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Ask Slashdot: Linux Friendly Video Streaming?

timothy posted 1 year,18 days | from the chromebox-works-with-netflix-at-least dept.

Media 147

earthwormgaz writes "I've set up a Linux XBMC + MythTV with FreeView machine for the lounge at home. It works pretty well for Linux, although things crash here and there. The Mrs wants LoveFilm or Netflix, but it seems they're Silverlight and not Linux friendly. Is there anyone doing streaming film and TV with Flash or something else that works on Linux? Failing that, is there anyway to download a film for £4-6 say, as just an AVI file or something, legally?"

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147 comments

amazon (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378525)

Uses a flash player

Re:amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378865)

Amazon's streaming service is flaky with linux. The issue is DRM which for some reson is not supported in the linux version of the flash player.

Re:amazon (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379097)

That's nonsense. It's just Flash. Linux has no more trouble with it than any other platform. That includes all of the usual complaints about performance and crashing.

Re:amazon (3, Interesting)

MollyB (162595) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379199)

In theory, your pronouncement would seem correct. However, I've just tried to set up Amazon Instant Video and it does not work in Firefox 20 on Lucid Lynx 10.04. It throws up a progress bar which ends with an error message that my version of Adobe Flash is not up to date (not true!). I'm glad I tried with a "free" video (I was charged $0.00). Try before you buy.

I had unblocked all scripting, btw. When I tried the help button, it referred me to a page that explained why Chrome (-ium?) won't work on Linux and to try Firefox! Head asplodes...

YMMV.

Re:amazon (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379299)

Like I said. That sounds like a problem that has squat to do with Linux. I too have tried all of this stuff and under various conditions. That includes running Windows and MacOS on comparable hardware and getting similar results.

Flash just sucks. Don't be too quick to blame Linux.

Re:amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379431)

it is because they stopped updating the flash player. Amazon instant video used to work and no longer does.

Re:amazon (5, Informative)

duphenix (2890039) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379631)

Delete your ~./adobe folder and try again. I'd link to where I first saw this solution if I could remember it. I have to do this every few months, whenever Amazon "updates" the player.

Re:amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43380335)

that's because the script that's looking for flash doesn't know WTF it's doing! next you'll be blaming boontoo for you still being on 10.04? snap out of it...

Flash Access requires libhal, hald (5, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | 1 year,17 days | (#43380843)

Flash Access requires libhal, hald

This has been known since Feb 2011, which Amazon started encoding new content for TV shows using the newer version of Flash Access.

The Flash Access Component requires that the local machine support Libhal and hald, even though they are deprecated by over 7 years now by the OpenDesktop project.

It uses the information gathered from this interface to create a machine unique identifier, which it then uses as a content crypto key on the stream, and then you can play Amazon, Youtube, and Google Play content just fine.

Otherwise it bitches that your Flash is "out of date", when what it really means is that it can't install the Flash Access component because the libraries and supporting components used in the installation success test aren't there.

Most streaming applications won't support Linux because it doesn't require signed system components, and without that, the can't protect their content from piracy, commercial skipping, and so on when they stream to Linux systems; it's too easy to interpose libraries, system calls, and so on and take unencrypted digital content and rip it to some mp4 or other container file format.

This is also why the components from Provo, Utak for abc.com, nbc.com, and cbs.com have never been ported to Linux, and probably never will be.

Re:amazon (1)

bloodninja (1291306) | 1 year,17 days | (#43380095)

That's nonsense. It's just Flash. Linux has no more trouble with it than any other platform. That includes all of the usual complaints about performance and crashing.

Nope, here is the service:
http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Video/ [amazon.com]

And here is the message I got when I tried to access it in the latest Chrome on Kubuntu:

If you're using the Chrome browser with Linux, you must disable PPAPI to continue using Amazon Instant Video. You can also use a different Web browser, like Firefox. hundreds of other compatible devices.

Re:amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379241)

DRM is probably the main reason any solution using Linux is doomed from the start.

As an example, the DRM being used for Flash is most likely Flash Access. A quick search for "linux" in their documentation (http://bit.ly/140Nght, see page 10) shows that on Windows can guarantee output protection and that it is possible to disable serving viewing licenses clients with particular OSs.

I would bet on the fact that Amazon or Netflix would love to serve content to customers with Linux, but are being restricted from doing so by contractual obligations. If you look at all of the various devices that they support, there are some pretty obscure ones (e.g. blu-ray players: how many people connect those to the network?), which means that the Linux support issue is not because of a lack of customer base.

Re:amazon (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379331)

Yet I continue to be able to play Amazon streaming videos under Linux for some strange reason.

Idiots like you love to run off at the mouth without having any clue what-so-ever.

Re:amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379885)

(e.g. blu-ray players: how many people connect those to the network?)

I do. Netflix, VUDU, Pandora and Youtube worked. I worked at Walmart electronics and a lot of people asked for net capable players and TVs or wireless network adapters to connect to a TV or player (although Netflix was the reason given every time, and Netflix quit using Flash). It wouldn't surprise me if the OS for these devices was Linux.
I have to agree with the previous comment. You talk, but you do not know.

Re:amazon (2)

yelvington (8169) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379539)

Amazon's streaming service is flaky with linux. The issue is DRM which for some reson is not supported in the linux version of the flash player.

Amazon video works fine under Ubuntu. Use Firefox, not Chrome.
From the FAQ

Why can't I watch videos on my Chrome browser in Linux?
The Flash Player Plugin in Chrome removed support for Digital Rights Management (DRM) in Linux as part of the upgrade from 11.3 to 11.4. This upgrade was bundled with the latest Chrome 22 update for Linux. If you applied the Chrome update, you are no longer able to watch DRM-protected content, such as movies and TV episodes. Trailers are unaffected as they do not use DRM. To get around this issue, you can use a different browser, such as Firefox. For information on Chrome and the Flash Player plug-in, see: https://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=108086 [google.com] .

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=3757 [amazon.com]

Re:amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379073)

On Fedora at least, all of amazon's videos freeze after about 25 seconds and won't play further than that. It's due to their DRM not working correctly if what I've read is true.

Let me google that for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378533)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=netflix+on+linux

Google Much? (2)

ADRA (37398) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378555)

http://how-to.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_watch_Netflix_(Watch_Instantly)_in_Linux [wikia.com]

As per finding a legal DRM-free film, your chances are zero for 99% of everything you'd like to watch, and just highly unlikely for the remaining 1%. Any sites that would advertise such are most likely priating the movies and then selling for profit.

Re:Google Much? (4, Informative)

spanky_poppagasket (2644453) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378625)

Wine or a virtual machine? Both options listed on the linked page are lame- I know I've tried them. Buggy or laggy, take your pick, and they generally don't take full advantage of hardware.

To the OP, there's youtube, hulu plus, or each network's website might have full shows as well. Netflix works on an Xbox quite well so buy one of those- there's also other streaming video apps available on Xbox live, but some are subscription based last time I checked.

Re:Google Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43380109)

Wine or a virtual machine? Both options listed on the linked page are lame- I know I've tried them. Buggy or laggy, take your pick, and they generally don't take full advantage of hardware.

The submitter didn't state his HW specs but I for one don't have any trouble watching prores hq with quicktime and I think that's about as extreme as it gets. So whilst wine runs apps generally slower than windows on the same hardware, it doesn't matter if the hardware is fast enough. When it comes to games I agree with you in the sense that you don't feel like you get the full value for the money you've spent on hardware if you run an emulator. In this case, however, one solution for the submitter could be to simply upgrade to hardware that is fast enough and then use wine, if it otherwise works.

Re:Google Much? (1)

Skapare (16644) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379325)

If the content industry does not want to market their (usually crappy, but sometimes there are exceptions) content to me and people like me (Linux and BSD users), then so be it. But then they would be liars if they claimed that they were losing any money by me and people like me (Linux and BSD users) viewing, listening to, or reading their content. If they made the decision to not seek business revenues from me and people like me (Linux and BSD users), then they need to sleep in that bed.

Re:Google Much? (1)

yathaid (2106468) | 1 year,17 days | (#43380239)

http://how-to.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_watch_Netflix_(Watch_Instantly)_in_Linux [wikia.com]

As per finding a legal DRM-free film, your chances are zero for 99% of everything you'd like to watch, and just highly unlikely for the remaining 1%. Any sites that would advertise such are most likely priating the movies and then selling for profit.

The Windows-firefox-with-silverlight-on-wine option seems to work for a lot of people, but unfortunately it does not work well on AMD Radeons.
Mine has a very noticeable drop in framerate.

Re:Google Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43380367)

In practice Linux works well on Intel graphics only.

There are plenty of embedded media players (1)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378591)

out there which have WiFi, Ethernet & USB, know CIFS, NFS & dlna and also have embedded Netflix, Vudu, etc clients.

I picked one up last week for $100. The dlna client -- which is all we have experience with -- works like a charm.

Re:There are plenty of embedded media players (5, Informative)

fat_mike (71855) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378647)

I'm going to spread much Roku love. Amazon instant video, Netflix, Hulu, just about every church sermon in the country, The Blaze, all your premium cable channels, etc. And its a cute little hockey puck.

Re:There are plenty of embedded media players (1)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378885)

The Roku only does streaming media, which is useless for my *large* DVD collection.

In addition to the WD TV Live, I also have an Iomega 35045 (now discontinued) which I really like.

Re:There are plenty of embedded media players (3, Informative)

cknudsen (891397) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379013)

More Roku love... You can do local media if you have the right model. Roku 3 has a USB port for local media. You can also stream your entire ripped DVD collection direct to your Roku with Plex (which has a Linux server in addition to Windows and Mac), which will give you a much nicer UI than DLNA.

Re:There are plenty of embedded media players (2)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379323)

The WD TV Live does DLNA right out of the box. No need to install the Plex Media Server on my Linux box. The simple dlna server I've been using for two years works just fine.

One big reason I bought that WD unit is that the web page said, "plays DLNA". No need to hunt around or interpret ambiguous marketing-speak.

Re:There are plenty of embedded media players (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379139)

> The Roku only does streaming media, ...which makes it the perfect compliment for an HTPC. The problem with PC based streamers is that Flash and Silverlight sucks. Even if your favorite service or plug-in is supported, you will still need to use brute force software decoding.

That will require a beefier box than an HTPC that can decode BluRays with the GPU.

Noise and heat are more likely to be problems with CPU decoding.

Android tablet (2)

rwa2 (4391) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379447)

Netflix works pretty well on Android, just pick up a nice Tegra tablet with an HDMI output and you're all set.

Or just buy a used Windows laptop to run Netflix on. It's not like that box is ever going to be doing anything else, so it'll free up your nice PCs to run Linux and get actual work done.

Re:Android tablet (1)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379749)

Netflix works pretty well on Android, just pick up a nice Tegra tablet with an HDMI output and you're all set.

I bet it costs about the same as a dedicated media that does everything I want with a simple, muggle-friendly UI.

Hulu (1)

aitikin (909209) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378607)

Hulu Desktop has a Linux version last time I checked.

Great Britain (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378815)

From the article:

Failing that, is there anyway to download a film for 4-6 GBP

aitikin wrote:

Hulu Desktop

Since when did Hulu expand to a country that uses pounds as its currency?

Re:Great Britain (3, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379253)

Since when did Hulu expand to a country that uses pounds as its currency?

MediaHint [mediahint.com] is a Firefox plugin that makes Hulu work in countries where it otherwise would not.

netflix is fine on linux (5, Informative)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378613)

There is a Netflix App for Linux that runs through Wine. It works perfectly fine.

Re:netflix is fine on linux (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378805)

There is a Netflix App for Linux that runs through Wine. It works perfectly fine.

It's really simple to get netflix on ubuntu, here's a howto:
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/opensource/how-to-get-netflix-streaming-on-ubuntu-1210/4019

Re:netflix is fine on linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43380115)

I hear that non-DRM Linux streamers are really big on sites like FagPr0n [fagpr0n.com] because faggots love Linux and they love seeing men getting fucked in the ass. Fucking faggot gays... spreading AIDS and eating the shit of other faggots out of each others assholes.

Re:netflix is fine on linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43380561)

There is a Netflix App for Linux that runs through Wine.

Why would you need Wine if it's for Linux?

Backwards (4, Informative)

Tim Ward (514198) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378639)

The usual answer to questions like this is:

(1) Decide what you want the computer to do

(2) Acquire the right platform.

Syaing "I've already got [whatever platform], how do I make it do what I want?" is often not a helpful approach.

Re:Backwards (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378777)

True story. I am a fan of Linux, but when I decided to build a media center(HTPC) system for the living room, I went with Windows 7.

Re:Backwards (2)

seinman (463076) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379101)

I went with a Mac. The Mac Mini is perfect for this sort of setup, and runs all the software I need it to (XBMC, Plex, etc) and plays all the formats I want (I use VLC), AND streams everything I want (Hulu, Netflix). Never crashes, has a built in IR reciever that I use with a Harmony remote, and uses very little electricity.

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379397)

You settled for whatever worked at the time rather than demanding that content providers offer their content in a way that makes it more flexible on existing hardware without new software licenses, it's great for you but it doesn't help anyone else, it just reinforces the belief that DRM and insistence on particular operating systems is the way to go.

If money is no object (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378801)

(1) Decide what you want the computer to do
(2) Acquire the right platform.

I agree that is a usable approach if money is no object.

Syaing "I've already got [whatever platform], how do I make it do what I want?" is often not a helpful approach.

If you have to make do with the hardware that you already own, the "often not a helpful approach" is the only approach apart from doing without.

Re:If money is no object (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378847)

You are aware that you can build a decent multimedia system for about 400$US, right? I went over kill on mine because I want to watch my BDs and games in 3D. However, that one can run Skyrim and the like in full graphics and was only 1200$US.

Re:If money is no object (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378959)

You are aware that you can build a decent multimedia system for about 400$US, right?

Sure, but Ask Slashdot costs a lot less than $400. Maybe the geeks here have a solution that works with what OP already has.

Re:If money is no object (3, Funny)

mrjb (547783) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379203)

You are aware that you can build a decent multimedia system for about 400$US, right?

Not everyone has 400$ to spare.

Re:If money is no object (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379365)

Then it makes very little sense to ask about building a system to access PAY PER VIEW services.

Re:If money is no object (2)

dcherryholmes (1322535) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379833)

I think Redbox is making a killing, which would undermine your point. Just because someone doesn't have $400 in one chunk, that doesn't mean they might not have $4 every week or so.

Re:If money is no object (2)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379935)

A system that plays video (local, LAN-based and Internet streaming) is only $100.

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378819)

Smartassing what is the right approach after the fact is also not a helpfull comment..

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378821)

Makes sense for business, but we are talking home use here.

Would windows, or even.. mac.. work better for some of my needs.. sure! But my interest in using (and advancing) linux to do what I want is stronger than my interest in say, watching netflix without jumping through some hoops.

You need people to say "I wanna do <whatever> on linux and not accept "just install windows" as an answer if you want to progress what you can do with linux. Why fight that?

Re:Backwards (1)

plover (150551) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379011)

Makes sense for business, but we are talking home use here.

Don't limit that statement by applying the extra constraints. Starting from the ideal requirements is the right approach. The economics might change things, but let them change it after you decide what the best solution is. Starting from the position of "this would be great", then you can say "oh, but I have to save some money, so let's see what I can trim from the budget" or "I want Linux in here, so if I swap this for that, I still end up with everything I want." You stay focused on the end goal, and work towards it.

Starting from "I'm a home user with a limited budget and a desire to use Linux, let's see what I can build that displays on my TV set" may not produce the HTPC of your dreams, because the dreams are lacking from the initial goals.

Re:Backwards (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379453)

The main problem here is that Flash and Silverlight suck. Even if you are running Windows, that simple fact is going to cause you a problem. It will increase your system requirements and may make the whole system less suitable for deployment in your living room.

Using the GPU to decode something is a LOT more efficient than the brute force CPU approach. You may not like the result of running your streaming service on a PC.

Your CPU running full bore versus your video card barely breaking a sweat.

Re:Backwards (3, Insightful)

LourensV (856614) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378843)

The usual answer to questions like this is:

(1) Decide what you want the computer to do

(2) Acquire the right platform.

Syaing "I've already got [whatever platform], how do I make it do what I want?" is often not a helpful approach.

If RMS and Linus had followed that advice, GNU, Linux, and probably Slashdot would never have existed. Why should one have to buy Windows and allow customer-hostile DRM software on ones computer to be able to watch a movie easily and legally? It's your computer, and the whole point of owning it is that you can make it do what you want. Trying to do just that seems perfectly reasonable to me, and I can't see how any system that doesn't allow you to do that could be the "right platform" for anything.

Re:Backwards (1)

Jaktar (975138) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378979)

Purchase content, rip and encode to your preferred format, play back to your devices.

Re:Backwards (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379157)

Streaming is still an inferior option. Selection is inferior. Price is inferior. Quality and features are inferior. Device support is inferior.

Even if you have access to Netflix and Amazon and whatever, you may still find it more effective to use spinny disks and just create your own iTunes style experience.

A DRM free file allows you to have complete control over the experience and employ any decoder or user interface of your choosing.

It's also not just Linux desktops that pose a compatibility problem with streaming services.

Re:Backwards (1)

Sloppy (14984) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378943)

Actually, he did ok (but he needs to get rid of his "things crash here and there") ; you simply forgot a step, and it's probably the more important step for all media consumers in our time:

(3) If they refuse to take your money, don't force the issue.

Failing that, is there anyway to download a film for £4-6 say, as just an AVI file or something, legally?

Once he applies step 3 to the above, everything gets easy, and the Mrs will be glad they didn't settle for a streaming service.

Re:Backwards (0)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379045)

Syaing "I've already got [whatever platform], how do I make it do what I want?" is often not a helpful approach.

That's why 1% use Linux and 99% use something else, but here on Slashdot I'd say it's almost implicit that the question is "I want to fit a square peg into a round hole, what's the best tool for the job?" and then we discuss the merits of various power tools and that getting a round peg is not a valid option. You should have been here long enough to notice...

Settle for what you don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379277)

But it's not a square peg into a round hole. It's an infinitely variable shaped peg which is the perfect tool for the job. That's why 99% use Linux and 1% "make settle for what they don't understand".

The problem is the hole is proprietary and no one knows what shape it is.

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379389)

The way I see the problem is that the square peg is something being inserted by the media companies, and the round hole is... well, the OP's rear orifice. The OP is simply asking "Is there any company that will take my money without inserting the peg because I don't like it, or at least using a round one". Then posters suggesting he must use windows say, using the above analogy: "Sorry buddy, you have to accept them screwing you with square pegs, it's just the way it is".

That's you're view. (1)

mrjb (547783) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379187)

Syaing "I've already got [whatever platform], how do I make it do what I want?" is often not a helpful approach."

Sure. But saying "Swap to Windows" isn't exactly any more helpful, is it? I'm not going to shell out for a Windows license and I'm not going to install it illegaly. If I can't play netflix on the operating system of my choice, they're not having my business, simple as that. Besides, at the price I would pay for a netflix movie, I'll get the DVD instead; sometimes at a car boot sale, sometimes at the thrift shop, sometimes at poundland, and I even pay full price, at times. It might score slightly lower on the "instant gratification" scale, but at least I'm watching the films on my own terms.

Re:Backwards (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379221)

I agree. I set up a HTPC on an old mac mini running Plex [plexapp.com] , for just that reason, Plex seemed to be the best HTPC app out there and was free, so I picked a platform that would allow me to run it.

I could have run it in a VM, on linux, but then I'm wasting hardware resources on a system that I want to be lower power and quiet. I personally like the fact that my wife can hit the power button, and 15seconds later be watching a movie.

Dump the religion out the window and use the tool that works for you, if you want to cram XBMC on OS/2, go right ahead. Besides, I think some people just want to say they use linux to impress others. Why do you think half the posts around here start with "I use Linux at..." or "I've been a linux user for X years..."

Re:Backwards (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379223)

We (are supposed to) have standards for this kind of thing. There's no technological reason that this shouldn't work, therefore no reason it shouldn't work. Anything else is bureaucratic, dick wagging horseshit.

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379387)

He likely has the platform already, and since it already does 99+% of what he wants, he doesn't want to go out and buy second machine which offers crapola otherwise, only for single use. He already *has* the right platform (if for example, most services use silverblight, and thats proprietary microsoft crapola, then don't get that crapola, because its crap, get a different streaming service). In my house, I do local streaming via wifi with dlna on a Linux platform (a good, non-crap platform) to an LG network appliance. A WRT54GL (running linux, an non-crap platform), kicks out a very strong wifi signal, which I have no problems streaming data to the brother-in-law a few houses over, all I have to provide him with is the right wifi password/access. Oh and since computers are Turing complete, Syaing "I've already got [whatever platform], how do I make it do what I want?" is often not a helpful approach. is utter bullshit, since it obviously is possible to get x running on y (and Turings completeness theorum was vetted by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein among others, so don't start muttering crap about him being wrong).

Shill alert! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378669)

"It works pretty well for Linux, although things crash here and there."

Lies, FUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Shill alert! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379177)

The only device I have where I find that kind of thing to be a problem really is my Sony BluRay player. You would hope that with Linux inside, it would be more robust than it actually is.

My Ubuntu based HTPCs are rocks of Gibraltar in comparison.

When one of my HTPCs do go wonky, they also recover a lot quicker and easier than my Sony appliance.

XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378787)

I put together a little atom based box with the idea of installing XBMC, and rocking and rolling from there.

So many hassles, flash based video like youtube and justin.tv constantly freeze, getting 5.1 audio out seems to be a pipe dream. Somewhere between samba, the kernel, the ntfs drivers, and the hardware, my USB drive I have my files on keeps getting corrupted.

No hardware accel support in flash, so outside of xbmc I can't even watch a thumbnail sized youtube vid in chromium or firefox. It's a fucking joke.

I used ubuntu, maybe there are slightly better distros for the task, but who knows, I gave up. I just wanted to come home, sit on the couch, and watch some movies.

Pony up for a copy of windows home edition, and install XBMC on that. It's not going to get infected if you aren't installing warezez and browsing bad sites, and everything will work.

For the punchline, I picked up an original xbox from a thrift store for 20 bucks, softmodded and put the latest XBMC on it. It works like a champ.

Re:XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for (1)

jsdcnet (724314) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378961)

get a raspberry pi and set up xbmc on it. i did. it has 5.1 out, hdmi cec (turns on tv + amp, sets to right inputs automatically), runs linux, can handle 1080p video. plus it's just so cute. also unlike an old xbox it is tiny, silent, and runs off a phone charger.

Re:XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379065)

Why would a Raspberry Pi work better than the intel atom based nettop I put together?

It's already tiny and runs off a 12v wall wart, and has enough stones for some light gaming/emulators

The hardware is great, it's linux that sucks at multimedia.

Re:XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379487)

> The hardware is great, it's linux that sucks at multimedia.

No. It's you that sucks. You are a really lame troll.

Plenty of Linux users (myself included) do very well with Atom based nettops.

Linux does quite well at multimedia. I don't have download anything called Shark007 in order to get my codecs sorted out. Linux is no worse supported on an Atom based nettop than Windows is.

The limiting factor is CPU guzzling streaming services that will choke an Atom anyways.

Re:XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for (1)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,17 days | (#43380685)

Full screen 480p YouTube works smoothly on a Windows netbook. On Linux (same hardware), it drops frames due to lacking hardware acceleration.

Re:XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for (1)

knarf (34928) | 1 year,17 days | (#43380423)

Funny that. I never seem to have problems with multimedia, be it streaming (which I usually un-stream first so I can play it on anything attached to the server) or file-based media. Using Linux. Maybe Linux does not suck at multimedia after all... which might explain the multitude of multimedia-related hardware on the market running Linux.

What makes the Raspberry Pi a good choice for this type of application is its lower power consumption, lower price, lower maintenance, lower heat output, lower noise, lower just about everything than just about everything. Yes, that includes lower CPU performance than just about everything so you don't want to be running heavy stuff on it.

Is it better than that intel atom thing you use? It might be, or it might not. It depends on your needs. If you happen to run on a limited power budget - a cabin in the woods, a boat, a mobile home - it is.

By the way, I don't see where the author of the Raspberry post said it was *better* than your intel thing. Why did you feel the need to defend it?

Re:XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379213)

> Pony up for a copy of windows home edition, and install XBMC on that

Except it will have the exact same problems with Flash. The truth of the matter is that hardware acceleration is a new thing with Adobe. It's not something you can depend on in Flash because it's a new feature that webmasters have to specifically enable.

Meanwhile, even Linux has supported full GPU acceleration for years. That copy of XBMC that you didn't really try out had that available.

The Adobe devs are too busy fixating on clanlib.

> For the punchline, I picked up an original xbox

Original xbox? Really? You need to come up with less absurd stuff.

Troll harder next time.

Re:XBMC is great, but linux is a bad platform for (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | 1 year,17 days | (#43380055)

"Meanwhile, even Linux has supported full GPU acceleration for years. That copy of XBMC that you didn't really try out had that available."

That's a lie. GPU acceleration totally depends on your driver. e.g. I ran a VIA system (more for NAS than for desktop use) that has a h264 decoder in the GPU, but the driver only does basic 2D display and you have to compile from SVN for that. I would need to use Windows 7 or 8 to get GPU acceleration (including basic OpenGL)
If you run AMD open source driver : the feature has only very recently been ported to it (so, it will work in some future distro, or in a current one if you update the driver and whatever else in the near future)

With an Atom it might as well be a crap shoot (pray that you have Intel graphics and not PowerVR, then work up from that). Apparently here, XBMC supports the Intel Intel Atom, through Intel's API, but Flash does not, and the CPU is not powerful enough for youtube 480p, maybe not enough for 360p, maybe can manage to display some 240p.

Use the right tool; don't be the tool (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43378827)

For every job there are several tools that might work. For most, there are some tools that aren't the best choice. For example, while some screwdrivers could be used to hammer nails - they aren't the best for it and certainly will be frustrating to use. Linux has several places where it shines. It also has some where it is too frustrating to futz with. Video, due to the current copyright / drm mess, is one of the later. Don't cut off your choices just to be a zealot. Get an appropriate tool. That might be a Roku box or something similar. If you want to have just one unit, it could be a TiVo premier XL 4 or something like that which will be a DVR and also give you streaming through NetFlix and Hulu Plus. Or, it might even be a Windows or Mac box. My money is probably on something like a Roku and keeping what you have for the DVR. But don't tie yourself to a tool that doesn't fit the job. Use one that is actually designed to deal with the real world - that nasty place full of drm and copyright.

my already implemented solution (2)

louden obscure (766926) | 1 year,18 days | (#43378997)

a roku hockey puck and plex media server running on my debian server and also my debian desktop. if i can't find what i want on netflix or any of the other channels on the roku i grab a torrent. i was using a soft-modded 1st gen xbox and xbmc but got the roku for Christmas. there are compromises using either set-up.

DIY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379071)

Assuming you have the bandwidth for it, VLC Media player itself allows you to set up a great streaming video of your desktop in Linux. Other VLC clients can then connect up to the IP address of your server and stream it directly from there. I had one Windows friend who would sort of "port" me over to LiveStream by:

a) connecting his VLC client with mine, he's now receiving my video stream
b) he created a livestream of his -own- desktop, playing my vlc stream
c) other people connected up to the livestream

The benefits are that it seems to use a minimal amount of bandwidth for both me and him, plus it gets you onto livestream if you insist. But as I say, if you can afford the bandwidth and your upload speed isn't mercilessly capped, you can easily use VLC for this.

AppleTV (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379351)

I know -- "Ewwwww Apple! We Linux users haaaaaaate Apple -- Apple isn't leet!"

But hey - if you can get past all that, it will stream Netflix AND Hulu and stream iTunes music from your laptops and iPhones, not that you use iTunes or any other Apple stuff. But you get the streaming services you want on something that doesn't "crash here and there", and doesn't look like an eyesore homebrew project from spare parts. And it takes all of 5 minutes to set up.

And who knows, maybe one day the idea of being able to come home and stream the song you're playing on your iPhone over your Home Entertainment System via the AppleTV will be too much to resist.

Roku? (3, Informative)

mark_reh (2015546) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379355)

I just got a Roku 3 and the user interface issues of the previous versions are fixed. Response is snappy and you can stream video from Plex media server (native Linux app) and other streaming servers (Playon, from Windows, for example). The Roku box will handle Netflix for you (and Hulu+) and will be easy enough for your wife to use without any training, and you'll have access to all your HDD based content as well.

How about PS3? (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379381)

Like Sony says, "it only does everything". Plays games, streams Netflix and Hulu+, plays content from DLNA servers, plays blu-ray discs, including 3D. PS3's are probably on sale since the PS4's are coming out...

No Flash (1)

cerberusss (660701) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379441)

For me personally, I need decent Flash. My (European) country's national broadcaster has a digital Flash-based channel. I recently found out that Adobe dropped Flash hardware acceleration somewhere last year. You can't force it on through some obscure configuration file, either.

That makes for a big disadvantage for most Linux-friendly stuff, I need something Microsofty or Apple-ish.

There is a PPA for that (4, Informative)

moj0joj0 (1119977) | 1 year,18 days | (#43379705)

For quite some time I just resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to boot into windows or use some other poor method to get my netflix on... then Erich Hoover arrived with a heroic flast to his eye, chin thrust forward and proclaimed, "Do not go gentle into that sudo shutdown -r now! Rage, rage against the needlessness of these cursed reboots!

Here is how to install the Netflix Desktop App on Ubuntu. Open a terminal and run these commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop More info here: http://www.iheartubuntu.com/2012/11/ppa-for-netflix-desktop-app.html [iheartubuntu.com]

50$ solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379707)

putting media (or any valuable data) on a windows file system is just asking for trouble. I was in a similar situation and found that it was just easier to buy a wireless ROKU box for 50$ and move it to the room where needed. I can still pull streaming video form amazon and netflix to my MYTHTV boxes through the chrome browser. but the wife factor was not friendly so Roku makes up for that.

Flash+HTML5. Also, Recommend Plex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#43379739)

I usually go with Plex and Chrome. has tons of content and just works with Flash / HTML5. No silverlight here.

HBO and Headweb (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43380347)

http://hbonordic.com/home
https://www.headweb.com/

The Easy Way (1)

fuego451 (958976) | 1 year,17 days | (#43380617)

With Debian, android and Windows 7 machines, the cable cut and Tier II Internet (2 up, 20 down Mbps) in the house I simply use streaming devices for my TV's: Samsung wifi blu ray player for the big TV and a nice little WD Play TV device for my bedroom TV. Simple, inexpensive and fewer hassles.
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