Saturday, 27 May 2006, michuk
Kaffeine is the default multimedia player for KDE. Just like the Gnome default – Totem, it uses Gstreamer or Xine engines. It can be also configured to use MPlayer backend. Kaffeine provides a few more options compared to Totem, but its usage is sometimes a little more problematic (especially when it comes to configuring the engine parameters like the subtitles font and size).
The Kaffeine inteface is not very elaborate or bloated. There is a simple, classic menu with limited amount of options. The advanced features are hidden under the “Xine engine params” menu. The fist thing you see when you execute the program is the Go! screen which consists of the most common actions like playing audio CDs or DVDs. The interesting feature is the system notification area (tray) integration. When closed, Kaffeine hides itself into a little tray icon and waits for commands. Just like Amarok, Kaffeine well integrates with KDE, as well as with other desktop apps (i.e. Firefox). This makes users’ life a bit easier and makes an impression of good integration which is often missing in Linux.
Watching the movies
Getting Kaffine to play any file or DVD/VCD movie is a piece of cake. It’s usually as easy as selecting an icon from the welcome screen. Kaffeine also can display all kinds of subtitles. It displays the language-specific letters correctly if the Xine backend is configured to support them. Some of the neat featurs are:
- an option to watch a video in slow motion (or any other speed).
- making a snapshot of the current movie scene
- recording any audio or video streams playe by Kaffeine (i.e. from Internet radios)
Kaffeine very nicely handles most of the popular formats like DVB, DVD, VCD/SVCD, Audio CDs, MP3/Ogg-Vorbis, MPEG-1/MPEG-2/MPEG-4, DivX/XviD/QuickTime/Real Media/Windows Media Audio as well as Video/Ogg Theora and Matroska-Container (provided that the corresponding codecs are installed). During the video playback we can be notified about the remaining time by the OSD (on-screen display).
Just like in Amarok, Kaffeine provides an easy way of storing playlists of our favorite videos or audio files. It’s also possible to add the video/audio streams to the lists (usually in form of URLs). Multiple lists can be stored and we can easily switch between them using the menu or the mouse-wheel.
Kaffeine itself doe not provide a rich configuration panel. We can choose whether the program should “hide” in the system tray and if so, whether it should pause the playback when minimised
In case of using the Xine backend, we have an option to configure many of the Xine engine parameters, including the video quality, subtitles font, size and location, as well as some advanced tuning options.
This review has been previously published by paszczak000. on thecamels.org (Polish). It has been translated and modified (with author’s appropation) by the polishlinux.org crew.
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