Blu-ray PS3 stuttering playback woes… Solved!

This blog post is for anyone who owns a PS3 and has discovered that some Blu-ray discs have stuttering/dropped frames playback.

I purchased a Playstation 3 back in April 2007, and received a free copy of Casino Royale on Blu-ray as part of a PS3 promotion. Needless to say, I opened the PS3 and stuck the blu-ray disc in to the drive to see what all the blu-ray fuss was about. The movie looked fantastic, even on my standard def TV. It looked even better on my brothers HDTV. Now you may be wondering why I’m saying this. Well, as I later found out, this initial experience was not indicative of the PS3′s blu-ray performance on every blu-ray disc.

Fast-forward ahead 8 months.

I decided to go halves in a brand new Samsung Full HDTV (1080p) for christmas. The picture quality of this baby is phenomenal on both HD FTA and PS3. As a present to myself, I went to JB-HIFI and purchased 3 blu-ray movies to try on the brand new tv. I bought Kingdom of Heaven, Gone in 60 Seconds and Behind Enemy Lines; all of which are fantastic movies. I tried out Behind Enemy Lines, and it looked spectacular. I then tried Kingdom of Heaven and had a similar reaction. Then, as you would have guessed, I tried Gone in 60 Seconds…

Arrrgghhhh! What the hell did they do to make this movie so painful to watch? The movie started out fine, but after about 40 seconds, the video started to stutter. It appeared as though video frames were being dropped as the audio wasn’t affected.

I continued to watch once the stuttering had stopped to see if it was a once off. But I was disappointed to find out that it continued to do it every 1 minute or so for about 10 seconds. I became very frustrated as blu-ray discs aren’t cheap. So I went back to JB-HIFI and swapped the disc for another copy of Gone in 60 Seconds so I could work out whether it was a disc problem or a PS3 problem.

I slid the disc into the console and held my breath…

Right on queue, it started to stutter. Argh! At this point I was very angry. I decided to have a hunt around in the BD/DVD settings section of the PS3. One option I found seemed like it fit the bill.

“BD 1080p 24Hz Output (HDMI) – Sets the playback method for BDs recorded at 24Hz (frames/second)”

By default this option is set to ‘Automatic’, so I decided to fiddle with this setting and set it to ‘Off’. I started the blu-ray disc up again and held my breath…

40 seconds passed…. 50 seconds passed… 5 minutes passed…

Nothing! Not a single stutter or anything! The problem was fixed. There is nothing on the blu-ray disc cover to suggest that the movie is in 24fps, so I guess its trial and error for each disc. But at least you now know how to fix the problem!

I’d like to hear from other people who have had the same problem.

EDIT: I have found a few resources on the net of other people experiencing the same problem, so if you wish to know the exact reason for this stuttering – read this thread.