Questions, VLC, system resources, usability as media player


I mostly got the Raspberry pi 2, and re-installed it a few weeks back with ubuntu mate 15.04 because of problems.

First, what’s the difference between ubuntu-mate for the Pi 2 and ubuntu for the Pi and installing mate? I am pretty sure the original install was ubuntu-mate but I’m second guessing myself as and some of these problems are new.

First some notes about the setup:
Not doing any over clocking.
Purchased/enable other video codecs
Disabled things like printing, bluetooth, auto update to save resources
Install/setup zram
Install/setup nfs mounts for remote shares.
Increased the size of the root patrician.
Installed/Setup sshd
Installed things like vlc, xbmc, chrome, gstreamer
daily cronjob to restart irqbalance
changes to config.txt to make use of full display
compiz is disabled


  1. Had huge memory/resource issues. After first install while updating via gui and firefox could not work at the same time. Also irqbalance often takes up all the resources.

  2. VLC black screen and audio fades in/out. Even after changing Video output to “X11 (XCB)” it only works if window size is unaltered. So, fix is not a fix, but at least it’s something.

I’ve tried various video and audio output and other options. I have tried various gpu_mem options from 128 to 320 in /boot/config.txt

[rant]And omxplayer, No controls and basically locked out of box until movies finishes. (15.10 says there is a gui now?) But wouldn’t it be easier to distribute VLC with hardware support than develop a new player?[/rant]

Differences in the two Ubuntu raspberry pi distro’s?
How to optimize resources?
How to get VLC working full screen? And address the audio fade in/out?
What options exist for playing online html5/flash based videos?
What is best way to drop resolution to 720p?
Best options for config.txt for playing videos?

Thanks, Goof


Hi goof !
I can’t answer all your questions but maybe some.
Ubuntu / ubuntu mate are made with some toolchain which generate ubuntu packages for armhf/armv7 architecture.
This is a generic compilation for that kind of CPUs so the packages are not specifically done for rapsberry pi.
Some kind of software like vlc or ffmpeg need some additional compilations options to activate hardware acceleration decoding which are not provided by the toolchain.
I think ubuntu mate for raspberry pi makers must recompile this kind of packages with the good options and provide them .
=> I don’t know why they don’t do it already !
I compile myself the last version of ffmpeg with hardware acceleration decoding.
So I can read HD videos with ffplay, it work good but I have audio delay between video and audio.
I have the same issue on all video players : vlc, mplayer, mpv and the sound under ubuntu mate is bad on my pi (choppy, sometimes halt …)
Have you audio delay too when you play some video with vlc or with chrome on youtube with some 360p video ?
I will try to recompile vlc with hardware acceleration decoding if I resolve my sound delay issues.
For playing some html5video from youtube you can see my tutorial it’s not the best but it work :
=> Ubuntu Mate 15.10 : Browse Youtube fast and read videos with VLC
For flash it’s complicated, flash support under linux was abandoned by adobe few years ago.
The only support today is provided by Google Chrome which provides flash plugin embedded.
But there is no Google Chrome for arm architecture only Chromium which don’t provide flash.
But there is a way, there is some chromebooks under Chrome Os with arm architecture which have Google Chrome. So it is possible to dump the flash plugin from them and install it on chromium in ubuntu mate for rpi.
I did it, it work well, I will write some tutorial about it until the end of the week I hope and post it here !
But the flash plugin don’t have hardware decoding acceleration too, it’s only sofware rendering but work good !
If I can fix my audio async problem reading videos, maybe I can provide some good solutions here !


Thanks for the reply Aworan, but I’m unsure which of my questions you are answering.

Yes, I do have audio delay in flash/html5 videos, but I chalked that performance of flash and or no hardware h.264.

Playing VLC in it’s unaltered window for 720p and bellow, I didn’t notice any audio lag, just the fade in/out of the volume, if I touch the volume control it would get fixed instantly. And if I maximized it, no or frozen video.

I’m debating giving up on the Ras Pi 2 as my HTPC and going with the Zotac ZBOX-CA320NANO, turning the pi to a NAS or something.


Hi All
I have noticed irqbalance eating resources as well
I generally just restart the service with

sudo systemctl restart irqbalance

and it gives up resources and plays nice again for a while roughly 2-3 days before it gets over 300mb again
PI2 running syncthing (constantly syncing) 3 days and counting for nzbget and sickrage PI2 lighter use but heaver cpu and memory load, both PIs on the 15.10 PI2 image.

I dont use the Pi2 as a htpc but have tried plex media player pi2 image and it works fine just needs a reliable tv remote setup (and a decent plex server if you dont have one) to be worthwhile for me.

The nzbget and sickrage on the 15.10 ubuntu-mate PI2 image is the closest Ive come to a nas on a PI and it seems to work ok only 10 active shows at the moment small mounted local drive for the main programs and content goes to network mounted nfs shares which run at sync until I have no issues for 3 months ( just my usual time frame).
The revelation has been the much improved error and failed download handling by nzbget and nzbtomedia and sickrage when compared to sabnzbdplus nzbtomedia and sickrage