media pc

I just love my mplayer!

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 | Gadgets, Tech-savvy | 1 Comment

mplayer is *the* media player IMHO. It plays everything (without installing *any* codec – it’s all provided!) and it is possible to configure every fricking aspect of your video/audio playback demands imaginable (monitorpixelaspect=1.333 is one of my favorites, my TV is 16:9 using a 1024 XGA resolution 🙄 ) .

Scenario: Media pc connected to an old school Logitech DiNovo Notebook keyboard/mouse combo. Operating distance approx 1.2m – far to less for the TV/couch vicinity. Hooked up a brand new 2.4GHz mouse (hmmm, Logitech V450 Nano), worked smoothly.

Next thing I though was that I don’t really need a keyboard anyway to control my media pc. The windoze on screen keyboard serves me quite well, the main thing happening on my media pc is launching movies anyway. So you double click on a movie file, the movie starts full screen and you are left with no controls except the mouse. Wouldn’t it be nice if for example the left mouse button would play/pause the file, right mouse toggles full screen/windowed playback and the middle one stops (meaning exits) the movie?

As I said, I love my mplayer. This post took me ten times more time than configuring mplayer to serve my needs. Just open up input.conf and add these few lines:

MOUSE_BTN0 pause
MOUSE_BTN1 vo_fullscreen
MOUSE_BTN2 quit

You are all set up for the described scenario. mplayer even supports double click events like MOUSE_BTN0_DBL, for a complete list of binding possibilities launch mplayer -input cmdlist

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eee box b202, ac3 and 720p x264 playback conclusion: forget it!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 | Gadgets, Tech-savvy | 1 Comment

Okay, I try to keep this simple: 720p x264 AC3 is too much for the eee box/pc. The only 720p file that worked fine was the (Stereo only) Resident Evil 5 trailer encoded with the Windows Media Video 9 DMO codec.

720p x264/h264 movies get out of sync quite fast, enabling framedropping just let’s you end up with a slide show of your movie.

I don’t like the idea of ripping blue ray discs anyway, decent rips take approx 4.5 Gig – which is quite some data for a movie backup IMHO.

If you are contended with a 480p only machine you are good to go (assuming that you want the quailty of x264 and digital multichannel sound 480p is the best you can get). Otherwise you have to wait for a faster nettop.

Conclusion: the eee box b202 (resp. an Intel Atom N270 based system) is not suitable for a high definition media center pc. Sorry folks… 😐 <sigh>

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eee box b202, ac3 and 720p x264 playback final audio chapter (for now)

Friday, November 7th, 2008 | Gadgets, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Seems that I managed to get the eee box to be my new media center. I did a mistake in my last post, writing that the container also influences the delay, a closer look revealed that the file I was playing back wasn’t AC3 but AAC. AFAICT you just have to configure the proper delay for each audio file format once and you’re done.

Next steps will be a few video format tests, I already had problems with a 720p Cars trailer. Next will be a 720p Resident Evil 5 trailer that plays smoothly on my eee pc 901. So it should also work on the eee box. I also want to give Media Portal another chance, my old VIA C7 1GHz machine was overstrained with it. I just don’t know whether I’ll have that much time on the week end. 😉

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eee box b202, ac3 and 720p x264 playback third try

Thursday, November 6th, 2008 | Gadgets, Tech-savvy | No Comments

I finally got mplayer to work. I just had to use another switch. The mplayer package I was using (MuldeR) had

-ac hwac3

as the default pass through switch.

Using (the original mplayer package and)

-afm hwac3

solved the problem. I did not really get the difference yet, this is what the man page says:

-ac

Specify a priority list of audio codecs to be used, according to their codec name in codecs.conf.

-afm

Specify a priority list of audio codec families to be used, according to their codec name in codecs.conf.

Next challenge was (and still is) av-synchronization. I had to configure a constant delay for ac3 files to be lip-sync AFAICT, after that I tried a POMA (Plain Old Mp3 Avi 😀 ), realizing the delay was different for mp3. So I started to use mplayer profiles and different short cuts on my desktop, dragging the files on the desired icon instead of just launching them according to their file extension. This really is a drag… even worse: after trying an x264 ac3 mkv I once again had to adjust the delay. Wow, now this really sucks, having to adjust the delay for every fricking container and audio format. I think that’s the price to pay to have a top notch home cinema system.

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