[MPlayer-users] Mplayer on old computers

Oliver Fromme olli at lurza.secnetix.de
Tue Aug 12 20:13:50 CEST 2003

Andreas Wendleder wrote:
 > is it possible to watch videos with mplayer on an
 > pentium 75 notebook?

Basically:  Yes.  However, don't expect high-quality,
full-screen, flicker-free playback ...

 > Maybe with x=64, y=64, mpeg1, pcmaudio etc...?
 > I tried with very small movies without compression
 > and it is still slow.
 > Maybe the bottleneck is not decompression (tried
 > xserver and svga).

It does not only depend on the processor, but it also
depends a lot on the graphics card.  If you have a card
which is supported by the XVideo extension (i.e. it does
scaling and CSC in hardware), then your processor only
has to do the actual decoding.  Use the "xvinfo" command
under XFree86 to find out.  It might be worth it to
update to the very latest version of XFree86.

Reducing the size of the playback window actually won't
help much, because the movie has to be decoded either
way.  In fact, when using hardware acceleration, the
playback size doesn't matter at all.

Re-encoding the movies at a smaller size will of course
help (and also reduce file sizes).  Also, using a codec
that is less complex (and thus requires less processing
power) is a good idea.  MPEG1 + PCM-audio is probably
not a bad choice for performance, but doesn't compress

Another thing to be taken into account is the fact that
I/O is pretty slow and CPU-consuming on old hardware.
A P5-75 notebook certainly doesn't support UDMA for its
hard disk, maybe not even WDMA, but only PIO.  That's
bad for video playback.  Re-encoding the movies to
smaller file sizes will also help to alleviate that.

By the way, mplayer has some options that might help on
very slow computers, e.g. -framedrop.  See the manpage
and the other docs.


Oliver Fromme, secnetix GmbH & Co KG, Oettingenstr. 2, 80538 München
Any opinions expressed in this message may be personal to the author
and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of secnetix in any way.

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