Playback Sucks


I recently purchased a Sony Handycam HDR-CX150. It records in full 1080p HD and saves the files in .m2ts format. When I first transfer these files from the cam to the computer and play the .m2ts files on my Sony software, the video is clear, crisp, and looks the way I think full HD video should look. But .m2ts won’t play on any media player on my computer except VLC Player, and then the quality is horrible—it tears and won’t play right. So I am forced to convert it to a full HD H.264 file or something of the same quality. I have tried every converter program from HandBrake to AVS Video Converter. I don’t care about cost or hard drive space; I just want to know if there is any way to convert my full HD .m2ts files to a format that will not lose any, or barely any, video quality. I don’t care if the output file is larger than the input file! I have 12TB of storage between my computer and server. I’m using a 2.66GHz Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.7GHz, a Radeon HD 4890, and 6GB of DDR3; I don’t think my hardware is the problem.

—Christopher Basquit

Christopher, the opinion of the Maximum PC staff is that rather than try to re-encode your .m2ts files and potentially lose out on that sweet HD goodness, you should invest in a media player that handles .m2ts files with ease, like the latest versions of InterVideo WinDVD or CyberLink PowerDVD Ultra. That way you won’t lose any of the quality of the original. Incidentally, .m2ts is a container format just like .mkv; the underlying video codec can vary. And the reason VLC seizes up when you try to play HD .m2ts files is that the player lacks GPU acceleration—although the recent 1.1 preview build supports it.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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