Video too slow with MPlayer

D. Michael McIntyre michael.mcintyre at
Sun May 27 17:32:32 BST 2007

I was having issues with my trusty Dapper install, and rather than resolve 
them, I decided to wipe it out and give Ubuntu Studio a whirl.  I picked all 
four categories at install time (audio, video, graphics, and what was the 
fourth one again?  plugins I think.)  I kept my original /home 
and /usr/local.  I migrated bash- and CUPS-related config files from my 
old /etc, but this was otherwise stock Ubuntu Studio.

Next, I fixed the broken desktop environment by installing 
the "kubuntu-desktop" and "kde" packages.  When prompted, I elected to use 
KDM over GDM.

Next, I installed the "mplayer" package.  I would never admit to doing 
anything questionable as a matter of public record, so I obviously did not 
install the "w32codecs" package.  No sir.  No, um, this video, um, doesn't 
require any codecs.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it, for the record.

The video played, and both video and audio were working.  Yay.  (This is why I 
dumped Dapper.  My sound had been broken for several months, reason unknown, 
but not hardware-related.)  Unfortunately, the audio and video were badly out 
of sync, on the order of seconds.

Video seemed to be running too slow.  The audio would finish a long way before 
the end of video, and everything was moving too slowly on screen. The larger 
the screen, the slower it went.  My first thought was that it might be 
X-related.  I used to run with the "ati" driver, and Ubuntu Studio came up 
out of the box set to use "vesa."  I did one better than either of these, and 
installed the two necessary packages to get the "fglrx" driver to work, so 
now I actually have working 3D for the first time in years.

I'm using the same options on MPlayer I've been using since time immemorial.  
I've tried both with and without GL2, and it makes no difference.  MPlayer 
isn't giving me any warnings about "your computer is too slow!" or any 
similar such.  It appears to be perfectly satisfied that everything will go 
as expected, but that just isn't the case.

An example command:

  mplayer -ao alsa -vo gl2 -idx -zoom -fs -framedrop movie.wmv


  mplayer -ao alsa -vo x11 movie.wmv

These and other permutations all suffer the same problem, but there's no 
suggestion from MPlayer giving me a hint what else to play with.  For 
example, I've seen something to the effect of "Such and such is not 
satisfactory, try with the -blah or -fooblah option" in the past, but there's 
none of that here.

Now, for that matter, when I have JACK running, I can't get MPlayer to talk to 
JACK either.  Running

  mplayer -ao jack -vo gl2 -idx -zoom -fs -framedrop movie.wmv


  Could not open/initialize audio device -> no sound.
  Audio: no sound

(JACK is running by way of QJackCtl.)

I'm stumped on all of this so far.  Perhaps I should start by abandoning 
MPlayer in favor of whatever Ubuntu Studio recommends.  It wasn't installed 
by default, which suggests to me that perhaps you guys favor something else.

Any help appreciated.
D. Michael McIntyre 

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