Troubleshooting Guide

for stuttering Playout, Dropped Frames, Glitches, Freezes


QUICK SOLUTIONS

  1. Update all relevant driver, esp. GPU and output hardware (e.g. Decklink)
  2. Use common video format and codecs like H2.64/MP4 and avoid codecs, that cant be decoded via GPU correctly, like DNxHD, ProRes, MXF
  3. Close all other Apps while operating PLAYDECK, esp. Video Software, also Chrome, Discord, NDI Access Manager, Blackmagic Desktop Video, ATEM Control Software
  4. Disable Security Software for Testing Purposes, esp Anti-Virus
  5. If using Desktop Output, set the monitor resolution and FPS to the same as the PLAYDECK playlist
  6. In PLAYDECK (Workflow > GPU), set the GPU Renderer to PRIMARY and GPU Decoder to your NVidia (or CPU, if you dont use NVidia). Also reduce the Quality to LOW for testing Purposes (will not reduce output performance).
  7. Load all Clips and Content locally, not over the network
  8. If it worked before, re-install PLAYDECK and select “Reset all Settings” during installation
  9. If using Nvidia, open Nvidia control panel and “Manage 3D Settings > Global” and set “Power management mode > Prefer maximum performance”.
  10. Start PLAYDECK as administrator (right click “Run as Administrator”)
  11. Configure Windows Power Management for Maximum Performance or disable Energy Saving completly
  12. Go to “Windows > System > Display > Graphics” and add “Playdeck.exe” and “”PlaydeckEngine.exe” as App with the setting “High performance”
  13. If using Nvidia, disable Service “NVidia FrameView SDK” (Startup Apps) and set to “Manual” (mainly Windows 11)



DETAILED TROUBLESHOOTING

PLAYDECK does not start / PLAYDECK does not load videos

In this case please refer to this guide:
https://playdeck.tv/troubleshooting/unable-to-start-playdeck/

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).


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 compromised. 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.

In other rare cases, the frame rate of the monitor is cause audio stuttering. Set your monitor refresh rate to the same as the Playlist or at least to max 60 Hz.

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.

Avoid directly encoding clips with “Apple Quicktime” or “Final Cut Pro”. That tend to cause problems.

If you have individual stuttering clips, you can use “TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works” to encode the Clips into a good default format, which would be:

– File Extension: mp4
– Format: MPEG-4
– Video Codec: AVC (Advanced Video Codec), Main 4.1~5.2
– Video Bitrate: Variable 10~50 Mb/s
– Audio Codec: AAC LC (Advanced Audio Codec Low Complexity)
– Audio Bitrate: Variable 300~600 kb/s

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.
Edit your Windows Power Options and disable any HDD sleep mechanics.
Place all used media on the same storage source, ideally a local SSD.

GPU as Bottleneck

Update to the latest driver. In case of NVidia, use the STUDIO driver. They are considered to be more stable than the GAME READY driver.

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.

Also make sure, your GPU is powerful enough. Older or weak GPUs may show Video, but Timing Problems will occur sooner or later. As a quick orientation, you can use this chart. Use a GPU with at a score of at least 3000. A good recommendation is a NVidia GeForce RTX 3060:
https://www.videocardbenchmark.net/directCompute.html

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.

There is an exception on Notebooks:
Some Notebooks, mostly DELL, come with an Intel and NVidia GPU. It is important to set the GPU Renderer to <PRIMARY> in this case, as the NVidia is only an OFFLOADING GPU, and cant be used directly. The Notebook itself will decide, when to use the NVidia.

Also check GPU power saving on Notebooks:
All Notebooks have a highly power saving factory setting. This can lead to stuttering during playout, as the GPU is NOT utilized to the fullest. Most notebook manufacturers have pre-installed software to manage GPU settings. Asus for example have “Armoury Crate”, where you need to set the GPU to “Ultimate” for it to work 100%.

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:
https://itechviral.com/enable-or-disable-cpu-core-parking-in-windows-10/

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:
https://blog.emsisoft.com/en/28620/antimalware-service-executable/

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). Also remove any other (unused) secondary output cards, which may interfere with your primary output cards, which may be PCIe slot bandwidth sharing or driver conflicts.

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.

Too many Frame Rate Conversions

Always use the same FrameRate/FPS for your monitors, as you set for the Playlist in PLAYDECK. Use the same Frame Rate for every Device within the signal route between PLAYDECK and your Output Device. If you for example connect fixed 50Hertz and 60Hertz Monitors to the system and let PLAYDECK do Desktop Output, you may see stuttering or lagging video output, because the GPU is in a Frame Rate Conversion Conflict. Always use the same FrameRate/FPS for your monitors, as you set for the Playlist in PLAYDECK.

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.

In this case, deinstall any and all Virtual GPU Driver (Check Device Manager > Display adaptors). PLAYDECK has been tested and approved with Windows Remote Desktop Connection and RustDesk.

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:
https://pc-builds.com/calculator/

Unable to start PLAYDECK

or PLAYDECK does not load videos

If you cannot start PLAYDECK for any other reason, or if PLAYDECK starts but doesnt work at all (not loading any videos), please try one of the solutions below.

Do a clean install

If PLAYDECK indeed DID run ok before, and suddenly stopped working or cannot start, please reinstall PLAYDECK and select “Reset all settings” during the installation.

Missing user rights or missing files

Please perform a new installation of PLAYDECK under the Windows user account under which PLAYDECK will be used later. If this is not possible, please install PLAYDECK as Windows Administrator. You can then start PLAYDECK from any admin and user account. PLAYDECK supports multiple user accounts.

Try running PLAYDECK as administrator by right-clicking and selecting “Run as Administrator”. This seems to be needed expecially on some Windows Server.

Antivirus software is blocking PLAYDECK

Please check that PLAYDECK is not blocked or blacklisted in your Anti-Virus/Malware (or similar) protection software. This may look like this:

You may need to add PLAYDECK.exe as an exception to your Antivirus software:
c:\Program Files (x86)\JoyEventMedia\Playdeck\Playdeck.exe

Unfortunately, our license protection system is sometimes recognized as false positive by some Antivirus programs. We are in regular exchange with all major antivirus manufacturers, but we cannot always exclude such a false-positive finding.

Here is a scan of our Application and a list of compatible Antivirus Software.

PLAYDECK is not allowed to create Temp Folders or has other limitations within Windows (as Windows User). We can assure you, that PLAYDECK only uses legitimate means to access Windows Folders and does not read/write from locations, it isn’t supposed to.

Windows Version Vista/7/8

PLAYDECK is not supported on Windows Versions below 10 (Vista/7/9) or any 32bit Windows. Please use Windows 10 and 11 (64bit). Windows has ended official support for Windows 8 on Jan 2019.

Video Engine Error after Windows Sleep

This happens on some machines: Windows goes to Sleep (or Hibernation), and once it wakes up, PLAYDECK will not start and displays the Video Engine Error. You can try to install the GPU driver clean. If using NVidia, install the Studio driver and not the Game driver, as its more stable. Should this not work, you have to turn off Sleep/Hibernation.

Firewall is blocking access

PLAYDECK asks for firewall allowance during the first start. This looks like this:

If you accidently skipped this allowance, PLAYDECK may not work. You can later add this to your firewall manually:

Open Start Menu and start typing “firewall” and start “Firewall & network protection”.
Select “Allow an app through the firewall” and select “Change settings”.
Allow “JoyVideoEngine”. If not found, please add with “Allow another app..” and select
c:\Program Files (x86)\JoyEventMedia\Playdeck\engine\Win64\JoyVideoEngine.exe

PLAYDECK uses TCP Ports 15578-15581 to communicate with the above Video Engine.

NDI no video/audio

Driver Issue

Please always use the latest update of PLAYDECK, since we update NDI drivers with almost every release. Sometimes the receiving side expects certain (latest) driver. Click HERE to get the latest release.

Compatible Settings (Output)

Depending on the receiving NDI device/software, not all video formats and color spaces are supported. Please try different settings and close and restart the NDI connection.

Network Location is not set to Private

Follow the steps below to enable the Private Network Location in Windows 10: 

1. Go to the Start Menu and select the Settings / COG icon
2. Select Network & Internet
3. Select Ethernet from the left hand menu.
4. Click the icon for the network card that says “Connected”.
5. Set the Network profile to Private instead of Public.

Firewall is blocking access

If you have a 3rd party firewall, such as Antivirus or Internet Security software, refer to the documentation to allow the PLAYDECK application and any other NDI related software full network access. This process will need to be completed on all computers using NDI.

IP Addresses are not on the same network / subnet

You may receive a blank NDI input, if the source device or PC is on a different subnet to the PLAYDECK PC. The easiest way to resolve this is to ensure all sources are connected to the same Router or Modem and are set to have their IP addresses automatically assigned (the default).

The PC is connected to multiple networks at the same time

For best results with NDI, the PC running PLAYDECK should only be connected to one network at a time. For example if the PC has an ethernet connection and a wifi connection, make sure the wifi connection is disabled.

NDI Tools

Tools like “NDI Access Manager” and “NDI Tools” are official products, that help you specifiy certain network aspects.