Choppy video playback on 12" powerbook

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by kalex, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. kalex macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    I have a 12" Powerbook G4 1.5Ghz with 1.25GB of RAM. I can't seem to figure out how to make my video playback smooth. I have tried so far playing videos from Itunes and also avi files. No matter what i try its still unwatchable.

    I'm running Leopard with latest patches. Web browsing and other things are fine, its only video that is giving me problems

    Anything i can do to improve it?


  2. bmcgrath macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2006
    London, United Kingdom
    What kinda video you trying to play?

    Also can you check what your CPU activity is like before you play any videos and see how much is being used. You can find out by opening activity monitor in the utilities folder :)
  3. kalex thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    Video file that i tried is 88meg QuickTime movie .mov extension.
    Dimensions: 1280x720
    Codecs: H.264, AAC
    Duration: 10:14
    Total bit rate: 1202

    CPU usage without movie playing is:
    %User around 7.7
    %System around 4
    %Idle between 85 and 95
    with movie playing:
    user between 85 and 95
    system less than 2
    quicktime between 84-97

    So if i'm not mistaken CPU is the problem?
    is the movie file too much to handle for powerbook?

    any suggestions on how to improve the playback?


  4. atlanticza macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Cape Town
    Did you manage to play movies without problems in the past?
  5. kalex thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    Nope always had the same result with pretty much all the files i had tried it with. I only had the powerbook for few months and it always had leopard on it.
  6. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    Might not be what you want to hear but i dont think Leopard is a good OS for the PowerBooks i think Tiger is waay more better. However try installing the perian plugin or use VLC media player and see if it helps
  7. FireArse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004
    PowerBook 12


    From your post, I think you're trying to run a 720P H.264 file - the 12 PB might not be able to do this.

    You can try install Tiger on an external FireWire HDD to see if it'll run, but I'm not too sure...

  8. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    I've found that 720p, the resolution of your video, does not work well with the 12" PowerBook. I try to max my videos out at 848x480 on my PBG4.
  9. afd macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2005
    Hi there, I have a 12" PB 1.5GHZ running tiger, video used to play fine, but after one of the recent QuickTime/iTunes updates I've found that video in Safari is very choppy. Even with the non-HD trailers on the apple site the frame updates every second or two. Watching the same video in Quicktime is fine though.
  10. kalex thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    I'm playing it in quick time and its choppy. let me try to convert it from 720p and see if that helps.


  11. monkey86 macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2008
    also make sure the 'higher performance' option is ticked in the battery bar (the native resolution of the 12" powerbook g4 is 1024x768) trying to play a higher res video will slow you down alot.

    Leopard is too hardcore for the 12" PB G4 Tiger is your best bet!

  12. kalex thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    I was actually running it from the power supply and processor was set to highest.

    What are good settings to use in Visual Hub to get normal playing video on the PB?
  13. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    G4 cannot play HD files at full speed.

    You can try VLC though, but the result will be the same no matter what OS.

    Standard sized video plays fine though.
  14. namethisfile macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2008
    my 12" PB is also choppy w/ video

    i have the same problem. i ripped my dvd collection using handbrake on my alu intel imac and when i trasfered the movie into my 12" PB (for the road) i found that the playback was very choppy, like watching a slide show. i used standard def (720x480 i think) using the default/normal settings in handbrake. maybe, the new quicktime codecs are just too much for the G4 processors needing more cpu juice than previous iterations. this makes me think that apple should still support powerpc's w/ snow leaopard since there's still users out their with PB's and to be able to use the GPU for video and other tasks would probably help some of this choppy .h246 video playback (even in standard ef). not to mention, support smooth HD playback. but, i have this gut feeling that it's too much to ask for.

    "buy a new computer," is probably what "they" recommend.
  15. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    On my PB, HD 720p and above is super choppy. Standard def typically works fine. Using QT or VLC.
  16. kalex thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    just an update.

    Installed Tiger on the powerbook and playback and overall responsiveness of the laptop greatly improved. I guess powerbooks are optimized for Tiger.

    Anyways long story short, sold powerbook, bought a macbook, videos playback just fine. Too bad i couldn't get it to work on the powerbook, loved that 12" size.

  17. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
  18. PMR macrumors 6502


    Sep 29, 2007
    Portugal (Google it)
    From the QT site the recommended to watch H264 720p it's a dual 1.8 G5.
    For 420p your 1.5 G4 will do.
  19. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Here's your problem. G4 doesn't have the muscle to decode H.264 video, especially at moderate or high bit rates.
  20. AdeptRapier macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2008

    That's not true, my powerbook G4 plays the h.264 back beautifully if I use this program...

    There is an audio sync issue presently that is being ironed out, but the video looks and plays flawless.

    Check it out!!!

  21. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Nothing like resurrecting a year old thread...

    You can play 720p 24fps h.264 video on a PB G4 using MPlayer from September of last year? I'm sure. :rolleyes:
  22. AdeptRapier macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2008

    No, I was just pointing out that your blanket statement about G4's not having enough muscle (your words) was incorrect.

  23. xilni macrumors member


    Jan 16, 2009
    Washington, DC/Toronto, ON
  24. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    It wasn't a blanket statement. It was in context to the OP's file: 720p with h.264. Even an iBook G4 can play 720p video if it's in nonintensive codecs, such as MPEG-4 (part 2) so long as it's not at too high of bit rate. But asking a G4 to decode even a moderate bit rate 720p h.264 video is too much, particularly when the OP was using Quicktime. And at the time of the OP a year ago, ffmpeg (used by MPlayer) didn't have the ability to improve this (and it probably can't today since the G4 Macs were incapable of multithreading).

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