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DVD Playback hesitates at times

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  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
February 5, 2006 5:08:07 PM

:D  Can anyone help me please figure out why when I am watching a movie on my PC, whether with NERO Showtime, or Power DVD, occasionally I notice some hesitation in playback, usually lasts for a second and then it plays "catch up".... I have tried everything I know to do to try and remedy this... I have shut down every start up item I have, including Norton services and other services that I don't need, but yet I still experience this... What could it be???? Please Help!!!

I have given my CPU rigorous testing believe me, I have had like 5 or 6 programs running at once, and it is very hard to bog down a dual core processor, it should play a dvd like a champ if that is all it is doing, wouldn't you agree?

A8N-SLI Premium
AMD64 X2 4400+
3 GB Corsair XMS
250GB Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
GeForce 6200 Turbo
NEC DL DVDRW
Memorex DVDRW
Windows XP SP2 (updated)

I use Norton AV 2006 and Webroot Spysweeper RELIGIOUSLY

I highly suspect MICROSOFT and all of it's mysterious BS that it has running in it's services and all...... HOWEVER

If I shut down all services by doing a diagnostic start up in MSCONFIG,
it disables my windows activation, I am able to recover it by reenabling Normal start up, but I shouldn't have to go through all that mess....

Any other suggestions would be most appreciated!

More about : dvd playback hesitates times

February 6, 2006 4:01:05 PM

If this is something that happens rarely (like once during the movie) then this could just be the infamous layer switch and there's nothing that you can do. But if it's happening several times per movie then it's not that.
February 6, 2006 10:46:50 PM

What is the "LAYER SWITCH"???
Related resources
February 7, 2006 12:18:44 PM

Most DVDs are dual layer disks, which is literally what it sounds like. The data is stored on two physically seperate layers. Whenever the movie data is streched across both layers (and it usually is) most DVD players will take a hesitating stutter to switch from reading from the first layer to the second layer when they hit this point as the reading optics have to physically track to a new position. It's the one major flaw of DVD systems.

Single-layer disks don't have this problem, but then they can only store half as much data, which is usually a much larger problem for movies as most just won't fit onto a single-layer disk. Or at least they won't fit without decoding and re-encoding into a lower quality format and often ditching multiple language support and all of those famous DVD extras that people love so much.
February 7, 2006 1:21:42 PM

Also, ensure your drivers are up to date. Video and sound drivers can make a huge difference in sync issues with video.
February 7, 2006 5:11:24 PM

Heh heh. There not much more entertaining than audio being out of synch with video. :D  :D  :D  It's one of the great joys of the dubbed kung-fu movie era. :lol: 
February 8, 2006 2:53:12 AM

:lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

Thanks Guys! Now that makes sense Phoenix, I really appreciate you sharing that wisdom with me...

And I will try to update any drivers I have but I think the layer thing is probably my problem, and unfortunately like you have said, there may be no current remedy...
February 10, 2006 2:31:05 AM

Man, I really appreciate all the insight! I am kind of a newbie to all of this. My dad is an electrical engineer, so I was around electronics and computers for years growing up, but I didn't keep up with them for a good 20 years, then just started building them and repairing them about 5 years ago.

You have been a big big help and I could use a friend like you for I have much to learn about all of this...

In regards to everything you have said, I did go to my device manager for my dvd drives, clicked on properties, and I noticed that the box was checked to: "let BIOS select transfer mode"
I unchecked it, and in the drop down box I selected Ultra DMA 2 - Ultra 33

There were also other selections, however I was not sure which is the best, so I looked up the terminology, and discovered that DMA would be the better choice over PIO, but which is right for my drives? The reason I ask, I went to the NEC website (one drive is an NEC ND 3540-A), and there is no current firmware update that I can find for my drive, (the link for proposed info in a PDF file couldn't be found even!), then I looked up my drive specs on the website, and I saw that it had PIO Ultra 33 listed as the "burst rate" or whatever....

That is all confusing me because the settings in device manager only offer:
Ultra DMA 2 - Ultra 33
Ultra DMA 1
Ultra DMA 0
Multi-word DMA 2
Multi-word DMA 1
Multi-word DMA 0
PIO Mode

Can you help me determine which is right? I assume DMA 2 - Ultra 33, should I set this for both drives? My other drive is a Memorex True8xN

And where would I try and raise the priority of my drive software just to try if nothing else works?

My girlfriend will be over this weekend and we will probably watch some movies so I can adjust everything and see if anything has brought a resolve.

I am sure we will eventually find the problem! And then I will owe you one!


Aspire XPlorer
A8N-SLI Premium
550W Black Beauty PS
AMD64 X2 4400+ w/Zalman Cooler
3 GB Corsair XMS
250GB Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
GeForce 6200 Turbo
SBAudigy
Terminator TV/FM Card (for Jazz radio)
Olevia 26" Widescreen
Logitech Mx Laser Mouse
Saitek Eclipse Keyboard/Saitek wireless Game Controller
NEC DL DVDRW
Memorex DVDRW
80GB Seagate Ext. Hard Drive
30GB Apple iPod Video
Windows XP SP2 (updated)
February 10, 2006 12:16:34 PM

Quote:
I went to the NEC website (one drive is an NEC ND 3540-A), and there is no current firmware update that I can find for my drive
These things can be tricky sometimes. Here's a link to the firmware. Actually, this is a link to the update instructions which you should print out. Then when you click the Accept button at the bottom of the page it'll take you to a page where you can download the latest firmware. This is NEC's way of making sure you know what you're doing. :) 

Quote:
checked to: "let BIOS select transfer mode"
I unchecked it, and in the drop down box I selected Ultra DMA 2 - Ultra 33
Yep, that's the one that you want. It's the best you can get for optical drives. Of course, to use it you have to have a CD/DVD drive that supports it (your NEC does) and I think you have to use an 80-pin IDE cable (as opposed to the older 40-pin standard), but I'm not sure on that. I think you can tell the difference in the cables because the 80-pin has a blue connector on one end, where the 40-pin uses only black connectors, but I'm also not entirely sure if that's always true.

But anyway, PIO is the absolute worst, and is there only for compatability to really old hardware. You always want UDMA whenever possible.

Another thing to check is that Windows itself may kick the settings within Windows back to PIO mode without warning if it detects too many errors. This happens to a lot of people without knowing it So you have to check with both the BIOS and Windows. You're running XP, so that makes it easy. In the Start menu, use the Run option to open up the devmgmt.msc file. (The easy way to get to the device manager.) In the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers section check whichever IDE Channel your DVD drive is on. Under the Advanced Settings tab for that channel's settings are the transfer mode settings. Just flip the transfer mode to "DMA if available" if it isn't set to this.

Quote:
should I set this for both drives? My other drive is a Memorex True8xN
Yep. This drive should have the same settings too.

Quote:
And where would I try and raise the priority of my drive software just to try if nothing else works?
Hit Ctrl + Shift + Esc to bring up the Windows Task Manager. In the Processes tab you want to look for the software title you want to raise the priority of. It can be hard to find, since there will probably be tons of things running. (Sometimes hitting the CPU tab at the top to organize the list by how much of the CPU each process is using can help find things, or organizing by Image Name if you know the name of the application you're looking for.) Right click on the process you want to change the priority of. Choose Set Priority from the list, and raise it to something higher. I would never set anything to the highest mode of "Realtime" though because if something bad happens, that can really screw up Windows. :lol: 

Quote:
My girlfriend will be over this weekend and we will probably watch some movies so I can adjust everything and see if anything has brought a resolve.
Good luck. Hopefully it's just that the settings have been put on PIO mode, and switching back to DMA will solve everything. If not, try flashing the firmware update. :) 
February 10, 2006 5:19:20 PM

Thanks so much - wow- you are really a big help... I have not tried a movie yet, I will tonight, to see how it goes, with all these things you have told me ready to try... I so appreciate it!

One thing I could not find, was the settings for my drives in the BIOS...?

Before I flash anything, I will try to raise software priority first.

Will I need a different firmware flash for my Memorex drive?

(They actually look the same except for the faceplate has Memorex on it, My bet is that they are the same manufacturers)

Thanks again for all your help, I will let you know the results soon
February 10, 2006 5:23:51 PM

oh and dude, those kung fu era movies were the bomb....

I used to watch "The Black Belt Special" everyweek when I was a young grasshopper :)  ora saki meechi ha :p 
February 10, 2006 5:32:49 PM

Quote:
Thanks so much - wow- you are really a big help... I have not tried a movie yet, I will tonight, to see how it goes, with all these things you have told me ready to try... I so appreciate it!
No problem. And good luck. :) 

Quote:
One thing I could not find, was the settings for my drives in the BIOS...?
Each BIOS is different, so it's hard to say. But somewhere should be like an autodetect of your hard drives and a place to set their settings manually. The DVD should be in that section because they're run by the same IDE/ATA/etc. controllers. Usually that's where you can manually set PIO/UDMA type settings in a BIOS if the autodetect isn't working right. But chances are that it's set up fine in BIOS and Windows just downgraded you because it detected errors or something. Windows is doing that all the time, unfortunately. So it's always good to check back in the device manager every so often to see what Windows has done, just in case.

Quote:
Will I need a different firmware flash for my Memorex drive?
Definately. Even if they look the same on the outside, there are always differences inside. I believe that this (scroll to the bottom of the page to find firmware version 3) is the firmware for the Memorex drive, but you might want to contact their support folks to make sure that's the right firmware, just in case.
February 10, 2006 5:48:41 PM

awesome buddy thanks so much!

I have to go to the dentist right now - big hole in my tooth, not too good, big hole in pocket as well, but I will still build another computer and live to tell about it!

I have built 5 computers, rebuilt 3 for others, and have someone wanting me to build them one now. I love it. (However, they need a guy like you for technical support Silver)

I will test drive later and get back to you! Later buddy and thanks again :) 
February 10, 2006 7:52:52 PM

I don't care for Memorex anything!

I've had customers INSIST on cheapest (which often is Memorex), only to be sorry not too far down the road (device failures). This goes for their discs as well. Some of the cheapest made crap I've come across.

I highly recommend Sony - Panasonic - Samsung.

Worth the extra money to get great reliability.
February 11, 2006 2:53:24 AM

I just had to let you know that my girlfriend and I just watched an entire movie and not one skip!

Now how about that... All I did was change the settings in the device manager. Obviously the BIOS must be default to PIO. I still have not found a way to change the setting in the BIOS, but I do hope and believe that the problem has been resolved.

Thanks again man, I appreciate you taking the time to help me.