Video Player Suggestions?

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Flack
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Video Player Suggestions?

Post by Flack » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:31 am

I am working on a project and have run out of ideas. I need to build a computer that meets the following requirements:

01. Boots into a simple menu system (walk-up usable)
02. Allows the user to select from a list of video categories. (Movie trailers, Cartoons, Music Videos)
03. Stream random videos from that category until the computer is reset.
04. HDMI output to monitor.

Here's what I've tried:

Configuration 01: Raspberry Pi running Raspbian (no GUI) and VLC
What worked: I created three playlists and a bash script that allows people to choose which playlist they want. VLC then launches and plays videos in random order from the playlist.
What doesn't work: Due to an issue with VLC on the Raspberry Pi, VLC resets each time the video resolution changes, showing a screen full of command lines between each video, ruining the illusion.
What also doesn't work: Without a GUI, the VLC hot keys (to skip, esc, etc) don't work.

Configuration 02: Raspberry Pi running Raspbian (GUI) and VLC
What worked: Same as above. I created playlists and they work as intended. Hot keys work with the GUI method.
What didn't work: Same video issue as above. It flashes between every single video.

Configuration 03: Old Netbook running Lubuntu.
What worked: Pretty much everything I wanted to work, works.
What didn't work: The netbook is old enough that it does not have HDMI out. I tried a USB-to-HDMI adapter, but it requires drivers which are only available for Windows and Mac, not Linux. No way to output video to a television.
What also doesn't work: Some of the videos stutter -- unsure if it's the low processing power of the

Configuration 04: Old laptop running Fedora
What worked: I haven't tried it yet, but I expect it work work.
What doesn't work: Again, no HDMI output. Maybe I could just run VGA to the television?

I could in theory reload the old laptop with Windows, although I really hate to maintain a Windows box just for a standalone video players, and was really hoping to pull this off with a Pi that I could literally attach using Velcro to the back of the television.

I don't want to run Kodi or some other media streaming software because I don't want to have to navigate a bunch of menus to start this thing up. I literally want to be able to hit a single button and have it go.

I don't want to combine all the videos into one long video, or resample them all to the same resolution.

I need to brainstorm a different way to do what I'm trying to do I guess. I'm considering buying one of those mini Win10 PCs off of Amazon, but they're $150 and I hate to drop that just to see if it'll work.
What worked: I haven't tried
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Tdarcos
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by Tdarcos » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:10 pm

Jonsey, it sounds like you have what often causes the creation of open source projects: an itch to scratch and no (software) stick with which to scratch it. This may not be what you want to do, but I have a suggestion. First, find VLC's manual and read it all the way through; see if its options provide a solution.

If not, prepare your (virtual) whittling knives.

Second, you may want to fork VLC. (Not "fuck VLC" although you may be thinking of that.) Strip out all the command-line options except to accept a playlist. Keep the display code. Have message or error display disabled except by keystroke request. Then you could release it as a standalone player or kiosk application. Call it CZK (you can guess where the initials came from.) You might even have fun doing it.
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pinback
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by pinback » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:14 pm

Yeah, Jonsey, have you read the manual?
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AArdvark
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by AArdvark » Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:10 pm

I did not know VLC even HAD a manual. How can Mr. Jones know what's going on without a manual?

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Flack
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by Flack » Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:19 pm

This is more help than I was expecting.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:49 pm

Flack, have you ever tried to put together a system like this? Any experiences?
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Jizaboz
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by Jizaboz » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:59 pm

Doctor Jones,

I’ve also been annoyed by something like this in VLC but (tldr) I haven’t figured out how to get around it. You kinda see the same sort of behavior when you resize windows to stretch the video and then repeat the video. This irritates the hell out of me. Imagine the perfect 10 second loop of a go-go chick. You get the size and stretch just right, hit loop, and bam the fucking video resizes every time it loops. Why?!

Custom scripting is probably the only way around it but I don’t even know what pseudo code for this would be.

One thought though based on the scenarios.. have you thought of briefly displaying an image to mask the transition phase? Like while VLC is getting its shit together in the background, display an image with your own graphics with text like “Exits can be found to” and “Reminder there is no smoking in this building” etc

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Flack
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by Flack » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:18 pm

Here's what it looks like between videos.



I temporarily solved the issue by routing the output to null and turning the cursor black.

I decided to rebuild my spare laptop with Windows 7 and upgrade it to Windows 10. For now I can just run VGA output to the television and see if I can get an HDMI adapter to work with it.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Flack
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by Flack » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:10 pm

I reloaded said laptop with Windows 7, upgraded it to Windows 10, and added the USB-to-HDMI adapter. The whole thing works flawlessly. Actually, it works even better than that. On the Raspberry Pi with no GUI, every link was a command line with a dozen switches required to load the correct playlist, put the player in shuffle mode, send the video to the second monitor, suppress errors, and everything else I needed set. In Windows, all of those preferences can be set within VLC itself and I can associate the m3u playlists with VLC, so all I need to do is double-click a playlist and away it goes. Even better, for music folders I don't even need a playlist -- I can either drop/drag them into VLC or just right-click and send-to VLC, alleviating the need to maintain playlists for gigantic folders.

I love the Raspberry Pi and I think in situations where it can be used, it's a super inexpensive solution, but for this particular use case I was able to do in Windows in about half an hour what I has spent two weeks trying to pull on on the Pi.

At this point I don't know if it's even worth scripting a front end to the thing, since everything can be launched by double clicking a single icon.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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AArdvark
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Re: Video Player Suggestions?

Post by AArdvark » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:16 pm

Windows does have it's uses. If every hacker on the planet didn't have it in their sights I would have kept it on my sandwich pc.

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