Kodi Media Playback Stops Frequently

Ever since the good-old Popcorn Hour died last year, we've been consuming our media through a Minix media player with XBMC, or Kodi as it's called since version 15. And even though this was a complete package (everything configured and pre-installed), it had a learning curve and required more maintenance than the Popcorn Hour.

A couple of weeks back, we started to experience cut-offs in the media we were consuming. TV shows, and movies stopped for no reason. The image froze, audio cut-out, and the subtitles would go on like nothing was wrong. After a few seconds display goes black, and after 5 to 10 seconds the Kodi-menu would present itself.
At this point we would select play, and the TV show, or movie would continue were it had stopped.

The stopping (or crashing) of the media could occur 1-10 times in a movie and a couple of times in a TV show. One or two times is already annoying, so you can imaging what 10 or 15 'crashes' might invoke....

After a few days, I got fed up with it, and decided to re-image the Minix with the latest stable firmware (007), and also install the latest stable Kodi release (Kodi Isengard v15.2). This took me about two days, since I have no experience with either Android or Kodi (in regards, to configuring add-ons etc.). I did however save the XBMC/Kodi database, so that I didn't have to start from scratch.

Anyway, after putting it all back together, the newly/freshly installed system still managed to crash TV series and movies.... back to the drawing board.

I tried different controllers, removing add-ons, etc. Nothing helped. So I started to suspect either the Minix hardware, or my Synology DS115j Network Attached Storage (NAS), which is connected through Gigabit Ethernet.
I can't do much with the first (apart from getting a new one), so my focus shifted to the NAS.

I updated the software (with no positive result). I removed all unused applications / services from the NAS. Still no result.

Finally, I decided to try different protocols (I used SMB for sharing my media), but as mentioned in my original post: these don't always work as one should expect.... So after I tried to get Apple File Sharing and NFS to work, I checked the SMB Sharing settings.

The SMB protocol version was set to SMBv2, so I tried SMBv2 with large MTU and even SMBv3. Both setting increased the 'crashes' to a couple times within a 5 minute period. So, the problem definitely seems protocol related.

After I switched the SMB protocol to SMBv1 the crashing stopped (so far).

I think that during an earlier upgrade of the NAS software changed the SMB protocol from SMBv1 to SMBv2, or there was a SMBv2 protocol update, which made it go FUBAR. I can't think of anything else.

UPDATE: I'm fairly certain that the SMBv1 protocol setting solved my problem. Two days and several media playing hours later, Kodi still works properly. No crashes whatsoever.

Posted on December 1, 2015 and filed under Tips'n Tricks, Software, Hardware, Annoying.