Having trouble with skype [Solved]

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Having trouble with skype [Solved]

Postby rekinchin » Sun Dec 29, 2013 14:20

I got both sound and video working with the installation of skype, however I have a strange with received video.
My cam is being displayed correctly but the video feed I am receiving has the bottom half covered in small cloured squares like a checker board. Anyone have an idea?

Thanks Robert
Last edited by rekinchin on Thu Jan 09, 2014 0:38, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Having trouble with skype

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Sun Dec 29, 2013 18:55

My guess would be that this is a video driver problem. What hardware do you have? If it is an NVIDIA GPU, launch nvidia-settings (install it if not already installed) and see if it has an option for 'adjust image settings with preview' or something similar, and try different settings (reboot in between). See the Skype Forums post:

http://community.skype.com/t5/Windows-d ... ue#M137721
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Re: Having trouble with skype

Postby rekinchin » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:30

I have ATI 5000HD series GPU that works perfectly with complex 3D games so problem is more likely (never say definitely where software is concerned lol) to be with skype. I will keep this thread open if anyone knows anything that can help and I will search the skype site
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Re: Having trouble with skype

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Tue Dec 31, 2013 16:28

My main laptop has an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 GPU and the other day I observed a similar (but not identical) effect: the bottom half of the Skype video window was purplish in colour and distorted. I was talking internationally, there was heavy Skype traffic at the time and the other person was using a relatively low bandwidth connection. Do you see the effect on every connection? Have you tried video calls when both you and the other person are on high-bandwidth connections? When both I and the other person are using high-bandwidth broadband connections then the video in Skype is fine.
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Re: Having trouble with skype

Postby heindsight » Tue Dec 31, 2013 18:51

I have an ATI Mobility Radeon HD5870. I also had similar skype problems in the past: a red and green ghost image over the bottom part of the video window. I don't use skype as often as I used to, but I haven't noticed any distortion the last few times. I recently switched from the proprietary AMD/ATI drivers to the open source drivers, not sure if that's what made the difference, but it's probably worth looking into...
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Re: Having trouble with skype

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:50

Note to self: Sykpe uses XVideo rather than OpenGL or X11 for video. I wonder if this is causing the problem when the Catalyst driver is used? Unlike media players such as MPlayer, VLC and so on, it is not possible to configure Skype to use OpenGL or X11 instead of XVideo. Therefore, as I'm using the Catalyst driver, try each of the following experiements, to see if one of them makes a difference to the received video displayed in Skype:

1. Turn off compositing (KWin Desktop Effects or Compiz)
If that works, automate it by creating a Skype launch script to turn compositing off if it's on, launch Skype and, after exiting Skype turn compositing back on if it was on before (see my blog post Toggle KWin compositing on and off easily from your Desktop).

2. Try adding either/both the following to the video device section in xorg.conf (it might have negative effects, though, so check video output in all media players):

Code: Select all
Option      "TexturedVideo" "Off"

Code: Select all
Option      "VideoOverlay" "Off"

(Try "On" instead of "Off", too.)

3. Try the following trick by openSUSE user queequeg from the period when an earlier version of the Catalyst driver caused X Windows to crash when any application used XVideo output:

openSUSE Forum - Skype Video Workaround for ATI

queequeg wrote:Anybody trying to make a video call with Skype and ATI fglrx drivers has had problems due to Skype using the "xv" video mode with the driver can't handle. For anyone interested that is affected by this, there is a workaround:

1. Run the xvinfo command and look at the number of xv sessions available. Some cards have only 1, some have as many as 4. This is the number of xv occurances that the card can do at one time.
2. "Use up" all these xv sessions by opening videos in your favorite video player making sure to use xv for the video output. The videos can then be paused.
3. Once this (or they) are open, skype can be started and will default to X11 video and work properly with video calls.

I know this is a goofy way to get around this issue, but until fglrx can handle xv or skype allows an option to choose X11 for video render, I don't know of any other way to do it.

(From what I hear, the 11.1 fglrx drivers can handle xv, but I haven't confirmed this.)

Hope this helps.
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Re: Having trouble with skype

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:09

Regarding the three experiments I mentioned my previous post:

1. Turning off compositing did not solve the problem.

2. I did not try this, as the posts I read on other forums referring to these two xorg.conf options used them to fix other problems with the Catalyst driver, not this specific problem, so I decided not to bother.

3. This worked for me. The received video in Skype was perfect. The downside is that I had to have four media players open and paused, which is not exactly convenient. A worse downside was that, when I maximised a browser window during the Skype call, my laptop spontaneously rebooted (my guess is that X Windows crashed).

But then... :cheers: I solved the problem (in my case, at least): I installed media-video/guvcview and that fixed the received video in Skype. These are the steps I followed:

1. I launched Skype and made a video call. The received video image had little red dots and purple/green/blue tinting in the bottom half of the image.

2. I Installed guvcview using the package manager.

3. I launched guvcview in a Konsole (terminal) window. After guvcview created its configuration file /home/fitzcarraldo/.config/guvcview/video0 and checked various video and audio settings it exited because my Webcam was being used by Skype (‘libv4l2: error setting pixformat: Device or resource busy‘).

4. I clicked on the Webcam icon in the Skype video call window, to turn my Webcam off.

5. I launched guvcview again. The lower half of the received video image in Skype changed from little red spots to a continuous green-coloured band, and the upper half of the image now looked reasonable but still had some red- or blue-tinged patches.

6. On the Image Controls tab in the GUVCViewer Controls window I changed the video frequency from 60 Hz to 50 Hz then back to 60 Hz again. (I was just tinkering, and I believe this had no bearing on the outcome.)

7. I clicked on the ‘Quit’ button in the guvcview window to terminate the application.

8. I clicked on the Webcam icon in the Skype call window to turn the Webcam back on, and the received Skype video image changed to a perfect image.

I checked twice by rebooting and making a video call, and the received video image in Skype remained perfect after both reboots.

So it looks like the guvcview tool can be used to fix the problem. I've documented this in more detail with some screen snapshots in my blog post: Fixing a problem with received video in Skype when using the AMD Catalyst (FGLRX) driver in Linux.

By the way, heindsight, on another of my laptops I use the open-source Radeon driver instead of the closed-source Catalyst (FGLRX) driver, and the received video image in Skype is perfect on that laptop, so I believe you are right in thinking the problem only occurs if using the closed-source driver.
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Re: Having trouble with skype

Postby rekinchin » Thu Jan 09, 2014 0:33

yes using guvcview as per fitzcarraldo post and blog fixes the problem
Thanks fitzcarraldo
PS sorry was so slow to try this been a bit busy these last few weeks :)
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