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I have built a media PC for my TV. I am using the on-board video which is a RadeonHD 3200. I am currently using the radeonhd driver. I am trying to get smooth full screen video playback at 1920x1080 resolution. I've had to overclock the video to almost twice it's stock speed to get mostly smooth playback with DVDs and other video at SD resolution.
I'm assuming if I have trouble playing SD video at 1920x1080 resolution, playing HD video or Blu-Ray is going to be much worse.
So my question is, is anyone using a stand alone ATI card with the radeonhd driver for HD video? If so, what model/card etc...
I'm not looking for a high end gaming card, just great HD video playback. BTW, I'd like not to use the FGLRX driver unless necessary.
Over clocking the video card will not help with video playback. Also Xorg drivers does not support VA API or XvMC for ATI graphic cards, so your processor is doing all the work. Make sure your media players includes multi-threaded H.264 and they are accelerated using MMX and SSE or else you will see the computer to crawl.
In order to get smooth video make sure you understand to use pull-up and setting the FPS correctly that relates to the monitor's refresh rate when playing movies. This means both the monitor's refresh rate and the FPS of the video have to about the same. If there the difference is fractions, there will be problems. Also try using XVideo or OpenGL as the video output device. Third set the kernel in any preemptive mode (I use voluntary preemptive) and the timer interrupt frequency to 1000 Hz. These two options for the kernel gets Linux closer to low latency.
I have ATI graphic cards using Xorg drivers (radeon) and they have no problems with video playback. If you have problems then you are paranoid with the video playback which is giving you an illusion that the video is not smooth.
The hardware is a Biostar TA780G M2+ with an AMD Athlon X2 5000+ BE @ 3000 and 4 GB DDR2 800. The media player is SMPlayer. I've done a few tweaks to SMPlayer which helps. I switched from Xv to Xv radeon textured and post processing, multi-threading for mpeg1/2 and h.264. I also tried using the radeon driver instead of radeonhd, doesn't seem to make a difference.
If I set the resolution to 1440x900, full screen video is fine, but of course things like fonts and other small things aren't as sharp. I tried opengl output, it works, but it flickers whenever the mouse moves, and the video sits on top of everything, even when not in full screen.
I have compositing because I am using KDE 4. But I suspended compositing and opengl output works fine, but doesn't improve performance over Xv output. Xv output with compositing was the original settings. Oh, output seems to play fine at 1680x1050 resolution.
OK, so maybe textured Xv just has issues at such a high resolution, unfortunately. You could get away with opengl output, with compositing, if you enable KMS and DRI2, though I can't say whether or not there would be a performance hit.
I guess you could open a bug report or even try asking on #radeon on the Freenode irc network (just make sure you use a registered nick or you can't speak in #radeon).
Opengl output wasn't any better than Xv at 1920x1080. I tried KMS with the radeon driver and it broke compositing, radeonhd wouldn't even work with KMS. Maybe there are some tweaks I can do in xorg.conf.
# xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# Note that some configuration settings that could be done previously
# in this file, now are automatically configured by the server and settings
# here are ignored.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
# Option "AccelMethod" "EXA"
# Option "ColorTiling" "1"
# Option "GARTSize" "64"
# Option "BusType" "PCIE"
# Option "AccelDFS" "1"
# Option "EnableDepthMoves" "1"
# Option "EnablePageFlip" "1"
Identifier "Configured Monitor"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
Device "Configured Video Device"
Option "Composite" "Enable"
Yes, radeonhd does not support KMS. If you want to use KMS you'd have to use radeon. If you do try KMS with radeon, and still run into problems, post your /var/log/Xorg.0.log file here again. Having said that, I doubt that using KMS will improve the video playback problems you are having at that resolution.
I'm just wondering if a better ATI card would help. My laptop is a 1800mhz Turion (1 core) with a radeon xpress 200M, and that can barely run KDE 4s effects at 1920x1080, but has no issues @ 1280x800 with the radeon driver.
Today I was able to try an HD 1080p movie, encoded with h264 in mkv (8135MB for 103 minutes). It played well, even in scenes with lots of motion. Only in one scene some frames were dropped, and that might just be the encoding.
At the moment, it seems only XviD has the playback issues. It's not bad, but in scenes with a lot of action, I get a little video tearing? (top of video sometimes lags a couple frames behind in some spots).