"Best" h.264/AVC decoder?

Hi,

I’ve installed OpenSuse 13.1 XFCE on an old netbook (ASUS Eee 1005HA), mostly because Windows eventually always became too slugish. So my hardware capabilities are limited.

However, when using Windows, I had the coreAVC codec installed for decoding my h264 mkv’s, because it was the only one which didn’t result in stuttering movies. I have installed the recommended codecs for GNOME and already experimented a little, mostly with different players (VLC, totem, Mplayer, Mplayer2, parole), of which mplayer in my opinion gave the best performance so far. From what I know, it uses the ffmpeg decoder.

Question is if there are still codecs/players for Linux out there with a better performance? When playing h264 videos, even 1080p, my CPU load will only be around 60% which I find odd because I would have expected my CPU to be the limiting factor in this case. The video, however, is not played correctly and mplayer tells that my system is too slow (which is probably true).

I found some stuff related to using coreAVC with linux via wine and dshowserver, but these attempts all are years old and I didn’t manage to get it to work, although I might just be too much of a linux newbie to do so.
There is even a mentioning of coreAVC in Mplayer when chosing direct show video codecs, but it can’t use them and this might be just related to the cross-platform use of Mplayer, or is it not?

So are there any recommendations?

Unfortunately the 1005HA seems to sport GMA950 as the GPU and it has absolutely no hardware acceleration for decoding H264 content.

You could try different -vo’s (video outputs) in mplayer/2 to see if any of them provide better performance. One possibility is to buy a H264 decoder like Crystal HD from Broadcom if the laptop has an expansion slot for it and you’ll get 1080p working “just like that”.

Unfortunately the 1005HA seems to sport GMA950 as the GPU and it has absolutely no hardware acceleration for decoding H264 content.

Are you sure about that? Because then I would wonder why AVCcore increased the performance in the first place.

And apart from hardware acceleration, there are no significant differences between available codecs?

There is absolutely no hardware acceleration for H264 in the GMA950 chip. There isn’t even support for full MPEG2 decoding - it simply does not exist on the silicon.

CoreAVC is most likely just ultra optimized for a specific purpose and uses some features available for Windows for it, in this case H264 playback - have you tried smplayer by the way? It has some reasonable defaults for playback (it uses mplayer too).