So far I have been enjoying H.264, XviD, DivX and MPEG-2 HD clips. The only content I have not been able to enjoy is
WMV because there is no CODEC that will work. The Quicktime CODECs I have been using other than the MPEG-2 CODEC are in
beta and all were universal binaries.
The most impressive thing is how
well it plays H.264 HD encoded material, the CPU never goes over
60% and is usualy closer to 50% and scrubs perfect. My Mac mini couldn't even come close to playing H.264. I was at the
Apple store and I loaded the same H.264 file on both a MacBook Pro and a Powerbook. The MacBook played flawlessly and
the Powerbook could hardly play 12 frames a second. I have played a few HD movies trailers from Apple's site and for
the most part they all play perfectly even when minimized or in Expose, but sometimes it does drop frames. At this
point you should be asking "Why are there dropped frames if you have enough processing power?", I am
wondering the same thing. My only guess is that CODEC is not mature enough and I hope that in future versions they can
play without dropping frames. The most surprising thing is the fact that Apple's CODECs (both H.264 and MPEG2) drop
more frames than the beta's for Xvid or Divx.
The DivX CODEC works the best and easily plays all the sample HD material from their
site perfectly. Notice in the screen shot that even though I have a dozen open apps and playing the HD file I am still
only at 30% CPU utilization. The Xvid CODEC works well but if I try to do anything else, such as open the stream
information window while the clip is playing it causes the video to freeze and requires me to press pause then play
again. This may also be my files as I was not able to find any sample HD XviD files
so I had to make my own and video encoding as never been my forte, anyone who has tried it knows it can be a dark art.
The worst support is by Microsoft, who hasn't
released a Windows Media player 10 for OSX never the less a universal binary. Microsoft is now distributing Flip4Mac's WMV component for Quicktime which doesn't work with Intel Macs
yet. Their site indicates that they are working on it.
my Mac Mini the best player is VLC, it has no trouble playing any file I
throw at it with almost no droped frames. I am using the latest nightly build of VLC which can be downloaded here. The nice thing about VLC is that it is so versatile, it
can play almost any file with any type of audio including TS files captured via 1394 or EyeTV. It is hands down the
most versatile player for every platform.
I also tried EyeTV's
player but their latest version that supports Rossetta requires registration and I don't own an Elgato capture
device. In previous versions the EyeTV was one of the best performers, second only to VLC. EyeTV's software also
supports automatic conversion for iPod Videos which is pretty slick. Maybe Elgato will send us a EyeTV500 for testing
when they finally releae a universal binary version.
Overall I am very satified with the performance of my
MacBook Pro. It is wonderful to be able to play HD files so easily that I can multitask without worrying about droping
frames, but I can't wait until the decoding software matures so I can take full advantage of this powerfull HD