Do you believe in good things happening by sheer accident? I do.
Today I found an open-source media player that plays virtually all kinds of audio/video formats (except realmedia files?) including streaming audio/video. It has precompiled binaries for all major linux distros and for Unices(BSDs and Solaris) and for Windows and for Mac OS X! Ofcourse it provides source code too if we want to compile it ourselves. I’m talking about VLC Media player.
After my success with mp3 to ogg conversion, I wanted to convert my mpegs to theora format. So I downloaded and put the ‘ffmpeg2theora‘ converter (binary format) in /usr/local/bin. Then converted one of the files for testing. But sadly the quality was worse than worst. Don’t know what happened. Did I make any mistake? Ofcourse I did not use any ‘options’. Later I found out that it was problem with the Kaffaine media player not ffmpeg2theora script. But before I could know this I only thought that ffmpeg2theora didnot work.
I was not in a mood to study ‘ffmpeg2theora’ so I just googled to see if I can find something easier. From Xiph.org page, I was led to theora.org page and from there to the VLC player’s page. I was really impressed with the information in the homepage. I clicked on the link that had binaries (for fear of dependencies) for Fedora. It said the binary was available from livna repos and provided a link to livna . Livna is a repository of add-on packages for Fedora. We have to install the repository rpm for our version of Fedora to access the packages through yum. I installed the Fedora 7 repo-rpm(livna-release-7.rpm) with ‘rpm -ivh livna-release-7.rpm’ which automatically put the repo files in /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory. I then did ‘yum install vlc’. It installed the player taking care of all the dependencies and bingo I was ready to watch all the available formats in my box.
After this I thought why not play my theora converted file to see where the problem was? Was it with the converter or the mediaplayer? I was indeed relieved to see that my theora file played perfectly well in VLC. As I say I’m not gifted enough to differentiate in qualities between formats. For me the quality of theora file was as good as the original mpeg file. Just to reconfirm that its Kaffine’s fault, I logged into Debian which has only GNOME and played the file in Totem. It worked fine in totem too.
Once I was convinced that the theora-converted file plays well, I converted all my proprietary files into theora. I still use VLC but all my multimedia files are now free-format files. Probably its illegal to convert the file formats (Does the prop. license prohibit the format conversion?). I don’t know. Also, not all the files I’ve are purchased ones! Who cares?