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Hard drives are always the bottleneck when dealing with video files. Try setting up tmpfs to handle the space of the high definition video. By placing the video clip in memory, the hard drive will not be the bottleneck. Your RAM should send at least one gigabyte per second.
YV12 is only 12 bit of color (4 bit for red, 4 bit for green, and 4 bit for blue). If you include "-vf yuy2" when running mplayer, the quality of the picture quality can double. YUY2 provides about 16 bit color or 15 bits for the effective color for 16 bits (5 bits for red, 5 bits for green, and 5 bits for blue). Also it will use the video card to accellerate the video clip. You could include "-nosound" to mplayer to decrease the bandwidth or increase the video performance.
You can try to use sdl as the video output device, but run mplayer in verbose mode to make sure it does not do any downsampling to keep the 24 bit or 32 bit of color.
Both files that you posted are using lossy compression. Lossy compression will be blocky or also known as pixelated. The blockiness will only get worst when there is too much content. There are two things that video lossy compression use to compress. One is bit rate and the other is quantizer.
The cellfactor video has poor quality because the bitrate is not high enough to handle the content. The content of the cellfactor video is a lot and hard for the DiVx codec to get good compression ratios. Probably xViD will do a better job than DiVx. The cellfactor video is blocky not grainy. The term grainy is the video looks like colorful sand. The macbreak video is corrupted so there is no point to describe the quality.
You can try using the following commands when playing the cellfactor video.
The de video filter of pp includes verticle and horizontal deringing. It actually softens the video.
I suggest looking at the HD movie trailers at a apple.com. Use mplayerplug-in to download it, but manually use mplayer to play the movie trailers. You will have to include the -nosound option because FAAD2 codec will crash mplayer.
What I mean corrupted, I mean that the frames break up at the lower half of the video. Probably, it is a problem with the open source H.264 project or it is encyrpted. I assume that it works with the Apple's Quicktime Player.