Smooth 1080p h264 playback on Linux

I’ve been struggling for quite some time trying to get 1080p content to play smoothly on my MythTV pc. I managed to get good playback of 720p files by compiling mplayer myself and using a recent version of the closed source nvidia driver.

Playing back 1080p content however, was still a problem. I was never able to get smooth playback with mplayer. Only the xbmc videoplayer could play 1080p smoothly on my system. XBMC is not an option due to the WAF, it has to be something that runs from MythTV.

Fooling around with coreavc-for-linux (I love CoreAVC on Windows) got me nowhere. Recompiling, tweaking and updating mplayer/nvidia/xorg, nothing seemed to work.

Until I tried a new version of mplayer from the Debian Multimedia repositories. The mplayer version in that repository has support for a new feature in the linux nvidia drivers that (finally) allows video decoding on the GPU.

The easy steps to get this to work:

  • Download and install the new nvidia linux drivers (180+)
  • Add the Debian Multimedia repository to your sources.list
  • Install mplayer from the new Debian Multimedia repository
  • Start mplayer with ‘-vo vdpau -vc ffh264vdpau’

More than a year of tweaking and tinkering made redundant by these easy steps, excellent!

One thought on “Smooth 1080p h264 playback on Linux

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