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c4onastick 08-26-2006 10:52 PM

Freevo streaming from Samba performance issues
I'm running a Slackware server with all my media files (I ripped my DVD collection, some music etc.) I'm streaming them to a modded xbox (Xebian/Debian) whose sole purpose in life is to play media files. I'm running freevo, as the frontend, well xine more specifically. I'm getting some major jittery and skippy video playback when streaming from the server. I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for configuring Samba to stream better?

I threw a couple movies on one of my windows boxes, and it played perfectly, I've read that smb doesn't perform very well linux to linux, and that nfs works better. I would like to keep smb, since I have 5-6 windows boxes that I also stream video to.

Can I set up nfs on the same folder? Or am I going to get into trouble with samba and nfsd trying to share the same files?

(I've double checked on the server and the xbox. The server doesn't even crack 5% CPU usage, the xbox usually sits around 25-35% CPU usage. So I'm pretty sure that the weak link is the network here.)

maroonbaboon 08-31-2006 09:16 AM

I suspect the the wimpy CPU on the xbox may still be part of the problem. Even though it is not flat out it may have some bottleneck due to the small cache. Maybe also the small RAM size is causing swapping.

I have a modded xbox and linux Samba server also, but I'm running the XBox MediaCenter app. It plays MPEG4 video effortlessly across the network.

I would really suggest looking at XBMC as an alternative to Freevo. I know it is not linux but you can still extend it with Python scripts if you are into programming. It is a very slick piece of work.

I've tried Xebian also, but it seemed like a struggle for the XBox and had no functionality I needed beyond XBMC.

Otherwise I'm sure you can run NFS and Samba together with no problems.

c4onastick 08-31-2006 06:37 PM

Great thanks. I've done a few experiments (I'm actually not much of a programmer, I'm an engineer/scientist), using different configurations. I've streamed video from my server (Slackware 10.2, Athlon XP 1600+ 768Mb RAM) via smb and its all choppy and xine pops up that little box complaining about the dropped frame rate. I've streamed the same files, from one of my windows boxes (over the same wire) and it played fine! I also copied it to the xbox to see if it was the CPU, it also played fine from the xbox HD. I do agree with you that the CPU and cache and minuscule amount of RAM on the xbox are probably suspect here also. I did look into XBMC, I would like to add wireless to this xbox (all of this streaming I'm doing so far is via the 100BaseT connection built in), I wasn't sure that was entirely possible with XBMC. Plus I couldn't find a pre-built version to work with, and because of the legality concerns surrounding the source I opted for Xebian and freevo. If you don't mind sharing, how did you get XBMC? I've modded my xbox with Cromwell chip, so its 100% linux at this point, no going back. Any good resources you found helpful for working with/installing XBMC?

You're right too, I don't need (or want) any functionality besides a media player out of the xbox, aside from possibly wireless.

Thanks for your input, sorry I kind of unloaded on you with this reply, it just nice to have some input from someone who has a similar setup to what I've got going on. That and is pretty out-dated.

c4onastick 09-01-2006 11:18 AM

I did a little snooping around, and actually ran into this when I was configuring CUPS and Samba to hook up my printer:

Under the global section in smb.conf:

I added:

socket options = TCP_NODELAY SO_RCVBUF=8192 SO_SNDBUF=8192
Before I had just had:

socket options = TCP_NODELAY
And, (knock on wood) it seems to be doing much better. I watched about 90 minutes worth of different movies/videos last night, and had very few skips/jitters. The few times that it did, it seemed much quicker to recover.

maroonbaboon 09-26-2006 09:49 AM

Haven't been here for a while, so missed your reply. Glad you seem to be sorting things out.

There seem to be compiled versions of XBMC around on various torrent sites.

c4onastick 09-26-2006 01:15 PM


Originally Posted by maroonbaboon
Haven't been here for a while, so missed your reply. Glad you seem to be sorting things out.

There seem to be compiled versions of XBMC around on various torrent sites.

Great, thanks! I actually found a couple builds through torrents. Unfortunately, I can't run XBMC on the Cromwell BIOS (and I've formatted the entire drive to ext3). I suppose I could flash something else in there (and throw a FATX partition while I'm at it). Actually, I switched over to using NFS between the xbox and the server and woah... what a difference. So I guess if anyone else was watching this thread with the same problem I had, the moral of the story is use NFS for linux-to-linux streaming.

NFS has worked flawlessly (knock on wood) for the better part of 2 weeks now. Now I've just gotta find some better documentation or examples to get all my FXD files all setup so it looks pretty too.

I think I'll stick with Freevo on Xebian for the time being, I put a lot of work into getting it up and running, I don't want to give up on it just yet. I would love to get another box setup with XBMC though, from looking at the forums, screenshots and sourceforge it looks like a nice bit of software.

Stefan J 01-26-2007 03:03 PM

Have you tried using Mythtv ? I'm currently setting up a mythtv server and using an xbox as a front end. It works really well considering the xbox hardware spec. streams live TV (usually) without problems over a wireless network, it is slow to change channels, but i can live with that.


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