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Oh at last! Ever since I installed I’ve been frustrated that any video seems to have major flicker issues. This is apparently caused by having the special Desktop Effects (from Compiz) enabled. kevinmedina was nice enough to share the solution he found somewhere else:

* GStreamer (The default video player in Ubuntu, totem-gstreamer, and any video player that is based on the gstreamer backend)
o Open a terminal and type “gstreamer-properties”. Press Enter.
o Click the Video tab.
o Under Default Video Plugin select “X Window System (No Xv)”.
o Click Test to verify that video playback is working (you should be able to see the standard TV testing colour stripes).
o Click Close

* VLC (VLC is not installed by default; you need to search in the package manager, then install)
o Start VLC and click on Settings, then Preferences.
o Expand Video and then expand Output modules. You will notice several options for output device.
o Select the item Output modules, and notice the checkbox at the bottom right that says Advanced options. Check the box, and now you have the option to select a different output device.
o Pick X11 video output
o Click on Save and you are set!

It works!