Author Topic: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!  (Read 11300 times)

PeteK

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2007, 11:51:27 pm »
Jeff--

Thanks for the reply and welcome to the forums.  While most people here are do-it-yourselfers (you'd have to be to use LMCE at this point) and would gladly spend their time rather than their money, LMCE provides a unique product that can be very useful in the broader market.  Having a company to support installers with warrantied hardware, support, etc, will be very useful in pushing the installed base out to the broader community, which can only help improve LMCE for all of us in the long run.

-Pete K

colinjones

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2007, 12:56:43 am »
Fiire/Jeff - thanks for the info and being so open. I think you guys have done/are doing an exceptional job!

BTW - I don't suppose you sell to/support customers in Australia do you, Region 4/240v/PAL/DVB-T/S/etc? Your web site lists only about 4 dealers over here, but if you go to all their web sites, none of them mention anything about Fiire... not very encouraging! Direct sale/support?

Col.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2007, 12:58:42 am by colinjones »

tschak909

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2007, 03:24:56 am »
I am most perplexed by the descision to go to MPlayer as the primary media player. Xine is much better designed.

And furthermore, this whole code base is modular, why did it take a rewrite to make MPlayer work? shouldn't this set off big ass alarm bells? This would be indicative of a design that needs serious revision, if not auditing at the very least.

-Thom


Hagen

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2007, 07:43:52 am »
This would be indicative of a design that needs serious revision, if not auditing at the very least.
I'd say that sounds just like what Paul has said earlier, remember LMCE is a black box design 'let lose to roam', I'd figure there are lot's of peculiar coding.

fiire

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2007, 06:04:29 pm »
> It required re-writing a bunch of code in LinuxMCE to use MPlayer instead of Xine.
> I am most perplexed by the descision to go to MPlayer as the primary media player. Xine is much better designed.
> And furthermore, this whole code base is modular, why did it take a rewrite to make MPlayer work? shouldn't this set off big ass alarm bells? This would be indicative of a design that needs serious revision, if not auditing at the very least.

In LinuxMCE there presently exists a wrapper for Xine that has all the hooks in the xine engine for jumping to certain positions, reporting time code, handling playback speed and trick play, etc., and which communicates over a socket to the media plugin and other core LinuxMCE modules.  By re-writing the code I don't mean we had to change the existing modules, I mean we had to re-write the same type of wrapper that exists for Xine for Mplayer.  It was a lot of work to get timecode out of MPlayer, do all the positioning and seeking and trick play and stuff.  This didn't set off alarm bells because I don't think there is any other way; the time involved was dependent on MPlayer's design, not LinuxMCE's.  I think the overall architecture was good because we were able to remove xine and insert mplayer without changing any of linuxmce's media logic modules.  But there's a couple dozen commands the media logic modules need to send the media player, like getting time code, setting position, etc., so there's always going to be work to make a wrapper for a new media engine.  If MPlayer itself had a socket-based control layer, so we could just translate from LinuxMCE's DCE protocol to MPlayer's it would have been easy.  But MPlayer didn't have such a control layer and that's why it required a lot of code.

As far as why we switched to MPlayer....  There has been little development on Xine lately and nobody was working on hd-dvd/blu-ray support for xine.  According to the Ubuntu forums, you need to use MPlayer: newbielink:https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/BluRayAndHDDVD [nonactive]  Before we started down that path we tried to port the patches that had already been done for MPlayer to Xine, but it was taking too long.  It was faster to write a new LinuxMCE wrapper for MPlayer.

bulek

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2007, 07:30:11 pm »
> It required re-writing a bunch of code in LinuxMCE to use MPlayer instead of Xine.
> I am most perplexed by the descision to go to MPlayer as the primary media player. Xine is much better designed.
> And furthermore, this whole code base is modular, why did it take a rewrite to make MPlayer work? shouldn't this set off big ass alarm bells? This would be indicative of a design that needs serious revision, if not auditing at the very least.

In LinuxMCE there presently exists a wrapper for Xine that has all the hooks in the xine engine for jumping to certain positions, reporting time code, handling playback speed and trick play, etc., and which communicates over a socket to the media plugin and other core LinuxMCE modules.  By re-writing the code I don't mean we had to change the existing modules, I mean we had to re-write the same type of wrapper that exists for Xine for Mplayer.  It was a lot of work to get timecode out of MPlayer, do all the positioning and seeking and trick play and stuff.  This didn't set off alarm bells because I don't think there is any other way; the time involved was dependent on MPlayer's design, not LinuxMCE's.  I think the overall architecture was good because we were able to remove xine and insert mplayer without changing any of linuxmce's media logic modules.  But there's a couple dozen commands the media logic modules need to send the media player, like getting time code, setting position, etc., so there's always going to be work to make a wrapper for a new media engine.  If MPlayer itself had a socket-based control layer, so we could just translate from LinuxMCE's DCE protocol to MPlayer's it would have been easy.  But MPlayer didn't have such a control layer and that's why it required a lot of code.

As far as why we switched to MPlayer....  There has been little development on Xine lately and nobody was working on hd-dvd/blu-ray support for xine.  According to the Ubuntu forums, you need to use MPlayer: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/BluRayAndHDDVD  Before we started down that path we tried to port the patches that had already been done for MPlayer to Xine, but it was taking too long.  It was faster to write a new LinuxMCE wrapper for MPlayer.


Hi,

thanks for a lot of useful info, Jeff.... I'm curious if Mplayer wrapper will be able to sync more mplayer instances to one source, something similar like Xine is capable of right now (particularly important for whole house audio, although I didn't test how Xine really performs in this area)...

Regards,

Bulek.
Thanks in advance,

regards,

Bulek.

Zaerc

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2007, 07:17:26 am »
...
For the FiireStation, Fiire's price is actually *below* wholesale cost. This is because the manufacturer, Via, wants to sell more products into the home / living room market to supplement their sales into the embedded market and saw Fiire and LinuxMCE as a good vehicle for this and agreed to offer the products below cost.
...

I was wondering, if Via likes LinuxMCE so much and would like to sell more devices in this market then why can't they release proper drivers for their products?  You know, the ones you guys are getting along with that fat discount.
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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wombiroller

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #37 on: November 28, 2007, 02:03:51 pm »
Fiire/Jeff - thanks for the info and being so open. I think you guys have done/are doing an exceptional job!

BTW - I don't suppose you sell to/support customers in Australia do you, Region 4/240v/PAL/DVB-T/S/etc? Your web site lists only about 4 dealers over here, but if you go to all their web sites, none of them mention anything about Fiire... not very encouraging! Direct sale/support?

Col.

Hey Colin,

FYI - I'm in Aus as well and after chasing down for some weeks, got through to John from Digital Smart Home (as listed on the Fiire Dealers page. As I understood it, these guys are working on getting the Fiire products in Aus, and I was told they should have a demo in their store (Melbourne) within a few weeks (which would be great!)..

Having said that though, he also passed my details on to another guy, Mario from ACS (http://www.convergentliving.com), who contacted me to let me know they were looking at putting their own hardware together (built for LinuxMCE) to run 1080p content etc. Amoung other things, Mario mentioned waiting for a new MOBO with a built in ATI GPU /HDMI out. Not sure how far away this one might be though considering the current state of ATI drivers.


totallymaxed

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #38 on: November 28, 2007, 02:18:39 pm »
Having said that though, he also passed my details on to another guy, Mario from ACS (http://www.convergentliving.com), who contacted me to let me know they were looking at putting their own hardware together (built for LinuxMCE) to run 1080p content etc. Amoung other things, Mario mentioned waiting for a new MOBO with a built in ATI GPU /HDMI out. Not sure how far away this one might be though considering the current state of ATI drivers.

Re the ATI equipped mobo with HDMI... see http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Asus_M2A-VM for Zaerc's experiences. The ATI drivers are well short of the mark currently... the X1250 though with decent drivers would be great
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guisep

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2008, 07:41:14 pm »
Jeff/Fiire,

First you guys are doing an exceptional job helping LMCE push into future

As someone that's going to buy and/or build in the next couple of weeks I'll attempt to get some answers here.

I hate to hijack this thread to Fiire but here goes some questions.

  Does the Engine contain two gigabit NICs?  Your message and others make me think not but the site says yes.
  Do you have a date for the HD Station?  How about a waiting list?
  Seams people are having problems running 710bx on the  Fiire hardware, have you guys address this?
  Will your stations support self built engines/cores?  What I mean is will you release the drivers and or code for Fiire station support?

Hopefully you will continue to read and contribute to this forum.

Thanks,
Guisep

ddamron

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #40 on: February 29, 2008, 03:35:45 am »
Guisep:

1.  The Engine has 1 Gb and 1 100Mb. (Gb onboard, and 100Mb pci)
2.  Your guess is as good as mine
3.  Jeff emailed me in this regard.  The current image shipped with the fiire will work in 0710.  I have verified this.

HOWEVER;
1.  MythTV Still doesn't work (nothing new here..)
2.  Xine Updates done to LinuxMCE are not in the debian image (new features added to 0710)
3.  MPlayer device fails to load (new feature added to 0710)
4.  To load KDE, the stations currently REBOOT into kubuntu.

The Fiire image is based on debian withOUT KDE using Plutos' build revision 17862.

and to answer the last question,
Yes, they will support self built cores, you just need to install from their DVD (0704) or download the images from Fiire once your system is up.

HTH

Dan
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guisep

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Re: Fiire Engine REVIEW/SPECS!!
« Reply #41 on: February 29, 2008, 09:18:32 am »
Thanks for the info..
strange they advertise Gb NICs but only include one..
They must be ready to ship a new custom image based on 710 given Jeff talked about HD playback for their new machine.

Just looks more and more like Fiire gear is best for those that only want a turn key solution.  Wish they would just switch to the standard build with the addition of the custom video driver.

Guisep