HTPC freezing on HD video
March 8, 2015 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Our family wathes pretty much everything on an HTPC hooked to our main tv. But now, the video freezes at seemingly random intervals when watching HD content. I am stuck trying to fix it and looking for ideas.

Some specs: we're running Windows 7 on a Dell Inspiron Zino. It's about four years old and it has an AMD Phenom II P960 Quad Core Processor (1.8 mhz) with 8 GB of RAM. Its hard drive was replaced only a year ago. It has an ATI Mobility Radeon 5000 display adapter.

It played all content fine until the last week or so. I was inclined to blame to sudden locking up on Kodi, which we are avid users of, as we just switched to 14.2 beta. But when we watch HD content in any other app, the same thing happens. Specifically, what happens is: at intervals as short as 3 minutes, but not usually longer than six or seven, the picture and sound will stop (though subtitles may continue for a bit). Controls do nothing to restart the video, though the menu for the application can be accessed, indicating the program itself isn't locked up. After 30-60 seconds, the video will pick right up within a few seconds of where it left off.

Things I have tried:
-multiple antivirus scans
-multiple antispyware scans
-uninstalling tons of things
-force closing tons of things; watching video with no other apps open

This happens on any HD file using any app to view it. It did not happen until this week and the setup is four years old.c
posted by DirtyOldTown to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Well, I am assuming when you say your HTPC is hooked to your main TV you mean via an HDMI cable out of your ATI adapter. In other words, you are sure that if the HTPC apps would play the video properly it would appear on your TV. And I also gather that you can play higher resolution but not true HD content fine with no interruptions?

I am just surprised because I play movies fine over wired ethernet from my Windows 7 AMD Phenom 6 Core PC running Servio to a Samsung Smart TV without a glitch. Granted only some of the content is HD.

I do sometimes have trouble on my laptop using VLC to play HD content over wireless N, just the symptoms you describe. But that is probably to be expected.

I realize this is not much of an answer, but I didn't see anyone else coming forward. Sorry.
posted by forthright at 3:00 PM on March 8, 2015

Is it possible it's overheating? If it's in a cabinet try running it in open air, does it last longer?
posted by Nelson at 3:51 PM on March 8, 2015

Try blowing it out with compressed air (outside / in the garage- it'll be dusty!). As Nelson implies, overheating is a persistent problem with HTPC's.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:45 PM on March 8, 2015

Response by poster: My new sister-in-law solved this. She suggested it was the drivers needing updating after a Windows update. I was skeptical at first, because I knew the display driver was up-to-date, but lo and behold, the audio driver was out of date. I updated that and now it's back to working fine. My new sis is pretty sharp, yo.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:58 PM on March 8, 2015

If you don't need to have Kodi on windows on that PC, I've found that OpenElec is much nicer to run Kodi with (I have it dual booting, so windows is there if I need it for other stuff, like the olympics)
posted by defcom1 at 4:39 AM on March 9, 2015

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