Windows won't play HD files anymore

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Windows won't play HD files anymore

Postby gutt3d » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:35 am

I have an Asus "eee Box" (model EB1501U) which I use as a media centre. It came pre-installed with Windows 7 HE (32bit) and I've not changed it. In fact I've not changed anything, other than installing XBMC onto it. The PC sits behind my TV and only gets turned on when I want to watch something I've downloaded (for anyone that's concerned, I download films that I already own - it saves me ripping them myself).

So - for ages, it's been fine. Then, the other week, I couldn't get XBMC to play any HD content. It would play half a second, maybe 1 second, and then XBMC player would quit and take me back to list of files. I tried this with the player than came installed with the eee Box (the software is Arcsoft Theatre). Same result. I tried with files that I know to have previously worked - they're all now unplayable. Standard definition files are fine in all cases.

All files reside on a remote fileserver - so to rule out network problems, I moved the files to the eee Box itself. Still same.

I managed to get the entire start of 2001: Space Odyssey to play... If you've seen it, the first couple of mins are a completely black screen with some atmospheric music. This played fine so I assumed it was a VGA problem... I've tried rolling back the drivers to older versions, and tried going to shipped drivers - so far I've not had any success, and not even managed to get the start of 2001 to play again either.

I looked through each of the installed Windows updates, and can't see anything specific to VGA (it's an nVIDIA ION display). I've only scanned the list though, and not looked up each update with MS though.

So I'm a bit stumped. Whatever has happened, it was an automatic thing (maybe Windows update, or something). I literally ONLY use it as a media centre, and can't remember the last time I powered it up to install/change something (and I'd remember as I'd have to connect up a keyboard as it's currently running headless).

Anyone got any ideas of what I can do to troubleshoot it? I know that I can use the restore partition, but would rather only use that as a very last resort otherwise I'd have to reinstall and reconfigure XBMC which would be a bit of a pain.

Nothing in Windows Event Viewer. Nothing obvious in XBMC logs. No errors from XBMC. I get an error in Arcsoft "unsupported filetype" for an mkv file - I've tried a few files in Arcsoft, including an mkv which I know previously worked in Arcsoft (can't remember if the previously working one also gave me that same error - it definitely didn't play though).

Any ideas?

Cheers,
Dan.
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Postby Hardware Junkie » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:52 am

So it plays non-HD content fine? All media players just crap out after half a second? What about Windows Media Player?

That seems pretty bizarre. Looked into System Restore? Not the restore partition but the tool under System Tools.
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Postby gutt3d » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:08 am

Hardware Junkie wrote:So it plays non-HD content fine? All media players just crap out after half a second? What about Windows Media Player?

WMP doesn't like the mkv extension so not able to get it to play. But yeah - the 2 other players I've tried both bail almost immediately. I've never had any problems with XBMC before - and these files previously worked ok, which is the annoying thing. I'll download VLC and see if that works, I guess. I just retried the file that actually used to work better in ArcSoft (as opposed to XBMC)... I knew it was "weird" but I knew it didn't give me the "unsupported file type" error. The result? It actually crashes ArcSoft and I get the option to check online, close, debug. Utterly utterly weird, man.

Hardware Junkie wrote:That seems pretty bizarre.

Indeed.

Hardware Junkie wrote:Looked into System Restore? Not the restore partition but the tool under System Tools.

System Restore not enabled, unfortunately.

EDIT: scratch that, I'm being a muppet regards System Restore. I'll revert back to a snapshot that I know worked. I'm fairly sure it worked at end of December, for example...
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Postby gutt3d » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:33 am

Restoring to a point just before Christmas. I'm pretty sure I watched some downloaded TV while my wife visited her parents over Christmas... It played fine then, but I can't get it to work in ArcSoft now. So If I restore to that snapshot, maybe there's a chance it'll fix things..........

I'll keep you posted - thanks, dude.
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Postby Karlsweldt » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:04 am

From a hint you noted.. "XBMC".. reminds me of the Sony-BMC rootkit scandal! Very likely that you have a 'rootkit' infection that blocks the playing of unauthorized media. Check this WIKI link for details. There is a rootkit "extractor" that does clear the issue.
If you can play your own library of identical media with no problem, then very likely a 'rootkit' problem.
A similar situation exists today with Apple iTunes that are not authorized for use on a competing company's devices.. or non-authorized media on Apple devices. Known as "intellectual property protection". Blame those who share files illegally, or pirate media.
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Postby gutt3d » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:40 am

Hi Karl,

I'm familiar with rootkit infections - I had to clear a malicious one from a friend's PC once. It was the most bad-ass virus I've ever seen.

I've never had problems with XBMC before, but I'll check it out now that you've mentioned it - thanks. Athough the SD content would also - in theory - also be considered "unauthorised" if any software/rootkit was checking...

Anyway - I've decided to bite the bullet, and restore from the recovery partition. The machine does play Blu-ray discs, but it's not great - it's far better when playing from hard disk (or network). So I'll restore it and see what happens. I'm kind of assuming it will be fixed - if not, then I have no idea how to resolve it! I'll let you guys know...

Dan.
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Postby Hardware Junkie » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:15 am

Just as a recommendation for WMP and codecs in general. Download the CCCP and it should play anything reasonably well.
It almost sounds like your codec was corrupted. I might have tried installing the Matroska Pack before the restore partition.
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Postby kltsin » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:59 pm

the kl codec pack also has tools to check for bad or missing codecs, even if you dont use it you can run the codec tweak tool and also try finding a program called gspot as well which is helpful.

vlc should be able to play anything though its not the most userfriendly.

Also since the video plays then cuts out means that there may be other issues.. bad codecs and drivers generally wouldnt start the video to begin with
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Postby rascard2007 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:46 am

there is an small free utility calle GSpot, that U can download from www.free-codecs.com, this utility allows U to check for any broken or missing codec
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