While AMD continues to sit on the sidelines of Linux video playback as they have yet to release the needed information to expose their X-Video Bitstream Acceleration (XvBA) interface, NVIDIA's video API continues being adopted by various open-source multimedia projects. NVIDIA engineers working on the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix had only provided official patches for FFmpeg and MPlayer while the open-source community has stepped up and provided the support in other software applications (such as MythTV, Xine, and VLC).
Earlier this week Google had published their list of 2009 Summer of Code projects and FFmpeg was among them. Last week we published an interview with the FFmpeg developers where we learned more about their v0.5 release and other topics like OpenCL, Blu-ray, and multi-threading. Since running that interview, where it was found that Blu-ray wasn't actively being worked on due in part to a lack of hardware, a number of readers have stepped up and offered Blu-ray drives and media to help developers, which may result in Blu-ray support coming sooner rather than later.
A week ago at Phoronix we published an interview with the developers of FFmpeg (well, just three of their active developers) where topics from OpenCL to their release cycle to multi-threading support were discussed. Diego Biurrun, Baptiste Coudurier, and Robert Swain also talked about their version 0.5 milestone. In that interview, the following was said about Blu-ray support on Linux:
FFmpeg, a popular free software project to record, convert, and stream audio/video files of various formats, has finally readied itself for a new release. FFmpeg is relied upon heavily by MPlayer, but official releases are far and few between. Tonight, however, the FFmpeg developers have released version 0.5 of this LGPL multimedia software.
The Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix is one of the best innovations to occur within the proprietary NVIDIA Linux display driver in recent times. VDPAU allows offloading much of the video acceleration work from the CPU onto the GPU, which results in a $20 CPU and $30 GPU being able to sustain HD video playback and great video benchmark results.
When NVIDIA introduced VDPAU support in November for providing excellent GPU playback support on Linux they released a set of patches that enabled the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix support within the FFmpeg and MPlayer projects. Initially it looked like these patches would not be accepted into the mainline code-base, but committed to the FFmpeg repository last night was support for VDPAU.
Earlier this month FFmpeg picked up support for new formats/decoders and among them were RealVideo 4.0 support. What was missing, however, was support for RealVideo 3.0 with this free software media converting solution. A RealVideo 3.0 decoder though has now been added to FFmpeg. This decoder may still have a few bugs to it, but it's now available via their SVN repository.
While there still is no official release of FFmpeg, committed to their SVN repository last night was support for several new formats. FFmpeg has picked up a QCELP/PureVoice speech decoder, floating point PCM decoder and encoder, Nellymoser ASAO encoder, Electronic Arts TGQ decoder, Speex decoding via libspeex, MXF muxer, E-AC-3 support, and a RealVideo 4.0 decoder.
Last month NVIDIA brought PureVideo features to Linux through a new API they call the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix in their NVIDIA 180.xx driver.
Released this morning was the first cross-platform release of XBMC (formerly known as the X-Box Media Center) for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X platforms. This release, codenamed "Atlantis", sporting this multi-platform compatibility also arrives with a new default skin, an XBMC Live distribution as an OS to purely run XBMC, and iTunes/iPhoto integration. The final release of this open-source media center application is expected next month. The release announcement and download links can be found on the XBMC web-site. XBMC is the software that powers Boxee.tv.
About a year after the availability of the first release candidate for MPlayer 1.0, the second RC is finally out. Mplayer 1.0-rc2 includes new FFmpeg work, support for Real RTSP authentication, libnemesi streaming library, and other improvements. Many HDTV streams should now also work for MPlayer 1.0-rc2 and later. The FFmpeg work includes new video and audio codecs, speed improvements, and code cleanups. More information and downloads are available from the MPlayer website.
The beta of Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" was released last week and now arriving is the first beta of Mythbuntu 7.10. Mythbuntu is the Ubuntu derivative designed for HTPCs (Home Theater PCs) and media PCs with MythTV being its key package. Some of the key Mythbuntu 7.10 Beta packages include turning to Xfce as opposed to OpenBox, Network Manager is now included, ubuntu-mythtv-frontend is now used, and new mythbuntu-control-centre features. Some of the other changes include a new GTK theme, enhanced LIRC support for USB devices, and new usplash artwork. Mythbuntu can also be installed via an existing Ubuntu installation. More information is available in the Mythbuntu 7.10 Public Beta release notes.
It was just thirteen days ago that Zap2It Labs had dropped their free XML listing service used by MythTV and other open-source media programs, but Schedules Direct has already reached its second milestone. Schedules Direct is the paid service established by the demise of Zap2It Labs and with this second milestone the pricing has been lowered. Using Schedules Direct will cost $15 USD per six month period, as opposed to three months previously. The next planned milestone by Schedules Direct is to offer their XML listing service for $20 USD per year. Find out more about these lower prices and extended membership on the Schedules Direct mailing list.
The latest addition to the *buntu family, Mythbuntu, has come out today with its fourth alpha release for Mythbuntu 7.10. This Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" based distribution is designed for MythTV media PCs while offering all of the benefits from Ubuntu. Mythbuntu 7.10 Public Alpha 4 delivers a number of improvements including Schedules Direct support, nvidia-settings and the AMDCCCLE for proprietary driver configuration, and a number of other fixes and advancements since Alpha 3. Find out more on the Alpha 4 announcement page.
With Schedules Direct now open for business, MythTV 0.20.2 has been released. MythTV 0.20.2 removes the Zap2It Labs free listings but now officially supports Schedules Direct. The memory consumption for mythfrontend has also been reduced by up to 75%, mythfrontend will also startup faster, and better scaling and anti-aliasing are among the other improvements. There is also a number of fixes and MythTV plug-in updates for MythTV 0.20.2. The release notes for MythTV 0.20.2 are available at MythTV.org.
Schedules Direct, the pay-to-use replacement for MythTV enthusiasts currently using Zap2It Labs for obtaining TV listings, has now gone live and is accepting customers. Schedules Direct will currently cost you $15 USD per three months, but prices are expected to drop by next year. Zap2It Labs is shutting down their free service on September 1st. The official announcement can be read here.
Earlier this year Zap2It Labs revealed they would be discontinuing their free XML schedule service that allowed United States users to get their local TV listings for free. These free listings are ending in September and led many to fear how they would be getting their listings for MythTV.
Last month Zap2It Labs announced that it would be discontinuing its free TV listings service through XML, which MythTV users inside of the United States depend upon for listing data. However, there is now hope that there will be a viable replacement by the time Zap2It eliminates their service in September of this year. Announced on the MythTV development list was word that representatives from a number of free software projects are working on the replacement. Specific details are still being kept secret, but Easy TV Data is being setup as a non-profit organization to provide free TV listings. More information should be available shortly.
The first public alpha release of Mythbuntu 7.04 is now available for download. Mythbuntu is based upon Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" and combined back-end/front-end for MythTV v0.20. All MythTV plug-ins also ship with Mythbuntu. For more information on Ubuntu and MythTV you can check out our recent article entitled Building An Ubuntu MythTV Box. More on Mythbuntu is available from their project website.
A new version of MythTV -- the popular Linux-based PVR application for media/HTPCs -- has been released. MythTV v0.20 delivers a new menu system, improved internal DVD player, support for DVB radio channels, and mouse support. The MythArchive plug-in for MythTV also supports recording directly to DVDs. More information can be found at MythTV.org.
This Linux distribution is relatively unheard of, in fact we hadn't even heard of it until the announcement came down early this morning on the Fedora marketing list. MythDora, as the name implies, is a combination of the MythTV project and Fedora Core. Presently, MythDora is based upon Fedora Core 4 and ships with MythTV-0.19. Several MythTV modules are also included. Beta test 2.22 is available at this time, however, MythDora v2.1 is stable at this time. More information on MythDora is likely to come in the near future, and the project's home-page is here.
We at Phoronix have just received a message from MythDora's Dennis Hand. While not listed on the project's page, the message states the MythDora testing ISOs are available from the ATRPMS server. The link to the MythDora v2.2 testing ISOs are available here. Be aware of warnings in this testing version and all bugs found are asked to be reported to the project's website. If you are unfamiliar with MythDora, we have a news posting from earlier in the day.
Based on the success of our first system build log (How to Build an Ultimate Gaming PC), Corsair has just published another system build log. This time we dive into the details of building a home theater PC. From component selection, system build, software installation, to watching and recording TV - we have every step covered in great details! Over 100 photos to document the process to show your readers how easy it is to put a HTPC together. This guide in its entirety can be read here.
173 Multimedia news articles published on Phoronix.