Wednesday 5 February 2014

Videos is here!

It's been some time in the making, with the redesign work started a couple of release cycles ago, but we finally reached a state where it's usable, and leaps and bounds easier to use than the previous versions.

I should note that I use Totem and Videos interchangeably, Totem is still the name of the project, code repository, but the user-visible name is Videos (or GNOME Videos if differentiation is necessary).


The old UI made it particularly hard to consume media from various web sites, as you can see from the screenshot below. It's cramped, we had separate sidebars for search and browse, we didn't show icons for browse, etc.

And here's the new UI, browsing the same source (Apple Trailers).

This is definitely easier to find media. Totem also had a number of specific plugins to find media sources, usually from third-party developers. We don't support those anymore, and if you have been writing such a plugin, you should port them to grilo, now a hard-dependency.

I've also spent some time working on Grilo and its plugins, creating a few new sources along the process.

Amongst the new ones are the Freebox TV plugin, the under-powered Guardian Videos source, and the not-yet-fully-integrated Pocket videos list. Don't forget to check for blocker bugs if you're trying to test those!


This is also a pretty big upgrade. We now have video-specific menu item, the gear menu, and better looking pop-ups. This matches the design used in GNOME Documents for sliders. It's also better suited for touch: a mouse move will show the OSD for a short time, but a touchscreen tap will show the OSD until you tap it again.

The older version had some features only available in windowed, such as rotation, or zoom, and some we tried to cram into the context menu (subtitle or sound track selection for example). Here, there's no loss of accessibility for features, they're all in the same gear menu, whether fullscreen or windowed.

Bugs, bugs, bugs

With a few valiant testers and designers, we tried to fix a number of bugs. This release doesn't mean Videos is bug-free, far from it, but it's certainly robust and usable enough to make this development release.

There's some theming bugs, as can be seen in that last screenshot's previous/next buttons, there's bugs in grilo and grilo-plugins, and there's bugs in Videos itself.

Do file bugs when you see something amiss, it'll help designers and myself move items from our own TODO lists :)

What's next

A lot :)
You can see some of those in the design wireframes.

"Make available offline" is something I have a great interest in, especially coupled with the Pocket source. Selecting a bunch of items to watch later, on the train, or on the plane.

Better metadata, especially for films and series. This isn't just for films you snarfed from Usenet and torrent sites either. The already existing source has a number of films, and a BBC iPlayer source is planned.

Finally, remote playback, to "throw" videos from your laptop to the TV. Controls should still work, and we'll want to allow browsing through sources when playback is remote.

Notes on development

Half notes, half thanks. As mentioned in the introduction, this release has been some time in the making, but it also comes at a time when we've had the necessary plumbing to make all this possible.

To name but a few, we've made good use of gnome-documents' widgets to list videos, the GtkStack, GtkRevealer and GtkPopover. The GtkSearchBar and GtkSearchEntry widgets are also examples of widgets that moved to GTK+ for Videos' development.

Getting it

Soon in your development distributions, in totem's master git branch, and in GNOME's FTP server.


Icek said...

Will this version be abble to take advantage of VA-API or VDPAU?

Bastien Nocera said...

Icek: it can already use vaapi (it certainly worked in 3.8 and 3.10), as there's hard-coded support for it in clutter-gst. VDPAU support can probably make use of shim libraries to enable that, but I have no hardware to test it on.

Nacho said...

Looks very good. Good job

Antony said...

+1 on VDPAU. That's the only reason I use VLC instead of Totem (Arch Linux w/ Gnome 3.10)

Also, are you targeting Gnome 3.12?
How about Wayland?

Unknown said...

Any chance of the app offering the option to use the light theme? I never really understood why every app in GNome is using the light theme except for Totem/Video, changing this would make things consistent and look better too IMHO.

Bastien Nocera said...

Antony: I don't have any NVidia cards, so somebody else will have to look into that. This is for 3.12, and wayland support is missing in clutter-gtk, so no updates on that.

Unknown: No, the dark theme should be used for video and image apps. Eye Of Gnome, and GNOME Photos already use it, for the same reason Lightroom, Photoshop or Blender use dark themes.

Camilo: You'll want to install appdata-tools (see the APPDATA_XML error message in that output).

Anonymous said...

> Finally, remote playback, to "throw" videos from your laptop to the TV
Did you ever thought about a setting to setup a website in the local network which is capable to be searched and display (stream) my local GNOME Videos library content? Like YouTube but local. I have never seen something like this, but it would be awesome and somewhat average user friendly because it should not need any technical knowledge.

I know something like this can be archived for TVs with DLNA, but this works only with DLNA compatible clients, the browser is much more global. We have also the avahi daemon, so for linux user the url could be something like: hostname.local/videos

Icek said...

Well I know gstreamer has support for vaapi, but AFAIK old version of Totem used some sort of software color conversion element that caused high cpu usage even on PC with VAAPI support.

Bastien Nocera said...

k1au3-is-37: I don't see what this would bring. You can already enable media sharing in the "Sharing" settings panel. I'd expect a TV with a web browser to also have a DLNA client.

Icek: I believe that's fixed by
Test it and report if not.

Nacho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nacho said...

Does GNOME Videos take advantage of the new wayland subsurface support now in Mutter? Or is this something that must be supported in clutter?

Bastien Nocera said...

Nacho: clutter-gtk still doesn't work on Wayland, whether with Weston or gnome-shell. So there's no support for that.

kaiomatico said...

Great update! But will "Videos" be able to display folders with a folder.png or similar to display the movie posters like xbmc or just like in your Apple Movie Trailers screenshot? Would be great NOT to have that in a small database scince that way we can also use a NAS and many clients without much configuration to display the movie collection just great!

Vistaus said...

How did you add YouTube as a source? It would be awesome to have YouTube back in the new Totem.

Bastien Nocera said...

kaiomatico: This should work already, as long as the thumbnails for those folders have already been generated. With Philip's thumbnailer for example.

Vistaus: it's in grilo-plugins already. Get in touch with your distribution if it's not there.