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Fixing SMPlayer losing audio sync

I was watching an animé on the P4 box using SMPlayer, however it kept losing sync - the video was very stuttery. Now, while this is a 720p HD video, it was running on a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 machine. It should have coped without undue issues. How do I know this? Easy - VLC. Played the same files without problems.

I tried the usual tweaks:

  1. Set the process priority to High to devote more time to video playback.
    (don't be tempted to go a step further and choose "realtime" as this will devote more or less ALL time to video playback, at the expense of Windows itself - you might be able to watch the video but you'll have a hell of a job interacting with the user interface...)
  2. Allowing frame drop will let SMPlayer throw away some frames if necessary to "catch up" on slower systems.
    (the difference between this and hard frame drop is that these discarded frames shouldn't make too much difference to the video, however those tossed by hard frame drop may be key frames, meaning the playback could descend into gibberish if too many frames are discarded)
  3. Setting the number of decoding threads to the number of "cores" that the processor has, makes a big difference with HD video
  4. Disabling the loop filter. If you can, you should keep the loop filter on, however on slower systems it can have quite an impact on HD video - that's why there is an option to disable it only for HD video. The effect of turning the filter off is a rougher looking output. It may not be noticed on live action video as it shows up most with flat areas of similar colour, such as sky...or a lot of animé.
I did all of that, and nothing changed.
My settings were 'simpler' than those used by my 1.6GHz Atom machine with its treacle slow graphics chipset, yet it still struggled to play an HD animé. How was this possible?

I started haphazardly tweaking everything in sight and eventually I found the culprit:

Yup. Applying automatic deinterlacing to HD video makes it run like a lame dog. I'm surprised (S)MPlayer has no option not to try deinterlacing HD videos, but there it is. Turning this option (that is required for some of my SD videos) off made all the lethargy go away.

So I'm telling you as a load of Google searches didn't suggest I will. ☺



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