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[Q] online videos on old/slow hardware
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Joined: 15 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 4:37 pm    Post subject: [Q] online videos on old/slow hardware Reply with quote

I am trying to optimize a system to make the Adobe Flash based online videos to play as smooth as possible on an old Centrino (Pentium-M 1.8Ghz 2Mb + 915GA) laptop.
There is no hardware decoder, so the CPU must do the "heavy lifting".

Intel only ever provided Windows driver for XP and even though Win<=7 still accept XP drivers (unlike Win>=8 ), there is no Aero desktop composition with XPDM, thus there is no proper Vsync available for (borderless-)windowed applications (and I have no idea if exclusive mode would be possible with this setup but that's out of the scope of a web browser plugin either way...).
Even though MPC-HC does a decent job on Win7 with <=720p H264 videos (I ripped some sample videos from youtube for testing), neither of the web browser + plugin combinations I tried were capable of sustaining the playback of 720p and often fell short on the lower resolution videos as well (depending on the browser and the given player implementation of certain websites even the lowest quality options with 360p resolution proved way to much and stutter a lot).

My next options were the *buntu flavors. Ubuntu 15.10 runs slower than Win7 but provides proper Vsync out of the box for the desktop GUI, although I had similar results with online videos to Win7. Xubuntu and Lubuntu fail to provide Vsync for the desktop GUI and they seemingly handle online videos worse than Ubuntu or Win7.

So, my last resort is Gentoo. :P
Don't get me wrong. I like Gentoo personally but I am not sure how it might be sustainable on a slow PC in the hands of somebody who only knows how to use the web browser. (I guess the same version would remain installed until the hardware finally dies - which is similar to leaving the factory shipped Windows XP on it, so it's not THAT bad, but...) ANYWAY, I would like to experiment a little more if I am in this strange problem already.

What are the opinions? Which is the most optimal combination of desktop environment + browser + Flash Player solution (I am not sure if any real alternatives exist for Flash but there might be) for an old PC without a dedicated video decoder?

Is there a way to seamlessly "steal" and pass through the video stream from "a random generic website which uses Adobe Flash" to a desktop application like MVP (without a considerable overhead - because that would kill the benefit...)? :?:
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