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Multicore Video Decoding with MPlayer, Part 1

Jul 27, 2009, 19:02 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ben Martin)

"By default MPlayer uses a single thread to decode an h264 video stream. This means that on most dual and quad core machines you are artificially limited in what video files you can smoothly decode with MPlayer. If you have a multicore CPU and are experiencing jittery playback of h264 streams then using the ffmpeg-mt library for decoding might save you from having to purchase new hardware to play your video files. As the name implies, ffmpeg-mt is a multithreaded version of ffmpeg. In theory, if you have 4 cores then they can all be fully used to decode h264 streams. In practice there is always some coordination overhead to multithreading, so you are unlikely to acheive twice the performance when using two cores.

"For this article series I'll use two freely available video files: Big Buck Bunny (BBB) (The 1920x1080 H.264 version) and Elephants Dream (ED). BBB is available for download as a h264 file, ED is an mpeg-4 encoded video. Both can be downloaded in 1920x1080."

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