MKV playback extremely slow

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  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 11:25:13 12,655 posts
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    Hi All,

    Seached for a relevant thread in which to post this question but there doesn't appear to be one.

    I just got a new 42" Full HD display and am using it for media playback. Previously I only had a 27" LCD screen and was happy enough with SD videos but with the newer larger screen I'd like to go to 720p at least.

    I'm having a problem playing back HD .mkv files even in 720p they run choppy and with sound errors. So choppy that they are impossible to watch actually. I was using VLC media player for this but then decided to try some other mediaplayers and tried using MPC-HC and KM player. These gave an almost 1/2 speed video with normal audio.

    My current PC is isuppose getting on a bit at 2 1/2 years old but I'm running a 2.2GHZ intel core 2 duo with 2GB Corsair RAM and a Nvidia Gefore 7950GT (i think its 512 RAM have to check for sure when I get home). Plenty of free HDD space as well.

    Is it my PC that is causing the content to be unwatchable or what? As it seems, after some research that other people can play 1080p material on lesser set ups without a problem (or so they claim). I thought I wouldn't have a problem with 720p.

    Is an upgrade required(RAM, GPU, CPU?), would a re-format of windows help?

    Any advice or help is greatly appreciated.
  • BlueDot 22 Apr 2009 11:35:17 46 posts
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    Definitely a problem with your pc. Mine is slower than that and it can play 720p mkv using VLC. Try defraging your hard disk and install the latest version of VLC. Also, maybe your anti-virus is constantly scanning the file ?

    Use the task manager to check how much your RAM and CPU are being use during play back, you maybe able to spot another process that is taking slowing things down.
  • Aretak 22 Apr 2009 11:37:02 10,350 posts
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    I could play 720p files without issue with a much more modest set-up than that (2.8ghz Pentium 4, 1GB RAM, 96MB Intel integrated graphics), so I doubt it's anything to do with hardware.
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 11:46:47 12,655 posts
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    Hmm I suppose this is good news but also bad because now I know something is wrong! Will start a defrag when I get home and disable the AV and try it.

    I was pretty sure I had gotten smooth playback of a 720p Mpeg2 episode of the second season Lost on it when it was new. ust decided that with my old bandwidth/screen size it wasn't worth it to get the HD files. I thought that maybe my PC was having trouble with the MKV container and strain on the CPU (but it doesn't seem strained at all).
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 11:52:20 12,655 posts
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    I didn;t hold out much hope for it tbh, I'm thinking re-format is the only way to go also long overdue.

    /is scared
  • crispyduckman 22 Apr 2009 12:05:30 1,856 posts
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    If you do reformat, I strongly recommend doing so with a vanilla windows disc, as opposed to a Dell/Toshiba/Sony back up disc. The manufacturer's own will usually also install a load of useless memory hogging apps. My $250 laptop runs faster in almost all circumstances than my brother's $1500 Sony laptop because of exactly this.

    If your just using your pc as a media player, you could try a linux install. Presto or Ubuntu.

    PSN/XBL/Steam/Origin: crispyduckman

  • djed 22 Apr 2009 12:05:59 10 posts
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    The same Lost episode that previously played flawlessly now plays choppy?

    If not, maybe you should try playing the file that gives you problems on a another computer or download another HD clip, could just be a badly encoded file...

    Anyway, I'd look for a better way to keep Windows fit (ccleaner!) other than format/re-install, it's such a time waster.


    edit: lrnd2write (maybe)
  • Scurrminator 22 Apr 2009 12:09:08 8,395 posts
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    convert and play on PS3 :-)
    if you can

    You dare to strike Scurrcules!?

  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 12:36:18 12,655 posts
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    Nah i've since deleted that episode of lost about 2 years ago! It's happened with two separate MKV files the exact same symptoms, and others claim the files are fine.

    I actually can convert and play them on PS3 and will do this a temp solution. The PC is used as my normal PC too so I don't really want to bother with separate boot partitions. It's a custom PC bought from Komplett about 2 1/2 years ago so I have a normal Windows CD.

    Would a reapair intsall do as good a job as I could hope?

    Also I've only just remebered that I can't gain access to Task Manager for a bout the last 2 months, windows keeps telling me I don't have access rights for it! Probably an important bit of info I suppose!
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 12:40:44 12,655 posts
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    Also anyone know any fool proof guides to follow for a Windows XP repair?
  • Aretak 22 Apr 2009 12:42:30 10,350 posts
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    Seriously, if it's so fucked that you can't even bring up the Task Manager, just reinstall completely.
  • OldK1ngCole 22 Apr 2009 13:01:45 241 posts
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    I vote full format and install of Windows.

    Are you having problems running anything else (programs, games etc) or just the .mkv file?
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 13:26:25 12,655 posts
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    Strangely no other problems other than the .mkv and thats kinda why I ignored\forgot about the Task Manager problem. I don't run much else on it these days though other than music/firefox.

    I think the taskmanager thing happened after I changed something with regards to user accounts so sort of left it up to that and was a little bit lazy in not investigating it.

    /throws PC out window

    Well, that didn't work. So how do I format this pile of crushed metal and wires? I can do that right?
  • OldK1ngCole 22 Apr 2009 13:36:40 241 posts
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    If you search google for "format and install windows" you should find a few guides to talk you through the process.

    This one looks quite good

    http://lifehacker.com/software/windows/geek-to-live-how-to-format-your-hard-drive-and-install-windows-xp-from-scratch-157578.php
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 13:44:26 12,655 posts
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    Thanks I had found one or two but nothing good really just thought some of you lads might have a good guide to follow.

    Also is full reformat necessary or will an XP repair install suffice?

    Thanks to everyone for the hell, mucho appreciado

    Edit: Yes Hell.
  • OldK1ngCole 22 Apr 2009 13:55:20 241 posts
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    I always do Format & Install when I get problems, never done a repair so can't say weather it would help.

    It really is very simple though, just make sure to back-up any important data before starting and check that you have driver disks for all your hardware.
  • Red-Moose 22 Apr 2009 13:58:29 5,346 posts
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    I don't think a full reformat is the solution, because it's not the problem. XP repair will do that anyway. In fact just use system restore which checkpoints automatically (better than Splinter cell anyway.).

    To test where the problem is, get a VOB and run it through Handbrake to make an MKV and play it to see what comes out. I am willing to bet it's a slightly abnormal video codec in the MKV. If it's x264 video you made yourself and popped into an MKV, are there any problems?
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 14:09:13 12,655 posts
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    Well its a downloaded .mkv and I seem to be able to play normal non-HD .mkv files, if it is only a dodgy codec I'll be delighted.

    So are you saying that I should try and get a DVD and make an MKV with handbrake to test it? All that will create is a SD quality file which run fine.

    Actually now that I think about it the only SD mkv is a 99mb Family guy ep and parts of it are dodgy.
  • symmetry 22 Apr 2009 14:16:48 508 posts
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    I play 720p MKV files on a setup that is worse than yours and they play perfectly.

    1. Maybe it's just your graphics driver? Get the latest version.

    2. Check in task manager to see if anything is using loads of CPU or memory while playing the video.

    3. Are you using XP? Sometimes I find that the HDD controller can switch mode to PIO which makes the system dog slow. Check the device manager for that.

    4. Ummmm? Nope that's all I can think of right now.
  • ecureuil 22 Apr 2009 14:19:14 76,707 posts
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    Did you try Zoom Player? It's the only media player on my computer that will play HD MKV files properly.
  • symmetry 22 Apr 2009 14:20:40 508 posts
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    /reads thread

    No access to task manager?!? That sounds immensely dodgy. See if you can get access to the task manager in safe mode or when logged on as Administrator. If you can't then re-install. If you can then do a virus scan.
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 14:41:32 12,655 posts
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    Updated Graphics drivers yesterday already, will check HDD controller settings, but the system isn't slow, just HD mkv's.

    I'll try Zoom Player as well, but my theory is kind of if its that bad in VLC that it's a bigger problem. Thanks again for the tips.

    Re: Task manager it's telling me I don't have admin rights but i'm the only user on the computer (Also ss I mentioned I did something to user accounts a couple of months ago so that could be the issue, basically I didn't want to have to click a button to log in anymore so I changed some stuff). so will look into this as well as I'd like to check to see what load is on the CPU while attemping playback of such files.
  • ecureuil 22 Apr 2009 14:47:15 76,707 posts
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    mikew1985 wrote:
    I'll try Zoom Player as well, but my theory is kind of if its that bad in VLC that it's a bigger problem. Thanks again for the tips.

    They will barely play at all on my computer in VLC, it's basically like a very slow slideshow. My computer is a lot worse than yours too. I've tried GOM player, VLC, WMPC, BS Player, Winamp, Nero, PowerDVD, probably more. Zoom Player is the ONLY one that will play them properly, and I really don't know why.
  • Razz 22 Apr 2009 14:52:11 61,053 posts
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    One of my PCs is wierd like that. It's a Athlon 1900XP processor with 1Gb of RAM. It can play 720p Divx flawlessly. But whenever I try to watch 720p anime mkv's it ever so slightly decodes the video slower than the audio. It's culmulative, so ten minutes in it's about 40 secs out. :/ Instead of faffing about with audio delay controls I just open the file twice, one in audio mode only and mute the other and match it the best I can.

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  • Deleted user 22 April 2009 14:53:48
    Uninstall all codecs, install ffdshow.

    end thread.
  • ecureuil 22 Apr 2009 14:54:44 76,707 posts
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    Razz wrote:
    One of my PCs is wierd like that. It's a Athlon 1900XP processor with 1Gb of RAM. It can play 720p Divx flawlessly. But whenever I try to watch 720p anime mkv's it ever so slightly decodes the video slower than the audio. It's culmulative, so ten minutes in it's about 40 secs out. :/ Instead of faffing about with audio delay controls I just open the file twice, one in audio mode only and mute the other and match it the best I can.

    Exactly the same problem I had. Solved by Zoom Player, obviously.
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 15:14:32 12,655 posts
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    Hmm sounds interesting, will give it a try but only as a temp solution. Given that the PC's been on pretty much 24/7 for the past 2 1/2 years it's probably time I gave it a bit of a tidy up anyway.

    It's been my most well behaved and stable PC ever though. I luvs it.

    /hugs PC
  • Red-Moose 22 Apr 2009 15:14:56 5,346 posts
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    Listen to crispy.
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 15:16:49 12,655 posts
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    Actually my VLC literally plays the file for 2 secs, with normal audio + video, video is too slow, scrambles trying to catch up, stays scrambled, catches up for a second and then scrambles again, it's absolutely not watchable whatsoever.
  • mikew1985 22 Apr 2009 15:26:54 12,655 posts
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    CrispyXUK wrote:
    Uninstall all codecs, install ffdshow.

    end thread.

    This may be very stupid indeed, how do I uninstall all of my codecs? I already have ffdshow installed.
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