Saturday, February 7, 2009

MPlayer Soft Subtitles

While I can now watch some 720p soft subbed anime releases, I still have difficulties with most of them. After some experimenting, I discovered it is the fancy special effects that are being applied the subtitles. Without the effects, the maximum CPU usage for a 720p H.264/AAC video is in the low 90% range. The subtitle effects adds about another 10% so MPlayer is simply running out of CPU processing power.

Disabling the SSA/ASS effects allows me to watch the video but the subtitles look very bland, as I've become use to the special effects on standard definition videos. So what to do now?

Obviously, a faster CPU is the simplest solution. My finances will not permit a new system, but I am keeping an eye open for a used unit. In the mean time I might compile MPlayer from source. I am using a MPlayer package from the Debian multimedia repository, which is based on a SVN snapshot from July 2008. It is quite possible that the developers have found improvements which will wring a few more cycles out the CPU.

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