AW: [theora-dev] How to do Theora playback efficiently ?

Robin Siegemund r.siegemund at
Fri Feb 16 04:14:32 PST 2007

Hi Ralph,

thanks for your posting.

Yes, the standard example player in the theora distribution could also do it
when theora would not need so much time. I removed the frame dropping from
the example because it's based on some audio stuff under Linux that isn't
available on Windows. Currently I've no frame dropping handling build in
because the first goal is a good raw performance of the whole loop.

If there is no frame dropping mechanism, I would expect that the audio/video
playback goes out of sync... but this is not the case. Instead the video
playback slows down and the audio playback has gaps (even with precached
decoded audiobuffers). Not only the Theora decoding and the YUV2RGB stuff
takes time and those seem to be not the main reason why audio gets stalled
(the vorbis decoder is in the same loop and it is called very frequently,
also when heavy work load on theora). The problem occures when
ogg_stream_pagein() is called. In case of the theora stream it has to be
called about 20-30 times successively... and this takes up to 30ms (for one
frame)!! During this time BOTH decoders are 20-30 times called but because
of no data stalled. 

So I don't understand why these ogg_stream_pagein() calls take so much
time... sometimes more than theora decoding.

Now I try to use a second thread which task is to store as many pages as
needed, to have at least one audio page ready. I think this is a good
attempt but currently it is not working right... because ogg_sync_pageout()
can only reserve memory for 2 pages... nothing about those things are in the
ogg documentation, that's very frustrating.
Storing packets makes so sense in my opinion... because if there are no new
vorbis pages (only all those theora pages) you don't get any new packets and
so run out of data.

Thanks for the hint related to the liboggplay API.
But did you read it's source code? Please tell me, why there you can't find
any of these functions or states we are talking about. There is no
ogg_sync_state, no ogg_stream_state, no pagein, no pageout, no packeout,
nothing at all besides vorbis/theora decode calls. So why the developer is
working with his own functions only? 
I think it's because most of the ogg sync/stream handling functions are crap
or at least not usable in efficient real world applications... and their
documentation is even worse. 
This is what I mean when I say, there's a lot of hidden stuff where it's not
clear what actually happens.

>> I think, an ideal solution are two "pointers" in seperate threads reading
>> independently the physical source stream and grab their pages (and
>> prepare/decode them) but ignore the other ones and don't need to wait. So
>> need two ogg_sync_states or something like that? 

> Yes, you'd need two ogg_sync_states that way, and you'd just drop any 
> pages you weren't interested in inside a given thread.

I hope this is not the only way to work with the given ogg_stream/ogg_sync


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