Mailing List Archive

Laptop recommendation for HD MythTV
Hi all,

I've followed this list for a very long time and know a fair bit about
VAAPI, VDPAU etc. We are looking to buy a new midrange laptop.

The most strenuous thing that we do on our computers is play HD video.
Ideally, we could use the laptop as an alternate frontend if the other
person is watching the main TV. I am therefore interested in finding out
what people have found are the minimum requirements for a laptop to play
NZ FreeviewHD in MythTV.

I realise that the easiest option would be an nVidia card that supports
VDPAU. I would prefer to stick to support ATi because of their support
of Free Linux drivers, if it isn't going to be a lifetime of headaches.
Has anyone managed to get MythTV working with VAAPI and ATi on NZ
FreeviewHD content (yes, I realise that this hypocritically requires the
non-Free ATi drivers)? How about the video chip built into the Intel
i3/i5? I've read:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Choosing_Frontend_Hardware#Hardware_Playback

I understand that ffmpeg has now merged in the ffmpeg-mt branch. Is the
ffmpeg in MythTV now multithreaded for non-sliced content? If so, what
kind of processor is necessary to decode HD H.264? I have read
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Choosing_Frontend_Hardware#Software_Playback

I'll be running Ubuntu on it, so clearly strong Ubuntu support is a
must. As I've hinted at, I would prefer one that used no non-Free
drivers/firmware.

Thanks in advance!

Aaron

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Re: Laptop recommendation for HD MythTV [ In reply to ]
VAAPI Works with MythTV on most recent ATI hardware, and has done for
a while now.

I use XBMC as a frontend in these situations to tvheadend (rather than
Myth) - PVR functionality is still no where near Myth... it does the
trick.

Nvidia is still a better bet if you don't want to muck around as much
and trust to proprietary blobs, you will almost certainly need to be
running catalyst drivers (ati's binary blob) anyway... so really you
are not gaining much. If you want a truely FOSS solution (but crappier
performing) you can use any intel core integrated chip from Ironlake
onwards... I have 2 laptops with i965 (ironlake) graphics and VAAPI
support is pretty good now - supporting a few different H264 profiles.

Any of the New A8/A6 integrated APU's from ATI/AMD are very good value
for performance, and there are alot of cheap HTPC's based on either
these or the older E series APU's ... all work pretty well.

-JoelW

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Re: Laptop recommendation for HD MythTV [ In reply to ]
On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 6:22 PM, Joel Wiramu Pauling <joel@aenertia.net> wrote:
> VAAPI Works with MythTV on most recent ATI hardware, and has done for
> a while now.

Only if you use 0.25 as far as I understand. (Listed as a new feature
in 0.25 release notes http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Release_Notes_-_0.25)

VAAPI does not offer all of the features that nVidia/VDPAU offer.
nVidia drivers have great support for EDID problems and other features
that are a real bonus for an HTPC. Of course in a laptop with a built
in screen that may not be a problem, but if you want to HDMI it to
random TVs/Screens then it may be even more of an issue.

Also ATi cards do not de-interlace in hardware, meaning you still need
to have a grunty CPU for that function. Whether that goes for VAAPI as
a whole, or just ATi cards I do not know.

>
> I use XBMC as a frontend in these situations to tvheadend (rather than
> Myth) - PVR functionality is still no where near Myth... it does the
> trick.
>

Out of interest are you using mythbox or some other plugin?

> Nvidia is still a better bet if you don't want to muck around as much
> and trust to proprietary blobs, you will almost certainly need to be
> running catalyst drivers (ati's binary blob) anyway... so really you
> are not gaining much. If you want a truely FOSS solution (but crappier
> performing) you can use any intel core integrated chip from Ironlake
> onwards... I have 2 laptops with i965 (ironlake) graphics and VAAPI
> support is pretty good now - supporting a few different H264 profiles.
>
> Any of the New A8/A6 integrated APU's from ATI/AMD are very good value
> for performance, and there are alot of cheap HTPC's based on either
> these or the older E series APU's ... all work pretty well.
>
> -JoelW
>
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Re: Laptop recommendation for HD MythTV [ In reply to ]
On Wed, April 4, 2012 7:38 pm, Nick Rout wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 6:22 PM, Joel Wiramu Pauling <joel@aenertia.net>
> wrote:
>> VAAPI Works with MythTV on most recent ATI hardware, and has done for
>> a while now.
>
> Only if you use 0.25 as far as I understand. (Listed as a new feature
> in 0.25 release notes http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Release_Notes_-_0.25)

Anyone here tried the VAAPI support and can report on some compatible
hardware?


--------------------------------------------
Steven Ellis - Technical Director
OpenMedia Limited - The Home of myPVR
email - steven@openmedia.co.nz
website - http://www.openmedia.co.nz

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Re: Laptop recommendation for HD MythTV [ In reply to ]
On 4 April 2012 15:24, Aaron Whitehouse <lists@whitehouse.org.nz> wrote:

> VDPAU. I would prefer to stick to support ATi because of their support
> of Free Linux drivers, if it isn't going to be a lifetime of headaches.

I find this comment hilarious to be honest...
Their best drivers aren't open source, and best doesn't mean much as
they suck big time anyway

> Has anyone managed to get MythTV working with VAAPI and ATi on NZ
> FreeviewHD content (yes, I realise that this hypocritically requires the
> non-Free ATi drivers)? How about the video chip built into the Intel
> i3/i5? I've read:

precisely...

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Re: Laptop recommendation for HD MythTV [ In reply to ]
Hi Jean,

First up, thanks for all of your great work getting MythTV to work with
our strange breed of Freeview!

On 05/04/12 18:49, Jean-Yves Avenard wrote:
> On 4 April 2012 15:24, Aaron Whitehouse <lists@whitehouse.org.nz> wrote:
>> VDPAU. I would prefer to stick to support ATi because of their support
>> of Free Linux drivers, if it isn't going to be a lifetime of headaches.
> I find this comment hilarious to be honest...
> Their best drivers aren't open source, and best doesn't mean much as
> they suck big time anyway

I'll keep this brief, as this could quickly get off topic. As I
understand it, ATi have released the specs for all of their graphics
cards (with the exception of the video decoding part, which they say is
too close to the DRM stuff) and nVidia has released nothing. ATi funds a
team to work on Free software drivers. NVidia does not. Yes, nVidia
offers prettier "non-Free baubles", but I think it is hard to deny that
ATi is doing better by Free software.

But yes, working hardware video decoding would be great and I don't have
a huge amount of spare time to muck about making things work, so thanks
for the practical tips.

I don't pretend to be as militant as RMS about these things, but think
that it is important to choose the "Free-est" option where it is a
workable solution.

Aaron


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Re: Laptop recommendation for HD MythTV [ In reply to ]
On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 4:34 PM, Aaron Whitehouse
<lists@whitehouse.org.nz> wrote:
> Hi Jean,
>
> First up, thanks for all of your great work getting MythTV to work with
> our strange breed of Freeview!
>
> On 05/04/12 18:49, Jean-Yves Avenard wrote:
>> On 4 April 2012 15:24, Aaron Whitehouse <lists@whitehouse.org.nz> wrote:
>>> VDPAU. I would prefer to stick to support ATi because of their support
>>> of Free Linux drivers, if it isn't going to be a lifetime of headaches.
>> I find this comment hilarious to be honest...
>> Their best drivers aren't open source, and best doesn't mean much as
>> they suck big time anyway
>
> I'll keep this brief, as this could quickly get off topic. As I
> understand it, ATi have released the specs for all of their graphics
> cards (with the exception of the video decoding part, which they say is
> too close to the DRM stuff) and nVidia has released nothing. ATi funds a
> team to work on Free software drivers. NVidia does not. Yes, nVidia
> offers prettier "non-Free baubles", but I think it is hard to deny that
> ATi is doing better by Free software.
>
> But yes, working hardware video decoding would be great and I don't have
> a huge amount of spare time to muck about making things work, so thanks
> for the practical tips.
>
> I don't pretend to be as militant as RMS about these things, but think
> that it is important to choose the "Free-est" option where it is a
> workable solution.

I can't comment on your comparison of the freeness of ATi vs nVidia
but I have to say on the HTPC stakes the "works bestest" option is the
one I (and the wife/family) prefers, and for me that's nVidia.

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