July 03, 2008

Kaffeine 0.8.6 Review

Up to now I reviewed SMPlayer and 11 video players for Linux, and in this article I'll take a look at Kaffeine 0.8.6, the last version for KDE 3.x, and also a well-known video player for KDE.

When it comes to video players, Kaffeine is my favourite, several reasons for it being that it plays anything I feed it with, it has good subtitle support and the interface it provides is clean and simple to use. Well, the interface is more a matter of taste, since most of the video players have it the same, no matter if they are for KDE or GNOME. But I prefer the players which only use a single window over the ones who come with a main window for controls and menus and another one for playing the movie itself. As I said, only a matter of taste.

Remember it?

Anyway, Kaffeine plays audio CDs, DVDs and VCDs, and all the popular video formats out there, given that all the necessary codecs are installed. It uses the Xine engine.

However, I noticed that playing both Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny at 1080p takes up 100% CPU resources on Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz, the sound stops for a while sometimes, and there are obvious FPS drops. This didn't happen with SMPlayer, which uses the MPlayer engine by default and the CPU was at around 20% for most of the time, with the movie and sound running pretty smooth, screen resolution at 1280x1024 and both Xine and SMPlayer using xv as the video output driver. I noticed the same behaviour with Xine-UI too.

Big Buck Bunny 1080p in Kaffeine

Otherwise, I had no problems with any other movies or DVDs. Kaffeine also plays DVD ISO images without problems.

A bug in the latest version is that when I clicked the Play Audio CD button and there is no CD in the drive it crashes. Currently, it looks like this is the last version for KDE 3.x, and since development started at a port for KDE 4, I wouldn't expect a fix for it.

Big Buck Bunny information

Kaffeine can be embedded in system tray, it pauses automatically the video when it's minimized to taskbar and provides options to configure the Xine engine.

Community and development
The last stable version is 0.8.6 and development is in progress for Kaffeine for KDE4. The official website provides a forum and a FAQ for help, and it also includes random tips in a bar located in the upper side of the web page.

To sum it up, this still is my video player of choice for me, although some good pieces are out there too, like SMPlayer or VLC. Even if you already have a favourite player and never tried Kaffeine, it's definitely worth a try.

Updated: Jul 03, 2008 (Created: Jul 03, 2008)


Anonymous said...

I love Kaffeine myself but when I play Matroska files that have subtitles it will miss the subtitles often and it seems to really work the cpu, C2D 2.0Ghz, 4GB Ram, 7900GTX 512MB, it plays AVI's just fine but I want to watch the higher end video.

Anonymous said...

Kaffeine is the Linux Media Center. Not as slick as Windows Media Center but who knows what the port to KDE4 will bring. The article does not mention TV. I use Kaffeine also to watch HDTV using the Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro USB Stick. It works thanks to the driver work done at http://www.mcentral.de/wiki/index.php5/Em2880

Anonymous said...

It has a few problems which mean I use it less than I otherwise would:

It will not play files shared over smb:// if the file has a space in the name...

It's slow too load (slow is relative to codeine)

you can only drag and drop files on to the main window when you are on the player tab.

Keyboard shortcuts are unusual (ctrl+f to play fullscreen when xine and most other players use just f - seems unnecessary)

You can only have one window open at a time as new files are opened in the existing window.

complicated GUI (maybe that is just a sign of a mature project)

codeine's existense (and onwards the abysmally named project Dragon Player)

And finally it does not store the point where you were up to on a video when you return to it (I even logged a feature request for this long before codeine existed which they subsequently closed so my interest in the project was lost)

Rant over.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I love Kaffeine. I like many others use it primarily as a DVB-T player. I especially like the ability to stream over my own network to a Kaffeine Client. I use it with a Winfast dtv2000h tv tuner and it was the only app in Linux I could get to work with my card.I am pretty much new to Linux but Kaffeine helped to seal the coffin lid on Windows.