XBMC Linux port questions and answers...

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pike Offline
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Post: #46
If YellowDog Linux doesn't get access, I think chances are pretty slim we will get it. We're both opensource afaik.

nate12o6 Wrote:question #2

I know the xbmc team has talked with microsoft about getting a dev liscence and where denied. Would you say the chances with sony would also be 0?

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_max_ Offline
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Post: #47
szsori Wrote:I have a HTPC that I use in a different room instead of my Xbox. It actually runs quieter than the Xbox. Not saying it's silent, but it's far more easy to customize a PC to make it silent than customizing a console or STB.


A computer that's just sufficient to decode h264 content can be found for far less than $1000. Shuttle has really high end stuff for HTPC applications for $1000 that looks really nice, but I personally built mine in a nice Coolermaster case for under $700.


Once again, not all of them.

I do like the Apple TV device and think it looks pretty cool, but you're extremely limited compared to a PC or Mac Mini. The thing that the Mac Mini/Apple TV fans keep forgetting is that there are plenty of sufficient PC options as well that run considerably cheaper. They look as nice and are more flexible as far as which hardware you can use with them. I'm not saying that a PC is definitely the way to go... I'm just saying that you folks need to be more accurate with your comparisons and "facts".

I still think the way to go would be to have one of the XBMC devs talk to Shuttle (or another reputable company) and ask if they can develop a device with the exact specifications they want. Any company would be likely to jump on the opportunity since they'd be guaranteed to sell at least a few hundred of the computers just to the XBMC crowd. If the number of buyers was predetermined, perhaps we'd also be able to get additional discounts.

Im sorry but asking shuttle to do a custom setup for XBMC? do you know how much money goes into designin a motherboard? i asked for a dev board from a company and they asked me to send back a detailed plan of what application i would build ontop of it that would sell atleast 200.000 units. it costs ALOT of money, people have asked asus and abit to create linux friendly motherboards for years, theres just not enough money in it.

And i recommended the apple products cause they stay the same for ages.

Do you know how many pc combinations there is ? for each damn setup there are wierd bugs, and hardware missfits that will cause headaches. If you use a console thats going to be the same for 10 years you can focus on the application. Just look at Windows, how stable would it not have been if it ran on a platform that used the same hardware for 10 years? Look at Porsche.. wanna know why they have cars that barely break down? cause its been the same shit for 10-15 years with minor modifications, thus its ultra-ultra tested.
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_max_ Offline
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Post: #48
Gamester17 Wrote:I have been thinking about this during the last couple of days. I now like to argue that besides the 'good old' Xbox (and possible future ports to PS3 and Xbox 360 which I do not think we should discuss in this specific topic-thread), when the Linux port of XBMC becomes mature enough for end-users to fully use it will probebely be a very good idea to keep two (and only two) specific 'locked-down' x86-based computer platforms (or motherboard) with different specifications and differently priced as the 'locked-down' concrete reference hardware and the sole computer platform that Team-XBMC will officialy support. Smart would probebely be to have one relativly inexpensive ($500 USD or less) low-end computer hardware model and one expensive ($1500 USD or less) high-end computer hardware model, both with clearly specified minimum requirements and exactly detailed hardware parts, (that way the users can let their needs and size of their pockets decide which model to go for).

I think that low-end model should be fanless and at least capable to playback H.264 encoded video at 720p native resolution but also capable to upscale all video to 1080i, and have at least have optical-audio, component and DVI or HDMI ports. The high-end model should be capable to playback H.264 encoded video at 1080p native resolution and also capable to upscale all video to 1080p, and have at least have optical-audio, component and HDMI/HDCP ports. The low-end computer hardware model should not be required to have a DVD-ROM drive, while the high-end model on the other hand should be required required to have a DVD-ROM drive. Niether the low-end or the high-end computer hardware should nieter be required to required to have a harddisk-drive, but both should be required to be able to boot from a USB-key and completly run the operating-system and XBMC (plus any other applications) from there. The hardware's lifle-cycle should also be as long as possible, meaning new ones should be should in retail stores for years to come, (that is why a game-console hardware makes a perfect sense to use as a reference model).

Today Apple TV (from Apple) already fills all of those given requirements for the low-end computer hardware model, and on top of that it only costs $300 USD. I do think that would make the perfect reference platform, (the only 'issue' I see is that it does not have a LCD-display on the box itself but that could always be case modded if one wants it). The minimum requirements I given above for the high-end computer hardware model is however harder to meet today (especially the long life-cycle part), so I do not think that model should be set in stone just yet. I do however think that the upcoming update model of the Mac Mini from Apple will possibly make a great high-end model candidate, I think it will probebly come down to the retail price that will be set for it when it is released this fall, (and if it so happens to come with a HD DVD and/or Blu-ray disc-reader as an option that would not hurt either), ...yes I know that the PlayStation 3 (PS3) premium-edition game-console hardware also fills those requirements, but it might automaticly have to be ruled out because of the combining issues like it is not an full open platform; with non open source device-drivers and the PS3 hypervisor is limiting Linux on it to 2D graphics and low-level access to the hardware, plus the fact that processor (CPU) is not x86-based but instead PowerPC-based Cell processor which could make development applications for it harder and more time-consuming.



Know though that no matter what platform we choose as the locked-down computer hardware, since this XBMC Linux port will run as an application end-users and developers a like will of course be able to run it on any computer hardware they like, they will just not get any support with problems from Team-XBMC, nor will we fix bugs on other that only occur on the computer hardware other than the two specified locked-down reference models. If this XBMC Linux port will be distributed as an official Live CD (LiveDistro) bundled with the Linux operating-system to futher lock-down of the static constant system enviroment then only that Live CD distro will be officialy supported by Team-XBMC, and it will thus stripped down as much as possible to keep the size and potential compatibily issues down (by ripping out device drivers, etc. that will not be needed unless we would intend to support multiple hardware platforms).

PS! I'm have now moved this topic-thread from the XBMC Development Forum to the XBMC to the XBMC General Discussion Forum since the discussion har clearly spun away from code and programming, also only developers should really start new topic-threads in the developement. So feel free to continue this broad general questions/answers and discussion about the different aspects of what porting XBMC to Linux could/will bring.

sorry for a large quote, You CANT lock down xbmc to a specific motherboard, motherboards arn't sold for more than 6-12 months (6 if noone buys them, even less, 12 if they are _really_ popular..) What happens after 12 months? support the next montherboard with an entire different sb/nb chipset? its stupid trying to get xbmc on a computer, the only thnig it would work on for longer than 12 months is a console.
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pike Offline
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Post: #49
@ _max_: your quoting skillz leave alot to be desired. don't repeat this mistake or I will have to take measures. thanks for the apology though

Here's todays Linux progress Screenshot (13th of May 2007): http://i6.tinypic.com/6gl79rn.jpg
We had another breakthrough and now OpenGL works quite well (for GUI rendering) atleast on Nvidia and Intel gfx on Ubuntu.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
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mace Offline
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Post: #50
First I must say that I Like Gamester17Confused idea about keeping the list of supported hardware very short.

According to me that's one of the major issues with Media Portal. Since they got so much supported hardware and fetures, the quality isn't keeping up despite a lot of hard work.

The A TV is a nice box and i would love to see it as a XBMC box but as I reed the specs, it does require a TV with DVI/HDMI input. Isn't that a little tough demand on the low-end alternative?

I would like to add a SCART or S-video output as a requirement on the low-end variant. These outputs will lower quality but they will provide a possibility to hook up to older TVConfused.
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Gamester17 Offline
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Big Grin  Apple TV: GPU assisted hardware accelereated video decoding is the key...
Post: #51
pike Wrote:does linux for AppleTV have 3d accelerated drivers ?
The nice thing about Apple TV is that unlike the old Xbox (which uses customized chipset and GPU) Apple simply took a standard Mobile Intel Centrino 915PM Express chipset (featuring Intel ICH7 7.1 High Definition Audio) and a standard NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 GPU (graphic processor chip), making the Apple TV basically just a laptop computer with a proprietary operating-system and without a built-in keyboard/trackpad and display that normally is attached to laptop computer. So we can just use the normal proprietary binary device drivers that NVIDIA provides for Linux, (or we can choose to use the open source drivers if we clike, but I doubt those are as good as the closed source one NVIDIA provides, at least not yet, though I'm not sure what the license sais about distributing the proprietary binary device drivers from NVIDIA on Live CD).
http://www.mactel-linux.org/wiki/AppleTV

The NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 GPU also supports NVIDIA's PureVideo technology for H.264, WMV, and MPEG-2 Hardware Acceleration, NIVIDIA does unfortunatly not yet provide a Linux library or SDK for accessing that PureVideo API, (nor have I heard of NIVIDIA releasing any specifications or technical documentation for it, so as far as I know no one in the open source community have tried reverse engineering to gain access to it for adding support to it via XvMC), however motion compensation (mo comp) and iDCT (Inverse Discrete Cosine Transform) is probably still supported via XvMC, at least for MPEG-2 (I don't know the current development state of XvMC and MPEG-4. XvMC is open source after all, maybe can look at The Unichrome Project and The openChrome Project provide code patched which adds MPEG-4 hardware acceleration to FFmepg and MPlayer via XvMC). Alternativly maybe our developers or FFmpeg/MPlayer developers can write pixel-shaders for Shader Model 3.0 using the Cg (C for graphics) programming language which NVIDIA do provide a lot of developer tools and documentation for, (maybe by using the Lib Sh or other existing open source GPGPU library/code as a base). The GPGPU and the GPU programming community is pretty big, I'm sure a solution can be found somewhere. I think the different codec decoding processes that could possible be accelerated that way in are; Motion Compensation (mo comp), Inverse Transform (iDCT), inverse quantization (IQ), in-loop deblocking, bitstream processing (CAVLC/CABAC), Variable-Length Decoding (VLD), and de-interlacing. Who knows now, offload all those together on the GPU (plus all CPU optimizations available) then we might even someday be able to pull off native 1080p H.264 video, which is probably the most demanding video codec we got today. By then maybe NVIDIA will decide to open up the PureVideo API, that would be irony for you, hehe
http://developer.nvidia.com/page/home.html
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/XvMC

Even though Apple as currently limited Apple TV to 1080i as the maximum output resolution, the hardware does support 1080p as the maximum output resolution. It is possible to speculate that Apple will do like Microsoft did with the Xbox 360 and release a firmware update that will enable 1080p output on all Apple TV boxes. I don't even know if Linux on Apple TV is limited, it depends if the restriction is hardcoded in the firmware/BIOS or if it is just a limitation set in the Apple TV operating-system.


_max_ Wrote:You CANT lock down xbmc to a specific motherboard, motherboards arn't sold for more than 6-12 months (6 if noone buys them, even less, 12 if they are _really_ popular..) What happens after 12 months? support the next montherboard with an entire different sb/nb chipset? its stupid trying to get xbmc on a computer, the only thnig it would work on for longer than 12 months is a console.
@_max_, you quoted my whole post but it does not sound like you actually read more than the first section, if you would have read the whole thing then you would know that that also suggest Apple TV has that primary locked-down computer hardware platform, and yes Apple TV is a computer and yes it has a motherboard inside of it and yes Apple will sell it for years to come, (they might come with an updated model in a couple of year but then we just have to support that new model of Apple TV as well and the old one). I also suggested VIA EPIA embedded motherboard which also have a very long life-cycle because they are designed to be used in applienses, so VIA manufactures each model for 5-years+ (and by then it is probably time for XBMC to support a new hardware platform anyhow). Besides, you will be able to run XBMC on any Linux dist on any hardware you like and add any drivers you like yourself, as long as you do not ask for support in these forums or our official IRC-channel if and when you run into problems with it on.


mace Wrote:The A TV is a nice box and i would love to see it as a XBMC box but as I reed the specs, it does require a TV with DVI/HDMI input. Isn't that a little tough demand on the low-end alternative?

I would like to add a SCART or S-video output as a requirement on the low-end variant. These outputs will lower quality but they will provide a possibility to hook up to older TVConfused.
If you TV that only supports SCART or S-Video then why not just stick with the old Xbox for XBMC?, your not going to get high-definition via SCART or S-Video anyway. Anyhow, the Apple TV box does features component video (RGB) ports as well, and many television sets, especially in Europe and Japan, utilize RGB via the SCART connector. If your TV supports RGB via SCART then all you need is a RGB to SCART adapter, one of those doesn't cost much and are not hard to find. There are also RGB to S-Video, and RGB to Composit, and RGB to VGA media converter available to buy.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
(This post was last modified: 2007-05-14 01:17 by Gamester17.)
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_max_ Offline
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Post: #52
pike Wrote:@ _max_: your quoting skillz leave alot to be desired. don't repeat this mistake or I will have to take measures. thanks for the apology though

Here's todays Linux progress Screenshot (13th of May 2007): http://i6.tinypic.com/6gl79rn.jpg
We had another breakthrough and now OpenGL works quite well (for GUI rendering) atleast on Nvidia and Intel gfx on Ubuntu.

Im sorry, he spread the info that was relevant over the entire post.
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Gamester17 Offline
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Question  @developers, please look at the tool/library I just found here!
Post: #53
HLSL2GLSL (http://sourceforge.net/projects/hlsl2glsl)
Quote:HLSL2GLSL is a command line tool that translates DirectX 9 High Level Shader Language (HLSL) shaders into the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL)
If it does the same for DirectX 8 shaders then could this tool be used to help you port the pixel shader renderers for XBMC video players (MPlayer and DVDPlayer) to OpenGL?
Quote:HLSL2GLSL can be used as a stand-alone command-line tool to directly translate shader source from HLSL to GLSL. In addition, a library version of the tool is provided (along with full source-code) that can be used by a developer in their application. The library is designed to work with input HLSL shaders up to Shader Model 3.0. The tool generates either GLSL v1.10.59 desktop OpenGL shaders or shaders that can be used with the OpenGL ES Shading Language v1.00. Also available as binaries for Mac OS X and Win32.
By the way, does SDL support OpenGL ES (2D OpenGL)?

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
(This post was last modified: 2007-05-14 00:04 by Gamester17.)
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Ph03n1x Offline
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Post: #54
Amazing progress so far, however I have to agree with nate12o6 - I think it's a little too early to be discussing h/w specs right now. We should wait until the devs have a fairly quick and stable build and base a spec around that.

Hopefully the h/w backend will be left open so people can add support for their own setup. The XBMC team could then define a recommended/minimum spec and create/support builds based on that architecture.
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mace Offline
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Post: #55
As I see it there are three major reasons for going the A-TV way instead of going Xbox even with an old telly.

1. Xboxes are staring to become rare. A used one is about $250-300 here. A new modded Xbox costs as much as a A-TV does and then you will have to get a remote to the Xbox.

2. The A-TV will allow for fanless operations

3. the A-TV could possibly allow for HDTV in the future

So i started to look into the output issue, Component vill send Y Pb Pr and a RGB scart tv can't handle that since it expects RGB. There seems to be some Tellys wich have compoent over scart inputs but the seems to be rare.
However I found this thread on the Apple forum http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa...dID=906299

it points to this converter as a solution http://www.keene.co.uk/electronics/multi...code=RGB2C
I also found http://www.svideo.com/appletv2tv.html
for them who doesn't have a RGB scart so

another god page that lists some converters are http://www.woggledog.com/mac/index.asp?subject=yuv

Therefore I now think this is a no issue. It can be handled by a converter and since the A-tv is around $300-$400 (Depending on country) it will even fit the $500 budget with a converter Big Grin

Enough of-topic from me:
And now to a more important question: -What can i do to help?
I'm not a C programmer, I can make a hello world but thats about it. However I can test and i can help with docs if there is need. I do got hardware for Linux boxes
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ultrabrutal Offline
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Post: #56
Mace,
1. Where do you live? There are sold so many Xboxes you will be able to buy them for the next 20 years kind of like you still can buy Commodore 64's. A used Xbox here (Denmark) is like $60-$70
2. Xbox needs a fan but you can swap stock with low noise or have it auto ajust so it's pretty much always at 2% speed
3. Xbox does HD pretty good at 720p via component
if you are gone use scart then stay on Xbox. A new playform will bring you nothing interresting really Wink


Why a new platform will be needed:

a. 1080i/p playback. x264 content
b. possible playback of hd-dvd and blu-ray down the line, just like we have DVD playback now
c. HDMI/DVI output (lets go for 1.3/1.3a)
d. smaller and fanless
e. less power drained
f. possible to turnon without walking (yes can be done with modded xbox)
g. possible to buy a decent wireless controller again (the logitech xbox controllers are gone)
h. and so on

A downside will be the price as the Xbox will never be beaten in that department plus it's pretty easy to code for being an almost static platform (few hw revs)
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finas Offline
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Post: #57
Gamester17 Wrote:Even though Apple as currently limited Apple TV to 1080i as the maximum output resolution, the hardware does support 1080p as the maximum output resolution.


1080i actually has 20% more information than 1080p

http://www.hometheatermag.com/gearworks/1106gear/
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pike Offline
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Post: #58
and let's not forget, we need something to run this linux version on!

But I am abit sceptical about those apple-tv converters. I will probably remain sceptical until I get an idea of the output quality

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Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.


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deeceefar2 Offline
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Post: #59
I'm going to agree with the Apple TV idea. Another reason to go with the apple tv that may not have been discussed yet, developer budget friendly. It is cheap @ only $300 so it is conceivable that with a small donation drive you could outfit current XBMC developers with apple TVs and jump start the development effort a bit. The platform is static just like the Xbox, though I could see Apple trying to pull some of the hardware revision crap Microsoft did to stop the modding community, but that never really worked for them anyway did it. With a future mac mini in the pipeline, it is highly likely that it will use a similar nVidia graphics chip as the apple TV making a perfect platform to expand on to in the future. Apple TV has a high retail availability meaning it could be snapped up by testers all over the world quickly, and the modding community for this device is already booming. Although the apple TV lacks a built in cd/dvd/hd-dvd/blu-ray drive it seems relatively easy to add that or any number of other peripherals via the USB port, including my dream, a DVB-S2 USB adapter. I really can't think of a much better device to port it to. The apple TV is sold a complete unit meaning it wouldn't take more then about 30 minutes to get up and running with the apple TV and XBMC. This is the perfect platform to seize some more of the media center market share; it would provide a great way to pull XBMC into the main stream.

The downside I see for the Apple TV is that processor is not fast enough to do full software decoding of high resolution video codecs. Without an nVidia linux driver that supports purevideo and the lack of a fast processor, you could end up with a device that is only marginally faster for high def video then the original xbox. Perhaps with an OS X driver already out for pure video perhaps it would be better to start with a port to OS X until their is linux purevideo support. I'm just not sure if there is enough documentation to port it to the apple TV under OS X The upshot to linux development however is that should you end up hitting a brick wall iwith the driver you could always just shift platforms and up the CPU requirements without having to change much if any code at all.

I think if anything the apple TV at least makes an attractive development platform. Besides if the processor from the apple tv turned out to be too slow you could easily push the project onto the mac mini without missing a step. A couple months down the line when the XBMC port starts becoming usable make a release, you could open up donations and get people to help provide developers with a solid test bed for getting everything running smoothly. Keep up the great work.
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seaweed Offline
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Post: #60
This seems like a great project, i hope you will find a way for the xbmc port to add support for usb hd-dvd/blueray external players.
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