WMC Video Error crash on some channels (GEM, 7)

I recently setup a new Windows 7 HTPC with Windows Media Center (WMC) for live TV watching. The HTPC (an Intel NUC core i3 Haswell) is connected via HDMI to a 2013 model Yamaha 5.1 receiver. The TV tuner is a Winfast USB Dongle Gold, which has served me well for many years.

The problem with this new setup was that while some channels worked fine, others would have no sound, and would eventually cause WMC to crash with a "Video Error". This would require restarting WMC to get sound back on any of the other channels too.

At first I thought it was video codec issues, since different channels may use different encoders for SD and HD. I tried installing the Shark7 codec pack, but that didn't fix it.

Turns out the issue is actually audio related, and a workaround is fairly easy:

  1. Go to Playback Sound devices and click on the output device.
  2. Click Properties and go to the Advanced tab.
  3. Untick the two checkboxes for "Exclusive Mode" and click ok.
  4. Go to WMC and perform the Speaker Setup again.
This seems to have fixed the issue for me, so give it a try.

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