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Thread: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllrrrighty then.

    Update for Lucid/Maverick:

    Lucid and Maverick already have everything you need. Furthermore, Maverick has va-api integrated into VLC. When you install VLC, it will pull in everything you want except vdpau-va-driver (for nvidia chips) or i965-va-driver (for Intel gma4500 or newer chips) -- install them manually. If you have a newer ATI/AMD chip (Radeon HD xxxx) you can go here to install the xvba-video package for your arch:
    http://www.splitted-desktop.com/~gbe...ne/xvba-video/
    Note: you have to be using the fglrx graphics driver we all love so much for this to work, and even then there's no guarantee.
    So, Maverick has to be one of the first Linux distros that includes support for hardware-accelerated video decoding on almost any graphics chip made in the past couple of years. How freakin' cool is that?

    BTW, future nvidia/amd driver updates can be found in the X-Updates PPA here:
    https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat/+archive/x-updates

    Update for Karmic:

    This PPA contains updated mplayer/smplayer builds, xine-vdpau, all the latest Nvidia drivers, a kaffeine build for DVB-S2 users, the latest libvdpau library and vdpauinfo packaged for Ubuntu. A lot of it is packaged for multiple distros. You still must configure smplayer as described below.

    If you know you want this, skip the preamble. If not, indulge me. Why should you want this? The h.264/x.264 decoding. This codec is extremely CPU intensive. My system, which is a Quad core with an 8800GT, can't play 1080 x264 files if the bitrate is ~10mbps. Not with a guarantee of smoothness the whole way through. So if that rig can't do it, yours probably can't either. With the setup described below, my system plays those files smoothly as an android's bottom. And mplayer's CPU usage is 1% every time, no exceptions. This is what it's like when your video card's manufacturer cares about their customers. Before you proceed: VDPAU does not work with Xinerama, but does work with Twinview.

    With these instructions, I'm assuming some knowledge of the terminal and package installation, Synaptic and PPAs. These instructions are not basic enough for a total newbie. That's intentional on my part. You should not be trying to bugger around with this stuff unless you know what you're doing to start with.

    If you want to use the Restricted Drivers Manager to enable the driver, make sure you install the modaliases package. If not, make sure the nvidia driver is in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Not much else needs to be there. Something like this would be sufficient:

    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Default Screen"
    DefaultDepth 24
    EndSection

    Section "Module"
    Load "glx"
    EndSection

    Section "Device"
    Identifier "Default Device"
    Driver "nvidia"
    Option "NoLogo" "True"
    EndSection
    There's something about Nvidia's numbering system that should be understood. The 8800GTX won't work with VDPAU. Why? Because it was actually released before some of the other 8k series cards that have the newer PureVideo 2 hardware. The 8800GTS 512 will work though. Confusing enough? All 9k cards and GTX cards will work, as well as all other 8k cards (that I know of). No 7k or older cards will work, nor will any AGP card that I know of.

    I would avoid installing the regular mplayer package, because it contains the long-obfuscated gmplayer gui. Use another gui. After you install mplayer-nogui run:

    $mplayer -vo vdpau -vc ffh264vdpau path/to/file
    Test your x264-encoded MKV files.

    Now to Smplayer. This, for those that don't know, is a QT frontend to mplayer with lots of neat options. The best frontend for mplayer in my view. Gnome-Mplayer is also very good, and is a new gtk gui. The Nvidia VDPAU Team PPA has Smplayer and so does Karmic.

    If you don't want to use it, fine. If you do, read on. Once you've got it installed, select Options>Preferences. Click on the Video tab. Change the output driver to VDPAU. You should now be able to use Smplayer with the mplayer backend and play all x264 flicks and standard DVDs with little or no CPU usage. For all other files, Smplayer will automatically select the appropriate codec.

    VDPAU support has been added to Xine and the aforementioned PPA has xine-vdpau packages.

    Mythbuntu builds with vpdau: http://mythbuntu.org/auto-builds
    XBMC builds with vdpau: https://launchpad.net/~team-xbmc/+archive/ppa

    And so we arrive, as you knew we must, at VLC. VLC is available with vdpau by way of VA-API, in this PPA: https://launchpad.net/~nvidia-vdpau/...dge-multimedia
    However, to install it you'll have to upgrade your precious and very touchy ffmpeg packages. There have been a couple of SONAME upgrades since Karmic's ffmpeg was released, and this will inevitably result in breakage of anything that A) uses dynamic ffmpeg, and B) is not rebuilt against the new version, ie. every package that's on your system that didn't come from that PPA. The gstreamer-ffmpeg package will ensure that your gstreamer system will still work, and there's a build of xine-1.2 (currently unstable) for KDE users. It's possible that in the near future the intel 965 va-api driver might appear in that PPA as well.

    Feed me Seymour, Feed me!

    References:
    Stephen Warren talking about level 4.1 limits in the previous drivers
    Line 94 and 704 hacks
    Wikipedia page on PureVideo
    List of supported Cards/Chips
    Last edited by AdrianVeidt; October 5th, 2010 at 03:55 AM. Reason: Updated for Maverick.

  2. #2
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    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    Thanks AdrianVeidt for the explanation about how to get vdpau working.

    Two little remarks for new users:
    - The headers of the nvidia drivers are also necessary. In other words you also have to install the ...-dev package of the 180.nn nvidia drivers.
    - In the meantime there is an updated script on nvidia ftp site to checkout, patch and compile mplayer.

    One question:
    For smplayer to work I have to type in the terminal:
    sudo chmod 666 /dev/nvi*
    Otherwise I have:
    crw-rw---- 1 root video 195, 0 2009-01-28 20:25 /dev/nvidia0
    crw-rw---- 1 root video 195, 255 2009-01-28 20:25 /dev/nvidiactl
    Is this normal?

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    HI

    for hardy package xine-lib-vdpau-enabled:

    http://www.edsplanet.ugu.pl/xine_0.01-1_i386.deb

    vdr patched, for vdr-1.6.0 & vdr-xine-0.8.2 plugin

    regards.

  4. #4
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    frafu: I don't think the headers are necessary. I don't have the dev packages myself. I updated my previous post with some new information. Your two nvidia-created /dev files were created with the wrong permissions, but I don't know why and I don't think it will affect other users. That's not an smplayer issue, it's an issue with the nvidia driver specifically.

  5. #5
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    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    Hello AdrianVeidt,

    About the headers: If I remember correctly, I got an error indicating that it could not find vdpau.h and vdpau_x11.h until I installed the nvidia-180-libvdpau-dev package.

    Concerning the nvidia-created /dev files: Thanks for telling me that the problem is due to the nvidia drivers. In fact, I have to do the permission change every time that I restart the computer. I am using version 180.22 of the nvidia drivers that are shipping with Ubuntu Jaunty. Let's hope that it will be solved in a future update.

    Cheers

  6. #6
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    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    Thanks very much for your post, it's much appreciated. Do you know if the VDPAU patches have been mainlined into mplayer SVN?

  7. #7
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    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    frafu: you're correct. Those files were on my system from an old installation of the 180.22 driver. I have added the appropriate instructions to the original post.
    mocha: the newest mplayer svn still requires two vdpau patches to be applied, so I guess not.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    this how to is quite old for now
    i wrote a new one

    ***/ssa works great on lastest mplayer
    http://beterhans.blogspot.com/2009/0...based-deb.html

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    11

    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    This how to has been kept up to date, it worked great for me on my 9.04 system. But nice job on your how-to as well.


    Also, a note for anyone experiencing tearing in the video (lack of vsync?) I upgraded to 190.13.18 drivers and am having perfect performance from it... also no snow bug, and compiz enabled and working better than ever.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: HOWTO: Nvidia Driver + VDPAU + Smplayer +Mplayer

    This combo of mpalyer/smplayer and latest Nvidia drivers 180.x onwards HAS accelerated my 7600GS. I KNOW that Nvidia says it should'nt but it does. I have a reference x264/mkv file with 720p that was stuttering and unplayable before. But now it works fine on my 7600GS AGP and P4 2,8 Ghz. So all Nvidia owners of 6600 cards and up should try! The case might be different for 1080p and other settings in the x264 files, I don't know.
    Karmic on a Shuttle K45 and on a Pentium 4.

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