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Old 3rd October 2009, 12:46 AM
Gödel Offline
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Location: London,England
Posts: 1,102
linuxfedorafirefox
Smooth fullscreen playback in BBC iPlayer on netbooks

Netbooks play embedded flash well but struggle with fullscreen flash playback on sites like BBC iPlayer. Fortunately, in Fedora it is pretty easy to change video mode to match the required resolution and get smooth playback.

I tested this on an Acer Aspire One, but should work on most netbooks, even the original eeepc 701 can playback smoothly with a small mod to overclock the celeron to it's 900mhz potential (use eee.ko, it compiles in the latest kernels if you do sed 's/&proc_root/NULL/g' -i eee.c and sed '/owner/d' -i eee.c before running make)

In F11 you can list supported video modes with xrandr utility

Code:
$ xrandr -q
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1024 x 600, maximum 4096 x 4096
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
LVDS1 connected 1024x600+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 195mm x 113mm
   1024x600       60.0*+
As you can see, there is only one supported mode, so we'll add another for iPlayer, which has a default SD resolution of 640x360, this is very close to 1024x600 aspect ratio, so the results look great.

I downloaded a modeline utility gtf to generate the required modeline (./gtf 640 360 60), and you add it like this

Code:
xrandr --newmode "640x360"  17.19  640 640 704 768  360 361 364 373  -HSync +Vsync
xrandr --addmode LVDS1 640x360
Now, xrandr -q should show the new mode:

Code:
$ xrandr -q
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1024 x 600, maximum 4096 x 4096
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
LVDS1 connected 1024x600+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 195mm x 113mm
   1024x600       60.0*+
   640x360   60.0
The screen will be cramped after changing resolution so it may be better to find your iplayer video link and bookmark it first, then close firefox.

Now set the resolution and restart firefox

Code:
xrandr -s 640x360
firefox &
then load up the iplayer link and double click for fullscreen, it should play as smoothly as it does embedded. (return to normal screen with 'xrandr -s 1024x600')

You can script the xrandr --newmode and --addmode commands to apply them at your next login (via System Preferences -> Startup Applications).

Code:
#/bin/sh
xres=640
yres=360
xrandr --newmode $xres"x"$yres $(<path to>/gtf $xres $yres 60 | grep Modeline | cut -d\" -f3)
xrandr --addmode LVDS1 $xres"x"$yres
If your tv has a vga input you can use your (old) netbook as an internet media player, it's not HD but still looks perfectly decent and avoids having to hook up your main laptop/desktop machine.

I don't believe windoze users can get a similar iPlayer performance (not true fullscreen without borders), it's a shame linux lost the netbook market, linux is also the best solution for dvb adapters on netbooks, and the webcam support is just beautiful (try 'gst-launch v4l2src ! autovideosink' or 'gst-launch v4l2src ! ffmpegcolorspace ! warptv ! ffmpegcolorspace ! autovideosink', requires gstreamer-plugins-good, see 'man gst-launch-0.10' for more info)

EDIT: any 640x mode should playback ok, here are the modelines I got from gtf for 640x480 and 640x400:

# 640x480 @ 60.00 Hz (GTF) hsync: 29.82 kHz; pclk: 23.86 MHz
Modeline "640x480_60.00" 23.86 640 656 720 800 480 481 484 497 -HSync +Vsync

# 640x400 @ 60.00 Hz (GTF) hsync: 24.90 kHz; pclk: 19.52 MHz
Modeline "640x400_60.00" 19.52 640 648 712 784 400 401 404 415 -HSync +Vsync

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Last edited by Gödel; 4th October 2009 at 10:41 PM. Reason: gst-launch typo in pipeline description
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  #2  
Old 3rd October 2009, 12:55 AM
Gödel Offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: London,England
Posts: 1,102
linuxfedorafirefox
One program you shouldn't miss, it's available until 6th October (uk only), a hilarious "review" of computer games culture

Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe
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  #3  
Old 9th March 2010, 01:59 PM
Gödel Offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: London,England
Posts: 1,102
linuxubuntufirefox
Re: Smooth fullscreen playback in BBC iPlayer on netbooks

The command line utility cvt supplied with xorg can be used instead of gtf, and for a samsung NC10 notebook I had to specify a higher refresh rate of 85 for the BBC iPlayer SD resolution 640x360 (with lower rates you get bad flickering):

To add custom resolutions you can use a script like this (call it addmode.sh)

Quote:
#/bin/sh
if [ -z $3 ]; then
echo "usage: ./addmode xres yres refresh_rate"
exit 0
else
refresh=$3
fi

xres=$1
yres=$2

xrandr --newmode $xres"x"$yres $(cvt $xres $yres $refresh | grep Modeline | cut -d\" -f3)
xrandr --addmode LVDS1 $xres"x"$yres
(Your LCD display name may be called "default" or something else rather than LVDS1, run 'xrandr -q' to check)

Then add a mode with:
Code:
./addmode.sh 640 360 85
and switch to the mode with:
Code:
xrandr -s 640x360
Now BBC iPlayer will play smooth in fullscreen on a Samsung NC10.

To change back to the default fullscreen mode do:

Code:
xrandr -s 1024x600
Now all the adobe guys need to do is supply a wrapper script to do this automatically for fullscreen flash videos and we're sweet.


edit: to remove the mode do 'xrandr --delmode LVDS1 640x360' followed by 'xrandr --rmmode 640x360'

Last edited by Gödel; 9th March 2010 at 02:26 PM.
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