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Media Center Video Playback Stuttering

March 10, 2008

Now that our family is using high definition home videos, an existing problem with our video playback on Media Center has become a bigger deal. The problem is that certain video playback will just stop for a few seconds every few minutes or so. This doesn’t affect recorded TV shows.

In experimenting (too much) this weekend, I’ve discovered that only my a certain combination of circumstances gives rise to this problem:

  • The video is stored on my Windows Small Business Server 2003 computer.
  • The video is stored on the Drobo attached to the Small Business Server PC.
  • The video bandwidth is DVD quality or greater.
  • The video is being played on an extender.

I have tried a variety of things to no avail, including setting the Drobo to "optimize performance" (i.e. do write caching), making sure flow control is set on my network cards, checking network tuning in the Media Center Extender.

I will trying a new Gigabit switch (the Prosafe JGS524F 24-PORT Gigabit Switch) next week (one which seems to have a bigger buffer than the Dlink switch I bought about 2 1/2 years ago) to see if that makes a difference. If not I may have to face up to pulling video off the Drobo and may end up storing it on the Media Center PC itself. That any video I play from there plays without incident.

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