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Possible fix for intermittent stuttering video on a 4K monitor
After upgrading to a new BenQ 4K monitor (model PD2700U), I started noticing intermittent stuttering while watching videos on Firefox regardless of the video resolution.  For example, 1080p videos that played just fine on my earlier BenQ 1920x1200 monitor now kept stuttering roughly every minute of playback.  Basically, the video appeared to play fine, then the picture would either stall or flutter for a second and play fine for another short while.

Thinking it was a Firefox issue, I tried Chrome and while the video didn't flutter like it did in Firefox, it still paused for about a second intermittently.  VLC gave the same issue playing a local video file, ruling out my Internet connection.

A few other things I tried included updating to the latest Intel graphics driver (I'm using on-board graphics), installing the BenQ monitor driver, tried refresh rates down to 30Hz and even closing everything I could think of except VLC and it still kept randomly stuttering.   

Anyway, as my Windows 10 installation is about 2 years old and taking over a minute to boot despite having a fast Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD and a Core i7 7700K CPU, I decided to do a clean Windows installation.  Having just installed all the Windows updates, Firefox and Chrome, I tried playing some video and yet again, it kept intermittently stuttering and Windows still took unusually long to boot. Confused

I tried the next process of elimination - I disconnected all the USB cables apart from the keyboard and mouse.  Windows booted a heck of a lot quicker, but the video playback stutter remained.  I then tried plugging in USB cables one-by-one and once I plugged my Seagate 8TB Backup Plus in, Windows took over a minute to boot again.  So it looks like this hard disk is about to pack up.

From searching online for other possible clues, I saw some mentions that the Display Port cable could be the culprit.  As I didn't have another cable handy, I decided to try using video capture software to record the screen, wait for the video to stutter and played back the affected spot of the recording.  The recording had the stutter captured, which I could verify by replaying the same spot, whereas the original video would stutter at different spots during each playback.  This ruled out the monitor and cable as the stuttering obviously occurred before it left the graphics card.  

After taking a break from the issue, it just dawned on me - I wonder if the Windows desktop background is having an effect as it periodically cycles between wallpapers of record players, a theme from the Microsoft Store.  I went into the desktop's personalise options and saw that it is set to change the picture every minute.  For curiosity, I changed this to 1 hour.  I didn't have high hopes for this, but to my surprise, no more intermittent video stuttering or fluttering in Firefox, VLC or Chrome. Smile

So for anyone else that has their Windows Desktop set to show pictures in a slideshow, try changing the "Change picture every" drop-down to an hour or just set a static picture background.  I still can't get over how this was causing video playback to stutter.  I'm not a gamer, so am not sure whether it affects video game playback.

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