Choppy Video Playback

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arius88
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Choppy Video Playback

#1 Post by arius88 »

Just trying to get my new (32-bit) Debian 11 install up and running smoothly.
I'm using a Lenovo ThinkCentre with a 32-bit Intel graphics card.

Right now my main problem is that video playback is choppy / laggy / juddering. As in, it seems to only be playing maybe every 20th frame and the video is out of sync with the audio. So it's more like a bad slideshow than a video. It happens from a variety of sources (youtube, various other streaming sites) and in every Desktop Environment I've tried (Cinnamon, Gnome, Xcfe). Gnome was the worst, Cinnamon was slightly better. Xcfe seemed to work the best for a bit, but then it got bad too.

I'm assuming it's some sort of issue with a video driver? I've used other operating systems on this machine and never had this problem before, so it's definitely an issue specifically with Debian or the way Debian is interfacing with my hardware.

Another Debian user had this problem back in 2018 (https://www.linuxquestions.org/question ... 4175629781) but their solution involved modifying a config file and using xfce as their desktop environment. That's not really a great solution for me - not only did I find their instructions somewhat technical and difficult to follow (I am scared to mess up a config file), but I dislike Xfce and would prefer to use Gnome or something else (I still haven't had a chance to try them all out and don't know which one I like best yet, but Xfce is not in the running).

Any help would be much appreciated.

Edited to add:

arius@arius-debian:~$ lspci -knn | grep -iA3 'vga\|3d\|display'
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 82G33/G31 Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:29c2] (rev 10)
Subsystem: Lenovo 82G33/G31 Express Integrated Graphics Controller [17aa:303b]
Kernel driver in use: i915
Kernel modules: i915

arius@arius-debian:~$ glxinfo -B
name of display: :0
display: :0 screen: 0
direct rendering: Yes
Extended renderer info (GLX_MESA_query_renderer):
Vendor: Intel Open Source Technology Center (0x8086)
Device: Mesa DRI Intel(R) G33 x86/MMX/SSE2 (0x29c2)
Version: 20.3.5
Accelerated: yes
Video memory: 384MB
Unified memory: yes
Preferred profile: compat (0x2)
Max core profile version: 0.0
Max compat profile version: 1.4
Max GLES1 profile version: 1.1
Max GLES[23] profile version: 2.0
OpenGL vendor string: Intel Open Source Technology Center
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI Intel(R) G33 x86/MMX/SSE2
OpenGL version string: 1.4 Mesa 20.3.5

OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 2.0 Mesa 20.3.5
OpenGL ES profile shading language version string: OpenGL ES GLSL ES 1.0.16

UPDATE: INSTALLING FIREFOX (the standard, non-ESR version) SEEMS TO HAVE FIXED THE PROBLEM.
Last edited by arius88 on 2022-08-04 19:31, edited 2 times in total.

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Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: Choppy Video Playback

#2 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

What is the video hardware & driver(s)?

Code: Select all

lspci -knn | grep -iA3 'vga\|3d\|display'
And can we also see

Code: Select all

glxinfo -B
Thanks.
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Re: Choppy Video Playback

#3 Post by stevepusser »

Intel video hardware since the sixth-generation (Skylake) in late 2015 have also required non-free firmware (firmware-misc-nonfree package), not installed by default in Debian, to get the full potential out of the hardware.

I would suggest trying a local h.264 video file in VLC for testing, as once you get hardware acceleration working, it automatically takes advantage of it. No Debian browsers support hardware acceleration by default, and it may be difficult to determine what type of video you're being served in a browser stream, anyway.
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arius88
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Re: Choppy Video Playback

#4 Post by arius88 »

Head_on_a_Stick wrote: 2022-08-02 19:37 What is the video hardware & driver(s)?

Code: Select all

lspci -knn | grep -iA3 'vga\|3d\|display'
And can we also see

Code: Select all

glxinfo -B
Thanks.
I've acquired this information (thank you so much for posting the code, that's the level of help that I need) and added it to the post. Just awaiting moderator approval and you should see it there.

Steve: thanks for your info and suggestion. I will try to read up on the firmware thing (I have pretty severe brain fog due to a mitochondrial issue, so reading technical things is hard as I easily get overwhelmed and confused by too much information at once) and see if there's anything I should install. Not sure if I have any h.264 videos to try out, but I'll see what I can do. I'll also google how to turn on hardware acceleration in Debian.

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Re: Choppy Video Playback

#5 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

Hardware acceleration is already supported and enabled in your system.

You can try following https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Firefo ... celeration to enable hardware acceleration in Debian's firefox-esr package but I'm not sure how much of it will actually work with that version.

v103 of Firefox will enable VA-API acceleration by default for your hardware so you could try downloading a tarball from Mozilla and run that to see if it works better. There are extensions available that will attempt to force h.264 for YouTube.
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arius88
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Re: Choppy Video Playback

#6 Post by arius88 »

Okay! I was able to install regular ol' non-ESR firefox on my machine, and so far it plays video beautifully. I was also able to play videos in VLC normally. The problem appears to be limited to Firefox-ESR.

So I consider the problem resolved for me - I can just use standard firefox.

But this doesn't really get to the root of why video playback on Firefox-ESR is so messed up. I enabled and disabled hardware acceleration in Firefox-ESR, and this had no observable impact on video playback. It's not really urgent for me now that I can use the machine the way I want to, but I'd be curious if anybody has a theory about why this is.

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Re: Choppy Video Playback

#7 Post by arius88 »

P.S. Thank you all for your help!

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Re: Choppy Video Playback

#8 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

arius88 wrote: 2022-08-04 19:29 I enabled and disabled hardware acceleration in Firefox-ESR
Enabling hardware acceleration with firefox-esr requires more than the toggle in settings. I didn't share the ArchWiki link for fun — it shows how to do it.
"It seems that UNIX has become the victim of cancerous growth at the hands of organizations such as UCB. 4.2BSD is an order of magnitude larger than Version 5, but, Pike claims, not ten times better."

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