After a long time using the feature-less VLC-Plugin, and messing things up with the MediaPlayerConnectivity plugin to open lots of stand-alone VLC windows every time I wanted to watch BBC or CBC News videos, I finally got the Mplayer plugin to work fine and play all those embedded videos with no stuttering or annoyances.

Hardy Heron (8.04) (for previous versions, scroll to the bottom of this post)

While Stage6 does not exist anymore, the daily BBC News Videos are still a challenge for Ubuntu. Out of the box, Hardy cannot play them. Even after installing hardy’s restricted codecs (which we will do below), they do not work past the BBC corporate announcement, and even that takes about half a minute to start playing back.

We will fix the problem by reconfiguring Firefox to use the Mplayer plugin, installing the restricted codecs (to ensure windows media plays) and later installing the Real Video codecs from the Medibuntu repo. Finally, we will set the BBC News site preferences to stream Real Video. The end result will be: BBC news video play nicely and start very fast, plus all other sites to windows media or flash streaming work fine as well.

First part: the mplayer plugin and the basic codecs

  1. Close your Firefox
  2. Remove the plugins you will no longer be using:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get remove totem-mozilla mozilla-plugin-vlc
  3. Install the awesome mplayer plugin:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer
  4. Now let’s install all the mp3, wm codecs, adobe flash player and some other useful stuff, all this from the official “universe” repository
    (note: if you don’t know what I am talking about, open your Synaptics package manager, go to Settings > Repositories, and ensure that the lines that contain “(universe)” and “(multiverse)” are checked; if have to check them, ensure that after clossing the settings window, you click on “Reload” in Synaptics main window)

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras


Second part: real video codecs
For this, we will use the medibuntu repository. We will add to the repo list, and then import their keys.

  1. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list
    Code:
    sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
  2. Append the following lines to it:
    Code:
    ## Medibuntu - Ubuntu 8.04 "hardy"
    deb  http://packages.medibuntu.org/ hardy free non-free
  3. Import medibuntu’s key and update the local package list
    Code:
    wget -q http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update
  4. Now install the codec we need:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install non-free-codecs


Third part: setting up BBC News site preferences

  1. Launch firefox and navigate to the BBC News site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  2. Click on one of the [watch] buttons of the daily news videos they happen to be offering
  3. In the new window that will pop up, you will notice a “Preferences” link; click on it
  4. This will show you the preferences; select “High Quality” on the left column, and “Real Media” on the right column; click OK; configuration will be stored persistently in your system
  5. The video should start playing right away!


Optional
: extra tweakings for the mplayer plugin
Some extra settings you can play with to improve the user experience

  • While playing an streaming video in firefox (e.g., any of the BBC ones), right click on the video, then select “Configure”; for your reference, my settings here are:
    • Video Output = xv
    • Audio Output = alsa ## also works with “pulse”, if you have pulseaudio set up
    • Minimum Cache Size = 191
    • Percent of Media to Cache = 2
    • All “Enable xyz” settings are checked
    • Connect RTSP over TCP: un-checked (although I’ve read elsewhere that some sites may require this)
  • For more options, you can open the mozilla-mplayer plugin configuration file directly:
    Code:
    sudo gedit /etc/mplayerplug-in.conf

    Here, I set the following extra options:
    showlogo=0
    black-background=1


That’s all, hope this helps reduce the “video streaming woes and frustration” with ubuntu.

Feisty and Edgy (7.04, 7.10) (Not updated; left here for reference purposes only)

The following is for Feisty but I guess it works in other versions and distros as well.

It was (way!) simple. My original problem with mozilla-mplayer was that it simple kept “stuttering” with BBC and CBC streaming videos.

Here’s how to install it and configure it, and with the same stone, get embedded Div-X streaming videos from stage6.divx.com to work stunningly well. And also get your plugin to look good…

  1. Close your Firefox
  2. Remove the plugins you will no longer be using:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get remove totem-mozilla mozilla-plugin-vlc
  3. Install the awesome mplayer plugin:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer
  4. Feisty (7.04) Users: Add these symlinks that enable the plugin to handle Stage6′s DIVXs (7.10 users: the symlinks should already be there if you did a fresh install; if not, just add them)
    Code:
    sudo ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/mplayerplug-in-dvx.so /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/mplayerplug-in-dvx.so
    Code:
    sudo ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/mplayerplug-in-dvx.xpt /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/mplayerplug-in-dvx.xpt
  5. Configure the plugin to with approriate Buffer / Cache size; this fixes the BBC / CBC windows media stream stuttering

    Open the config file:

    Code:
    sudo gedit /etc/mplayerplug-in.conf

    Add the following lines in the file: (this works great in my system; you might have to do some tuning of the cachesize and cache-percent)

    cachesize=1000
    cache-percent=30
    download=0
    showlogo=0
    black-background=1

  6. Start your browser, check your new setup in www.cbc.ca and Stage6
  7. Enjoy!!

Note: You might need to setup the BBC News site to stream windows media to you, instead of RealMedia; you can do this easily, after the above setup is completed:

  • Go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  • Open a video (for example, the 1-minute day news headlines)
  • In the new window, you will notice a “Preferences” link; click on it
  • This will open a window that will let you choose “Windows Media” instead of Real Media; select it, and close; configuration will be stored persistently in your system

The original post: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=540412

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