How to fix Windows iTunes HD video?
September 18, 2008 9:30 PM   Subscribe

How do I make iTunes on Windows XP stop stuttering?

HD video stutters, as if iTunes either can't feed video fast enough from the hard drive, or can't uncompress it fast enough to display on-screen. It gets worse as the program progresses.

Per Apple's help document, I have enabled DMA on the hard drive and tried toggling DirectX preferences in QuickTime.

I have an ATI All-in-Wonder 600X that I updated the drivers for. It is plugged into an PCI Express 16x slot.

The box is running a Pentium M 2.1 GHz with 2 GB of RAM.

As much as I hate this awful operating system, I'd like to use this Windows XP box to feed HD video. What settings do I enable or hardware do I need to add to reliably play HD video through this box? Thanks for your advice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try using the latest build of ffdshow tryouts in Media Player Classic using either the built-in MP4 splitter or the Haali Media Splitter; renaming movies to foo.hdmov from will force the use of Directshow decoding in playback and will bypass Quicktime and iTunes entirely. N.B.: This cannot be done while using Quicktime Alternative, so don't use it concurrently. If this doesn't help anything, then either your hardware is insufficient or you have other applications eating up enough CPU power that your computer is simulating that deficiency. If you have a recent video card, you can also try Media Player Classic Home Cinema's built-in H.264 decoder which will work with DXVA on Windows and will reduce the load on your CPU by using your GPU instead.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:46 PM on September 18, 2008

Response by poster: I would like to run iTunes, where possible. Thanks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:51 PM on September 18, 2008

I meant that mostly as a diagnostic measure. If you already have DirectX enabled in QT, then you're using available DXVA decoding anyway and you're CPU-bound. Quicktime is definitely a less efficient H.264 decoder than CoreAVC (the current leader) and probably slower than ffdshow. If you're satisfied that you're not doing anything else CPU intensive at the same time, then you're probably going to need new hardware.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:56 PM on September 18, 2008

Response by poster: Is there a hardware H.264 decoder I can add to this box?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:01 PM on September 18, 2008

Your PC should be more than fast enough to play h.264 video. On my XP box I had random iTunes freezes that were due to problems with my anti-virus, try disabling your AV and any firewall software.

It's kinda a stretch, but I saw a Vista related problem with iTunes and SATA drives when I was troubleshooting my iTunes headaches. I know you run XP, but just for grins try running the movie of a USB drive and see what happens.
posted by volition at 10:27 PM on September 18, 2008

Have you shut down other programs running on your computer (including stuff running in the background). If that doesn't work, go to the task manager, and under 'processes', up the priority of iTunes a notch or two.

Also make sure that iTunes isn't doing any kind of disk-intensive task, like scanning your hard drive for new songs, etc.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:40 PM on September 18, 2008

There's a known issue with QT playback under itunes and certain NVidia chipsets- see: and the corresponding Kb article:
Some customers using computers containing NVIDIA nForce Serial ATA (SATA) controllers may experience unexpected behavior when playing videos in iTunes on Windows Vista from a SATA hard drive. iTunes may unexpectedly quit or become unresponsive or the computer may unexpectedly reboot or show a blue screen. Standard IDE hard disks are unaffected by this issue. If your computer contains a standard IDE hard disk, you can copy your video files to that disk and play those copies of the files in iTunes or QuickTime Player.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:08 AM on September 19, 2008

NB- this is the motherboard chipset, not the videocard (I see you have the ATI).
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:09 AM on September 19, 2008

He's on XP - the KB article seems to indicate that the problem is limited to Vista, and the first post covers what he's done so far and corresponds to the steps recommended in the KB article on problems in XP.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:49 AM on September 19, 2008

Lots of people have this problem - there are many threads about this on iPodLounge. I've tried their solutions and they haven't worked. This is on an Athlon XP 2500+, running XP, that should be fast enough.

The problem is Itunes - other video player software doesn't have this problem.
posted by rfs at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2008

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