Sunday 1 April 2007

BYU-TV on linux

This weekend I was watching the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).

The church itself no longer provides windows media streams of the video during the event, but audio only. This allows them to use their resources to provide audio streams to a wider range of users and in more languages.

Users wanting video are instead directed to Alas, whereas before I was able to use my linux video player of favour (totem or mplayer) to watch video, BYU TV streams video using a proprietary video format and requires a proprietary video player which seems to require the purchase and licensed use of certain proprietary operating systems. (Windows or MacOS). I may have mentioned that I’m using Ubuntu Linux.

Fortunately, as I have an x86 platform, I was able to watch all of conference on Linux by using windows firefox running under WINE with the Move Networks plugin. It was a simpel matter of making sure I had WINE installed and then installing Firefox for windows and then browsing to where I was prompted to load the Move Networks plugin.

Sadly the move-networks plugin thought it was running in 256 colour mode, and so rendered the 24 bit colour into 8 bit hatching. (I took a screen-grab I can send to demonstrate this if you like). This required the combined processing power of 2 3GHz CPU’s to show video at full screen.

Fortunately move networks plugin WOULD play even when it thought it was in 256 colour mode, and fortunately I did have 2 3GHz CPU so I COULD watch in full screen.

Implications are that move networks could do an x86 linux plugin without too much hard work, if they would link with winelib.

It would still be a horrible proprietary video format and player, btu at least i would be able to choose my operating system.