Feeds

The Netbook Newbie's Guide to Linux

'F/X'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Eee PC and video

The Asus Eee comes with a video player application called smplayer which is a fancy front-end to the multi-talented, cross-platform command line utility mplayer. It seems to do a pretty good job, but there have been complaints on that Web about limitations of the formats it can handle. And, of course, some suggested remedies.

smplayer on the Eee PC

smplayer on the Eee

mplayer has its own set of inbuilt codecs, ready to play most of the common multimedia file types. Notably missing from the version supplied with the Eee is H.264, widely used by Apple and others. It was withdrawn allegedly for intellectual property reasons, but the Eee User Wiki gives instructions on how to revert to the earlier version.

I couldn't get this to work - it appears that the earlier version of mplayer is no longer in the repositories. Instead, I tried this method of extending mplayer's codec list. The script recommends running sudo apt-get install netselect first. netselect reads the list of servers in your /etc/apt/sources.list file and picks the fastest one to download from.

Alas, this didn't add the H.264 codec to mplayer either. The solution seem to be to install an alternative video player, the venerable vlc, which, like, mplayer, brings its own comprehensive list of codecs to the party. Unlike mplayer, this list includes H.264. Installation is simple:

sudo apt-get install vlc

Once you've done this, vlc is available from the command line, or you can add it as an icon to the Simple Desktop using the procedure we discussed last time. If you're running your EEE PC in full desktop mode, vlc turns up automatically as an option in the Launch Menu under Applications/Multimedia.

Eee Full Desktop

Full Desktop Mode

If you've found a way of getting (s)mplayer to play H.264 encoded files, or have come up with a better solution than vlc, perhaps you'll let me know*.

In the next episode, I'm hoping to explore the Bluetooth possibilities of these machines, and we'll be discussing some more of the underlying Linux/Unix fundamentals that underpin these netbooks. ®

Stop Press

As of the time of writing, there's a copy of mplayer 1.0 at http://download.tuxfamily.org/eeepcrepos/pool/etch/. It's listed there as mplayer_1.0~rc1-12etch1_i386.deb, so with an as yet incomplete understanding of what I was doing I kluged an install by adding the following line to my /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/eeepcrepos pool etch

...and then running the command:

sudo aptitude install mplayer=1.0~rc1-12etch1

The install threw up some minor errors, but I now have an smplayer that works with H.264. Perhaps helpful readers with more experience of apt-get can help fill out the details. Meanwhile proceed - if at all - with caution.

 

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
That dreaded syncing feeling: Will Microsoft EVER fix OneDrive?
Microsoft's long history of broken Windows sync
Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority
Let’s Encrypt to give HTTPS-everywhere a boost in 2015
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'
Sugarcoating Android's Lollipop makes tab easier to swallow
Bug fixes! Get your APPLE BUG FIXES! iOS and OS X updates right here!
Yosemite fixes Wi-Fi hiccup, older iOS devices get performance boost
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Meet Windows 10's new UI for OneDrive – also known as File Explorer
New preview build continues Redmond's retreat to the desktop
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.