This happens sporadically, and only for a fraction of a second, never more. Basically, the monitor stops receiving signal, goes blank, and gives the appropriate "No input" message, and then the image comes back (no, it's not the monitor, I checked).
As the title says, it only happens for AVI/MKV/MP4/etc. files that are played on the machine. I've tried a bunch of players, from Gom, KM Player, VLC, BS Player, etc., and it manifests itself the same way every time.
The intervals between flickers may be anywhere from 5 minutes, to one hour or more, and it's never more than one flicker at a time. Sometimes the problem disappeared for days.
The system is a 3.2 Ghz Pentium 4, with a GeForce 4 MX 440, running Windows XP SP3. It is extremely stable otherwise, runs for hours on end, never freezes, etc. I can play youtube videos at 720p on it with no problem, the same goes for directx games, or other stuff that might be considered demanding (within the reasonable limits of my hardware).
I realize it most definitely is a hardware issue, but I'd appreciate any suggestion for an alternative way of playing back files. Thanks!
P.S. I hope I've posted in the right category. This isn't a problem related to any hardware component in particular. At least, not one that I can put my finger on.
could it be going into sleep or power saving mode?
The next time it does it, let it stay off for a few minutes if it will and then touch the keyboard or mouse and let it wake back up. Now see if you've lost those few minutes of the movie or if it picked back up almost where you left off. If it picks up almost right where you left off its probably the pc going to sleep. if you lost those few minutes then the video card is likely going into a power saving mode.
I can assure you, it's not going to sleep. First off, computer stand-by, monitor stand-by, or anything else that might be triggering it, is disabled.
Secondly, the problem CAN actually be induced in a predictable manner. If I'm playing a movie file through internal codecs, and I minimize/maximize the window, or fidget with it in some other way, it sets it off. Once again, it only happens during movie playback, and it's only ever a brief black flash, that is basically the monitor turning off for a second.
Since you say it displays the 'No Input' message on the monitor then its defiitely not your monitor turning off. It displays that when theres no video signal coming from the graphics card. You either have a buggy video codec, buggy video driver, video cable starting to go bad, or you mx440 is beginning to have problems.