for stuttering Playout, Dropped Frames, Glitches
Check these steps first !
1. PLAYDECK does not start / PLAYDECK does not load videos
In this case please refer to this guide:
2. Check Output and System Load
If you see glitches in the PREVIEW, that doesnt mean that there are glitches in the OUTPUT (device or NDI). Also check, if your system is overloaded by opening the Task Manager (ESC + SHIFT + CTRL).
3. Update all drivers
Some output cards are very sensitive on older driver. Make sure you install the latest GPU driver (e.g. NVidia) and the latest Output card driver (e.g. Blackmagic).
4. GPU Selection
Got to Settings > Workflow > GPU & Quality and try different settings.
Change these settings in PLAYDECK. Got to Settings > Workflow > Advanced Settings:
– Deactivate: Automatic file check and reloading
– Activate: Disable Device output frame rate control
– Activate: Use seperate process for every file in the playlist
– Deactivate: Anti HDD Sleep Mechanics
Move your Clips to a local SDD, should they be loaded from network.
7. NDI Access Manager
Close NDI Access Manager and other Apps like OBS Studio and vMix and try again.
PLAYDECK starts fine, but no Clip is playing, or playback is superslow
If nothing plays, the GPU is not utilized as it should be. Or GPU and/or output hardware is compsomised. Try setting your GPU as primary GPU (see below). Try using CPU rendering (Workflow > GPU) and deactivate all output hardware, restart PLAYDECK. Update all drivers or try different hardware.
Constant Stuttering in Audio Output
If video seems to play fine, but the audio is stuttering alot, this indicates a system overload. Since the GPU % display in PLAYDECK shows only NVidia usage, you should open the task manager and check CPU/GPU for the whole system.
To reduce overall system load:
– Use common video codecs (e.g. H.264 instead of ProRes)
– Avoid transcoding (clips have same resolution as playlist)
– Avoid HTML overlays
– Disable channel name in Previews
– Reduce resolution
– Use a dedicated SDI output card (e.g. Decklink)
You may find urself in a situation, where you have to upgrade your hardware. We recommend going for a decent GPU (e.g. NVidia RTX 3060+), since CPU and RAM are not of much relevance to PLAYDECK.
Frame Drops on start playing a new Clip, otherwise ok
This indicates a bottleneck from HDD or GPU or CPU. Use SDD. Disable any form of HDD/SDD sleep. Set energy settings to maxium performance. Use lates NVIDIA driver. Play files locally instead of network or NAS. Check for possible overheating problem of GPU. Disable CPU sleep/parking (pref. on Notebooks)
Clip as Bottleneck (DNxHD 185x, HAP or ProRes Codec + MXF files)
ProRes unfortunately is not well suited for playback on Windows-based systems. This is because Apple does not provide Windows-optimized codecs. DNxHD 185x, HAP Codecs or MXF files cant be decoded via GPU and are forced to be decoded on the CPU.
In both cases, we recommend switching to H.264 or H.265 instead. For Alpha we recommend HAP. We also recommend to use clips with the same resolution and framerate as the PLAYDECK playlist setting to avoid transcoding.
Harddisk/Network as Bottleneck
Please make sure, that the data rate of your clips can be transferred flawlessly through your system. if your clips run over the network, test them on your local harddisk.
In PLAYDECK under Workflow -> Advanced Settings, disable “Anti HDD Sleep Mechanics” and “Automatic file check and clip reloading”.
Edit your Windows Power Options and disable any HDD sleep mechanics.
GPU as Bottleneck
Since all rendering and decoding processes of PLAYDECK are executed on the GPU, a powerful graphics card is indispensable. PLAYDECK has been developed for NVIDIA graphic cards. It is very unlikely, that you get a good performance out of the CPU alone.
If you have multiple GPUs in your system, PLAYDECK will try to select your most potent GPU. Please check under “Settings > Workflow > Performance > GPU + Quality”, if PLAYDECK selected your best GPU, otherwise change it manually.
In case your PLAYDECK runs on an older Onboard GPU (Intel), it might be worth testing the CPU mode to check, if you get a better performance out of PLAYDECK.
To further more reduce the overall GPU/CPU load of PLAYDECK you have several options:
- Reduce Quality Settings to MEDIUM or LOW under “Settings > Workflow > GPU + Quality”. This will NOT reduce your output quality, only the previews and reaction times.
- Prevent PLAYDECK from needing to transcode video clips during playback: Have videos in the same video format as the playlist
- Configure Windows Power Management for Maximum Performance or disable Energy Saving completly
- Set your NVidia card to maximum performance: Go to the NVidia control panel and set the following under “Manage 3D settings” in the “Power Management” section: “Prefer Maximum Performance” (not “Prefer optimum Performance”).
There is one other phenomenon worth mentioning:
If you observe, that the GPU load displayed on the GUI shoots up significantly, even when PLAYDECK is currently idle and not displaying video: When the demands on the GPU are low, the NVidia driver adjusts the clock frequency down significantly to save energy. However, the percentage utilization at this reduced clock frequency then increases sharply. To deactivate the automatic adjustment, simply go to the NVidia control panel and set the following under “Manage 3D settings” in the “Power Management” section: “Prefer Maximum Performance” (not “Prefer optimum Performance”).
CPU as Bottleneck
Lets assume, you have a powerfull GPU and the CPU usage % in PLAYDECK isnt rising above 70%. This still does not mean, that your CPU isnt clipping. Its still possible, that not all CPU cores are used.
Watch your CPU cores carefully in the task manager, while playing the glitching clip. Maybe one CPU core is clipped at 100%, while other cores are barely being used. This phenomenon is called “CPU parking”. Check, if the CPU usage goes UP, if you DONT play any clips. This indicates, that the CPU cores are been parked, because there is less activity. Here is some information on how to proceed:
Watch out for specific processes in the task manager, which have sudden CPU spikes and disable those processes. One known process is “Antimalware Service Executable”, which is the Windows Defender:
Also check the energy settings and make sure, that everything is set to “High performance”.
Decklink (or other) Ouput card as Bottleneck
Since the frame rate control is handed over to the decklink device, once it has been activated, the device itself may cause the glitch and not the system. There are some cases, where customers had installed the decklink to a shared PCI slot, where bandwidth would be reduced. In this case you would see stuttering playout, since the low bandwidth would reduce FPS, which in return will reduce playout speed in PLAYDECK (hardware controle the frame rate).
We recommend switching the production format to PAL for testing purposes and watch, if the glitches still appear. You could even deactivate the decklink completly and do a testrun.
Please also use the latest driver for your hardware. Some hardware even require you to apply firmware updates.
Remote Desktop Software / VPN
Some users report stuttering audio (or any other form of instability), when remotely logging IN or OUT of the target machine. This is due to the fact, that those applications reserve ALOT ressources for themselfs. Even the installation can mess with your system. Most common cause is the RD Software inserting a virtual GPU driver as primary GPU into the system (e.g. TeamSpeak does this). Since PLAYDECK is mainly using the primary GPU for all rendering, this will inevitably lead to stuttering. Stuttering always is the first sign of the GPU/CPU not delivering enough rendering for PLAYDECK.
If you already tried all the things above (esp. setting your NVidia GPU as primary GPU), you could try AnyDesk – we made good experience with this and it doesnt switch GPUs. If this still isnt enough, you would need to upgrade the hardware, since any RD Software is always very ressource hungry. You could also try to manually limit ressources to RD, by watching the GPU usage closely (with 2 man, one local, 1 remote) and change system/app/power settings.
In addition, some users reported fixing the problem with connecting a monitor/display on the remote PC, that is running PLAYDECK.
NDI Access Manager
In some cases the NDI Access Manager is running and causes huge playout lags from several seconds to even a full minute. The Output is NDI in PLAYDECK. In those cases multiple NDI Apps had be opened like OBS Studio or vMIX and the NDI signal got interrupted. Closing those Apps helped. Further more a more detailed configuration of the NDI access manager is needed.
Other Apps as bottleneck
Other applications may use the harddisk, or network, or GPU/CPU. This may not be recognized as GPU/CPU peak, because the app produces only a very short burst/bottleneck. This is harder to detect. Especially if your clips run smooth most of the time and sometimes/rarely glitch or drop only few frames.
Disable any other applications, that might interfere with the clips you are playing. This would most likely to be Anti-Virus/Malware software.
Also try to create a new user within Windows and start PLAYDECK with the user, who has no administration rights. This might block other apps from interfering.
Other Hardware related bottlenecks
Sometimes you might not even realize, that even the power unit of a system can bottleneck the playout. This is especially true, even you use a powerfull graphics card and another playout card (e.g. Decklink), but only provide, lets say only 600W power, which most certainly isnt enough and would cause the graphics card to cause stuttering (especially on the start of the clip, when power is drawn).
If using several video adapters, a good airflow is also very important to prevent overheating of components, which most likely result in glitches happening more later than sooner.
You can use this Bottleneck Tester to see, if any of your components is underperforming: