This Space for Rent

Comparing mplayer to Quicktime on a Windows XP machine.

Like most of the rest of the online world, I've discovered Youtube and its huge collection of snarky outtakes from The Daily Show (as well as a few music videos.) Unfortunately, I've discovered these videos on a collection of machines that aren't quite up to modern cycle-eating standards, which means that if I look at a video on my laptop machine (a Toshiba Tecra 8200 running windows XP, which is a lot faster than when it was running Centos 4) flash-inside-the-browser takes up about 98% of the processor. This is not good, because it means that if I ever do anything like, oh, resizing a different window the whole video window comes to a screaming stop. So I started to look at other ways to view the videos. I found that I could export the flash video streams to files on the local machine, convert them to .mov files with ffmpeg, then view them with Quicktime.

This worked better than embedded flash -- it only takes about 70% of the machine, which meant that I actually had a fighting chance of being able to deal with the other windows without locking everything up, but if one of those other windows was a web browser a large page-slurp would make Quicktime lock up like a drum until it was finished.

Okay, so this wasn't quite perfect. It was probably good enough for production use, but I wondered if I could do better with the Windows version of mplayer, which I was already using on Linux (for everything except embedding in firestar -- I don't know if there's any way to actually embed mplayer, and the swiss army plugin uses X*n* instead, which has its own collection of dependencies, including (shudder) X11 ones), so I downloaded it and installed it on the windows box.

I just tested it out, and it uses, on average, 5% of the machine. Sure, it doesn't have a fancy button interface, and the sound goes completely to hell if you move the mplayer window, but I'll write those features completely off in exchange for getting 65% of the processor back.


with mediaplayerconnectivity firefox extension you can get a lot of videos to open with mplayer.

the plugin works in firefox on mac/windows/linux…

i’ve been using it on windows since wmp really freezes my box up.

compn Mon Sep 25 12:08:57 2006

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