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8 August 2010

So, I bought a blu-ray drive... [Part 2]

This is the follow-up to the part 1.

Update to the part 1

In the first part, I was wrong when I said that there were 4 programs scheduled to start with Windows... There are 5 of them...

Oh, and one of them (the LG fwupdate.exe) requires UAC to launch, and asks for permission at each start... Oh, why?!?

Initial success over HDCP

Whatever, I've spent some time to fight the HDCP problem... I will not detail all the steps I went through here, but the solution.

Funnily, the only way I could play the BD, was to replace by DVI cable with a VGA cable, since my Monitor is able to get input from VGA. My GPU only has a DVI, so a VGA/DVI convertor was used.

Initial success

Going the VGA way helped me to have a playback with PowerDVD of more than 3 seconds. Yay!

A few questions though:

  • Is it full resolution? No idea!
  • So, using VGA is ok, but not DVI? Don't you think I can copy the same?
  • Why is PowerDVD deactivating Aero? It is 2010, and Vista has been out since more than 3 years...
  • Why is the taskbar still on top when I play with PowerDVD? Very nice to playback a Video with it above...
  • Why can't I navigate in the menus with the mouse?

Anyway, I can play one disc, so let's say that I won almost a point on it:
Blu-Ray: 1 - 1 :JB

Initial failure

Let's be a bit less optimistic though, out of the 4 BD-Video, 2 of them play, 2 don't...

No error messages, updated drive, software, player, nothing to do...

Maybe I'll install another player, like WinDVD...

6 August 2010

So, I bought a blu-ray drive... [Part 1]

Going to buy a drive

Today, after getting out of work, I went to buy a Blu-Ray drive, so I can watch HD movies on my computer.

My computer is a big tower, with eSata and a few drives and enough horsepower to decode those Hi-Def movies. I even have a Windows 7 on it!
So, it should be working.

I went to my local computer store and bought a LG drive, pretty standard one.

Drive Installation

It took me some times to plug everything in, since my tower is a bit crowed, and my easy-to-access eSata ports are running short :D

Reboot and everything... Tada, it will work now :D

First playback... or not... and more installation

I put my new MGM movie in it. WMP12 doesn't like it at all:

"Windows Media Player cannot play the DVD. The disc was created in a manner that the Player does not support". Bleh, I'll try the software from the DVD delivered with the drive.

Installation

I then install Blu-Ray Power Suite with a lot of software and PowerDVD installing 160MB of mess (why that much?). And I reboot.

After reboot, PowerDVD warns me about updates. I download 100MB from Internet and install them and reboot...

And so does the LG drive update firmware... And reboot...

At each start-up, they launches 4 software to enable "me": brs.exe, PDVDServ.exe, Language.exe and fwupdate.exe. Why? Oh, why?

Second playback... or not...

Now that all is up-to-date, I can play movies, yay... not!

At each start, PowerDVD switches back from Aero to Basic colors and ask me to register: "I DON'T WANT TO REGISTER, YOU BAST**D"!

And, it still doesn't work, with any of my discs, because it wants HDCP, and I use my old DVI to connect to my screen...

Conclusion

Blu-Ray: 1 - 0 :JB

Let's see how this will go on: in part 2.

19 April 2009

Decoding video in VLC using VAAPI and nVidia

I know Phoronix people don't come around here, and that most people reading this blog don't care, but anyway...

GPU video decoding on Linux

On linux, decoding video using GPU means different standards:

Fortunately, we can use VDPAU (nVidia) as a backend to VAAPI. And there is a very nice library, named libva.

VLC and VAAPI

So far, most patches were done on MPlayer and FFmpeg, but here we go:

VLC - VAAPI

The sample is a M2TS with H.264 encoded at 32Mbps. Decoding is done without audio and subs and with a command line interface.

Performances

The perfs are quite nice, but they might be better. Why?

Because we don't output directly the video, we just take it back from the decoder, so we have a lot of memcpy, which explains why the decoding could be faster, but isn't...

Does this mean I can decode using GPU and then restream using VLC?

In theory, yes. Not tested yet :D

16 January 2008

CES 2008 : technologies

Introduction

Voilà un petit résumé de ce que j'ai pensé du CES. Et contrairement aux autres articles, celui-ci est en français.

CES 2008

Le CES de Las Vegas est le plus grand salon international portant sur l’électronique grand public. C’est un salon riche en annonces marketing mais qui présente des nouvelles technologies et dégage les grandes tendances du marché que nous allons essayer de présenter ici.

Ce CES nous a montré l’omniprésence de la haute définition, la simplification des interfaces utilisateurs, la convergence des appareils et les communications inter-appareils, l’importance de la consommation d’énergie et de l’importance du design des appareils.

HD

A propos de la haute définition (HD), la norme est le 1080p (résolution de 1920x1080 en format 16:9 en trames non-entrelacées). Cette résolution se retrouve dans les lecteurs optiques, caméscopes, les appareils photos, les câbles (HDMI 1.3 est la norme) et les télévisions. La bataille entre les formats optiques semble être gagnée par le Blu-Ray au détriment de l’HD-DVD et le codec vidéo de référence pour la HD est le H.264 au détriment du VC-1, et de nombreux appareils comportent des circuits pour compenser les défauts de ce codec. Les meilleures télévisions sont ultrafines, ont un design très travaillé, des diagonales supérieurs à 100 pouces et utilisent des fréquences de rafraichissement de 120Hz pour améliorer la fluidité des images.

Connexions

Au niveau des connexions, plusieurs technologies sans-fils entrent en concurrence afin de connecter tous les appareils en HD et sans aucune action de l’utilisateur. Panasonic utilise des fréquences de 60Ghz pour son « Wireless HD », l’USB-W essaye de s’imposer mais on trouve l’utilisation du Wifi 802.11n (2.4Ghz) et 802.11a (5.0Ghz) ou de la bande des 5.8Ghz. Aucun réel standard ne semble encore se détacher.

Simplification

La convergence et la simplification des interfaces, dont l’iPhone est un bon exemple, sont devenues un élément clé et permettent de connecter les appareils et créer des réseaux, échanger des photos, des vidéos et des documents et automatiser tous ces appareils sans aucune connaissance technique. Cette tendance se retrouve dans l’ensemble des appareils du salon.

Divers

Alors que la plupart des appareils utilisent des standards et que les fonctionnalités se valent, les constructeurs essayent de se démarquer en se focalisant sur le design et sur la faible consommation des appareils.

Enfin, l’importance du domaine ludique par rapport aux années précédentes donne une nouvelle importance aux loisirs à la maison.

8 January 2008

CES Inside: Day 1 (South Hall)

Long day ahead

I tried to do all the South Hall this day. There are the most interesting and numerous stands.

Panasonic keynote

Beside the bu*****t marketing, there were a few good innovations that gave the tone to the whole CES:

  • Bigger screens
  • HD 1080p and more everywhere
  • Wireless technologies inside the components
  • Easier to use for everyone, software is important
  • Huge future market for more products

Best things

Computers

Dell and HP are fighting in a couple of different ways. One of them is the gaming systems. Dell Alienware and HP Blackbird/Voodoo where difficult to avoid at the entry of the southern hall up-stage.

This was pretty interesting since neither nVidia nor ATI came to the CES. A few innovations were present and tested, but this was mainly already seen things. This was the first time I had seen a triple SLI in action.

Those machines are way too expensive and consume too much power, but I can understand those as a vitrine technologique.

Sound

The sound was honored by all the stands.

Creative was one of the most visible, with a pretty big stand, and focusing on high-market, gamer market and quality stereo headphones.

iRiver, my beloved Cowon and most of the big players were here.

A lot of the stands that weren't focused on sound had some loud volume too to attract tourists :D.

Home Cinema

The CES is the paradize of TVs.

Almost every stand had hundred of huge HD TV, using Plasma or LCD (Samsung and sharp being the master of LCD, Panasonic of Plasma), but all displaying 1080p or 4k streams, using 120hz (or even 240hz for TI). A lot of stands had motion algorithm for image and compression compensation.

So high quality, LCD getting better and better, content quality, compensation and HD everywhere.

New codecs for home cinema: DTS Master Audio, H264 High profile, Dolby TrueHD are the clear winners. I haven't seen a lot of VC-1 nor all the intermediate dts and dolby codecs.

I have tried a few 3D displays which seems to be interesting and working. I am not sure they will be in my living-room tomorrow...

Multimedia

I have spend some time on the DivX, RealNetwork, Gracenote, MusicIP stands. They seem to make the most money on CE integration and services for manufacturer and on music platform for consumer than anything else.

I didn't thought that before.

Streaming

Every storage manufacturer has a media server, every wifi, sound or codec company have their home media center to stream everything to the TV. And some are using VLC.

Storage

Flash everywhere, SSD, Hybrid disks, and miniSD cards of 32GB were on the top of the CES.

Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD. Unfortunately, Blu-Ray has clearly won the CES2008 battle. Consumers will loose. :'(

2008 might be the year of the SSD ?