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MediaShout v.5 vs. ProPresenter 5.2

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  • MediaShout v.5 vs. ProPresenter 5.2

    We are currently using ProPresenter v5.2XX on 3 separate Windows 7 64-bit and 32-bit machines. I love a lot of the features it presents for us including PCO integration and easy pre-service set-up. There are other features that PP v.5 is really great at performing: like my song library can be stored on a server, formatting is simple, and one of the biggest features we use is Stage Display to display words on the back wall of sanctuary for our worship team.

    Here it is: BUT... It is the most "buggy" proprietary program I have ever used in my 20+ years of ministry. Before we merged our church plant with our current church, I used MediaShout v.3.5 for years and not more than 3 problems that I can remember in the 3 exclusive years that we had it. I then integrated it into our youth service for an additional 2 years and again, it ran with no issue until MediaShout stopped supporting it. Since our church was already using PP v4.x, I reluctantly decided to make the switch.

    On any of the 3 machines - Bugs include: stuttering video of any kind or file type - no matter where it is in the playlist or in the foreground or background; various crashes at totally unexpected times; Create new group folder in video bin, drag and drop videos into that bin and go to get them and they are back in the backgrounds bin; at least 25 different and various bugs and crashes submitted to PP; ask PP to get back to me regarding the stuttering video 3x's and they have yet to respond. These only name a few of them.

    The bugs and crashes are not computer specific and the same bugs and crashes happen on all three machines. The features of PP are second to none and that's the reason why I continue to be frustrated week in and week out with PP.

    I have talked with many PP users that use it on the Mac OS platform and they say they have NO issues, ever! That's great but, I am not running out and buying 3 Macs at a minimum of $1500/machine. Our church cannot afford such a cost.

    1. Is my PP v.5.xx buggy because it is on Windows?
    2. Are there other Windows users with "buggy" PP?
    3. Any users of MediaShout v.5 that is also familiar with PP v.5 out there that can share a pro's/con's list for each of them...
    4. The price for PP site license is quite expensive ($500) as opposed to MediaShout with 3 licenses ($399), 65 versions of the Bible and all kinds of extra media. Any thoughts?

    Thanks for all of your help.
    New Covenant Church
    Statesboro, GA

  • #2
    1. I've never used Pro in Windows but have been using it in OS X since somewhere around 2005/6. I'd venture to say it sounds like you've had more problems on one machine than I've had on 10 machines in 8 years. It is easy for a Mac guy to blame it on Windows, but I think there is something to that.

    4. I can't negate the site license cost but the $1500 per Mac price is a little off in my experience. You can grab a 21.5" iMac off the refurb store from Apple for $1200 right now OR spend about $600 on a Mac Mini and use it with the hardware that you already have for the Windows box you'd be replacing. All of our ProPresenter systems are iMacs BUT we often use a Mac Mini when we go off site, we've had no issues. (If you're unsure about refurbs: At my church we are up to about 35 Macs in service between staff and production computers. We almost exclusively by refurbs and we've never had an issue with one. Apple treats them and services them identically to new purchases.)

    As for the stuttering video playback, I'm not sure how it is set up on Win but for OS X ProPresenter relies on Quicktime for playback, so the video processing is not in app. ProPresenter expects instant playback so it is important that you have a nice video card and a healthy amount of video RAM. Even if a file opens and plays smoothly in a video player of your choice, it is different than the instant play on click demand that Pro5 brings, if you open it in a vid player it loads before you see it. Also, make sure that you aren't playing bigger files than you need to. If you are broadcasting at 720p, 1080 files may be overkill and processor intensive. Convert when you can for easier playback. Compression also makes a difference, especially with Windows. Often files that are made to go online have compressed headers and heavy compression to make for small file sizes. Those two things are enemies to fast high quality playback on a local machine. You may want to also test some different file formats. The newer Mac's that we have can handle pretty much anything I throw at them but they are 512mb and 1gb video cards. A few years back I was converting EVERYTHING that we played to Sorenson3 compressed files because after testing I determined it provided the smoothest and fastest starting playback.

    I can't compare Pro5 to MediaShout, or anything else current for that matter. (I'm not trying to name drop or anything, just bring some validity to my position.) But I can tell you that I've worked some large events, such as Passion 2012 in the Georgia Dome. And I have some friends that have toured with some large productions like Gungor, Casting Crowns, Beth Moore & the Living Proof Conferences... they are always using ProPresenter and ProVideoPlayer on a Mac. It seems to be the most stable and simplest to use option.

    No doubt that competitors have started to catch up with features and functionality but I put my trust in the stability of Pro and a Mac.
    Travis Paulding,
    Production & Technology Director, St. Simons Community Church


    • #3
      Thanks for the info, Travis. If there are others, please chime in!!!

      Can we discuss? I say this not out of spite... I definitely suspect you would be a Mac guy because anyone that has real success in PP, they are using a mac for their production of the services. My only beef with Macs are that they are so expensive compared to a nicely equipped PC that is handbuilt. We have 12GB of ram, 2 Vid cards with one having 2 GB ram and the other vid card with 1GB ram. A 6 core AMD processor with plenty of cooling in the case. So, my questions is this... Why does the video stutter in that machine the same as it would with the hand-me-down machine in the student ministry department that has half as much processing power and ram? To me, PP isn't doing their due-diligence in producing a good product for the Windows user. Would that be a wrong assessment?

      I do keep all my video to a minimum. We run our two projectors at 720p and all video is converted to mp4 and 720 with a lower bit rate as well. That runs the best. I have even converted to .wmv and that has worked but other PP people have told me that mp4 is better. Not sure why but I do keep my specs to a minimum as not to "overload" my system. Here is the quandary I find myself in: I can convert to the minimum but Ill even fire a video that is low quality say a 360p with a super low frame rate and it'll stutter as well.

      Onto switching to Macs... I have never been tempted to switch to macs but in this case, I am becoming more tempted. It seems to me that switching to a mac would be the savior of all my "buggy" problems, YES?

      We are a church 225 sized church. Spending money on a mac ins't justified yet, but i am getting closer. What are the specs of a good above average-great mac that I would be good with for the next say 3 years? I know it is easier to upgrade PC's. So, I wanna take into account the amount of money we spend in production. Also, we run 2 screens up front (split by an HDMI splitter running into 2 video baluns), one on back wall and of course a monitor. So, that's 3 outputs. Thanks again for your time and knowledge!!!
      Last edited by mrred7; 03-04-2014, 12:17 PM.


      • #4
        This is taking the thread off topic a bit... but its just you and I in here right now anyway!

        Mac vs. PC:
        Let me begin by saying. We'll never all agree on this. That's OK.

        When I came back on staff in 2005 as Production Director I brought with me the only Mac that the church had at the time. It took no time for me to compare the support resources for any given PC to any given Mac and realize that while NOT perfect or bullet proof they really do require far less attention than the Dell and HP, XP OS computers that we had around the church. We tested with a few staff members and in 2006 officially decided to phase out Windows PCs. It was not until 2008 that all staff had been transitioned, based on a new every 3 years plan.

        My administrator did a cost analysis and determined that the total cost of ownership for Mac was cheaper than Win. We've found that after the initial purchase there is little to no additional cost for the life of a Mac. We also found that the same staff members have been able to use Macs for 4-5 years without feeling sluggish and in need of upgrades while with Windows it was a 2-3 cycle with replacements after 3 years. The higher end Mac's used in production environments have also been converted to speedy and more-than-capable office computers after 2-3 years in service in a production environment. I currently manage 36 Apple computers in all the forms they come in. We've owned almost 50 in 9 years. I have never had to defrag, manage a system registry, clean a virus, not even INSTALL anything security related, much less manage it... or any fun stuff like that. If you believe that time is money, and for us, it is... then you can't ignore the management value and return on the investment in Macs there either.

        They are not perfect, they are not bulletproof, they are not always presenting with simple problems and simple solutions; but it is WAY better all the way around. I've replaced bad displays, failed hard disks, and corrupt RAM. It happens.

        All in all, we feel like we run with less down time and less resources needed, like no true IT department even with 22 staff and a bunch of other computers in service. It makes since for us to buy Macs, usually refurbished. You CAN get a PC cheaper than a Mac the pros far out weigh the cons for us.

        I have no idea what else to offer with regards to your issues. Sounds like the hardware is in place. The only thing you've mentioned to me that I question is the use of HDMI in a production environment. It works, but it is a consumer standard. What outputs are you using? Could you go DVI?
        Travis Paulding,
        Production & Technology Director, St. Simons Community Church


        • #5
          We have had all the same issues with running Pro5 on Windows machines. Our primary computer that runs our presentations for our worship services has no less than DOUBLE all the minimum specs Pro5 requires for a windows machine - but it is still sluggish and frustrating. On the other hand, I have many worship pastor friends in the area running Pro5 on a MacBook Pro or Mac-mini with NONE of the issues we are having (not to mention those using iMacs).

          I believe you may be correct in saying that Renewed Vision has not put in the time and effort to make this a quality product for Windows platforms.

          And good luck getting the IT department of churches our size to put Macs on a Windows network/server ecosystem. They just don't want to deal with it...


          • #6
            Thank you for replying Jason Carter! I appreciate other PP Windows users giving me some feedback. Thank you for speaking up as this really helps me more than anything else. As a result, I will be following up with a phone call to Renewed Vision regarding this conversation. I am wondering if there are others out there with the same windows problems. Because PP was built for Macs, is there real value in thinking that PPP shouldn't be used in a windows environment?? If the price is the same for both ProPresnter Windows and Mac version, is it wrong for to assume that: 1. PP should function equally as stable in both operating systems? 2. Maybe PP for Windows ought not to be blamed for its problems because it's in windows when so much other windows software is rock solid but because there is a lack of solid Windows programmers and support at Renewed Vision? 3. Though I am willing to look into purchasing a Mac-Mini, I have wasted a lot of time trying make PP right that maybe I could get better service than being told to try uninstalling and reinstalling QuickTime and PP? (BTW those solutions haven't yielded any positive results to the many bugs in our 3 PC's.)

            Thank you for letting me vent and I ask that people dont get defensive when replying because I am looking at real solutions and not getting into a windows vs. mac war. I value other peoples input that is positive, constructive and with Godly wisdom. I see the difference in PP Mac version and PP Windows version and wonder why there is such a difference.

            The problem lies with trying to minster to folks with the resources we have on hand. Although our goal is to have a bigger budget later, right now spending $800 on a nice Mac-Mini isn't prudent for us. The next best thing would be for Renewed Vision to rectify the divide between its Mac and Windows versions.


            • #7
              Hi there.

              I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on this topic.

              We are also using PP5 on Windows in my Church.. We've have had many video issues with the software until recently.

              After numerous trial and error on getting things to work better, I realized it was not a hardware issue, it was a codec problem all along.

              Here is a quick and easy test. Launch Quicktime and open your video you are trying to play through PP5 directly in that app. You will likely find what I found. It plays about as bad as it did through PP5.

              So I started to experiment with other file types and codecs.. and I while I have not made a definitive list, I can tell you if I use the "QUICKTIME" preset in Adobe premiere, the videos play flawlessly. SOME Mp4's work great, as long as they use a codec that Quicktime recognizes and likes. I've also had a lot of luck with WMV files as well.

              But again, if it plays nice in Quicktime, it plays nice in PP5 for us. We used to be a MediaShout customer, up through version 4.4. But the issues we constantly had with Power point presentations made us want to switch, as I think PP5 has much better options to handle those files. PP5 took a while to get used to after coming from Mediashout, and I still will on occasion launch a slide because I "clicked to select it" forgetting that one click will fire it right away! hehe whoops!

              We are also debating about the move to MAC for presentation, but I still have a hard time believing that MAC Mini with a built in Intel graphics card can compare to my 2 GB Nvidia card in my tower. But after reading threads like this, I think I'm going to have to give it a try. I was thinking of asking if anyone in the congregation owns a mac that they would be willing to loan to the church for a month or 2 to allow us to evaluate the device with PP5. I can tell you that if we do go with a MAC, I will be doing a Solid State hard drive upgrade and give it a boat load of RAM.. If nothing else, I'll feel better!

              Not sure if any of this is helpful, but I was seriously thinking of checking out MS 5.1, but Do I really want to go back? Decisions, decisions!....
              Last edited by gwgraf; 07-10-2014, 03:27 PM.