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just wanted to ask about Hardware-assisted 720p video playback on an Intel Atom D510 machine, running on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. When I use Boxee with Hardware Assisted Decoding activated, I am able to play 720p videos -- whether on the local harddisk drive or on a remote server, through LAN. However when I play the same 720p videos through Totem or through Gnome MPlayer, the resulting playback suffers from stuttering and slideshow-like slowdowns. Would it be possible to make 720p video playback on Totem and Gnome MPlayer more smooth given that my machine's processor in the Intel Atom D510? If yes, how? Boxee seems to manage, so I assume it should also be possible to tweak Totem and/or Gnome MPlayer to be able to do the same.

As an added note, I the machine's OS is Linux Mint 8. Installed RAM is 2GB.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

According to the table of Intel integrated graphics capabilities, your hardware is not capable of HD video decoding. Therefore the atom CPU is doing all the work in software. The atom chips are simply not powerful enough to the HD decoding.

The nvidia Ion platform does do HD decoding in hardware. That is why it is a popular home theater solution.

The Broadcom HD video decoders are inexpensive and are supposed to work well on Linux. Can you add one to your system?

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I see.. Thanks for the links by the way! (This is the first time I have heard about the Broadcom HD decoders.) I wonder what the Boxee media player does though, that neither Totem nor Gnome MPlayer do, as 720p playback is noticeably smoother through the Boxee Multimedia player; on the other hand, other multimedia players -- I have also tried VLC from the Ubuntu 9.10 repositories -- result in choppy, picture slideshow-like 720p playback. Would you have an idea what may be going on? I like Boxee, but it would also be nice to get similarly smooth 720p playback when I open a file from Nautilus. – techtechmo Mar 15 '10 at 15:48
Boxee was new to me, so I read the Boxee web site and the wikipedia article. I gather that Boxee has a custom (closed source) video decoder. Maybe it is efficient enough that the atom CPU is fast enough to get the job done. What is your CPU usage like when running Boxee? (I am betting it is almost maxed out). – rschuler Mar 15 '10 at 16:08
Processor seems to average a little under 40% when playing 720p. I'll try hooking up my Atom-box to the HDTV sometime soon, maybe some sort of quality scaling is taking place (although on my smallish 17-in screen the quality is good enough through the Boxee multimedia player). Thanks for the answer and the subsequent comments -- I think I'll be getting a Broadcom Crystal HD. :) – techtechmo Mar 16 '10 at 8:12

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