I am a musician, a taker of pictures, a rider of bikes, a father to plants, and roller of skateboards (no tricks). And I advocate Free Software and GNU/Linux.

 

Fullscreen flash video in GNU/Linux

First, if you are unfamiliar with the problem, go to YouTube, pick any video, and double-click on the video, or click on the little fullscreen icon, and you’ll see that the video begins to get really slow, and choppy, from dropping frames.

If you continue to move your mouse, so that the flash player doesn’t go idle, the video will continue to play, but really slow, and choppy. Stop moving your mouse, letting the flash player fade the controls, and start moving your mouse again, the video will almost completely stop, and Firefox will start using an ungodly amount of CPU.

So get out of the fullscreen view, by pressing “Esc” for a few seconds, and when ever the video shows another frame. Stop the video, but leave the page open, I’ll explain why a below.

Now, go to Vimeo (www.vimeo.com) pick any random video, and click on the little fullscreen icon. You should see the video play niiiiiiiicccce and smooth, provided you have hardware capable of playing fullscreen flash video under any operating system. So get out of the fullscreen view, by pressing “Esc”. Stop the video, but leave the page open, I’ll explain why a below.

Now go to your /tmp/ directory, right click on the file in that directory that starts with “Flash” and followed by random letters and numbers, it’d look something like this “FlashNMm6mO”, make sure it’s the one from YouTube, and then click on “Properties” or something to that effect depending on whether you’re using GNOME, KDE, or Xfce, on Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. In “Properties” click “Audio/Video” or something to that effect, like Metadata, or Info.

Here’s what I think is causing the problem. You will see that the Codec is always “H.264/AVC Video”, and that’s it, H.264 is probably not supported enough in GNU/Linux for efficient playback. Also a lot of chips have H.264 acceleration, which might also not be supported enough in GNU/Linux for efficient playback.

In the /tmp/ directory, right click on the file in that directory that starts with “Flash” and followed by random letters and numbers, it’d look something like this “FlashV09H2h”, make sure it’s the one from Vimeo, and then click on “Properties”, In “Properties” click “Audio/Video”, blah, blah, blah.

You will see that the Codec is, whatever, it can be “H.264/AVC Video” or “On2 VP6 Video”. And On2 is the same company that released what we now call Ogg into the Public Domain, videos in “On2 VP6 Video” play nice and smooth, like my video here, videos in “H.264/AVC Video” play but still a little choppy.

In conclusion, it is likely a H.264 problem, with the added effect of the badly scripted YouTube flash player. That being said, Google intends to buy On2 for 106.5 million dollars, so maybe YouTube will gain the same quality video playback that Vimeo currently has.


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