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h264 playback choppy on linux

3170 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  newlinux
I know it's not HD (640x360), but it is h264. I'm trying to playback some x264 video on a linux system:

Athlon X2 4200+ (2200 MHz X 2)

Nvidia GeForce 7600GS

I have tried encoding with ffmpeg and avidemux (640x360 at 1600k) using

these settings
























The picture quality is absolutely fantastic, but the playback seems choppy.

I am playing in mplayer. CPU load is only 25-30% on one core, so I think I

have plenty of horsepower. I am using the latest nvidia driver (177.82)

outputting 720p to my samsung flatscreen. Playback of transcoded vob-->mkv

is very bad (could be a interlacing issue) while mythtv mpg-->mkv is pretty

good but still a little choppy. Has anyone else had success with x264 in

linux. The picture is great, but unwatchable due to choppiness. Any ideas?
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What distro are you running? Are you trying to run this to and from local disk or over some kind of cable? USB, Eithernet etc? Is there any thing else running that can be fighting for resources? Try running top and see who else is eating resources.
I used a Core2Duo with no hardware acceleration duh to play The Searchers on my Gentoo box at work with no issues.

It wasn't choppy at all. It was just fun trying to fit a 1920x1080 image on a 1280x720 display.

Which ripped...err..re-purposed non-AACS encrypted disc are you trying to play (as you did post this in the HDTV section)?

Moreover, what kernel are you using?
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I'm running debian with a 2.6.26 kernel. The video is stored on a local hard drive (1.5GB/sec SATA). Even with nothing else running and mplayer only consuming 25-30% of one CPU I still see choppy playback. I'm not sure how to tell if I am using hardware acceleration. I have the latest nvidia driver installed, but I thought that there was no hardware acceleration for h264 on linux yet.

Most of the videos are transcoded from mythtv recordings (mpeg2), but some were vob's from my camcorder. I know they are not HD, but I thought some people here would have good experience with h264.

I have transcoded some animated shows at a slightly lower bitrate (1300kbps), and they look very good with no choppiness. Maybe I will try to transcode some of the other (non-animated) shows at a slightly lower bitrate to see if it helps.
h.264 hardware support is available for at least some nvidia cards. Not all software supports it at this time. I think ffmpeg is one that doesn't, but I would do a lot more searching. People are out there decoding h.264 with only a couple of percent of CPU being used.

One thing you night want to try is downloading one of the versions of this movie and run it. That will at least rule out issues with you encode. Moderators please note this movie is released under the creative commons licence so is not a copy right violation.


after reading your post i tried playing an h264 video with mplayer of course it was choppy but totem played it smoothly.
Topic moved.
The 7600GS does not and will not ever support h.264 hardware acceleration. Check here for supported cards --> http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=123091 and read through the threads to see which cards other people have had good experiences with as this technology is still in beta-testing --> http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14

The latest driver is 180.18 --> http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show....php?p=1882835

Note that your card is supported by this driver, but you won't get hw video accel.
First, if you're comfortable compiling from source, get the latest SVN release of mplayer . (See the section entitled "Downloading MPlayer from Subversion" for details.) The x264 guys recently did some tuning of the decoder that has improved its performance considerably.

Next you might want to try setting a few options for the decoder. I've found adding these to ~/.mplayer/config can work wonders with H.264 playback:



Threads=2 tells the decoder to use both cores; on a quad-core you'd presumably want to set this to 4. correct-pts improves the timing of subtitles, especially ones using the ASS format.

Originally Posted by sassman /forum/post/15395476

Has anyone else had success with x264 in


I've had very good success with x264 on linux (fedora9, 2.6.25 kernel) running on hardware less powerful than what you have (Athlon X2 4000+ paired with an nvidia 6200 graphics card). All of my DVD backups are done with x264 at a bitrate somewhere between 2 and 3kbps. It can't play videos with a 1900x1080 resolution, but anything 1280x720 and lower play fine as long as the scene isn't overly complex (everything lower than 1280x720 that I've thrown at it so far play fine). I use mplayer and play all of my videos from a network share with buffering enabled to accommodate for lower bandwidth across the homeplug AV adapters I'm using.

My non expert opinion says your hardware should work with x264 videos at the resolution you are using (just based on my experience). Either the bitrate is too high or you've got some other issue. Unfortunately, I don't have any advice that's not already posted
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I'll just add I'm another with success with x264. I play it well on my X2 3800 (6200 GPU) and X2 4200 (6150). Like above, anything 1280x720 and less play fine (haven't tried 1080p). I use myth's internal player, mplayer, and XBMC to play them... All look really good.
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