read the step-by-step guide (totally blew by that in David's original post). The errors I was getting had to do with direct show and being able to transcode the original file due to codec issues. After going through the guide and installing/configuring the addition codecs and drivers, I was finally able to run multiAVCHD and generate the folders/files.

I did not need to lower the resolution or audio of my MP4 files, they converted without error. When viewing a video on the RES, I hit the (I think) Options button on the remote which brought up information about the video (i.e. progress in the movie, resolution, audio) and the resolution showed as 1920x1080 with audio of 5.1.

I then thought I'd try to be helpful by trying to add a new video to my card. I originally created the card with 6 videos. I wanted to try and add a 7th. I ran multiAVCHD to generate the folders/files on my hard drive. I then tried to copy/rename the output files (i.e. 00000.mts to 00006.mts in the PRIVATE\AVCHD\BDMV\STREAM folder). This alone didn't work - the RES didn't see the addition mts file. I then walked through every folder looking for similar files (just about every folder has similar files), so I proceeded to copy/rename them to the SD card; *sigh* still no luck. Maybe I missed some binary file or something.

So hopefully you guys haven't tried this yet and don't waste too much time doing what I did.
@22b2 - I'd really like to skip the multiAVCHD bit and just drop MP4 files to the card. So far, that has not worked for me. I even tried DVDFab with no luck. Were you converting straight from a DVD (or image) to the MP4 files that you put on your card?
 

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SD Card Issues

At the end of the day it should be an easy process..We pay a lot of money for there vehicles and part of the draw is the Video Player...especially with kids. In this day and age we expect a more versatile product and caters to our needs. Toyota should be on to this in a robust way that will please there customers...otherwise so many who have this issue have just given up and play DVD's...Sad.
 

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I've had good luck with movie files (from iTunes and ripped from DVDs) created in Handbrake using their default ipad profile. I have over 100 movies in the root directory of a 128GB SD card that I originally created for streaming on a wifi hub. They all play fine on the 2015 RES but like others I can only skip through them in sequence. I haven't had any lag issues but it sure would be nice to have a browse or search function. The manual indicates that it's possible to jump to a title number but I can't find a way to get that to work. True browsing would be better but even the ability to skip to a title number would be a huge improvement as it would be easy to print out a list of the titles on the card to use as a reference.
 

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I already have all of my movies ripped from a folder format to a lesser .mp4 quality for use in PLEX and on the iPad. I placed them in
the root of the SD card and they work fine. Pressing the track button will scroll through the movies which like everyone else, doesn't
give you the ability to see all the titles at a glance. However, they are all in that format and the other method is fairly painful. I'll
keep working on it and see if I come up with a better solution.
 

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As an inrerim solution I've printed the file list from the SD card as a numbered list and laminated it. That way you can easily see the track number of the movie you want and you can then tap the up or down arrow the appropriate number of times to get to the desired track. You dont need to wait for each one to load so you can tap through pretty quickly and if you overshoot you'll know the track number of the movie you land on from the list and can adjust up or down accordingly. We just did a long road trip and this worked really well even with 112 titles on the card.

It isn't quite the same as a true working menu but it does work in a late 90's kind of way.
 

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Our trip is on Tuesday and I don't have a bunch of time to mess with it so I went this route. Both kids have an iPad so I went down to Best Buy and bought a 30pin to HDMI adapter. Plugged an HDMI cord from the adapter to the HDMI input on the lower dash. Now they can view the synced movies, videos and music on their iPads and play through the DVD. It's just like mirroring through an AppleTV so you literally see everything on the DVD screen.

I already store my movies on my home server with a folder rip copy and an mp4 copy for use through Plex so all I had to do was select what media to input into iTunes. I have synced identical media to each
iPad so it hasn't been that bad.

When we get back I'm going to look more into wireless HDMI dongles. The SD card and AVCHD route is a real pain and not worth it if you have a tablet already.
 

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Our trip is on Tuesday and I don't have a bunch of time to mess with it so I went this route. Both kids have an iPad so I went down to Best Buy and bought a 30pin to HDMI adapter. Plugged an HDMI cord from the adapter to the HDMI input on the lower dash. Now they can view the synced movies, videos and music on their iPads and play through the DVD. It's just like mirroring through an AppleTV so you literally see everything on the DVD screen.

I already store my movies on my home server with a folder rip copy and an mp4 copy for use through Plex so all I had to do was select what media to input into iTunes. I have synced identical media to each
iPad so it hasn't been that bad.

When we get back I'm going to look more into wireless HDMI dongles. The SD card and AVCHD route is a real pain and not worth it if you have a tablet already.
You said you plugged it into the HDMI input on the lower dash? I have a HL Limited with Bluray and I only know of the USB input. Can you take a pic of where the HDMI input is please? This sounds like a great option!
 
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