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It is very annoying to find out which applications must be installed with which use flags and in which combination and how to configure them such that the multimedia playback is hassle-free even for streamed media. For example, it looks like only the proprietary RealPlayer is able to seek within streamed content. But how does one tell firefox, konqueror etc. to issue the command aoss realplay URL? That is very time-consuming for the beginner and a strong disadvantage of Gentoo Linux (and probably every other Linux OS and even MS Windows??).

Since I have no idea how to solve that in an optimum way, I hope that there are people who have learned to do that and comment on their successes here.

Additional note: the goal is not to provide a proper embedding. The primary goal is to have a reliable and hassle-free playback, preferably using alsa. Having a videostream embedded into a webpage does IMHO not have any advantage, rather disadvantages.

Possible Solution for Firefox

The solution consists of different parts:

  • Official RealPlayer for RealMedia content. The /usr/bin/realplay script has been modified to check for ~/.asoundrc and wrap realplay.bin using aoss in case that file exists. Additionally, the nsplugin is installed.
  • MPlayer is used for all other video content. It gets embedded into Firefox by the mplayerplug-in. The configuration files of both packages have been adopted to meet these requirements. (removed mime type registrations for RealMedia and audio content, set ALSA to be default audio driver)
  • gxine is used for all audio content. That is because gxine seems to be the most stable and most accessible sound player because it has a resizable playlist (xine hasn't), it has never crashed for me (xmms, amarok crash all the time here).
  • ALSA is preferred over any sound servers because sound servers always add an additional layer of complexity and therefore one usually always finds a program which does not work with it. Nevertheless, one may run esd, artsd etc. on top of ALSA in addition.
  • Downside: one cannot drop files and dirs into gxine as easily as it is possible with xmms. Therefore, I recommend using xmms for playing back local files.



Some issues which have led me to the setup mentioned above:

  • mplayer above 1.0_pre7tr2 (ie. from CVS) does not work at all here. Stream playback hangs after a few frames.
  • xmms fails to stream mp3 files via http.
  • gxine does not have KDE support (drag and drop).
  • amarok always crashes.
  • audacious crashes if one does the wrong thing. It is quite capable of playing back stream, it has a good KDE integration, but it cannot read playlists (m3u) from the web. It is therefore some compromise between xmms and gxine regarding audio output.

Links for Testing Your Installation

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Last modified: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 06:32:00 +0000 Hits: 10,580