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  1. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Not sure if it's updates to VLC or to OS X itself, but VLC playback is less smooth
    than it once was using the default preferences.

    For quite a few months now, there's a few seconds of frozen video while audio
    plays when starting a new movie and anytime I skip forward or back through
    the video. After the video unfreezes, first it's very blocky and has trails and
    then after a few seconds eventually smoothes out.

    This is playing typical .avi files.

    What's most frustrating is the fact that up until a few months ago skipping around
    never caused these lags.

    As for .mkv files, no tips I've found have helped playback to a watchable degree.
    A few things I've tried in various combinations:
    - Checking the "hurry up" option.
    - Increasing the caching value under input/codecs > access modules > file
    - Changed "Skip the Loop Filter for H.264 from "none" to "all", "non-ref", and "non-key".

    Some helped a bit, but playback was still choppy at best.

    Mind you, all of the above are things I have no understanding of, they just came from
    various tips I found when googling choppy os x mkv playback.

    So can anyone help a complete video layman out with some specific settings to try for:

    1) general playback of avi files to help with the lag time when skipping around
    2) smooth playback (on my 17" computer screen, not streaming to tv) of mkv files

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    For reference I'm using a 17" PPC iMac 1.8GHz w/ GeForce FX 5200, 2GB of RAM

    Thanks in advance for your time and wisdom!
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  2. just an explanation about "loop"
    loop is a post-processing (for a better display).
    So "loop none" use less CPU than "loop"(for example: I cannot display correctly 1080i/p video with "loop enabled" on my MacMini)

    your problem is CPU, video use a lot of CPU and your computer is not fast enough

    bye
    For DVD, iPad, HD, Western Digital, iMovie & FCPX? New: MovieConverter-Studio 2 is available! - Handle your camcorder's videos? in 60p too? do a slow-motion? MovieCam
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Thanks for taking the time to explain a bit about "loop".

    Originally Posted by Herve
    your problem is CPU, video use a lot of CPU and your computer is not fast enough

    bye
    For the HD mkv movies that may be.

    For the low quality .avi files that just doesn't make any sense.

    I've been watching movies on this exact system for years now and could always jump back and forth without any lag.

    My computer certainly hasn't gotten slower... so I can only imagine something in the default settings of VLC or OS X itself has changed in one of the many updates?

    Whatever the case may be, any tips on things I can change in the preferences to lower system demand during playback would be appreciated.

    As I'm watching everything on my 17" screen, I imagine that there's plenty which is overkill and geared towards higher resolution playback on larger screens. Almost all the files I'm watching are 1CD size encodes (700mb).
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Okay, so out of curiosity I just went and found an older version of VLC... 0.86i (current version is 0.9.6) and the lag problems are gone when using it!

    So it's definitely either a change in the software itself, or perhaps just the default preferences.

    If anyone has any suggestions for tweaking prefs in the latest version to work well on my slower system please let me know. I very much prefer the updated GUI and controls in the latest VLC, but not at the cost of basic playback quality!
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  5. Member ffooky's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2005
    Location: UK
    Search Comp PM
    IMO VLC for OS X has deteriorated sharply with the last few releases, especially the PPC build, and I don't see that improving. The dilemma you set out in your last sentence is not going away and the only choice has to be decent playback.
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2005
    Location: Palo Alto, California USA
    Search Comp PM
    I have to agree with ffooky. VLC has gotten fatter and fatter (and buggier), taxing CPUs more than ever before. Your computer is just not fast enough to do everything it is being asked to do. That is why rolling back to a simpler version of VLC helped.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Well many thanks to you ffooky, tomlee59, and herve for taking the time to share your perspectives on this.

    Looks like I'll be sticking with the older release until I upgrade to a new system. At least it's all running smoothly again!
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Well unfortunately it looks like you are quite right, and things are not likely to get better if this is the prevailing attitude...

    Just read this post in the longest thread currently running at the official VLC OS X support forum:


    The DJ on Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:00 am

    It's quite simple though. x264 encoded video is simply CPU intensive to decode. If you cannot, don't whine, but buy a faster computer or don't play the videos (/seek alternative versions).
    Videolan - VLC media player
    Derk-Jan Hartman
    Developer
    http://www.videolan.org/vlc
    Countless others are reporting the same problems, and many are pointing out that they are now getting smoother playback from OTHER players.

    So yes, ultimately a system upgrade will solve the problem, but clearly VLC is sliding to the back of the pack as far as optimization and handling of identical files on the exact same system when compared with other players.

    Shame really, as I've been a loud and vocal evangelist of VLC over the years. Hopefully with enough people posting they may recognize that tightening up system performance really does need to be a bigger priority than it currently seems to be.
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  9. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Miskatonic U
    Search Comp PM
    If it is any small consolation, the Windows version is not getting better with age either. While I can't say I have stuttering issues (and on a Quad Core I would bloody hope not), it is not the player it once was, which is sad.
    Read my blog here.
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  10. Member ffooky's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2005
    Location: UK
    Search Comp PM
    It's certainly nowhere near as polished as VLC but you might want to give MPlayer OSX Extended a spin when QT and Perian won't cut the mustard.
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