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E-350 and linux browser video/graphics

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I started my HTPC build recently, wanting a capable internet browser for video (which my PS3 sucks at). This is mostly for youtube/hulu and similar websites since the PS3 netflix app works well for me. I also wish to make this a file server that is powered on 24/7 (low power) as inexpensive as I could make it (< $250). I went with the AMD E-350 as a base. I can only meet the price goal by using Linux, so I started with Ubuntu 11.10.

I have installed the proprietary AMD catalyst drivers, and made sure they are working.

I have run into a bunch of problems with this:
- apparently Flash 11.1 (current at this point) does not support hardware acceleration in Linux for AMD CPUs, so running youtube at 720p barely works and 1080p is a slow slideshow with 100% CPU utilization

- I read that the open source gnash plugin has VA-API support, but I cannot find a binary for this, I tried using a mozilla add-on called flash-aid. Flash-aid does not seem to find the gnash browser plugin either and in any case, does not seem to remove adobe flashplayer as the plugin to use for flash.

- I tried building gnash from source, but I am stuck at the moment since I cannot find the xulrunner-dev package anymore in the ubuntu repositories (this is a dependency)

- the other route I tried taking was HTML5 in youtube (hulu will not work this way). Now HTML5 supports H.264 or WebM videos. I installed VLC plugin for firefox for both H.264 and WebM, and apparently VLC supports VA-API (I am not sure if the browser plugin supports VA-API). However, all HTML5 content still seems to have close to 100% CPU utilization (though it is better than flash) and 1080p still stutters

- I tried the chrome browser, but it seems they have given up on VA-API support (the google support thread has been marked "won't fix"), so not much luck there either.

Is there anyone with similar issues and has found a way out? I love linux for the most part, but it seems I have run into a wall here and I am pretty disappointed. I ran a netbook with FreeNAS as a file server and I was very happy with it, but I cannot browse net videos with it. I have no doubt Linux will be terrific as a file server as well.
post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by e350htpc View Post

I have run into a bunch of problems with this:
- apparently Flash 11.1 (current at this point) does not support hardware acceleration in Linux for AMD CPUs, so running youtube at 720p barely works and 1080p is a slow slideshow with 100% CPU utilization

I don't think Flash supports VA-API.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...item&px=NzkzMw

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...item&px=OTQ1NQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by e350htpc View Post

- I read that the open source gnash plugin has VA-API support, but I cannot find a binary for this, I tried using a mozilla add-on called flash-aid. Flash-aid does not seem to find the gnash browser plugin either and in any case, does not seem to remove adobe flashplayer as the plugin to use for flash.

last time I tried gnash - It sucked.

Lightspark may eventually be nice
http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/lightspark

Quote:
Originally Posted by e350htpc View Post

- the other route I tried taking was HTML5 in youtube (hulu will not work this way). Now HTML5 supports H.264 or WebM videos. I installed VLC plugin for firefox for both H.264 and WebM, and apparently VLC supports VA-API (I am not sure if the browser plugin supports VA-API). However, all HTML5 content still seems to have close to 100% CPU utilization (though it is better than flash) and 1080p still stutters

It seems VA-API simply isn't well supported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by e350htpc View Post

Is there anyone with similar issues and has found a way out? I love linux for the most part, but it seems I have run into a wall here and I am pretty disappointed.

I don't there's anything any of us can do.

The E350 is a specialized product. Combine that with Linux and you have a recipe for disaster - for viewing content.

I'm happy with my E350 under Windows 7. I can't fault AMD and Adobe for ignoring a market (Linux) that's maybe 5%. AMD certainly doesn't have the resources. Adobe - with their recent cancellation of Flash Mobile also appears to signal the eventual death of flash in favor of HTML5.
post #3 of 7
This is exactly the reason I just built a new HTPC. My older one was based on a dual-core Atom/ION system. It is low power, but I could run MythTV and play mpg videos at 1080. But Flash videos were unbearably slow and jittery.

I don't have cable and have to rely on streaming ESPN3 to watch my Wisconsin Badgers football/basketball games. Since Flash video uses the CPU, I built a system with a i5 intel quad-core. I can still keep the Atom/ION system as a back-end and server, on 24/7, and only run the quad-core when needed.

Sorry you found out the hard way, as I did.

Edit: I have not even installed my Radeon HD 6450 video card in the system yet. The Flash video plays fine using the on-board Intel graphics. I haven't tried playing the MythTV videos yet, as my MythTV backend is older and newer MythTV front ends can't/won't connect to it.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks chomper87 and waterhead,

Yes, it looks a bit like a bad decision now for viewing online content, but video running off the disk seems fine in linux. Though I did a lot of reading before buying this, I think I got reviews related to windows mixed up with the linux ones, and online content performance mixed up with offline ones.

Will wait to see if any new versions of these packages arrive with greater support. I am waiting to buy the last piece of hardware, the hard drive (the $80 2TB drive I was targeting is running somewhere between $160 to $225 now), I have currently scavenged the hard drive from my old netbook for testing.

Otherwise, I may have to pay up and run windows 7 instead
post #5 of 7
Before deciding to build new, I wanted to see if Windows 7 would make Flash video play better on my Atom/ION system. I didn't want to pay for it if it didn't work, but if it did work, I would (gladly?) pay for a copy. I believe Windows gives you 30 days to register, but I did not have anything to install from. I then found a "trial" copy using bit torrent. I do not promote pirated software, and am not recommending you break any laws.

It did not work, and my system is back running Ubuntu and MythTV.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
One legal "free" one-year option may be the windows 8 developer preview, though I may be opening another can of worms w.r.t. drivers and compatible software, will try it out when I get the chance.
post #7 of 7
I get much better Flash video using the FOSS radeon driver with the vsync option enabled in xorg.conf. See the thread here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post21097845
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