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OK, so the trouble shooting steps didn't help. all seems to be fine, but me being able to playback....
I installed the latest update....
using XP, 8 gig ram, 1.5 Terras free on disc (seagate), RME (fireface 400)sound card, and no new installations of third party plug ins for a while...cpu is intel quad extreme, version...though instaling 4.0.1 it still says 4.0.0 when starting...
Prepare for a long thread.
OS, source material, codec, project settings, hardware setup, driver versions, capture method, etc.
OS - XP SP2
source material is MPEG
codec - not sure how to find out
project settings - video:timecode, audio:milliseconde, captur:DV, scratch disks are all set to same as project...
Hardware setup - all in the box
driver versions - sound card fireface 400 2.94
capture method - got these files on a DVD
32 or 64 XP?
Data DVD or Video DVD?
How was it imported?
What does GSpot say about the codec?
What project preset?
What hardware is in the box?
To answer Harm's question on your source material, download and install the freeware program, G-Spot (www.headbands.com/gspot). Launch it and drag one of your MPEG's into it. Look, especially in the upper right for the CODEC's used for Audio and Video. There is a lot of additional data available to you, plus the program will tell you if you have the proper CODEC's installed.
Get back with that info, plus Harm's other questions, and someone will likely be able to help you.
I've been battling the "no MPEG-2 or MPEG-4" playback issue in ALL CS4 video capable apps. It is an Adobe problem that they want to lay off on the users so they don't have to seriously try to fix it. Every fix they have suggested for the past month has done nothing but eat up time,(both my vacation time and billable hours down the tubes) and now they are at the "reformat all your drives and reinstall the OS and CS4...". Like that will take only an hour or two !!
Clearly their tech support people have no tech savvy (they didn't realize their install routine improperly enters codec paths in the registry so their diagnostic tool reports the codecs as broken when they really are not.) They also don't warn you that if you just format your drives without first doing a formal uninstall and de-activation of any software that does auto activation (i.e. almost all professional products these days) you won't be able to re-install them after re-installing the OS because it will look like you are trying to get more activations than you are entitled to. (You can't simply restore the reg to get the activations back because that may be where the Premiere MPEG playback problem originates, and you would just restore it as well). Adobe refuses to do the simplest, most efficient problem resolution process, which is to have one of the engineers with access to a source listing work through the failure scenarios with the users. It might take all of an hour to nail down the problem that way. Instead, they prefer to run you around trial and error testing all kinds of SWAGs for things that might fix (but do not) the problem for months on end.
Clearly, software that is so poorly engineered, then so poorly supported is not accceptable for mission-critical use. So when Adobe uses the word "Professional..." to describe their software, they don't mean it; it is just a buzz-word to catch home users and wannabes.
Bottom line, if you cannot playback MPEG-2 ?MPEG-4 in Premiere pro, you will likely never get it to work. Time to move on to an app from a responsible professional software provider.
After over 300 hours of debugging (which could have been done in 3 hours if Adobe had let me work with someone who had access to source listings) it turns out that the MPEG-2/4 playback issue is an Adobe CS4 incompatibility with higher end (at least legacy AGP QuadroFX) Nvidia graphics cards. You might be able to get MPEG playback and avoid all the Adobe crashing if you DISABLE all the GPU acceleration features.
Kinda makes you want to think twice about ponying up $2,000 for an Adobe CS4 / NVidia CX caerd bundle. Adobe wants to lay this problem at the foot of PNY / NVidia, but it is really an ADOBE CS4 MAJOR BUG.