Now that I finally have a fix to lousy QAM256 reception with my good old TT-C2300 (btw, if you own a CableStar device, please test the patch, I really think it should be applied as I know quite a few people hitting this issue), I decided to give H.264 reception a try. In order to enable vdr-1.6.0 to receive those streams you will have to apply the HD patch from Reinhard Nissl. For DVB-C the second version of the patch is sufficient as DVB-S2 is a non-issue here.

For the hardy VDR package applying the patch meant that I had to drop the jumpplay patch as that had conflict and I didn’t bother resolving it. Once you have the patched VDR up and running you will have to add a H.264 channel to your channels.conf manually. Luckily there’s one FTA HD channel available over here: Anixe HD.

Now, the good news is that VDR will successfully tune the channel and also record the stream containing H.264 video and AC3 audio. Unfortunately no software player is able to playback the file. MPlayer seems to be unable to parse the TS stream and xine segfaults when trying to decode the H.264 stream. Before crashing it will complain that interlaced PAFF is not implemented in ffmpeg, which is a known issue when you – like me – own a AVCHD camcorder.

As I know these issues are heavily being worked on I built a fresh MPlayer from SVN as that will also pull the ffmpeg trunk. The bad news is that MPlayer is still not capable to detect the video inside the TS stream, however, the good news is that when I tested the new build on a few of my AVCHD M2TS files the PAFF warnings had vanished! w00t! There were a few minor errors and my old desktop is still too slow for fluent playback, but it seems like once I have a new, more powerful system up and running I might actually be able to playback (and edit?) my AVCHD recordings.

And once I get xine to use the current ffmpeg trunk I might even be able to watch HDTV via DVB-C.

Goodbye Frame Drops

It’s seems as if this site is a rather powerful wish list! It took exactly 11 days from my hope for other artists to follow in the footsteps of RADIOHEAD (suggesting to offer FLAC encoded files instead of MP3 encoded ones) until Saul Williams did just that. And now, less than a month after my request for multi-threaded H.264 decoding in ffmpeg, I finally have a build of MPlayer’s 1.0rc2 release running on my laptop that can playback the 1080p version of this BBC clip without dropping frames. Excellent!

Building it was a pain though. I started off using gutsy’s 1.0rc1 package, but I had to patch ‘rules‘ quite heavily until I had a package (that still runs scripts on installation that cause dpkg to fail). No wonder it won’t show up in gutsy any time soon. Once installed one has to run the new mplayer with -lavdopts fast:threads=2 in order to make the H.264 decoder use two threads instead of one. Even though it’s considered experimental it worked flawlessly for all the files I tried it on.

Now I’ll have to figure out, what to wish for next…