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README_xxmc.html 2005-04-09 Thomas Hellström Thomas Hellström [920334] Experimental bob deinterlacing support for the ...

Read Me

  =====                                                               =====
       XINE video output plugin for MATROX G200/G400/G450 cards *only*
  =====                                                               =====


* WHAT IS THIS PLUGIN ABOUT and WHY SHOULD I EVEN CONSIDER TO USE IT? :)

  This xine video output plugin uses the so called  SyncFB  driver (from
  the Teletux project)  which  provides  special  hardware  features  of
  Matrox G200 and newer cards like hardware  deinterlacing, scaling  and
  synchronization of your video output to the vertical retrace  of  your
  monitor - just to name a few. The  plugin  makes  all  those  features
  available to xine and because all this tasks are done by  the  graphic
  card there  is  no need for xine to do them in software -- so you save
  precious CPU time which you may gonna need for other things. :-)

  Ok ok -- why should you want to have your video output synchronized to
  something called the vertical retrace of your monitor?! Well... :)

  In order to have an optimal DVD playback the update of the image needs
  to be syncronized with the vertical refresh of the screen.   Otherwise
  you will sometimes see part of frame n and part of  frame  n+1  during
  playback of a movie. Resulting in tearing artefacts on moving objects.

  When using this plugin the update of the screen  is  done  during  the
  vertical retrace of your monitor and  those tearing artefacts are gone
  forever.

  Also the SyncFB kernel module and this plugin totally  by-pass XFree86
  for anything else but some data gathering routines needed to place the
  overlay at the right spot.      So on some machines you will gain some
  performance too because of the different way the SyncFB kernel  module
  handles your video output.

  Last but not least, you may ask what's so special about deinterlacing?
  There are already several deinterlacing methods  available in xine and
  why should you care about another one? Well (again)... ;-))

  All current deinterlacers in xine are done in software  and  therefore
  will cost you some CPU power. The SyncFB video out plugin will use the
  hardware deinterlacing support of your graphic card,  thus saving your
  CPU power because everything is done by your GPU...


* WILL IT WORK WITH MY G200/G400/G450/... CARD?

  So far the plugin and the kernel module itself are only  being  tested
  on G400 cards by its  developers  thus  we  cannot  tell  about  newer
  or older generation chips.

  Nevertheless we have received positive feedback that the SyncFB kernel
  module and this plugin work fine with G450 cards too.

  If you have got things working on older/newer  chips,  please  let  us
  know about your success and we will place a note here... :-)


* AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

  The SyncFB driver is a kernel  module you will have to load that makes
  a special device (e.g. /dev/syncfb) available which  is  opened by the
  plugin and controlled with certain ioctl calls. Easy, isn't it? ;-)

  That module is based on the mga_vid driver from Aaron Holzmann and was
  advanced (and reworked) by Matthias Oelmann.


* OK I HEARD ENOUGH - HOW DO I INSTALL and USE IT? :)

  Currently the Teletux project  which maintains the kernel module seems
  orphaned and therefore there hasn't been any progress nor release in a
  fair amount of time. :(  We will try to resolve this situation so that
  the development continues again. As soon as there are any news on this
  matter, this README will be updated accordingly.    For the time being
  you can still use the current Teletux SyncFB kernel module which works
  just fine, so there is no need to worry. :-)

  Back to the original subject.   In order to install and use the SyncFB
  kernel module,  you  *will*  need a fresh CVS checkout  of the sources
  because the last official release is rather outdated.

  This sounds more complicated than it actually is.   You will only have
  to execute the following two commands to get the sources in  a sub-dir
  called teletux. When you are asked for password, just press return.

  cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.teletux.sf.net:/cvsroot/teletux login
  cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.teletux.sf.net:/cvsroot/teletux co -P teletux

  Now enter the directory teletux/syncfb, that's where the actual kernel
  modul sources are located. Before you can compile the module, you will
  have to change two lines in the Makefile itself to make it work.

  In the second line, there is a phrase like  "-I/usr/include" which you
  have to change to "-I/usr/src/linux/include".  In line seven, you need
  to remove syncfbtv and syncfb_test from the OBJ list.

  Now execute a  "make"  and  the  module  will  be  compiled. Place the
  resulting syncfb.o in your modules dir which is usually...

   /lib/modules/KERNEL_VERSION/

  ... and issue a "depmod -a" after it. That's it - the kernel module is
  installed.  To load the syncfb module, execute "modprobe syncfb" every
  time you (re)start your computer.   This will automatically create the
  required /dev/syncfb device if you have devfs support,  otherwise  you
  need  to  issue  a  "mknod /dev/syncfb c 178 0"  once  to  create  the
  device yourself permanently.

  Once the module is loaded, you can start  xine  with  the  "-V SyncFB"
  option to use this plugin.  xine automatically remembers the video out
  plugin you last used, so you only have to use this option once too. :)
  But don't forget, the module *always* has to be already loaded  before
  you start xine, otherwise xine will fallback to  Xv/XShm or some other
  available video out plugin.


* THE VIDEO IS JERKING - WHAT'S THE MATTER?!

  Playing back video material that is mastered for e.g. NTSC  can  cause
  this jerking if your monitor is not running at a refresh rate  that is
  a multiple of 30 (PAL: 25).

  You can try to fix that by switching your monitor to  the  appropriate
  refresh rates (e.g. 50/75/100 Hz for PAL, 60/90/120 Hz for NTSC).  You
  will need to add so called modelines to your XFree86  config  to  make
  those modes available, if you don't already have them.

  Here is is a short listing of some sample modelines. Please  add  only
  those two lines (for NTSC and PAL) which exactly  fit  the  screensize
  you are running your X Server with. You need to add those lines to the
  monitor section of your XF86Config file as well as include their names
  in the screen section  (subsection display of the color depth your are
  using).

  USE THE FOLLOWING MODELINES AT YOUR OWN RISK.   THEY COULD DAMAGE YOUR
  MONITOR PERMANTELY - PLEASE TAKE CAUTION AND DON'T BLAME US.  YOU HAVE
  BEEN WARNED.

  So much for the standard disclaimer. :)

  Note: If you want to be on the  safe  side,  generate  your  very  own
        modelines with an application like kvideogen for example.

	Also the modelines may need some fine tuning for your setup. You
	can use xvidtune (comes with XFree86) to do that.

  # 1024x768

    Modeline "1024x768pal"  64.94 1024 1040 1216 1328 768 768 775 802
    Modeline "1024x768ntsc" 54.32 1024 1040 1216 1328 768 768 774 802

  # 1152x864

    Modeline "1152x864pal"  68.82 1152 1168 1384 1496 864 864 871 902
    Modeline "1152x864ntsc" 80.93 1152 1168 1384 1496 864 864 872 902

  # 1280x1024

    none yet - might be added in the future

  So before you run  xine  just turn to the appropriate refresh rate and
  the jerking *should* be gone. (you may also want to have a look at the
  XF86VidMode support included in xine which makes on-the-fly resolution
  switching possible when fullscreen is toggled)


* WHAT SCREENSIZE SHOULD I PREFER?

  Well. It is important that the screensize  you choose for DVD playback
  is exactly the same screensize  you're starting up your X Server  with
  if you are not using the XF86VidMode extension which will properly  do
  the switching for you  and  take  care  that  the  plugin  is  updated
  accordingly. So you shouldn't switch down to 1024x768 yourself if  you
  are running 1280x1024 because that  gives  you  a  virtual  screensize
  of 1280x1024 in a resolution of 1024x768 - and the plugin can't handle
  that - and probably never will... ok... never say never. ;)

  You may want to have a look at the XF86VidMode support in  xine  which
  will enable on-the-fly resolution switching when activating fullscreen.

  Now back to the question.     A screensize of 800x600 should be it for
  non-anamorphic DVDs because their resolution is 720x576 for  pal  DVDs
  and 720x480 for ntsc ones. If you've an anamorphic DVD, you should use
  a higher resolution - 1024x768 will be best because the image only has
  to be horizontally scaled to get back to the original geometry of 16:9
  which is easier to be done.


* WHAT ABOUT DEINTERLACING?!

  Pressing 'i' during playback will toggle hardware deinterlacing.     A
  decrease in picture quality is a known side effect,  yet you won't see
  any artefacts caused by interlacing anymore. :-)

  One more note, hardware deinterlacing uses BOB as deinterlacing method
  and is totally independent from the software deinterlacing in xine. So
  specifing a different deinterlacing method in your .xinerc won't  have
  any effect on this feature.

  Nevertheless we are thinking about making software  deinterlacing also
  available as an option. It's on the TODO list... :)


* HEY! THE OVERLAY TURNS OFF WHEN THE WINDOW IS PARTLY OFF THE DESKTOP!?

  That's done on purpose.  It  prevents  possible  yet  harmless  screen
  corruption. And by the way - why would you want to see  a  movie  just
  partly?! ;-)


* MY DESKTOP BACKGROUND IMAGE GETS CORRUPTED WHEN USING THIS PLUGIN!

  Even though it doesn't look nice, it's nevertheless harmless.    So no
  need to worry about it. XFree86 is using your  free  video  memory  as
  cache for certain things. Now when you use this plugin  that  part  of
  your video memory could also be used by the syncfb module.     So your
  image data cached there will be corrupted.   Unfortunately there is no
  way to avoid it. Yet, like stated earlier, it is truely  harmless  and
  just a cosmetical side effect.


* THE XINE PANEL DOES NOT APPEAR WHEN I WATCH A MOVIE IN FULLSCREEN?!

  Actually it does appear - you just don't see it. :)     This is a side
  effect of how SyncFB works.  The X server can't display anything where
  the actual overlay from SyncFB is being displayed because this area in
  your video memory is constantly over written - so are the changes done
  by your X Server (like a window graphic that is placed there).

  This is just cosmetical and harmless, so no need to worry. If you want
  to do something with the xine panel when the video overlay  is  taking
  all your screen, just switch back to window mode and do  what you have
  to do and after that, back to fullscreen it goes. :-)


* KNOWN BUGs

  + the default_repeat config option is currently hardcoded to 0 because
    any higher value than 1 will trigger a bug with the SyncFB kernel module
    that results in a distorted picture (depending on video resolution)
    [this bug is hard to trace, so don't hold your breath for now]

  + SyncFB overlay won't turn off when video window is minimized or
    somehow else hidden.
    [currently there is no way for the SyncFB plugin to know about the
     state of the video window except if the original xine-ui hide function
     is used to hide the video window... this will be fixed soon]

  + zooming feature is currently deactivated because it exposes a bug
    with the SyncFB kernel module
    [for now, don't expect this to be fixed soon - sorry]

  + the syncfb kernel module needs updating pretty badly


* WHAT IS ON THE TODO LIST?

  + fix above listed bugs in the SyncFB kernel module

  + make software deinterlacing available as an option

  + RGB support
    (unlikely at the moment because there is no need for it)

  + check if the video source is not too big in terms of  dimensions for
    the video memory left (video memory - X reserved video memory)

  + bug fixes
  + more sanity checks
  + new features
  + optimizations


* CONTACTS and FEEDBACK

  Your first starting point should be this README followed by the FAQ. :-)
  If you don't find your answers there or if you found a bug, please leave
  a message on the xine user mailinglist (see the general README).