VDPAU was one of the big topics here on this blog for quite a while. Mplayer was well known to work together with VDPAU and Nvidia’s graphics cards >= 8xxx from almost the very beginning. But not Xine. The developers of Xine didn’t run mplayer’s approach, which was almost nothing else, but the code reuse of the code Nvidia itself published for their VDPAU driver.
The developers of Xine, respectively xine-lib decided that their code should be pristine, hence VDPAU implementation wasn’t available at the beginning, and even months later one could only test a very unstable version of it. Well – now – more than one year later, after Nvidia published its first video driver for hardware based H.264 acceleration, and Karmic Koala being in the starting blocks with its native support for the e.g. Skystar HD, it’s time to have a closer look at the VDR support for HDTV with
vdr-plugin-xine; playback with xine)
vdr-plugin-libxineoutput; playback with vdr-sxfe).
These are – as far as I know – the only two candidates right now, which are able to make use of the hardware accelerated decoding of a H.264 transport stream.
There are a lot of HOWTOs and Blogs out there, which describes how to make xine go with VDPAU. Also this site reported on a few occasions  about it.
But what they and me almost all had in common, was the very experimental nature. Those days making Xine work with VDPAU was more like a open heart surgery. You risked a non-working system, after you manually disabled/removed Nvidias VDPAU driver and the xine-lib development environment.
What we’ve missed those days were binary packages (preferable Debian 😉 ). Thanks to some busy activists we do have them today, but they are still experimental. The DVB driver is as of Linux kernel 2.6.30 built in, and is loaded while boot time automatically. The only downer at the moment, is that you still have to mess with your
/etc/apt/sources.list, and Launchpad and its Personal Packaging System (PPA) has lowered peoples’ inhibition threshold in touching and trusting alien packages, err – including me.
However – I will show in a few easy steps, how VDR can handle HDTV (720p/1080i) with Karmic Koala (Ubuntu 9.10) using Nvidia’s H.264 decoding on hardware (VDPAU). Of course you don’t need Nvidia to make it work. A high-end Intel Core i7 would to the job also, or you could also try CoreAVC. Before you begin, I’d like you to consider a few things:
- Free To Air (FTA) HDTV channels in Europe are mostly available in German language via Satellite Astra
- I don’t know anything about the HDTV situation in North-and South America or Asia.
- This HOWTO doesn’t handle any usage of the CAM-interface for encrypted channels.
- My DVB-S2 card is a Skystar HD
- The underlying system is Linux x86_64 on a Intel Core Q6600 and a Nvidia 8500GT graphics card
Since Karmic it’s possible to add a PPA by using e.g. the KPackageKit. Do the following:
- Open on KDE4 (Classic Menu Style) System -> KPackageKit (Software Management)
- Go to Settings and then Edit Software Sources
- A new window appears. Choose the tab labeled Other Software and hit the Add… button.
- An input text field appears now. Add
ppa:hotzenplotz5/ppaand hit OK
- Select the reload button on closing
You can also add it manually by creating a file
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/hotzenplotz5-ppa-karmic.list, and adding this into it:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/hotzenplotz5/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
aptitude update on the command line afterwards.
Read on the next page about Installation, Configuration, Launching, etc.