Monday, July 01, 2013

Windows 8.1 Preview Causes Continuous Flickering When Viewing Some PBS Online Video Segments

I use my Surface Pro tablet to time-shift online PBS broadcast TV episodes by downloading them in full-screen mode and recording them in 1080i MPEG-4 H.264 format through a Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI converter to a Hauppague Colossus video capture card on my Windows 7 development PC:


After upgrading the Surface Pro to Windows 8.1, I found some episodes, such as Borgen, Series 1, Episode 7 from KCET, to be unchanged from the Windows 8 experience. However Inspector Lewis, Series VI: Intelligent Design and Endeavour (Pilot) episodes from PBS showed extreme continuous flickering, as demonstrated at about eight seconds into this example:

Example of flickering in intro to Masterpiece Mystery’s Endeavour Pilot

A viewer susceptible to Flicker Vertigo (a.k.a, the Bucha effect) would be likely to become disoriented, suffer nausea or both if watching the video for even a brief period. (I have had passengers in my twin-engine aircraft experience flicker vertigo when it was pointed into the evening sun with the engines idling at about 600 rpm.)

The flicker/flashing doesn’t occur when viewing the same episodes on PCs running Windows 7.

Removing the DisplayPort connector doesn’t eliminate the flicker, so it’s not an attempt to apply DRM to the clip.

Like Windows Blue’s problem with my Pinnacle PCTV 80e USB TV tuner stick, this needs fixing before RTM. I’m in the process of backing up File History and recovering my Surface Pro. I’ll then reinstall the latest TVCenter software for Windows 8 from PCTV Systems.

Note: I’ve posted the content of this article to a Why Does Windows 8.1 Preview Cause Continuous Flickering When Viewing Some PBS Online Video Segments? thread in the Windows 8.1 Preview forum.