Sudden Problem With Video Playback

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Mike K Offline
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Post: #1
I've been running XBMC on my Windows XP HTPC for a couple of years, and playback has always been smooth. My video collection consists of BlueRay MKV files. Now, in XBMC, the video will hang for a fraction of a second, then it seems to rush to catch up, and this repeats every few seconds. The image also seems to break up horizontally in panning shots. The same video will play without a problem in any of my external players (KM Player, Media Player Classic, Zoom) so the MKV files themselves are okay.

I've ruled out a software issue by testing an older image of the system on the hard drive from back when I know XBMC played smoothly. The drive did recently show an error on a diagnostic test, however chkdsk fixed it and it now tests clean, but I'm still suspicious. Does XBMC use the system hard drive at all in video playback? For example, XBMC is on my C drive, and all of the videos are on external drives. Is XBMC buffering on the C drive when it's playing from an external drive? If so, I probably just need a new C drive.

Any ideas would be appreciated.
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jhsrennie Offline
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Post: #2
Quick guess: check System settings, System, Video and make sure that "Use a fullscreen window rather than true fullscreen" is disabled.

If that doesn't help we'll need to see a debug log. Enable debug logging from System settings, System, Debugging, and restart XBMC then wait a minute or two for all the startup tasks to finish. Play some suitable test video until it has hung a couple of times then stop the video and close XBMC.

Open the debug log by pressing Windows-R and in the Run dialog type:

Code:
"%appdata%\xbmc\xbmc.log"

(including the quotes). Click OK and the log should open in Notepad. Copy and paste the log into http://pastebin.com/ and post the link it gives you here.
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Mike K Offline
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Post: #3
Thanks very much. I did notice a corresponding drop in frame rate from 24 to 16, 17 when it hangs. CPU hovers around 50%. Here's the log:

http://pastebin.com/aBsu3hQ9
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-02 22:28 by Mike K.)
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jhsrennie Offline
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Post: #4
It looks as if the playback is limited by your CPU. The 50% CPU means XBMC is running one core flat out, and since the version of ffmpeg used in XBMC can only use one processor this means XBMC can't process the film any faster. The only good option would be to upgrade to Windows 7 and enable hardware acceleration. Alternatively resample the film at a lower bitrate, though obviously this will affect quality.
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Mike K Offline
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Post: #5
(2012-05-03 18:20)jhsrennie Wrote:  It looks as if the playback is limited by your CPU. The 50% CPU means XBMC is running one core flat out, and since the version of ffmpeg used in XBMC can only use one processor this means XBMC can't process the film any faster. The only good option would be to upgrade to Windows 7 and enable hardware acceleration. Alternatively resample the film at a lower bitrate, though obviously this will affect quality.

That makes sense, except that it's the same OS and same hardware I've used for two years without running into this. Did the ffmpeg version change recently?
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-03 20:58 by Mike K.)
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #6
log shows you're running XBMC v10. Have you tried v11 yet?

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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Mike K Offline
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Post: #7
Yeah, no difference. I noticed that the machine's bios isn't running as quickly as it used to on boot, and that issue arose at the same time as the lag,
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Mike K Offline
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Post: #8
Windows7 did the trick. Everything is playing flawlessly. Average CPU went from 50% in XP to 3 - 5% in 7. It does flag my hard drive as having a pending failure. Good excuse to try a new solid state drive. Thanks for the help!
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