[lug] video formats question

Daniel Webb lists at danielwebb.us
Fri Feb 4 12:43:29 MST 2005

I have several old Thinkpad 600Es that I use as VNC terminals to my faster
workstations at home and school.  This does everything I want most of the
time, but I would like to be able to watch video over them if possible.  I
know that any of the high-compression formats are out of the question (this is
a Pentium II 200 Mhz), but I wonder if this is possible if I transcode to
mpeg1 or mpeg2 and watch that?  I'm only interested in normal TV resolutions
and framerate, nothing fancy.

Does anyone have a feel for the CPU and bitrate required for either mpeg1 or
mpeg2 to run on an old laptop like this?  I have read that mpeg1 is 1.5 mbps
max and "almost VCR quality" whereas mpeg2 can have higher quality at the cost
of higher bandwidth and cpu.

Also, what kind of CPU power would be required to transcode something like
mpeg4 to mpeg1 or 2 on the fly?

I spent plenty of time looking into this already, but video is damn
complicated, and I don't know much about it.  

Also, if this is impossible, what is the cheapest Thinkpad that will do what I
want?  I saw that X20s are going for around $300 (PIII 600 Mhz), but I don't
want to spend much more than that.


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