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View Full Version : Any way to make the iTunes video player not suck?


Roland Orzabal
12-27-2007, 02:12 AM
Because it does. Suck, that is. I purchased three videos tonight, the first time I've done so with iTunes, and playback is choppy as hell; the video pauses every few seconds and the audio skips.

I've tried tweaking every Control Panel -> QuickTime setting there is, I've tried using VLC and MPC, I've tried conversion software, and I've tried various voodoo spells; none of them worked. Because of the DRM, I can't convert the video to a different format, or open it in any other players (other than QuickTime player, which has the same problems for obvious reasons). Removing the DRM would be illegal, thus I would never dream of doing it, so please don't try to lead me in that direction...I'd like this thread to stay open.

Judging from Google results, I'm far from the only one to have had this problem, but there seems to be a lot of kvetching and not a lot of solving going on. Has anyone here had any luck taming the QuickTime-plugin beast? Please advise. Thanks!

mks57
12-27-2007, 06:39 AM
You may need a better computer. Computer video players need a fast CPU and a good video card to operate properly. See http://www.apple.com/quicktime/player/specs.html.

Playing the video back in a smaller window may solve the problem. IDE drives that are operating in PIO mode can destroy any hope of decent video playback performance. The same is true of many computers with "integrated video".

Nars Glinley
12-27-2007, 03:12 PM
Many of the problems on Vista machines are caused by a bug in Nvidia's SATA drivers. There are some links at the bottom of this (http://www.istartedsomething.com/20070804/nvidia-driver-fix-quicktime/) page which might do you some good.

Roland Orzabal
12-27-2007, 04:55 PM
Sorry, forgot the obligatory computer-question info.

Windows XP Home (any system of mine will be "upgraded" to Vista over my cold, dead body)
2GHz Intel P4
1GB DDR2
NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS

Now, I know iTunes is a memory hog, but given that I've been editing amateur films with Adobe Premiere on this system for three years, I do believe it should be sufficient to play a damned mpeg-4 video. (I didn't mention specs in the OP, so mks57 is forgiven for doubting the muster of my machine, but c'mon, man, give me some credit. ;) )

Besides, I've seen this same problem on some media/gaming rigs with hardware that could eat mine for breakfast, so I don't think the hardware is the issue. Something about Apple's software, be it the QT player, the DRM, or the .m4v compression, is out of whack.

audiobottle
12-27-2007, 04:57 PM
My computer isn't anything special, but through VLC and others I've been able to play media files fine that iTunes and Quicktime seem to choke on. I don't know if it's because iTunes/Quicktime is such a memory hog by itself that there's none leftover or what, but I have had the same problems. I'm surprised that VLC isn't working well though; that's my goto for pretty much every random video I've ever downloaded and it's never given me a problem.

jackdavinci
12-27-2007, 05:34 PM
Agree you made need to enhance your computer. Are you on a mac or PC? RAM definitely helps, as does not having other programs open. System enhancements or extensions could theoretically be interfering somehow too.

Video in itunes is always choppy for me, but playing the same video in quicktime player instead always works for me, not sure why that doesn't work for you.

Also try making sure you have the latest version of both itunes and quicktime player.

Roland Orzabal
12-27-2007, 06:19 PM
Agree you made need to enhance your computer. Are you on a mac or PC? RAM definitely helps, as does not having other programs open.As mentioned above, I'm running Windows XP (on a PC, of course), with a 2GB processor, 1GB of RAM and a GeForce 8600. There's no way in hell that I don't have enough computer to play an MPEG video smoothly. Shoot, I can EDIT other videos -- MPEG, DivX, Xvid, wmv, raw avi, and others -- with no problems; it's only the iTunes files that are having issues.

Video in itunes is always choppy for me, but playing the same video in quicktime player instead always works for me, not sure why that doesn't work for you.

Also try making sure you have the latest version of both itunes and quicktime player.I have the latest versions; I reinstalled both last night just to be sure. I've downloaded other (non-iTunes) .m4v files, and they play fine in both iTunes and QT player, so it's something about iTunes video files themselves. Unless they compress .m4v differently than the rest of the world -- which would be odd, since as far as I know it's their own proprietary format -- I'm guessing it's to do with the stuff iTunes adds on the back end, which, of course, would be the DRM. (To answer your question, audiobottle, the DRM protection is the reason that VLC can't play the file.)

My post here was just to see if anyone had found a way to improve this that didn't involve actually removing the DRM.

audiobottle
12-27-2007, 08:07 PM
Ahhhh good. And my faith in VLC is restored. So the video in iTunes that you're talking about is just downloaded content, like TV shows or movies, right?

Roland Orzabal
12-27-2007, 09:18 PM
Ahhhh good. And my faith in VLC is restored. So the video in iTunes that you're talking about is just downloaded content, like TV shows or movies, right?Yes.

treis
12-27-2007, 09:21 PM
Do other videos play without problem on your computer?

Roland Orzabal
12-27-2007, 09:43 PM
Do other videos play without problem on your computer?Yes, including non-iTunes .m4v files. QuickTime, VLC, WMP, Media Player Classic, and even iTunes itself all play other videos just fine, as well as the aforementioned Premiere. It's only the videos from iTunes that have problems.

I know the files aren't corrupted; for one thing, the videos never skip in the same place twice, and for another, this is happening with every iTunes video I download. (Music downloaded from iTunes plays fine, for what it's worth.)

As I said, I'm far from the only one with this problem. The two suggestions I keep finding on various support forums are to upgrade to the latest version of the software, or to upgrade the computer itself. I already did the first, and the second is a cop-out; there is simply no way that a video file should require better hardware than what I (and a good number of the similarly-afflicted, it would seem) already have.

mks57
12-27-2007, 10:22 PM
Another possible source of problems is disk I/O. If the I/O subsystem can't deliver data to the video decoder at the required rate, the video decoder will not work properly. Many things can cause problems in the I/O subsystem, like file fragmentation, inadequate hardware, poorly designed or misconfigured caching, poorly designed or misconfigured file system, and contention for the mass storage device. I'd try playing the file back from another mass storage device, to see if the symptoms change.

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