A Mind Lost

Anything and everything.

Media Playback Problems

One of the things I really dislike about reinstalling Windows, whether from need or just masochism, is that I run in to all sorts of problems that I’ve never seen before.  For example, my D-Link DWA-552’s poor performance.  That’s half the reason I bother with this blog.  I’ve a terrible memory, so keeping track of the issues and my attempts at fixing them just seems like a Good Idea.  And if I can point someone else in the right direction, even better.

After fixing my audio problems I had hoped that my media playback difficulties would be resolved as well, but this was not to be.

I run a dual display setup off of my single EVGA nVidia GeForce 460 GTX.  DVI-1 connects to a 24″ Samsung SyncMaster BX2431 LED display via a DVI-to-HDMI cable, while the HDMI connection is plugged in to a 40″ Samsung LN40D630 LCD television.  The TV’s audio is plugged in to my desktop’s 2.1 speaker setup via a 3.5mm TRS plug for those moments when I need a bit more boom.

Aside from the obvious hardware changes of a new processor, motherboard (and the differences in onboard hardware), and the recently upgraded wireless card, the only other big change is upgrading Windows 7 x64 to Service Pack 1.

My preferred media player, Media Player Classic – Home Cinema has suffered terribly from dropped video frames and the audio has refused to stay in sync, growing progressively worse as the video plays on.  VLC media player fares a little better, but while playing it averages 35-50% dropped frames according to its playback statistics.  Sometimes it’s not quite as noticeable, but being near sighted has made me annoyingly sensitive to things like frame skipping and tearing (and dead/stuck pixels in a display, to my everlasting irritation).

I’ve tried everything I can think of, upgrading/downgrading/upgrading my audio drivers for my motherboard’s built-in Realtek HDAudio hardware, using the latest beta nVidia driver, and disabling Aero in favour of the Windows Classic appearance.  I’ve twiddled services, changed audio output settings, all to no avail.

The last step I tried, and the one that seems to have finally prevailed, was to install Haali Media Splitter and a recent SVN build of ffdshow-tryouts by clsid.  I set the splitter to handle everything it could, and set ffdshow to only allow whitelisted programs due to incompatibilities with certain games that I happen to play (such as Fallout 3).

MPC-HC needed a bit more tweaking to make it use ffdshow and mkvsplitter.

I think I’ve got it right, although I’m pretty clueless when it comes to the gory details of media playback on Windows.  Either way, this appears to work and MPC-HC claims it’s using ffdshow, with the notification area icons backing it up.

So far so good.  I’ve watched two videos that were horrendous, exhibiting the sync and frame dropping issues as soon as playback began.  Using the external filters appears to have cleared up my issues completely.  I haven’t looked in to enabling DXVA in ffdshow for acceleration yet, I’m just happy I can watch videos flawlessly now.


Well, it looks like I spoke too soon, the sync problems are back with a vengeance.


This is bloody annoying.


Oh, and happy 36th birthday to me.


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