MPEG-2 playback inconsistent

Posted by DustByte on Ask Ubuntu See other posts from Ask Ubuntu or by DustByte
Published on 2013-11-06T15:17:39Z Indexed on 2013/11/06 16:12 UTC
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Many years ago I gave up on Linux because video playback was choppy. Now I'm back, and video playback is still playing up...

I have two MPEG files:

  • good.mpg
  • bad.mpg.

Here is some information about the two files, using avprobe: enter image description here

My machine is Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.00GHz x 2, 64-bit. I do not know what graphics card I have. I run Ubuntu 12.04.

So far I have had no problems with YouTube and playback of various video files, including playback of the file good.mpg, included in the avprobe snapshot above.

However, the file bad.mpg gives me headache! The file bad.mpg is produced by a respectable "Old-video-tapes-to-DVD" company. I converted over 10 Video-8 tapes to MPEG through them, and today I collected my hard drive containing the MPEG files. Unfortunately I have problem watching them!

Here are some details:

  • Using Totem Movie Player 3.0.1 works well for several seconds, then it gets choppy and the playback is not at all smooth. Also the player easily freezes for a while when trying to jump to another position in the file. Most strangely though, the total time is shown as 0:42 (42 seconds) instead of the true 00:39:11: enter image description here

  • The VLC media player is doing a better job. It shows the correct total length, but as soon as I jump in the video to a new position, it stalls. Playback also stalls after 30 seconds if I press play and leave it. enter image description here

  • Using Handbrake and choosing bad.mpg as the source, gives me: enter image description here There is only one title to choose, and it is 6 min 53 seconds. I would have guessed the full 39 minutes of the video should have shown.

  • Lastly, putting the file bad.mpg in Dropbox and viewing it on my iPad with the Dropbox app seems fine (disregard the lack of easy jumping forward due to real-time encoding when streaming it).

My question is simple: What is going on?! Why do I have problem to play the MPEG-2 files I just paid good money for (the issue with bad.mpg applies to all files I had encoded)? Is it an issue with my particular Linux machine? The graphics card? But why has everything worked fine so far, and why does not the good.mpg file cause any problems?

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