Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


First Linux-Based HD DVD Player

May 12th, 2006 by Multimedia Mike

Remember my musing about assorted goals involved in developing HD DVD support for Linux? Several people have written me to point out that Toshiba has already beaten us to it– in the flagship HD DVD device. In case you get all your geek and/or multimedia news from this blog, this article at CDFreaks has a number of juicy details. It is reportedly a high-end PC board that runs a Red Hat-based Linux distribution on an M-Systems Disk-On-Chip (essentially a flash memory component that looks like an IDE drive in from the PC’s perspective). Of course, the most important component is the ATAPI HD DVD drive that can be removed and connected to your desktop PC, as the pioneer in this story demonstrates in a video.

See? What did I tell you in Ever-Emerging Digital Theater Technology? It’s just a PC; everything is.

This raises some interesting questions. I have yet to hear whether the launch discs actually used anything more advanced than stock MPEG-2 for video coding. There was some speculation that the discs were not using VC-1 yet. A player like this is trivally upgradeable in the field. So the software support for VC-1 may or may not be there. I still have to wonder if this was some kind of a “Plan B” device in order to beat Sony’s Blu Ray to market. This strikes me as rather unorthodox, not to mention costly. Maybe Toshiba could not get all of the custom ASICs (ideally lower cost than a off-the-shelf, general PC components) done in time but had a separate team working on this in parallel “just in case”.

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One Response

  1. PenGun Says:

    I have a Pitch Black HD-DVD rip. The main .EVOs are VC1 or so ffmpeg claims. I cannot get audio from this. It seems it may be an eac3 audio encode which can be a problem.