View Full Version : Mac specs for DivX playback

13th April 2004, 10:05 PM
Can anyone tell me what lowly Macs people have had success with for DivX movie 3.0/5.x playback? Or for that matter, did one codec or playback program work better than another.

Thinking VLC for my BW G3 400, as I can't see much more out there for this under OS X.


kim jong il
16th April 2004, 04:41 PM
Hey bYrd, you have an array of options. VLC is a good choice because audio can be delayed to match the video decoding, but not the only choice. There is a freeware player called cellulo which does quite a nice job of playback on slow machines although the audio sync problem can be annoying at times. If NOTHING else is running around 15 fps (+)?? is achievable on 350/400 G3's with high definition videos. Speed is highly dependant on how much rendering the poor old machine has to do. Low quality videos will yield full frame rate playback (even with other applications running).

Codecs are available that will allow quicktime player to play all of these avi/ DivX thingies. An AC3 codec was just released recently that will give you the audio track as well. (currently watching the west wing and stargate (Yeah, I know...)

Of the three mentioned here. Quicktime does the worst job, cellulo gives the best frame rate, VLC, the best synchronization.

If you are genuinely interested I will list the codecs required (and their names, of course, so you can find them).

I have an opinion on this as I have just spent the last week or so doing the investigation that your enquiry pertains to.

Just let me know. Either here or by PM.

cheers, kim

16th April 2004, 05:48 PM
I just use VLC player on the iBook and have no issues whatso ever.

Actually that is a lie, the only thing is doesn't play is WMV files which my porno loving friends send to me on the odd occassion....Daily! They have nothing better to do...you'd think at 26 you'd be over it and use the net more purposefully.


16th April 2004, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by pipsqeek@Apr 16 2004, 05:48 PM
you'd think at 26 you'd be over it and use the net more purposefully.

your mates must be blind by now Steve!

Thanks kim for your reply - I've found VLC to be perfect for my BW G3 400, was quite surprised to see the old fella play back movies at full frame rate, no audio stuttering or lag. Cool! Most of my DivX movies are 640 x something resolution, with VBR or 128k sound, have a few 5.1 sound movies but probably won't bother trying them - my EPIA 800 HTPC chokes on them as is. Another use for this cool blue box!


16th April 2004, 09:57 PM
They aren't blind, just stupid really.

my DivX rips that I 'find' are supoer high quality....my copy of Kill Bill rivals DVD's. I am unsure of the res and its on my external fiwi HDD currently at a mates place.


kim jong il
17th April 2004, 01:11 AM
bYrd, I'm just wondering now, the imac DV G3 400 that I use with these new codecs handles just about everything that I can chuck at it (it depends on how big you want the window amongst other things) The files are about 350 MB for about 42 minutes. (this seems to translate to around 1 megabit per second playback by my reckoning). Image size 640X360/624X352. Alternatively 77 MB files (the same video) translates to 245 kilobits per second and (obviously) play absolutely flawlessly. The files vary from TV rips to DVD rips. (I'll take more notice of the types of encoding used on some of these to make this discussion (MY input) more meaningful). As the machine I am referring to is similarly spec'ed to yours I would expect similar performance to you. I should add that prior to the last few days I had downloaded videos that varied from playing pretty well (acceptable frame rates) to not at all (with VLC). So, what version of VLC are you running? Currently I am using 0.6.2.

Now, VLC is even better and synchronization delays for audio rarely need to be more than 30 ms (in my case). In my search for up to date codecs that would give me better performance than the (HIGHLY variable) 5 (or so) frames per second I was getting on high definition files. (the speed seems to relate directly to the amount of rendering required, strangely like games suddenly trying to render twice as many polygons or whatever. Loads of action = dreadful framerate. I only obtained the codecs to enable avi files with AC3 audio to play under quicktime 3 days ago. xvid (whatever this is now plays fine too) Before this I could get video only and before that, nothing. I should add that I was not specifically trying to get quicktime player to play these but was exclusively after better performance for VLC. (which I got).

I'll add the list of installed codecs as an EDIT within the next 36 hours. Maybe you have something that I do not have.

Also, try cellulo which is available here: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/8940. Mplayer is something I will also have to investigate further

I have also noticed that, at least one, installer placed the codec in the user directory rather than the root (same name, wrong location) and needed to be moved manually

blah blah............

OK, you all now realise I have no life but this, at least, keeps me off the streets.

cheers, kim

kim jong il
17th April 2004, 02:26 AM
Sorry, there is more.

Downloaded Mplayer (2.0b7) (which crashed before it would open video- I should add that I did not restart the machine after installation if this may make a difference) and then downloaded djoPlayer (an Mplayer GUI) (the read me is french and therefore useless to me) but this is giving me the best performance of all. Selecting the correct aspect ratio seems to be the key for good playback frame rates and audio synchronization is great (they are small files 7.3 and 3.4 MB respectively so should only take a couple of minutes to download*). Respectively found at: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/10784 AND http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/12745
*(NOTE: 25 mins at 56kbps for the dialup people)

Mplayer gets slammed in one review 'poxy beta release blah blah cpu intensive blah blah' I checked out the author. It's a SourceForge open source project. If this idiot (the reviewer) is waiting for a commercial release with all the bells and whistles he could be waiting for some time. My understanding of open source software is that it is subject to continuous development and improvements and that all improvements made have to be published/released. Ignore this review and try it.

It still maxes out the CPU but I am delighted with its performance.

EDIT: CPU usage at 90% to 100% (not always maxed!!) post processing at maximum.

cheers, an extra cheery kim

17th April 2004, 11:14 AM
I've found mPlayer to be very dodgy on my 350Mhz iMac. I mainly watch 350MB, 42 minute xvid files. Of course, Quicktime has a fit with the sound files, so I have to Divx doctor them first. They run ok in fullscreen, in action scenes it will lose sync quite easily, and if I've got Safari running, then they don't.

I actually haven't tried VLC since my 10.2 days, probably should give it a shot.

kim jong il
17th April 2004, 11:54 PM
Originally posted by Radar@Apr 17 2004, 11:14 AM
I've found mPlayer to be very dodgy on my 350Mhz iMac. I mainly watch 350MB, 42 minute xvid files. Of course, Quicktime has a fit with the sound files, so I have to Divx doctor them first. They run ok in fullscreen, in action scenes it will lose sync quite easily, and if I've got Safari running, then they don't.

I actually haven't tried VLC since my 10.2 days, probably should give it a shot.
Hey radar, dodgy is not quite the word I would have used for Mplayer. The most recent release (see post above) will not or physically cannot play anything using the standard GUI. djoPlayer is a third party Mplayer GUI which I discovered yesterday and works a treat. Stutters for the first 3 seconds of playback (not an issue with pausing) then its beautiful. TRY IT, you'll like it.

There are almost no user settable preferences but one that (I am guessing here) would be of importance to you is post processing and quality IS adjustable. I assume adjusting this to a lower setting will reduce processor load at the expense of what, I have no idea. (i'd check now, but i have friend on the one with it installed at the moment) (NOTE, I will edit this when I have an answer + I will install djoPlayer on the 350 and report back about this too). I try to a limited extent to avoid duplication of certain files. HD's fill up so fast; doesn't seem to matter how big they are.

One word of warning however; if you resize the window horizontally beyond the selected aspect ratio, the window gets resized disproportionately and people can look flattened (this appears to be an issue only with over extension). The other direction just crops the image. This is not an issue as such, but more, something to deal with that takes about 5 seconds.

As for VLC, it has loads of options for the power user, which I am not, and is no different under 10.3.3 than 10.2.6 that i can tell. The playback is plain just not as good as djoPlayer (on MY G3 400). Your mileage may vary

cheers, kim

23rd April 2004, 02:30 AM
I got the free download of DIVX 5.1.1 from www.divx.com. It's a Quicktime Player plug in.

Works well for me. I haven't been involved in DIVX stuff for a while. Looks like the problem of non-playing soundtrack has been solved.

This is on a G4 1.25 GHz, so maybe I some luxury in terms of processor speed.

There's also a 3ivx plug in that can be found on Versiontracker. I replaced it with the one from www.divx.com because it would play the video without sound.

And VLC works well as well. If the www.divx.com plug in didn't work, it wouldn't be much of a loss actually. Maybe the plug in allows playback in other Quicktime-aware applications e.g. in a PowerPoint presentation. Dunno. Haven't tried.

25th April 2004, 11:55 AM
Thanx all for your replies. I'm still happy with VLC on the BW G3 - it's a great program, coming with stacks of codecs embedded in the 20MB program, which plays more files than DivX 5/FFDShow + BSPlayer do on my PC. Also seems to play incomplete movies, or ones that have corrupt headers but the movie is still all there (which DivXfix refuses to repair on my PC).

About 20% of the movies I've tried do chug a bit, regardless of setting 'hurry up' to drop frames during playback. Will try kim's suggestion of Cellulo, do I need to separate codecs for this program? MPlayer looks a bit naff in it's current form.


kim jong il
26th April 2004, 12:05 AM
I seem to be in a bit of thread confusion. I've become hopelessly confused. Players, specs......... More players.............

Another player which performs beatifully is djoPlayer 3.4.1 which you can find here http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/12745

djoPlayer is an Mplayer GUI so you will need both of these installed for djoPlayer to work. I had previously had trouble with Mplayer but finally got it to work. Video playback seemed great; used the statistics to see how many frames were being dropped. All sorts of things. One little thing however the amount of dropped frames is absolutley meaningless unless you know how many frames there were in the first place. Question: is there a way of determining the encoded framerate of an avi file (divx, xvid, regardless as to whatever encoding has been used)? Do most types have a default of 23.97 fps or 24 fps or, in our nice dogital world has something like 30 fps become standard? I then was watching the audio sync level (for want of a better word) and it went something like this (it&#39;s a live update) +1.2, +0.8, -7.6, -6.8, -4, -0.3. -5, -2.6. It was amzingly dreadful to the point of being comical. mPlayer also falls over at the merest hint of a disturbance in the force <_< djoplayer is very nice and i&#39;ll check out if any spacial codecs are required. All of the elements are easy to find anyway.
The text below is an excerpt from macupdate detailing the capabilities of djoplayer


djoPlayer is a very simple, yet highly customizable, GUI for MPlayer. It allows you to play DivX 3, 4, 5, Xvid, Vob, mpeg-1, mpeg-2, mpeg-4, asf, wmv, ac3, mov... files with the subtitles if any&#33; It was the first GUI that allowed you to enable the Post Processing for MPlayer (it blurs the usual squares that you see in DivX movies). The website is in French, but the application (made with AppleScript Studio) is in English too.


Out of all the players for non quicktime media I have found and used in the last couple of weeks, djoplayer is giving me the best performance in terms of smoothness and audio synchronization