"I used a 1.2 Ghz Athlon with 1 GB of RAM with an
inexpensive DVD drive that cost me maybe $30. So yes, MPEG2
decryption was going to be performed in software but with a machine
like this, that would not be a problem, and it wasn't a problem
with all of the software I tested. The quality probably doesn't
equal a standalone dvd player because there are sometimes some
artifacts and sometimes the screen blanks out with one of the
players and the monitor seems to think it lost a video signal but
on the whole, the quality of video is acceptable. Sometimes the
screen will freeze with one of the players and stay that way for a
few seconds and then all of a sudden the video and audio start
playing again. No, it's not perfect but we're getting close.
The real question is "Do I miss my DVD player?" The answer to
that question is "I love my Linux box and the more things I can do
on it, the more I love it." So sure I miss Dolby Digital 5.1
surround sound on a home theater system setup but I get more
satisfaction out of watching a movie on my computer than a big home
theater system. Why? Because it's open source. How? Because I
compiled and installed it."
"Having fun is a key to investigating all the things
you can do with linux. Pick the things that you are interested in,
and go for it. When I first got started in Linux, one of the first
things that I did was go and purchase a Hauppage WinTV card. Why
did I do that? Because I wanted to be able to watch tv on my linux
box, even if couldn't watch dvds. Of course, dvd support is here
now but watching tv on your computer is a given. It's definitely
fun to fire up xawtv and watch the news or watch whatever. We'll
take a look at how you can get started watching tv on your linux
box - and it shouldn't cost you more than $50.
For me, I recently became interested in what is called
multi-head displays. Since I have 2 17-inch monitors sitting side
by side, I figured it was now or never. It didn't hurt that I had 2
video cards that have drivers for Xfree86 version 4 either.
Xinerama is a form of multi-head where you have one big logical
screen made up of however many monitors. I am not sure about
running more than 2 monitors because I have never done it but I
have run 2 monitors side by side. I'll tell you what my impressions
are on doing that.
And last but not least by any stretch of the imagination is what
I call mpeg video and working with it to produce video cds. Now,
before you say "I don't have a video cd player" just think for a
moment. You have a linux box. You have a windows box? Well,
hopefully whichever one you have my video cd that I make on my
linux box will run on it and no matter what video cd playing
software you use. Steep requirement, I know. But that's how the
world should work."
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