Just about everything that I’ve ever read about media playback on Linux has been negative. As I understand the situation, the general consensus of the internet is that Linux should not be relied on to play media of any kind. Further, I know that the other guys have had troubles with video playback in the past.
All of which added up to me being extremely confused when I accidentally discovered that my system takes video playback like a champ. Now from the outset, you should know that my system is extremely underpowered where high definition video playback is concerned. I’m running Debian testing on a laptop with a 1.73 GHz single-core processor, 758MB shared video RAM, and a 128MB Intel GMA 900 integrated graphics card.
Incredibly enough, it turns out that this humble setup is capable of playing almost every video file that I can find, even with compiz effects fully enabled and just a base install of vlc media player.
Most impressively, the machine can flawlessly stream a 1280x528px 1536kb/s *.mkv file over my wireless network.
As a comparison, I have a Windows Vista machine with a 2.3GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 512MB video card upstairs that can’t play the same file without special codecs and the help of a program called CoreAVC. Even with these, it plays the file imperfectly.
I can’t explain how this is possible, but needless to say, I am astounded at the ability of Linux.