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October 09, 2006

Apple Fixes Video Playback Bug in iPod

With Apple's firmware release 1.2 for the video iPod (5G), one significant video playback bug has been fixed.  When conducting research for the Akamai whitepaper, Creating & Delivering Podcasts & Other Downloadable Media, I found a critical iPod video bug related to playback of lengthy H.264 files on the 60GB iPod (the 30GB model was not affected).  The problem was that video files larger than about 100MB which were not created with QuickTime Pro (Sorenson, ffmpeg-based encoders, and others all suffered from the problem) would play fine under iTunes on the desktop, but on the iPod they'd play for about 30 seconds, stall for a moment, then continue to play without audio.  
With the 1.2 firmware update, files that previously did not play correctly are now working.  Apple's Release Notes for the update are vague (and, apparently, impossible to find again after seeing them once) so it's not clear exactly what else was fixed. I've not done exhaustive testing to see if there are circumstances in which videos will not play, but the specific failure conditions I identified previously have been resolved.

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