Tech Talk

Permanent link to Erratic DVD Playback Erratic DVD Playback

Tuesday, April 9, 2002

I've had to burn several hours working through erratic DVD playing through S/PDIF a couple times on my Dell Latitude, so I've decided to write up a few suggestions for those unfortunates who run into the same problem.

The symptoms are really annoying, and very specific. When playing a DVD with the audio set to Enable SPDIF, the audio and video skip as bad as an old scratched up record, speeding up at frequent intervals for a few seconds at a time, making the movie completely unwatchable. Switching the audio to regular 2 speaker stereo through the analog output corrects the problem, and the movie plays fine.

The first time I had the problem, I downloaded updated audio drivers from Dell, and the problem went away. The second time, after my recent hard drive failure, updated drivers didn't do the trick at all. Different versions of the drivers, messing with BIOS versions, different versions of WinDVD, all to no avail. Finally, I started over with my old hard drive (not sent back yet) with a clean install of Windows XP, and installed WinDVD. Movies played fine. I updated the audio and video drivers, and the erratic playback started all over again. Turns out it works if I leave the drivers alone at what XP provides, and don't apply any downloads from Dell. Works mostly, anyway; it still skips every once in a while, but not nearly as bad as before.

What's so annoying about this is it used to work fine before I had to change hard drives!

Go figure.

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LaRocque Family