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Why are online videos stuttering?
January 11, 2014 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Video and audio of online videos (YouTube, Hulu, etc.) stutter quite often when I play them. My laptop is not old by any means and it's been recently formatted. I've updated all the drivers and tried using both the default and HTML 5 Beta players on YouTube; no difference. Seems to be worst in Chrome. Any idea why this is happening? Thanks.
posted by gman to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
What are your hardware specs? What CPU, what clock rate? What graphics chip? Does it have it own memory, and how much?

Go to the Control Panel and run the "Performance Information" applet and tell us what it reports.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:42 AM on January 11


By the way, one reason playback can stutter is simply that the data isn't arriving fast enough to keep up. If so, then it ought to play cleanly the second time because the video is cached locally.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:44 AM on January 11


Here are my specs. And this occurs no matter if I let the video completely load before I press play, as well as if I play it all the way through and try again. It's like this really annoying cracking sound every few seconds.
posted by gman at 11:49 AM on January 11


I often get some stutter issues after updating/formatting, usually it's from a new flash plugin that plays weird. Easily solved by downloading an older tested version if that's the issue.
posted by mannequito at 12:02 PM on January 11


But I've tried using the HTML5 version of the YouTube player. I'm not a computer whiz, but isn't that different than Flash? Do you know of an older Flash version that works? I'm willing to try anything.
posted by gman at 12:09 PM on January 11


If it's been recently formatted-- I wonder if you've not installed the graphic drivers for your machine.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:11 PM on January 11


Me too, I always do wonder this because I have no idea how to determine which one is the right one for my model.
posted by gman at 12:25 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Is it only video, or do you have other sound issues? Does streaming music do it too? I had something similar, but it was ALL sound, mp3 on my computer, video online, everything. As long as I was connected to wi-fi it happened.

In my case it turned out to be a driver conflict between the audio & modem drivers. Every time the modem pinged for a particular type of network, it caused the audio to stutter. (to fix it I had to go to Network adapters -> Broadcom adapter -> Advanced -> Disable Bands -> Disable 802.11a. 802.11a networks are old and uncommon, so it didn't affect anything)

Yours is probably not the same, but I'm wondering if a similar driver conflict might not be be your root cause.
posted by Caravantea at 12:26 PM on January 11


Hmmm. This happens on our desktop in Firefox if we have too many tabs open. Does it stutter if it's the only page open?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:33 PM on January 11


Is it only video, or do you have other sound issues? Does streaming music do it too?

Yeah, you're correct. I just tried streaming music from Google Play and same shit happens. I have no Broadcom adapters listed, so I wouldn't even know where to start to see if there are conflicts. On videos, though, both audio and video stutters.

Does it stutter if it's the only page open?

It does indeed.
posted by gman at 12:38 PM on January 11


But I've tried using the HTML5 version of the YouTube player. I'm not a computer whiz, but isn't that different than Flash? Do you know of an older Flash version that works?

I'm not a computer whiz either, not even enough to answer that, but in the past I have found that going back to an older flash version fixed stuttering. I'm using debian linux though, so I would go here to look for something ~6 months old or so. Assuming you're on windows it looks like you can get older versions off adobe's site but you might want to wait for someone more familiar with this stuff on windows to chime in.
posted by mannequito at 12:52 PM on January 11


I have no experience with Windows 7 but if it were XP I'd suggest making a new user profile, rebooting and logging in under that profile and trying it then. That might help identify if the issue is related to something(even malware) loading/conflicting under the original profile. If Win 7 allows for a safe boot with networking, I'd try that too.
posted by whatisish at 1:01 PM on January 11


whatisish: I have no experience with Windows 7 but if it were XP I'd suggest making a new user profile, rebooting and logging in under that profile and trying it then.

Yeah, alright, we have a winner. Thank you very much. Now that you guys have figured out the issue, what's the best way for me to copy my settings over to a new profile? I've done a lot of tweaking on my current profile so it looks and acts the way I like...
posted by gman at 1:22 PM on January 11


I dont know where Windows 7 stores all the user settings but now that you know it's related to the profile, you can probably find the problem... If it's malware, that should be easy enough to find by scanning deeply. Otherwise, see if you can find what loads with that profile and turn things off until you find it. And load a different browser - I'd suggest the Firefox portable app to see if it's browser related... It'll just take some trial and error, I think. OR just start fresh with a new profile and retweak and move files and folders from the old profile location to the new, wherever they are.
posted by whatisish at 5:32 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Here's how to copy the Windows' settings over. I'd be curious if your problem followed you to the new profile with just the same settings. To transfer other stuff, if you log in as an administrator, you can copy files and application data from C:\Users\OldUser to C:\Users\NewUser. But you should be careful copying over AppData wholesale as something in there (malware or corrupt files) may be what caused your problem in the first place.
posted by bluefly at 5:58 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Malwarebytes found a single item and that may have been the trick. Otherwise, I'll copy the settings over and I'll let you know if the problem follows me. Thanks again everybody.
posted by gman at 6:46 AM on January 12


With a CPU that recent, it shouldn't really be capability issues. There could be a variety of issues involved here -

1. Maybe it's incorrect graphics drivers and/or chipset drivers. For graphics driver, don't rely on the Samsung website. Go to http://ark.intel.com , look up your CPU i7-2675QM, look up the GPU in the CPU (HD 3000) and then go to http://downloadcenter.intel.com and look up "HD 3000" and download the drivers. (The chipset drivers need to be correct as well)
2. Maybe it's Flash. You need a minimum of Flash 11-something to effectively use your GPU everywhere. Even then, Chrome comes bundled with its own Flash that doesn't always use your GPU. When playing a YouTube video, right click anywhere on it and you will see a "stats for nerds" option in the context menu. Try clicking on that in different browsers. In full screen on Firefox/IE you might see "accelerated video processing, accelerated video rendering". If you see "software" doing that, you have a problem.
3. Could be an issue with your laptop speakers. Have you tried using headphones? Does the sttuter happen only with audio or even with video?
4. Could be a network issue. Download a video and play it from your hard disk. Does it still skip/stutter? If it is a network issue, try via both wired and wireless connections and see what happens each time.
5. Finally, you could always try the create-new-profile/delete-Malware methods, but I am not a big fan of those, because in those cases all you are really doing is circumventing the problem and there's no guarantee your new profile will not end up with the same issue some time down the road.
posted by harisund at 8:12 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


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