VNC Server java app - window is black

VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby appyface » 2010-07-21 20:16

(I searched here awhile but missed finding any posts, please point me if I missed and the info is here, thank you :-) )

I've been running UltraVNC server and viewer client 1.0.8.2 for as long as it has been out, and have not run into any significant issues.

But for this one I'm stumped. I've had an app running on the UltraVNC server machine for quite some time, but only recently tried to view it from remote with UltraVNC viewer. The app is SageTV, which uses java (in case that is relevant).

The SageTV window comes up, I see the highlighted title bar and the border, but the entire contents of the window is black -- I can't see anything except a big black rectangle for a window. The rest of the server PC appears normal and all other apps work fine, same as always.

While I was trying to figure out how to see the contents of the SageTV window, something popped up a small dialog, after I acknowledged it I could see the small part of the SageTV window contents, that were covered by the pop-up, while the rest is still black. I've not been able to recreate this. It appears to be random, what pop-up will reveal the screen contents, and it doesn't always happen, sometimes the same pop-up will be acknowledged and the SageTV window underneath is still 100% black.

I've tried all the polling settings for the server, installed the hook driver (which reports it is active), and the alpha-blending settings. These various combo settings have not made any difference in showing me the contents of the SageTV window. Only the occasional pop-up seems to momentarily reveal that section of the SageTV window it had covered.

What can I do, to troubleshoot this issue and make it so I can see this app from remote?

Thanks and regards,
--appyface

UltraVNC Server: 1.0.8.2
Server PC: XP Pro 32-bit SP3 + all post hotfixes from m$

UltraVNC Viewer: 1.0.8.2
Viewer PC: XP Pro 32-bit SP3 + all post hotfixes from m$
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby B » 2010-07-21 21:16

I don't know a damn thing about it, but I'll guess. SageTV is using your video driver to write "directly" to the video card's screen buffer, and UltraVNC doesn't have the opportunity to grab it.

Equally possible, Sage is just updating the video window so fast that nothing can be grabbed.

Just guesses.

I would start by updating the video card's drivers.
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby appyface » 2010-07-22 00:46

Hello B, thanks for reply.

Video drivers are current, thanks for idea though. This system has big crossfire graphics cards installed as I do a lot of video editing so I keep them current.

I do know that SageTV writes the output videos directly to the graphics system which makes it difficult for most programs to get the image. For example, most screen capture software cannot grab the video image that is playing.

However, all I did was launch SageTV, which brings up a text main menu (XML rendered by Java). Screen capture software has no trouble with the text menus, but this is what was black. The program never did show anything except the window borders.

It's a bit of a puzzle. I'll ask the SageTV developer if he has any ideas what could be the issue. But since I can get an occasional glimpse of the SageTV window contents it may be possible something can be done with UltraVNC to be able to view the app.

Thanks and regards,
--appyface
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby B » 2010-07-22 14:53

Hmm, interesting. If you've already fiddled with different encoding protocols (ZLIB, Tight, etc.) to no avail, I'd try another flavor of VNC (e.g., TightVNC, TIgerVNC, RealVNC, etc.) just to see if any of them make a difference. Sorry I can't be of more help; good luck.
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby appyface » 2010-07-22 16:57

I will try a couple other 'flavors' of VNC, I didn't think about that one. Good idea, thank you :-) If you think of anything else, please let me know.

I've emailed the SageTV dev, perhaps he can shed some light on this...

Kind regards,
--appyface
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby appyface » 2010-07-22 20:49

I've just heard back from the SageTV developer:

We don't use standard windows drawing routines is probably why. If 3D acceleration is on, then it's using Direct3D to draw and that version of VNC may not hook into that properly. If it's off; then it's using Java drawing routines which again don't map directly to windows drawing commands. You can try RealVNC; that's what I use and it works fine for me.


I will give RealVNC a go in my environment just to see how it works out. BUT would really like to stay with UltraVNC, it's the superior product :D

I really really hope this functionality can be easily added to UltraVNC 8)
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby B » 2010-07-22 21:05

Thank you for posting the feedback; I'm sure this will help others in similar situations.
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby appyface » 2010-08-13 20:02

Just thought I'd come back with my findings.

I installed and tested RealVNC free version 4.1.3. I am able to see all of the SageTV menus. I can even see LiveTV or recordings playing, though that's just a frame here and there as I have a slow remote connection. Don't need that anyway; am interested in the menus. RealVNC screen drawing is also very nice, and sharp and crisp. However, it lacks so many features I have come to rely upon from UltraVNC, that I uninstalled it right after the test :D

Next I installed TightVNC 2.0.2. (TightVNC is what I used for a long time before I stumbled across UltraVNC and switched.) TightVNC is working fine here too, I can see all the SageTV menus and also frames of a video playing. It is still the one I have installed right now.

I will be monitoring the SageTV app for some months, but after that I'll be able to switch back to UltraVNC! Or sooner if the capability to see this type of video activity is added 8)

Kind regards,
--appyface
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Re: VNC Server java app - window is black

Postby B » 2010-08-13 20:22

Thanks for the update. If TightVNC had repeater support I'd be all over it. (Actually, I use it a lot anyway.)
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