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Windows 7: HD Movies have Slow Playback in iTunes; Freezes on Import

10 Jan 2011   #1
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
HD Movies have Slow Playback in iTunes; Freezes on Import

Good morning, afternoon or evening to everyone.

I just ran across this today and am stumped as to why this may be happening.

Let me get you caught up to speed. I have a reasonably-sized digital movie, music, and tv show collection I corral with iTunes. To date I have 145 TV shows covering almost 90GB (mixed SD and HD), 1000 songs covering 8.2GB (From 256kbps AAC to 320kbps MP3 to Apple Loss-less), and 29 movies covering about 50GB (all SD), totaling around 150GB, give or take.

Up until around Christmas, I didn't have a machine capable of managing my HD content effectively. I was limited on HDD space as well as processing power. I am the type of person that wants to have ALL of my audio-visual media (minus pictures) in one place. In my case, iTunes.

Here are my two problems.

1. I've decided it's time to re-encode the containers for all of my HD movies to an MPEG4-type container to allow iTunes to even acknowledge it's presence. Since the release of Handbrake 0.9.5, I've been able to encode right of the disk to a file, even mix down audio tracks to AC3, etc. etc. My point here is I have one movie, Hancock, 1080P, around 4GB with audio, encoded H.264/MPEG4 @ ~4500kbps, imports into iTunes just fine. BUT, when playing, it either plays slow (say, 80% of real time) or freezes altogether around 10 seconds in.

I figured, maybe it was a bad encode. I started it up with MPC. Played fine. VLC. Played fine. WMP. Played fine. Hmm...

Well maybe something's off with the encode. So I tried The Book of Eli. Same setup. Same results.

Maybe it's too high of a resolution (which blows my mind) so let's try Transformers 2. It's in 720p but has IMAX scenes (of which were left mostly uncompressed). It's 10GB. Same setup. Hmm... iTunes has frozen the moment I attempt to import this file... which leads me to #2.

2. iTunes freezes when I try to give it a file over 4GB... sort of... It acts as though it's frozen... It even freezes the window I dragged the file out of (drag and dropping into iTunes) so I can't even see my desktop. Windows isn't frozen. I can still move on with life and do other things just fine. iTunes is supposedly chugging away using one of my cores according to my task manager.

This is frustrating me quite a bit because it SHOULD be working. These are 100% H.264/MPEG4 files that are (successfully) imported. Anything else won't get a second glance by iTunes.

Well what about Quicktime? Nope. Same result. In fact, QT tells me I need a plugin that MAY be on their "Components Page". Yeah, ok... not.

The only thing I haven't tried that I can think of is encoding the movie using a 64-bit MP4 container, but that doesn't seem to answer my very slow frame rate.

For those wondering, specs are below.

Any ideas from the audience?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jan 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

handbrake 95 has issues. Use version 94 instead.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jan 2011   #3
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post
handbrake 95 has issues. Use version 94 instead.
Clarification 1: The Book of Eli wasn't encoded with Handbrake. It was TSMuxeR > eac3to > meGUI > TSMuxer

Clarification 2: I have 1 1/2 seasons of The Big Bang Theory (35 episodes total) all encoded with Handbrake 0.9.5. They play flawlessly.

Doesn't explain why Handbrake 95 movies play just fine in every other player.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Jan 2011   #4
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Update: I believe I have found the solution to my problem. As it turns out, Quicktime/iTunes doesn't take to 6-channel discrete audio very well in videos, and it has to be mixed down to stereo or Dolby Pro Logic II in AAC format. I found this out when I tried to import a season of Fringe (720P, ~1.2GB per episode) and it wasn't playing. Mixing down the audio proved effective in my case.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 HD Movies have Slow Playback in iTunes; Freezes on Import

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