Well, after a lot of testing, it is definitely a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapter issue with external hard drives. I have moved files onto a separate USB 3.0 drive and everything works. Using the external Firewire 800 drives with the Thunderbolt adapter, sporadic issues (i.e. corrupted playback from Apple TV and inability to execute long running programs like Handbrake with the Firewire drives in the mix).
I have little faith that Apple will ever (a) become aware of or (b) fix these issues, so I will start the process of moving all of my storage over to USB 3.0 devices (and will stay away from Thunderbolt for everything).
Update: I exchanged the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter and the issue persists. I have a Drobo that I used with my previous system, a PowerMac G5, and never had any issues like this.
It does not matter what software I use. But at some point video playback will suddenly become garbled. If I start the video from the beginning, sometimes the garbled video will start sooner but never later. A restart temporarily resolves the issue. If I copy the file to the local hard drive the video will play back garbled. This is indeed a very strange issue. The issue behaves like a bandwidth bottleneck.
I was having this issue prior to upgrading to Mavericks.
iMac (Late 2012), 3.4 GHz i7, GTX 680MX, Fusion Drive, 24 GB RAM, Drobo (Firewire via Thunderbolt)
Welcome to the club... I have just recently opened a thread about the same issue, but for me is not data transfer and movie picture and sound, but studio recording with Firewire interface using the same adpter. But the simptoms are the same. stopping, skiping etc....
I am also having issues with my Dorbo connected via Firewire/Thunderbolt Adapter. Mine are more with mounting the disk. About 50% of the time, the disk will not mount when I plug the cable into my brand new (Late 2013) MacBookPro 15". The only solution I've found is to power cycle the Drobo. It appears the Drobo does not "wake up" when the cable is plugged in. This never happened when I plugged the Fireware 800 directly into my old (2009) MacBookPro.
Preformance seems to have taken a hit as well...
Very frustrating, as I have 2.24TB of data on my Drobo, and I do not want to spend money on a new, multi disk solution.
Make sure you are not daisy-chaining another FW800 drive with the Drobo. I used to have a Seagate FW800 3TB drive plugged into the Drobo and I had the same issue you describe above. After removing the second FW800 drive my problems went away with the Drobo.
Clearly, starting with Lion and Mountain Lion, there are issues with Mac OS X and chained FW drives - especially via the Thunderbolt to FW800 adapter.
Frankly, I am finished with both interfaces and have been replacing my drives with USB 3.0, which always works great (and they are much cheaper).
FYI, FW connected drives run about 65% the speed of USB 3.0 connected drives. USB 3.0 drives run about the same speed at TB connected drives (except for SSDs).
R/W disk speeds:
USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt about equal at ~110 MB/s
Firewire about 65% at ~60 to ~70 MB/s
USB 2.0 about a third at ~35 to ~40 MB/s
R/W SSD speeds:
Thunderbolt fastest at ~355 to ~370 MB/s
USB 3.0 second at ~165 to ~195 MB/s
Firewire third at ~60 to ~70 MB/s
USB 2.0 fourth at ~40 MB/s
I erased and installed 10.9 and restored from AirPort Time Capsule backup, no change.
What has me totally baffled about this issue is that when the problems arises, a restart will resolve it. I don't know what triggers the behavior. There is nothing else other than a restart that will resolve it (granted, I have not gone through every process running in Activity Monitor either :-)
I have the exact same problem. Brand new iMac, Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire adaptor, Drobo. The only thing that consistenly fixes the issue for me is restarting my Drobo, which takes a long time. Not only is this inconvenient, but i'm worried about the impact of constantly rebooting Drobo by unplugging it. This can't be a good thing.