(Mod, can I get a sticky? Thanks!)
So, I finally got tired of Intel driver regressions and I retired my Acer 5610 Home Theater laptop. The replacement? That slick looking ASRock ION 330 "Nettop". When I read about the NVidia ION card and what VDPAU is capable of, I was like, "you had me at hello." And of course the ultimate goal was to load Boxee on it! Here chronicles my journey:
1. This computer is FULLY Linux compatible with one POSSIBLE exception: I have not been able to get HDMI video-out to work. NVidia settings let me configure HDMI, but it just won't talk to the TV. Not sure if this is my TV's fault or the ASRock.
2. I grabbed a Rocketfish bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo over at Best Buy. Used this guide to making them work. I found I was crippled without my laptop's LCD and touchpad. The bluetooth stuff made life a ton easier.
3. I installed Jaunty (actually I use Linux Mint Gloria, but same difference to anyone casually reading this). I did all the updates and basic customizations.
4. Then I added this repository so I could juice up on some VDPAU goodness. I installed the NVidia 185 VDPAU drivers, plus the VDPAU-enhanced versions of MPlayer and Xine.
5. Oddly NVidia did not want to recognize my proper TV (Insignia 42" LCD) resolution. After HOURS of fiddling, I left it at a stretched-looking 1024x768. Not a disaster, but frustrating nonetheless. To watch most NTSC video content, I have to change to aspect ratio to 4:3. Grrrr.
6. Installed myth-lirc-generator, configured my remote, installed Boxee, and enabled VDPAU support!
7. And now the moment of truth, and some observations:
- Boxee's menu is FAST and SMOOTH
- Hi-Def videos play perfectly with only about 6% or 7% CPU usage (very mild picture-tearing on fast-motion)
- Given my screen resolution issue, I always have to adjust every video to "ZOOM 4:3"
- Much to my surprise, Hulu works great! I was surprised since going fullscreen on Hulu in Firefox crashed my browser each time. In Boxee, it works perfectly and seems to be VDPAU accelerated (pushing 40% CPU usage, though)
I will continue to list observations as I continue to test...