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

Shane Stephens shane.stephens at gmail.com
Sun Feb 18 02:35:10 PST 2007

Hi Robin,

I'm the liboggplay developer :)

The only reason I don't use any of libogg's function calls is that
liboggplay is based around a very nice little library called liboggz:

http://www.annodex.net/software/liboggz/index.html for documentation
http://svn.annodex.net/liboggz/trunk/ for code

Liboggz abstracts away a lot of the low-level manipulation you need to
do with libogg, but it is based entirely on top of libogg.

btw, liboggplay will definitely be running on Windows Real Soon Now -
in fact one of our developers at work has just started to look at
porting it across (and it shouldn't be a big job).

    -Shane Stephens

On 2/16/07, Robin Siegemund <r.siegemund at digitalpublishing.de> wrote:
> 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
> I
> >> 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
> functions.
> Regards,
> Robin.
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