Fix Windows Media Center's 'low bit rate' error

This problem didn't exist in Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows Vista, or even the Windows 7 Release Candidate--only the final version of Windows 7

I've made no secret of my love for Windows Media Center, but for months I've been living with a glitch that almost drove me to TiVo.

I call it the Blue Screen of Signal-Death. At random intervals, while watching live TV, the screen would suddenly turn blue and display a "Low Bit Rate Error" message. I could still hear the audio, but the video would disappear for anywhere from 5-15 seconds.

Then, just as mysteriously as it appeared, the BSOSD would vanish--until next time. Which might be five minutes later or five hours. The randomness of it made it all the more frustrating.

Curiously, this problem didn't exist in Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows Vista, or even the Windows 7 Release Candidate--only the final version of Windows 7.

As I learned from perusing the always-helpful forums at The Green Button, countless other users have encountered the same Low Bit Rate nightmare. Numerous troubleshooting ideas were discussed and tested, but nothing worked. The unanimous conclusion: Something was broken in Windows 7, and Microsoft needed to fix it.

It took long enough, but the fix is finally here. And it appears to work. If you've experienced the dread BSOSD, download the Update for Windows 7 (KB981130), install it, and then reboot your PC.

I just installed it yesterday, and so far, so good. If I discover any further problems, I'll update this post. In the meantime, I have to ask: Why did it take you six months to fix this problem, Microsoft? Grumble, grumble.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?