[MPlayer-users] My personal experience with mplayerxp Vs. regular mplayer

TobiX tobix at supereva.it
Thu Jul 4 01:55:02 CEST 2002


First of all, a big Thank You to all of the developers (including you)
who worked hard on this excellent media player!

I'm a very happy Linux user, but I come from MS Windows, like many of
you, I suppose. Well, let me say this: mplayer is absolutely the BEST
media player I've ever seen under ANY operating system! It already was
so in the early days (before mplayer 0.50) and it is still so. 

That being said, here is my personal experience with mplayer/mplayerxp.

NB: Sorry for my English, it's not my primary language.


The only less-than-optimal thing i've ever noticed about mplayer is a
slight "unsmoothness" in the video playback.
What I'm referring to is something like a semi-dropped frame.

You know, when frames get dropped during video playback (for various
reasons, like insufficient CPU etc.) you can actually *see* the dropped 
frames, besides seeing the error message on the console.
You feel a "skip" in the video playback.

What I mean with semi-dropped frame is a "skip" just like that of a
dropped frame, only less obvious, less noticeable, and which doesn't get
reported on the console.

I'm not able to explain it better than this. 


I've never been able to discover the cause of this behaviour.
I think I've played with every possible mplayer parameter! :-)

Then I stumbled across the mplayerxp fork.

Being a good geek as I am, I promptly downloaded its 0.0.1 version, did
a ./configure - make - make install and tried it on the fly!

Amazingly enough, this multi-threaded patch got rid of most of the 
"skippiness" in the video playback!


Now I'm providing some details here, to be able to ground my assertions
and render my tests reproduceable.
(You can skip this part if you're not interested :-)

My box is composed of the following:
CPU: AMD Athlon 1000
RAM: 512MB DDR 266MHz
Vid: ATI Rage 128 AGP 32MB
HDD: Maxtor 40GB ATA66

My OS is Debian GNU/Linux Unstable (Sid) with kernel 2.2.20
(Sigh... There are reasons for which I cannot upgrade to 2.4.
Maybe a 2.2 kernel could be the reason behind skippy playback?)

The video file I want to mention, the one which most showed that
skippiness, is the first episode of Hack Sign (an anime) in a version
fansubbed and encoded by the Elite-Fansubs group. The file is exactly
183941120 bytes long, and can easily be found in most file sharing
networks, searching for "hack sign 01". One of the parts that showed a 
lot of skippiness is between 3:20 and 3:25. The AVI is a "DivX ;-)", 
aka "Microsoft MPEG-4 v3", and I forced the use of ffdivx under both

Having a rather fast processor, the average CPU consumption always
stayed between 10-20% mplayer and 3% system.
The total AVERAGE user + system CPU consumption never rose past 30%.

The command lines that I tried were:
1) mplayerxp -vc ffdivx -vo xv -fs -fsmode 1 -xp -double Hack_Sign__01.avi
2) mplayerxp -vc ffdivx -vo xv -fs -fsmode 1 -double Hack_Sign__01.avi
3) mplayer -vc ffdivx -vo xv -fs -fsmode 1 -double Hack_Sign__01.avi
4) mplayer -vc ffdivx -vo xv -fs -fsmode 1 Hack_Sign__01.avi

That is:
1) mplayerxp 0.0.1 with -xp activated
2) mplayerxp 0.0.1 without -xp
3,4) mplayer 0.90preX with and without -double
(actually I tried many more settings too :-)

The results:

I can **clearly** see that ONLY the first invocation (ie. proper mplayerxp, 
with -xp option) shows almost no skippiness and provides smooth video
playback (as I would expect from, say, a set-top-box DVD player).
Every other possible invocation of mplayer or mplayerxp presents the
same old semi-skippy playback! :-(


That's it.

This is my personal experience with your software, and nothing more.

I'm not saying any of you is a genius, nor that any of you is a fool or
whatever, in fact I'm grateful to all of you mplayer* developers! :-)

I'm not a skillful developer so I won't contribute to mplayer* 
(at least in the near future). 
I'm a happy user of it and in particular I think I will stick to 
mplayerxp, simply because it provides better playback to me.

Hope this email has proven useful to you! :-)
You can post it to any mailing list or website as you deem fit.

Best Regards,
Tobia Conforto

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