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I have always had a minor issue with video playback in Windows Media Center. It is a very minor issue, indeed, but still somewhat annoying. Video playback generally works perfectly, irrespective of the source (DVB-T, DVD, ...), but when the Windows Media Center window is not active, that is, when it does not have keyboard focus, then video playback is choppy.

My computer is very high-end (at least it was when it was new, a couple of years ago): Intel i7 CPU, 6 GB RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), 1.5 TB HDD, etc. I have had several graphics cards. The two latest are based on the nVidia GTS 450 and nVidia GT 640 GPUs, respectively. I have three displays connected to the graphics card: two regular flat panel screens (DVI) and one 46" wall-mounted LED TV (HDMI). The issue is the same on all screens.

Is this a known issue? Is there a solution (well, besides always having the Media Center window focused)? Nedless to say, with three screens it makes perfect sense to run Media Center full-screen on one of the monitors, and doing other work on the others.

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Is the criteria simply when Media Center does not have focus? Or is it an issue of other processing going on? Will simply changing focus to another window cause choppy playback? BTW with my single integrated GPU and dual-core CPU, a windowed MC can play OTA HDTV w/o issue while I browse. –  sawdust Jul 17 '12 at 21:32
    
@sawdust: The criterion is exactly as I wrote. I can run many highly CPU and GPU intensive applications at the same time, and still get perfect video playback, as long as the Windows Media Center window is active (that is, has keyboard focus). That is, I can toggle between perfect quality playback and choppy playback simply by clicking the Media Center's titlebar and the desktop (or some other window) alternatingly. –  Andreas Rejbrand Jul 17 '12 at 22:14

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