When I play a movie on my TV through HDMI, I hear periodic short static sounds. This happens with all players in Ubuntu, so this is not a problem with the player. When I play a movie through HDMI in Windows the audio is fine, so this is not a hardware problem. I managed to set VLC to using ALSA from its preferences dialog, and I know that for sure because my volume control icon became disabled. But VLC's audio was working great, static sounds were gone, and additionally some audio sync issues I had with VLC were gone when using ALSA.
So are those problems all connected to pulseaudio, and how can I force VLC not to use it and use ALSA instead?