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Tips on making videos not stutter on Ubuntu Linux 11.10

I notice sometimes videos like .TS (MPEG transport stream) HD 720P quality videos tend to stutter in Ubuntu Linux 11.10 and below for unknown reason at random times, and causes Ubuntu Linux to freeze and crash the desktop only when watching large video files while the video stutters.

I found ways to make videos to not stutter and slow down during playback, so I no longer experience as much choppy videos or frozen computer problems. I notice the stuttering in videos happen randomly at random times especially when I play large videos off a NTFS formatted mechanical hard drive for Windows.

Also, make sure your motherboard hard drive, data cables, power cables, video card, power supply and hard drive are all in good working order since many people install Ubuntu Linux on a older computers which are more likely to have broken or failing computer parts which can cause problems with Ubuntu, and video playback in Ubuntu. If you notice Ubuntu sometimes randomly fail to boot, or crashes randomly during boot or usage, your hard drive, motherboard, hard drive controller, or other parts may be causing poor video performance in Ubuntu. Plugging your hard drive into a different Hard drive controller port and using a new hard drive cable may solve your video stuttering problem. You may need to replace your hard drive, use a PCI drive controller instead of your motherboard hard drive controller if you own a desktop. If you own a laptop, you may need to hire someone to check your motherboard drive controller, hard drive, data cable, power cable, etc to check it for problems, and replace the broken parts.

I found plugging my hard drive cable into a different controller port to fix my stuttering video problem since I watch over 3 hours of video, and did not experience a single stutter like before, so I think some of my hard drive controllers on my motherboard are failing. I also notice I don’t get a weird message saying my Linux Kernal can’t be read during boot like before when I hit enter to launch into Ubuntu quicker then waiting 8 seconds until GRUB boot manager automatically launches Ubuntu.

If you play video off an NTFS formatted Windows hard drive, you can do a full disk defrag on the hard drive to make sure the video file is not fragmented. Auslogic Disk Defrag, Iobit Smart Defrag, Piriform Defraggler, etc are some free disk defrag utilities you can use for Windows to defrag your drive. If your drive is a USB External hard drive, you can also use a disk defrag program to defrag the drive. But, you should not need to use a disk defrag program to defrag a flash drive since Flash drive don’t need defragging.

Doing a disk defrag on the drive which contains the video files sometimes make video stutter less, and files open faster in Windows and Ubuntu Linux on a NTFS formatted drive. I think because the read and write head can more easily find the next chunk of data. This is useful if you use a very slow NTFS formatted hard drive to store your videos.

Alternatively, you can just copy the video file to your Ubuntu Linux hard drive if you have the space which will solve your file fragmentation and speed issues since Ubuntu Linux uses the EXT4 disk format which does not suffer from fragmentation, and poor drive performance caused by fragmentation like the Windows NTFS and FAT file systems.

Burning the video to a DVD-R, or CD-R to play on Ubuntu from the DVD-R and CD-R may also make the video playable without stuttering or issues on Ubuntu Linux.

You can also use Virtual Machine software like VirtualBox, VMWare player to install Windows to playback video with a Windows Media software like GOM player which Ubuntu Linux or VLC, SM player, or Mplayer can’t playback well for whatever reason.

You can also try using an Alternative video player like VideoLAN VLC Video player which you can download and install by using the Ubuntu Software Center.

I notice SMplayer which is based on Mplayer sometimes make videos more choppy compared to VLC, and SM player seem to crash more on my computer for some reason.

Using a lightweight desktop environment like the LXDE or XFCE theme for Ubuntu Linux can also make your computer faster, so it does not take as long to open big video files. There is also more RAM, and CPU cycles available for playing back video files on Ubuntu Linux.

Close all programs when playing back video, so your media player will have more free CPU and RAM to use to playback videos on Ubuntu Linux.

Updating Ubuntu 11.10 could also improve video performance since the Ubuntu Update Manager might install new drivers for your videocard if you use an ATI or Nvidia videocard, and install additional updates like for your media player software to make Ubuntu play video better. You can also go to your video card company’s website to see if it has updated Linux drivers for your video card. There is also a program called Additional Drivers which you can use to install 3rd-party drivers for your video card, and other devices installed on your computer from within Ubuntu.

You can also try converting your video to a different video format like Mpeg, AVI, or MP4 which most players can play easier, and setting the quality of the video to a lower resolution, and bitrate.

Check your hard drive for errors which check disk, and make sure it is working correctly. If you hear very loud clicks and whiny sounds, your hard drive may be dying. A  dying hard drive controller can also cause problems with playing back files, and can cause file corruption. You would need to replace the controller with a PCI controller card.

Bad hard drive cables may also cause problems with reading data on a hard drive which can affect video playback performance.

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