Intermittent Media Player Internet Radio sound, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week I generalized how one might go about systematic PC troubleshooting.

In particular, I received a question from Thomas V. who was having problems with his Internet Radio (via Windows Media Player) and his CD ROM drive which both produced intermittent silence.

Thomas suspected that the issues might be one in the same. I suggested otherwise, based on a familiar problem with TCP / IP packet loss that can result in Internet Radio lag. Since this matter is common, I further theorized that these two issues were most likely not related.

But, wouldn't you know it?

I received emails from Infopackets Readers stating that the two problems might be related because Thomas V. was most likely using Windows Media Player to play both Internet Radio and music CDs. Recent versions of Media Player consume a great deal of system resources due to an audio conversion process which is enabled by default and can cause a lull in audio.

Infopackets Reader David K. writes:

" Newer versions of Windows Media Player (WMP) [7, 8 and 9] read CD tracks and then translate through digital playback. This creates a lot of CPU overhead. You can disable Digital Audio Extraction in WMP, as well as under the drive Properties in Device Manager. "

Keith S. suggested how to go about disabling digital playback and error correction which inevitably cause high CPU usage:

" In Win XP start the player, go to Tools, then Options. Then go to the devices tab, click Properties For Playback. Your selections are Digital or Analog. Also Use Error Correction. If Error Correction is checked, uncheck it, if not put a checkmark in it and try it. In Win ME, start the player. Go to Tools, then Options. Go to the CD Audio Playback settings. There you will find the same settings. You can pick Digital Playback or not and set Error Correction or not. "

Jim C. suggested using WinAmp to play CD audio:

" Its funny, I had the same problem with Windows Media Player v7.01. The Radio cuts out, and CD cuts out. I switched back to WinAmp, and both work fine. "

I didn't know that. Then again, I don't use WMP to play audio (I use WinAmp, too).

Interesting point: if you add in the fact that all of this is happening with Windows Media Player and you own a really cheap sound card which does not have a hardware sound table and relies on the processor to decode/encode audio, all of this can really add up to high CPU usage and may certainly result in a lag for both Internet Radio and CD playback.

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