anyone finding the MBA too slow for video watching?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by slicedbread, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. slicedbread macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2006
    I just got my air a few days ago, as a 2nd computer, a portable to go with my desktop. however I am finding that it is actually a bit too slow for my needs (i got the 1.6/80gb), even as a secondary computer.

    I kinda wanted to use the air as my appletv device - to watch all the things I've downloaded on my desktop on my HDTV, which is in another room.

    Loading up youtube and flash heavy sites seems to make the fan speed up to full blast. Watching divx movies also makes it spin up to max.

    Some video files (notably RMVB real player files) play very jerkily and result in dropped frames, but usually the audio is alright.

    All in all, quite disappointing as its a nice little machine otherwise. Just the dropped video frames and fan spinning up to max to watch files is kinda hard to live with. Anyone else finding this with their air?
  2. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    I understand your disappointment, but you're not really using it as advertised. It's not meant to be a high-def video player (although I agree it should be able to play most anything).

    You'd be better off with an actual Apple TV or a video iPod for movie watching.

    And RMVB SUCKS. Horrible. That might be part of the problem.
  3. slicedbread thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2006
    As a general web/itunes/chat machine its great. However for a $1799/£1199 laptop I kinda expected it to at least handle video smoothly... and they aren't even 720p or 1080p videos either! Most are standard definition.

    And whilst I agree that RMVB is a horrible file format, alot of the things I get off the net are encoded in it so I kinda have to live with it. sucks.
  4. juro macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2007
    It only sucks because you got it for all the wrong reasons.

    I agree with appleretailguy - you would have been far better off with an actual Apple TV for what you're using it as.
  5. slicedbread thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2006
    I didn't buy it JUST for video watching. I'm just surprised that for the price, and speed (it is afterall 1.6Ghz) that it's not up to relatively straightforward tasks such as youtube flash and divx/rmvb files satisfactorily.

    For the other things it needs to do it is fine.
  6. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2007
    wow, this is surprising to me as well. Not a MBA owner, but my macbook runs videos smooth as butter. I even tried playing two 1080p movies simultaneously in quicktime and no lagging what so ever.

    The MBA cant be THAT bad. Maybe some actual owners would like to comment on this?
  7. Mernak macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2006
    Kirkland, WA
    DivX should not be that bad, but flash (YouTube) and rm files tend to be heavy on the processor. Granted it shouldn't be bad enough to drop frames at SD resolution, but it will most likely rev up the fans quite a bit.

    Try and see if there are any background processes hogging up CPU time (ram shouldn't be too much of an issue, it has 2 GBs iirc) that would cause it to slow down quite a bit.
  8. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
    I use mine for presentations and the videos I show inevitably have hiccups. Since I used to present on a Sony TZ, which has a slower CPU, with no problems, I'm going to assume that Apple needs to optimize the code to make the MBA handle video better. :rolleyes:
  9. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    I've had no trouble watching HD 720p .mkv movies on my MBA 1.6/80GB. Other than a core shutting down after an hour on my bed (don't use in bed with vents covered!).

    But yeah, no issues, and 720p videos look gorgeous.
  10. mcvaughan macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2007
    Houston, TX
  11. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006

    this is like buying a sports car and wondering why it gets stuck doing off-the-road.

    In other words: try and post something constructive.:D
  12. digitalfx macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2007
    I watch itunes videos full screen all the time w/o any issues at all. Just got back from vacation where I watched 4 rentals on flights and the MBA was a perfect video player.
  13. slicedbread thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2006
    anyone hear a high pitched squeaking noise when you plug in a stereo or tv into the air's headphone port? I seem to be getting that as well when its plugged into my hdtv acting as a media center...
  14. Fabiano macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    Palmas, Brazil
    I cant believe that the Air cant handle video playback smoothly. Come on, my old compaq laptop plays youtube, divx, rmvb and all other stuff very fine, and its just a Celeron M 1.6 with 1Gb of RAM... and VISTA! Its a crap compared to the AIR.

    Actually I just had one problem with rmvb. I got a lot of Prison Break Episodes in this format, most plays very fine, but some are not so good. Still watchable but with some frame loss. but it seems to be some problem with the encoding process of these specific files.

    may be the rmvb files you got have the same problem?

    Im buying my Air soon, I hope not having this problem with mine!
  15. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    Maybe just have a bad unit, or a bad install. Maybe a corrupted codec or something. Have you tried reinstalling Leopard? If it keeps up after that, I'd take it to the Apple Store for a swap.
  16. Maui19 macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    My MBA doesn't handle video smoothly, either. It will heat up, then get choppy as heck. It is a week 3 machine, and I think something isn't quite right here.

    Understand that I am not talking about looping 3 1080p movies simultaneously. I'm talking about watching some stupid, low quality youtube videos.

    As soon as I spend a few minutes to document the problem, my MBA is going back to the Apple store.
  17. RedAbundance macrumors member

    Apr 2, 2008
    New York, NY
    mine has trouble especially when i use realplayer. it skips and skips and there are boxes of shades that float around during playback. it doesn't get hot though.
  18. EMAGDNIM macrumors member


    Oct 6, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    That's the problem right there...
  19. themanfromvlad macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2006
    Anyone else here reading this thread and wondering:

    1) How a brand new Mac, any brand new Mac computer, could have trouble playing YouTube, Real Media, DiVX or any other video.

    2) How people on this thread seem to get angry when people voice this point.

    It seems to me that if your MacBook Air can't play video smoothly, there has to be a problem with it. Posters writing " It only sucks because you got it for all the wrong reasons." or "That's [Realplayer] the problem right there..." can't possibly be serious, right?
  20. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2007
    well, this IS

    But I see your point. My unbiased opinion is that the macbook air should have no problem at all playing 720p movies, let alone youtube movies. May be a hardware problem.
  21. RedAbundance macrumors member

    Apr 2, 2008
    New York, NY
    exactly! i don't think it's too much to ask for an apple laptop to be able to do everything a dell can.
  22. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2007
    maybe you should get a slightly thicker macbook, which is cheaper, much more powerful, time tested, more memory etc.

    hit the gym first...I hear those extra 1.5643 lbs are a b*tch to carry around ;)
  23. conchshell macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2008
    There is oddness on all sides when it comes to this computer. There are the devoted who get annoyed at any criticism of apple products. There are those who will never buy a MBA and still complain about its lack of features, high price, slow video performance, etc. It is a computer that seems to inspire discord :D Best ultraportable I've ever owned tho, and the video is only one of the many compromises.
  24. burdendds macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2008
    yep - the MBA is half baked. It's great if you use it for very light tasks, but I had nothing but trouble with video - choppy and not smooth like on my MBP C2D or MB CD(!). I can't figure out what the issue is given the fact that it's supposed to be as fast as a 2.0 CD in benchmarks, yet it can't keep up with simple hulu or youtube playback on my MB.

    I'm sending mine back Friday... I will patiently wait for a Rev B product.
  25. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    I've had problems with realplayer for years. Think others might as well?

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