[MPlayer-users] Feature Request: Avi-embedded subtitle playbakc [DirectVobSub port or something similar?]

The Wanderer inverseparadox at comcast.net
Fri May 20 22:47:39 CEST 2005

John Parris wrote:

> One of the only huge problems I have with Mplayer thus far is its
> inability to playback subtitles that are embedded in avi files (that
> on windows systems usually have to be played back with DirectVobSub)
> -- rather than forcing users that have these files to manually
> extract the subtitles and save to a SRT or SUB file, can support for
> this kind of playback be added?

"Can", probably. "Will", not too likely. (For the record, I'm the person
who originally reported this as a problem 'way back when the existence
of such things first impinged upon my consciousness; I'm a little
surprisd to find that that program has become widespread enough for
anyone who didn't make them himself to have "hundreds" of such files.)

> I can assure you that many in the Linux-users community would rejoice
> at that-- and the fallout benefits would extend to third-party
> projects that incorporate MPlayer like Xbox Media Center.
> I personally have hundreds of avi files that as of now I can only
> playback on my windows boxes as a result of the failure of MPlayer in
> this regard.  Simply not willing to alter the nature of my files
> (extracting the subtitles and saving them seperately or putting the
> avi into a mkv or ogm that has a subtitle track) just so I can get
> software compatibility in Linux.  Any help would be great, and if I
> can do anything, let me know.

The root of the problem, I think, is that AVI files are *not* supposed
to be able to contain subtitles. It's not necessarily a bad idea to make
it possible for them to do so, although it is probably outside the AVI
spec - but to do so by embedding not a separate subtitle stream (the way
every other subtitle-supporting container does) but an entire,
contiguous, unmodified text file is just ugly.

IOW: the problem is alleged to be with whoever created a program to do
something so broken. I could probably track down to about the week or
month the point at which that program hit, but I don't know what program
it is, so I don't know who to complain to.

If the subtitles-in-AVI were done 'properly' as a separate stream,
rather than a single massive chunk, then supporting them in MPlayer
should I think be a comparatively simple matter (though one probably
beyond my skills); as it is, it would seem to require either duplicating
the read-subtitles-from-a-separate-file code (so that you can pass a
pointer to the right place in the AVI file, rather than just the
filename/file handle) or doing some ugly hacks to make the existing code
accept either type of data. That's not to say that it's impossible, or
even that it'll never get done, but no one with the coding ability to
really try seems to be interested; if you want support for "a separate
subtitle file encapsulated in an AVI file", you probably need to write
the code yourself. If someone submits a proper patch to add that
capability, I don't know of any reason why it inherently would not be

       The Wanderer

Warning: Simply because I argue an issue does not mean I agree with any
side of it.

A government exists to serve its citizens, not to control them.

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