How to get the advertised 9 hours of video playback

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Help' started by Surface49, May 18, 2016.

  1. Surface49

    Surface49 New Member

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    The following tests were conducted with my three-week old Surface Pro 4, with an I7 chip, 256 GIG of storage space and 8 GIGS of RAM. The Surface had gone through fewer than ten battery cycles at the time. The unit had all the latest updates and I was running the latest version of iTunes, VLC Media Player, and Windows Media Player. WIFI was off. I performed the tests both with Bluetooth on, streaming to my headphones, and with Bluetooth off. Disabling Bluetooth didn’t improve the battery life—the battery drainage was exactly the same as when I was streaming the sound. No other applications were running while I was watching the videos. The tests were all performed with the default “Balanced” power plan, without adjusting the brightness.

    I am posting to share the results, and to ask Microsoft to explain how to configure the Surface settings to get the battery to last the advertised nine hours while watching a video. In addition, if anybody from Apple is reading this post, please improve iTunes for Windows, so watching movies on Microsoft Surfaces with future versions of the software will drain the battery at a much slower rate, as burning through a fresh battery after watching only 90 minutes of a video is unacceptable!

    The internet is replete with posts where people complain about the short battery life of various Surface models, but I can’t find any web pages where people complain that a 100% charged battery nearly runs out after watching only an hour and a half of a video. This was my initial experience which nearly prompted me to turn the unit into my local Microsoft Store for a battery performance check. Doubting that a brand new Surface would come with a defective battery, I investigated myself and found the culprit:

    I had been renting movies with iTunes and watching them with the iTunes application. After Watching 4 different videos, the result was always the same: I would always start with a fully charged battery, however, after 90 minutes of viewing, the battery would be down to 6% or less power. I replicated the test by playing a number of non-DRM protected movies with VLC Media Player. In each instance, after 90 minutes of viewing, the battery had only drained 40%. This equates to 3 hours and 45 minutes of video playback on a fully charged battery. Windows Media Player was able to play 90 minutes of the same movies, consuming only 25% of the battery. We have a winner and I am now happier that I can get 6 hours of video playback from a fully charged battery.

    To repeat two of my earlier statements:

    Apple – Please fix your app as 90 minutes of playback on a fully charged device is disgusting! If you are unwilling to fix the app, then you are admitting that the Microsoft programmers are much better than your programmers, since Windows Media Player is 4X more battery efficient than iTunes for Windows.

    Microsoft – Please advise on how to configure my Surface Pro 4, so I can get the advertised 9 hours of video playback on a fully charged battery. I want to be able to watch the video in full screen mode, streaming the sound to my Bluetooth headphones, without having to dim the default brightness or lower the volume. Your answer will help countless other Surface owners.

    Thank you
     
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  2. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    In comparative reviews the SP4 gets an average of 7+ hours of typical use on a charge. It usually ranks near the top of the devices in the reviews. I think that's pretty close to what I get but I have seen as little as 5 hours. In my case it's at 30% brightness, (and my eyes aren't all that good). Playing videos comes with a lot of variables, the encoding, the resolution, (ultimately the size of the file), as you point out, also what you use to play it. I have watched 3 hours of 1080 video with plenty of battery left. But I also have a ton of background tasks turned off plus many other adjustments. My WiFi and blue tooth are always on.
     
  3. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    First off this isn't ask official Microsoft controlled forum, this is a privately owned enthusiast forum.

    iTunes it's a buggy poorly written piece of software designed during ah era of desktop computing. You want to maximize battery life use the built in media player that is a UWP App not media player. Uninstall iTunes and Chrome and set brightness t to suggested using adaptive brightness. Also use Windows Defender for antivirus.
     
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  4. Surface49

    Surface49 New Member

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    Thanks for the info regarding the forum.

    Regarding the built in media player, are you referring to the "Movies and TV" trusted Windows Store app that is one of the options to play a video with? I'll try that if this is what you are recommending and see if it improves battery life. I like Norton Internet Security which I use, but if WIFI is off, I don't mind disabling it when I am playing a movie, if it will save battery life.
     
  5. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    My experience with NIS has been poor at best. It's terribly bloated and even with WiFi off it's constantly checking your video to see if it is an infection. Had you said Norton Anti Virus rather than NIS it would have been a step in the right direction.

    If you can do whatever you need to do with a Windows native app it will almost always use less battery.
     
  6. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, Movies and TV (or other UWP Media Players). Win32 Applications are not designed for battery life. Using Norton will eat 40-60% of you battery life as it tends to be bloated. But the is the dual edged sword of x86/x64 Windows you can run whatever you want to on it...
     
  7. Surface49

    Surface49 New Member

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    I was able to get one good result from the "Movies and TV," UWP media player, but also had an awful result, so it appears that some processes are intermittently taking up a lot of battery life. These have been my results with 90 minutes of video since my last post:

    1 - "Movies and TV" UWP medial player, with WIFI off, Bluetooth on and streaming and all features of Norton Internet
    Security running - 63% of battery consumed

    2- "Movies and TV" UWP medial player, with WIFI off, Bluetooth on and streaming and the Smart Firewall and Auto-Protect
    features of Norton Internet Security disabled - 20% of battery life consumed. So far, I was happy, as this equated to 7
    and a half hours of video playback, still short of Microsoft's 9 hour claim, but the best result so far.

    3- "Windows Media Player," with WIFI off, Bluetooth on and streaming and the Smart Firewall and Auto-Protect features of
    Norton Internet Security disabled - 89% of battery life consumed. This is quite a contrast of the earlier test with all
    of the anti-virus features enabled, when only 25% of battery life was consumed by "Windows Media Player,"

    4 -An exact replication of #2, with 90 minutes of a different *.MP4:

    Movies and TV" UWP medial player, with WIFI off, Bluetooth on and streaming and the Smart Firewall and Auto-Protect
    features of Norton Internet Security disabled - 82% of battery life consumed.

    So far, I know that my Surface is capable of 7.5 hours of video playback on a full charge, but what do I need to do to always
    get the unit to discharge the battery at the rate (or a slower rate :)) that it did for test #2?
     
  8. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Depending on how the video file was encoded can also greatly impact battery life.... also here is the exact verbiage of the MS Claim:

    "Up to 9 hours of video playback. Testing conducted by Microsoft in September 2015 using preproduction Intel® Core™ i5, 256GB, 8GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors."

    Microsoft Surface laptops
     
  9. Surface49

    Surface49 New Member

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    The videos were all encoded the same way. I used a DRM Unapproved link removed. to make MP4 copies of some Apple rented MV4 movies. I hope I am not violating any TOS by linking to the product (That I am not affiliated with) AND I am not a pirate - I delete the movies once I watch them. I need the converter, as without it, it is not possible to play the movies outside of iTunes.
     
  10. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    We have no way of knowing if the CODEC for the pirated movies is using CPU or GPU rendering....
     
  11. Surface49

    Surface49 New Member

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    Since the movies are all first coming form iTunes and are all converted to Mp4 using the same program, I was assuming that they would end up the same CODEC, unless ITunes rents movies with different CODECS. To test the randomness, I can play the same movies again while the Surface is in the same state and see if they eat up the same battery life, or if the results will again vary.
     
  12. Surface49

    Surface49 New Member

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    The battery was defective:

    I took the unit into the flagship Microsoft Store where I had purchased it and asked a technician to perform a battery test. In the 2-3 minutes that he took to find the files on his flash drive to perform the diagnostics, the battery had gone down 4%! He offered me a replacement right away. He was also nice enough to give me a new smart cover. I choose a New York Giants theme.


    The friendliness of the Microsoft Store staff and the speed of which I was offered a replacement, leads me to believe that the battery problem is a known issue. They aren’t publicizing it, but appear to have a policy of replacing defective units without giving the customer a hard time.


    It didn’t take too long to set up the new unit and reinstall software. I watched 3 different movies on the new unit, and after an hour and a half of play time, the battery had depleted between 18 and 21%, so I’m comfortable that I can get at least 7 hours of video playback; presumably more with non-multimedia activities.

    I'm not going to bother to try and figure out how to get 9 hours, as I don't believe Microsoft's original claim.
     

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