XGL & Video

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Having done some major tweaking under XGL, I felt it's time to post a few of the things I've learned

All tests done on the following hardware, utilizing latest CVS code for ALL relevant programs (XGL/Mesa/XOrg/Compiz/XineLib/Mplayer/...)

AMD x2 4400+

Nvidia 7800GTX & 2x 7900GTX (SLI)

Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe

Dell 2405FPW 24" LCD @ 1920x1200

General Notes

  • Utilizing any GL output driver may cause frame dropping or video latency when utilizing the cube plugin or other 3d applications
  • Almost all video out options appear to work under xine/mplayer
  • XV performs the best, however only OpenGL can VSync in XGL
  • XVMC is not yet supported (Still waiting on nVidia to give us texture_from_pixmap support)
  • If you have a large screen, not using an option supporting VSync is a BAD idea. You'll cringe with the constant tearing
  • Your experiences WILL vary with hardware and non-cvs code!
  • FIX: You must start XGL with the -br option to fix fullscreen "noise" in undrawn areas


Mplayer (Player of choice for XGL)

  • Video/Audio sync issues with highdef content (1080p+ only) *New
  • Flawless XV performance (Unfortunately no VSync), however GL2 is not far behind
  • GMplayer crashes gnome-window-decorator (Just use mplayer)
  • VSync Works! Requires use of GL/GL2 output and nvidia vsync env parameters

Currently provides excellent compatibility and performance. I swore by Kaffeine prior to switching to XGL, however mplayer is the only current player without any serious problems under this environment suitable for active use. The mplayer nsplugin also works very well, minus a few relatively minor bugs.

Xine Engine (xine-ui, kaffeine, totem, gxine, kplayer,...)

  • Laggy startup/seek performance
  • Codec-specific issues (xgl only?) *New -- Image: Image 1
  • VSync not possible - OpenGL driver is broken *New
  • FIX: Place "SharedPixmaps off" into ~/.imrc to fix the corrupted interface in xine-ui

Very usable when required in situations when mplayer just doesn't cut it (subtitle issues / highdef content / upmixing / ...)


  • Significant stability/fullscreen issues, suffers from the same xine codec issues while offering no benefits over the xine engine based players
  • No VSync possible

There's no real benefit to using VLC over xine - you'll see the same results, along with some new bugs.

*New indicates a problem introduced since the "launch" of XGL

Once nVidia introduces texture_from_pixmap support, things are going to change drastically, as we'll no longer need to use mesa to provide indirect rendering.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Jon 5

Thanks for this. So you are saying Mplayer is the best option when using XGL correct? I suppose I will have to switch from Kaffeine then once I get XGL installed. By the way since you mentioned using Kaffeine I take it you used to use KDE? How did you get XGL working with KDE? I know that Kwin is pretty buggy so I guess you are using the Gnome window manager? Thanks for any insight and for this great guide.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You need a compiz cofiguration file placed into kdes autostart. :cool:

At least thats how it works for me running SUSE 10.1 and kde.

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  • 3 months later...

Damn, I wish I found this thread last night. I went and installed a few different players before finding that MPlayer was the only one that worked.

Two questions, though. First, Every video I open in MPlayer has the correct width, but is only 10-20 pixels tall. I have to resize the window to the correct size. Second, how do I enable vsynch under Suse 10.1, because I am experiencing that tearing effect when dragging windows and the like.


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Put vsync=1 in ~/.mplayer/config

It only works with certain video output modules so yeah...

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so now that nvidia has texture_from_pixmap support in their latest beta drivers, does this fix any of the issues noted in this article?

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  • 2 weeks later...

so now that nvidia has texture_from_pixmap support in their latest beta drivers, does this fix any of the issues noted in this article?

Well, with nVidia, you don't need XGL or AIGLX so the context of the article (running XGL) is not the same.

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  • 3 weeks later...

how do you get it to play as the desktop background? what about the transparency setting on it? how do you get it in the menu drop down if you right click on the title bar?

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