titoj
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:28 am

VLC player on the RPi 3

Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:33 am

I've heard conflicting stories about whether the new versions, 4.2 and up, support hardware-accelerated video in the RPi 3. My test seems to say it doesn't. I also tried a version that someone compiled that claimed to play HD video smoothly, but I couldn't get it to install correctly. (Codec licensing is not an issue.)

I need an alternative to the Kodi implementations LibreELEC and OSMC, which have some shortcomings (very poor mouse support, no audio volume control in the app while playing videos) for use by a hospitalized stroke victim.

I tried to install the OMXplayer GUI, with no success. The command-line player is out, and I can't check out the GUI overlay to see if it would be suitable.

This person I'm trying to help has used VLC Player in the past, and unless it's wildly different from the Windows implementation, it would probably be ideal...if it supported hardware acceleration in the Pi 3, that is.

Tips, comments and links would be most welcome. Mouse control (no remote controls, no command-line) is non-negotiable, as is a way to control movie volume in the player itself. I've tried a keymapper for a mouse in Kodi which sort of worked, but which is sunk by the poor mouse support overall.

Thanks.

gkreidl
Posts: 6222
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:07 pm
Location: Germany

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:50 am

VLC can be compiled with HW acceleration ( viewtopic.php?f=66&t=59814 ) but it may be not what you are looking for, because HW accelerated video will run full screen and has to be controlled with the keyboard while it's running.

I have no idea why you couldn't install omxplayerGUI (kweb suite). It's really easy.
Minimal Kiosk Browser (kweb)
Slim, fast webkit browser with support for audio+video+playlists+youtube+pdf+download
Optional fullscreen kiosk mode and command interface for embedded applications
Includes omxplayerGUI, an X front end for omxplayer

titoj
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:28 am

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:56 am

Thanks. Yep, that's a deal-breaker. Always something...

I'll try again with TBOPlayer. And then I guess I'll have to figure out how to start it from the desktop instead of the command line.

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 22010
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:01 pm

titoj wrote:Thanks. Yep, that's a deal-breaker. Always something...

I'll try again with TBOPlayer. And then I guess I'll have to figure out how to start it from the desktop instead of the command line.
So you did not try omxplayerGUI (kweb suite) ??? as mentioned above ???
Retired disgracefully.....
......to an uncomplicated life !

Rather than negativity think outside the box !

titoj
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:28 am

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:51 am

I don't think I tried that specific one, but I will. Thanks.

What I tried to install was TBOPlayer. The first time, it didn't install at all. I tried again yesterday after reading the earlier comment here. It worked this time...sort of. The install log ended with about 25 lines of "Errno 2" followed by the names of missing directories/files, one per line.

Nevertheless, I can select a video file and play it in OMX Player. I have to do some more poking around, though, because the player comes up in a borderless window that occupies about 2/3 of the screen area. There aren't any visible controls, though. The GUI box is hidden behind that window, and there doesn't seem to be a way to change focus to the GUI box to control the volume or start/stop the video. Maybe I have to preposition the GUI window in a corner so the bottom row with the volume control is visible?

The player doesn't seem to support subtitles either, but I haven't had time to look into the documentation. As it is, the video box overlays the desktop, which appears above and below the video, making for some unappealing clutter. I think there's a way to set the screen size to make the video full screen, but then I lose all the controls.

I haven't given up, but I think I was too willing to believe some of the hype online about how good a media player the RPi 3 would support. It seemed perfect for an application where compact size, simplicity and ease of setup are important. There's no such thing as a free lunch LOL!

gkreidl
Posts: 6222
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:07 pm
Location: Germany

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:31 am

omxplayerGUI does all what you are looking for. It's part of the kweb suite:
viewtopic.php?f=66&t=40860
omxplayerGUI manual online: http://steinerdatenbank.de/software/omx ... manual.pdf
Minimal Kiosk Browser (kweb)
Slim, fast webkit browser with support for audio+video+playlists+youtube+pdf+download
Optional fullscreen kiosk mode and command interface for embedded applications
Includes omxplayerGUI, an X front end for omxplayer

titoj
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:28 am

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:30 am

Thanks. I'll download and fire it up tomorrow. I appreciate your help.

titoj
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:28 am

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:58 pm

Still playing around with the kweb overlay for OMX.

In the meantime, though, can someone confirm that the Pi version of VLC Player cannot use mouse gestures?

nautilus27
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 9:38 pm

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:12 pm

It does play the SD videos with software acceleration. But MMAL acceleration using Video Processing Unit (VPU) of Raspberry Pi does not work. VLC throws error when compiled with special instuctions to use MMAL.

As far as I know no software other than OMX Player can play hardware accelerated videos and it can't play videos in window. nor does it have a GUI. That is a problem. Work arounds such as skinning OMX player doesn't solve it.

The problem is not specific to Pi. No Single Board Computer based on Arm can do it. I've tried many. Banana Pi, Orange Pi, Odroid etc... with different operating systems. None can do hardware accelerated video playback via VLC.

VLC on Android smartphones work flawlessly with hardware acceleration but fails on these devices. Both smartphones and Single board computers have similar hardware to work with. So I'm guessing the problem can be solved.

gkreidl
Posts: 6222
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:07 pm
Location: Germany

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:19 am

nautilus27 wrote:It does play the SD videos with software acceleration. But MMAL acceleration using Video Processing Unit (VPU) of Raspberry Pi does not work. VLC throws error when compiled with special instuctions to use MMAL.

As far as I know no software other than OMX Player can play hardware accelerated videos and it can't play videos in window. nor does it have a GUI. That is a problem. Work arounds such as skinning OMX player doesn't solve it.

The problem is not specific to Pi. No Single Board Computer based on Arm can do it. I've tried many. Banana Pi, Orange Pi, Odroid etc... with different operating systems. None can do hardware accelerated video playback via VLC.

VLC on Android smartphones work flawlessly with hardware acceleration but fails on these devices. Both smartphones and Single board computers have similar hardware to work with. So I'm guessing the problem can be solved.
You're right in in one thing (MMAL is broken in all versions I tried), but Openmax IL does work ( see: viewtopic.php?f=66&t=59814 ). But it uses overlays for video in the same ways as omxplayer does. So the video will not run inside the window.

omxplayer not only uses HW acceleration for decoding the video but also accesses the video display directly creating an overlay. All other solution would require to copy the decoded video in real time back into the frame buffer. This has been tried in some programs ( epiphany, kweb3, chromium-browser), but it is only possible for medium sized screen areas (up to 720p) and not for larger ones or even full HD screens. I don't think it will ever be possible (with the current hardware).

But there are solutions. omxplayerGUI creates a window around the overlay, which you can move, resize, hide and unhide in real time. It gives you the basic controls you need and adds additional features like web video (youtube and 600+ other websites) and playlist support. Then there is ubeify which uses similar methods. And you can also use kodi, which uses an OpenGL ES interface to display controls on top of a video (Android works in similar way).
Minimal Kiosk Browser (kweb)
Slim, fast webkit browser with support for audio+video+playlists+youtube+pdf+download
Optional fullscreen kiosk mode and command interface for embedded applications
Includes omxplayerGUI, an X front end for omxplayer

titoj
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:28 am

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:38 am

Kodi would suit my purpose fine if there was decent mouse support (can't understand why they provide an option for mouse/touch support when it's so kludgy) and if there were a way to control movie/video sound volume from the screen. You can control audio music volume but not that of the audio in a video file.

dom
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 5409
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:41 pm
Location: Cambridge

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:42 am

titoj wrote:Kodi would suit my purpose fine if there was decent mouse support (can't understand why they provide an option for mouse/touch support when it's so kludgy) and if there were a way to control movie/video sound volume from the screen. You can control audio music volume but not that of the audio in a video file.
Mouse should be usable (but it's not a recommended input method). You'll have to explain what the issue is.
If you have enabled audio passthrough, then it is impossible for Kodi do adjust the volume. You should change the volume through the TV/AVR.
Or disable passthrough and then volume control will work.

If you have a CEC capable TV and AVR, then the kodi volume changes will actually be sent to AVR allowing volume changes with passthrough using the kodi remote.

titoj
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:28 am

Re: VLC player on the RPi 3

Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:11 pm

I have a special set of needs; I'm trying to set up a multimedia center (grand name for a modest setup) for a hospitalized stroke victim who can use a mouse reasonably well but not a remote control or touchscreen, such as a phone app to control the setup. Compact size, a minimum number of wires, and the ability to set up, dismantle and store the set in a hospital room are important.

Raspbian works fine with a mouse, including a wireless mouse. OSMC and LibreELEC fall apart with a wireless mouse (cursor bounces all over the screen) and work marginally acceptably with a wired mouse, but only with the Confluence skin as far as I can tell. That's one reason I want to pin down just what multimedia apps are available for Raspbian and how they're controlled. A senior member on one of the Kodi OS forums told me bluntly that Kodi was not made to be used with a mouse and to forget about it.

The audio device will have to be a Bluetooth speaker that has no volume control on it, or headphones. Obviously, neither will be usable if the audio blasts out uncontrollably.

I'm leaning toward the conclusion that I'm just trying to make the Pi work too hard for what I want to do. There are some more expensive boxes that are touted as having been designed for multimedia uses, and maybe one of them is more suitable but still affordable.

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