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Windows 7: Very disappointed with Win7 Core i7 DVD playback.


12 Aug 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Very disappointed with Win7 Core i7 DVD playback.

I have a Thinkpad W510. 8 GB RAM, running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. My previous laptop was a Thinkpad T61 with 32-bit XP and 3 GB RAM. DVD playback on that machine was flawless, I could set up a DVD for the kids and never have to worry about it. There were no lags, no hiccups, no pauses.

Playback on my Windows 7 laptop reminds me of the early days of Win95. I remember way back when having to ensure the controllers were set to DMA mode instead of PIO in order to get as smooth playback as I could. With my less-than-year old W510, I am back to those same old problems. Playback will start up fine after a very long lag, but eventually will start stuttering. The kids complain constantly of it pausing. I have tried many different DVDs, and it is hit and miss. Some will play to conclusion relatively well, but others (even brand new DVDs) will start pausing halfway through. I can't even find "PIO mode" listed in Device Manager any longer, in fact IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers where I used to find it in XP has exactly one listing on my Windows 7 (Ricoh Memory Stick controller).

What can I do to improve playback? I always make sure the minimal possible is running (no virus checking, etc.), and I always plug in the power cable so that the kids don't have to watch on battery power alone. That brings me to the second complaint, my old T61 used to be fine for about 3 hours of battery DVD watching with no pauses, my new W510, forget about it. I don't even bother any longer trying to watch a DVD on battery power alone, it is a lost cause. It is much better with the power cord plugged in, but far from perfect. It seems that this laptop is a big step backwards at least in terms of multimedia when compared to its much older predecessor. I have to say, I like the Windows 7 interface and stability improvements, but as for performance, I am very underwhelmed. Any ideas?

Specs :
Windows 7 64-bit
8 GB RAM
Lenovo Thinkpad W510
Core i7 at 2.0 GHz

Stability is very good, the laptop almost never crashes. Boot time is OK considering I don't have an SSD. I have run virus checkers, malware progs, etc., all negative. I have removed as much as I can from the Startup list in msconfig, but some things are imposed on me by my corporate standards. Those same things were imposed on my XP laptop, and did not prevent DVD playback from working well.

Any ideas?

Thanks,
DD.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Aug 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Did the W510 come with Windows 7 pre-installed, or was it a user upgrade?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Sardonicus View Post
Did the W510 come with Windows 7 pre-installed, or was it a user upgrade?
It was pre-installed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


12 Aug 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Try VLC to see if it's your hardware, Win 7 software, or something else.
VideoLAN - Official page for VLC media player, the Open Source video framework!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Sardonicus View Post
Try VLC to see if it's your hardware, Win 7 software, or something else.
VideoLAN - Official page for VLC media player, the Open Source video framework!
Yeah, should have put that in the original post. I have tried the Windows Media Player, VLC, and the InterActual iPlayer (the one that comes on some DVDs). They all experience the same issues, about halfway through the movie they will start pausing, stuttering, or slowing down to where the movie looks like it was filmed in stop-frame. Sometimes I can get through a DVD without any hiccups, but most of the time I just have to put up with the stuttering.

The DVD drive is an LG GT30N DVD-RAM drive. It burns fine, and works with all media is supports. I just can't get smooth DVD playback.

DD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

My guess would be you need to setup a more aggressive power plan for playing movies.
Portable devices default to a lot of heavy power saving settings.
These are good when running from battery, but can lead to the kind of stuttering and hitching you are talking about when say a movie is left playing.

This is just a guess mind you, my laptop was similar though, very poor performance on movie playback, really of any kind until I set the power plan more aggressively.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Tks, I looked at the Power Settings. They are imposed by a policy by my company, but they look OK. On battery, Multimedia Playback is set to Balanced, and while plugged in, it is set to Optimize Video Quality.

I just found updated firmware for the DVD drive. There is nothing in the TXT about performance improvements, but it is certainly worth a shot. I'll try that....

DD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
 
 

Have you tried updating the gfx driver, I different gfx driver could help. Heat could cause the stuttering, Does it just happen on dvds or other formats, e.g. avi, mpg, etc
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2012   #9

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Do I understand this correctly? You have a company computer set up the way the company policy wants it and it doesn't play movies for you youngsters the way you want it to. Your post # 7. My understanding of the Windows 7 Forum Rules is that we should not assist in braking a companies policy with company computers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi,

No, that is not correct. My company is certainly not that draconian. There was no intention of disabling DVD playback (I verified this with the helpdesk), as I said, it works for the most part. Some DVDs play without interruption. Many of the sales people here give "canned" presentations which are prepared on DVDs.

There are certain aspects I am not allowed to change, and the company has taken care of that by simply disabling the options in the GUI or enforcing them via a policy. For instance, I am obliged to run Symantec Endpoint Protection, I have no choice. There is also a program which verifies I meet the minimum security standard the CIO's office has decided upon.

In order to solve this problem, I started with the IT Helpdesk. After a few suggestions, they wanted to re-image my laptop. I didn't want to take it that far, and was looking more for performance options which I may have missed. I also run a non-company desktop with Windows 7 64-bit. I don't have the same stuttering problem, but it takes far far longer to start a DVD than the same computer does with XP. I have a dual-boot system, I only kept the XP boot partition in case I had a problem with Windows 7. I pretty well never boot into XP any longer. DVDs on the same computer in XP load quickly, and play without stuttering. DVDs (and BluRay) on Windows 7 take much longer to start, but also play without stuttering (on the desktop only). I am thinking that Windows 7 must have added much more DVD playback overhead (DRM ?) which I am suffering from on my less-powerful laptop, but not on my desktop (at least not to the same degree).

Thanks,
DD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Very disappointed with Win7 Core i7 DVD playback.




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