Why are my iTunes movies jumpy & jerky?

Written by david nield Google
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Why are my iTunes movies jumpy & jerky?
iTunes is developed and released by Apple. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

It's difficult to enjoy iTunes movies that are stuttering and jumpy, but some detective work may be required to get everything running smoothly again due to the numerous factors involved. The root cause of the problem may lie with iTunes, the movie files, your operating system or an issue with the installed graphics hardware.

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iTunes/QuickTime problem

Check that your computer meets the system requirements for iTunes. You'll need a minimum of 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM and Windows XP SP2 or later. Uninstall and reinstall the software using the latest version from Apple's website. This process replaces all of the key iTunes files and settings required to play movies correctly, clears out any temporary data that has been corrupted, and improves compatibility with your other software and hardware. For the same reasons, download and install the latest version of QuickTime too -- this software includes technology that underpins video playback in iTunes.

Windows problem

Another possibility is that a Windows setting is causing a conflict with iTunes. In the Display Settings dialog, accessible via your computer's Control Panel, ensure the Display Colour Quality and Resolution are both set to the highest possible values supported by your monitor. Disabling 3D video acceleration in QuickTime or switching to Safe Mode may also resolve the issue. Both options can be found under the "Advanced" tab of the QuickTime utility in Control Panel. In some cases, enabling Direct Memory Access (DMA) on your hard drives may help -- right-click on the "IDE ATA/ATAPI" controllers in Device Manager and choose "Properties" to check if this feature is enabled. If you're using ReadyBoost on Windows Vista or later, disabling this tool can also clear up video playback issues in iTunes.

Encoding problem

The jumpiness and jerkiness in the video playback could be caused by the files themselves rather than your software, particularly if you are only experiencing problems with movies that have been imported manually rather than bought from the iTunes Store. If your video files appear choppy in other software, it's more likely, though not certain, that an encoding problem is to blame. If you have access to the original video source, try encoding the file again using lower quality settings or a more broadly supported format. Check the documentation supplied with your video software for details of each available encoding option. iTunes supports QuickTime and MPEG-4 movie files with a .mov, .m4v or .mp4 extension.

Graphics card problem

Any video playback issue can be related to a problem with your graphics card or the graphics chipset integrated into your motherboard. Browse to the manufacturer's website and look for the most recent drivers for your particular operating system. Downloading and installing these drivers applies the latest bug fixes, replaces any graphics settings files that have been deleted or damaged and improves compatibility with the latest version of iTunes. If you suspect your graphics card can't cope with movie playback, if you're viewing high definition video, for example, then shut down any unnecessary background programs when running iTunes or reduce your display resolution.

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