This looks like a CoDec or hardware acceleration issue totally unrealted to AE. Eitehr way, you have not provided any relevant technical info like system specs, render settings, the aforementioned hardware acceleration stuff and a million otehr things, so nobody can know what is going on beyond that generic assumption.
I partly didn't report anything because I'm not sure what is relevant - I just took a screenshot for my system info (below).
I also noticed that the render aspect of AE has a log report - might accessing that have information to help assess the issue? If so, how do I access it?
What other information do you want and how should I access it?
Codec problem combined with cache problem. We need render specifics. Try using the Adobe Media Encoder.
ok - there is something wrong with my system... thank you everyone for the time and input.
Looks like I am heading for a clean install of the system.