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TEDding from the car – gPodder video Plugin for Rockbox April 7, 2011

Posted by GuySoft in Crictor, diy, Electronics, ipod, ITU, linux, open source, podcast, programming, python.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
TEDing from the car

TEDing from the car

Hey all,
After a few weeks of bouncing emails with Thomas Perl I am happy to announce that we have a working plugin for his wonderful podcast application called gPodder. With this plugin installed, any mp4 video podcast that is downloaded with gPodder is automatically converted to a format playable by rockbox MPEG player plugin. Effectively meaning seamless sync of video podcasts to any rockbox enabled device. I am specifically using the Sansa fuze player, but just changing the screen resolution at the top of the plugin should make it work with any other rockbox device, and with the right screen size. The final product for me of all this technical stuff is that I can listen to TED lectures in the car. Or using the verb was coined by my friend Uzair “TEDding” from my car.

How to Install

  • First you should have gPodder installed (available also as “apt-get install gpodder” or any other distribution install equivalent).
  • Second you will need these packages installed too:
     apt-get install python-kaa-metadata  ffmpeg python-dbus
  • Now all that is left is to copy this script to
    mkdir -p ~/.config/gpodder/hooks/
    cp rockbox_mp4_convert.py ~/.config/gpodder/hooks/
  • If your are using a different player from the Sansa Fuse, modify the first lines to your screen resolution:

    make sure to include the .0 at the end.

  • Thats it! Now each time video is download, for example from the TEDTalks Video Podcast it would be converted on arrival, and relinked as the file to be synced.

As usual, I would love to hear feedback from users and suggestions.

TEDing from the car

TEDing from the car, thanks to a gPodder hook and Rockbox

gPoder downloading and converting

gPoder downloading and converting


1. hatul - April 7, 2011

Is gPodder download video from TED with the subtitles?
The subtitles is important part of TED.

GuySoft - April 7, 2011

No, Thats part of the youtube service I think.
Anyway subtitles are kinda useless when driving.
Technically if you can create a podcast feed with rendered subtitles off youtube it would work.

2. lt - October 6, 2011

This is interesting. I wonder if it is possible to (somehow) keep the original file and only sync the transcoded one, or do the transcode in the sync operation.
That way it would be possible to watch the original file on the PC, or the smaller one on the Sansa (I have an e280).

GuySoft - October 6, 2011

It would require a lot of playing with hooks, or redoing part of gpodder. The problem is gpodder holds only one copy of each file. If you want to do something else you will need some extra layer of management.
Perhaps you could re-use the current hook to generate a separate RSS feed, with the transcoded files, that might work.

3. Bernd - October 29, 2011


I’m the maintainer of the gPodder hook repository. At the moment I’m trying to add some tests for every hook. But I have problems with your rockbox hook.

When I try to convert http://download.ted.com/talks/BenGoldacre_2011G.mp4 on Ubuntu 11.10 I get the following error:

ffmpeg version 0.7.2-4:0.7.2-1ubuntu1, Copyright (c) 2000-2011 the Libav developers
built on Oct 2 2011 15:13:26 with gcc 4.6.1
configuration: –extra-version=’4:0.7.2-1ubuntu1′ –arch=amd64 –prefix=/usr –enable-vdpau –enable-bzlib –enable-libgsm –enable-libschroedinger –enable-libspeex –enable-libtheora –enable-libvorbis –enable-pthreads –enable-zlib –enable-libvpx –enable-runtime-cpudetect –enable-vaapi –enable-gpl –enable-postproc –enable-swscale –enable-x11grab –enable-libdc1394 –enable-shared –disable-static
WARNING: library configuration mismatch
avutil configuration: –extra-version=’4:′ –arch=amd64 –prefix=/usr –enable-vdpau –enable-bzlib –enable-libgsm –enable-libschroedinger –enable-libspeex –enable-libtheora –enable-libvorbis –enable-pthreads –enable-zlib –enable-libvpx –enable-runtime-cpudetect –enable-vaapi –enable-libopenjpeg –enable-gpl –enable-postproc –enable-swscale –enable-x11grab –enable-libdirac –enable-libmp3lame –enable-librtmp –enable-libx264 –enable-libxvid –enable-libvo-aacenc –enable-version3 –enable-libvo-amrwbenc –enable-version3 –enable-libdc1394 –enable-shared –disable-static
avcodec configuration: –extra-version=’4:′ –arch=amd64 –prefix=/usr –enable-vdpau –enable-bzlib –enable-libgsm –enable-libschroedinger –enable-libspeex –enable-libtheora –enable-libvorbis –enable-pthreads –enable-zlib –enable-libvpx –enable-runtime-cpudetect –enable-vaapi –enable-libopenjpeg –enable-gpl –enable-postproc –enable-swscale –enable-x11grab –enable-libdirac –enable-libmp3lame –enable-librtmp –enable-libx264 –enable-libxvid –enable-libvo-aacenc –enable-version3 –enable-libvo-amrwbenc –enable-version3 –enable-libdc1394 –enable-shared –disable-static
libavutil 51. 7. 0 / 51. 7. 0
libavcodec 53. 5. 0 / 53. 5. 0
libavformat 53. 2. 0 / 53. 2. 0
libavdevice 53. 0. 0 / 53. 0. 0
libavfilter 2. 4. 0 / 2. 4. 0
libswscale 2. 0. 0 / 2. 0. 0
libpostproc 52. 0. 0 / 52. 0. 0
Input #0, mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2, from ‘/home/bernd/Downloads/BenGoldacre_2011G.mp4’:
major_brand : isom
minor_version : 1
compatible_brands: isom
creation_time : 2011-09-28 16:18:20
title : TED:Ben Goldacre (2011 Global)
artist : TED
date : 2011
album : TEDTalks
comment : To learn more about this speaker, find other TEDTalks, and subscribe to this Podcast series, visit http://www.TED.com Feedback: tedtalks@ted.com
genre : Podcast
Duration: 00:14:19.80, start: 0.153846, bitrate: 69 kb/s
Stream #0.0(und): Video: h264 (Constrained Baseline), yuv420p, 320×180 [PAR 1:1 DAR 16:9], 39 kb/s, 13 fps, 13 tbr, 13 tbn, 26 tbc
creation_time : 2011-08-05 17:25:34
Stream #0.1(und): Audio: aac, 24000 Hz, mono, s16, 23 kb/s
creation_time : 2011-09-28 16:18:20
[buffer @ 0x1c352e0] w:320 h:180 pixfmt:yuv420p
[scale @ 0x1c3b400] w:320 h:180 fmt:yuv420p -> w:224 h:125 fmt:yuv420p flags:0x4
[mpeg2video @ 0x1c2d9a0] MPEG1/2 does not support 12/1 fps
Output #0, mpeg, to ‘/home/bernd/Downloads/BenGoldacre.mpg’:
Stream #0.0(und): Video: mpeg2video, yuv420p, 224×125 [PAR 1:1 DAR 224:125], q=2-31, 500 kb/s, 90k tbn, 12 tbc
creation_time : 2011-08-05 17:25:34
Stream #0.1(und): Audio: libmp3lame, 44100 Hz, 2 channels, s16, 192 kb/s
creation_time : 2011-09-28 16:18:20
Stream mapping:
Stream #0.0 -> #0.0
Stream #0.1 -> #0.1
Error while opening encoder for output stream #0.0 – maybe incorrect parameters such as bit_rate, rate, width or height

This is the command you use in the hook script:
ffmpeg -r 13 -y -i BenGoldacre_2011G.mp4 -s 224×125 -vcodec mpeg2video -b 500k -ab 192k -ac 2 -ar -r 13 44100 -acodec libmp3lame BenGoldacre_2011G.mpg

GuySoft - October 31, 2011

Hey, it seems like you ordered the command values wrong there.
the -ar command needs to have the 44100 parameter after it.
Here is the line in the plugin’s source:
FFMPEG_OPTIONS = ‘-vcodec mpeg2video -b 500k -ab 192k -ac 2 -ar 44100 -acodec libmp3lame’
You should use:
ffmpeg -y -i input.mp4 -s 224×125 -vcodec mpeg2video -b 500k -ab 192k -ac 2 -ar 44100 -acodec libmp3lame output.mpg

4. Bernd - November 1, 2011

oh sorry, the command in the source is correct. I tried it with the two “-r 13” option after I googled for the error. This was my fault I add manually

The file “http://download.ted.com/talks/BenGoldacre_2011G.mp4” didn’t work for me with your command:
ffmpeg -y -i BenGoldacre_2011G.mp4 -s 224×126 -vcodec mpeg2video -b 500k -ab 192k -ac 2 -ar 44100 -acodec libmp3lame output.mpg

But the file “http://video.ted.com/talk/podcast/2011U/Rolex/MattCutts_2011U.mp4” works still fine

5. Peter Owens - January 3, 2014

when i try the second command on step 3 i get

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ cp rockbox_mp4_convert.py ~/.config/gpodder/hooks/
cp: cannot stat โ€˜rockbox_mp4_convert.pyโ€™: No such file or directory

GuySoft - January 4, 2014

did you download https://github.com/guysoft/gpodder-hook-scripts/blob/master/rockbox_mp4_convert.py ?
Would be hard to copy it if its not there ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Peter Owens - February 6, 2014

Thanks, But I have another question
I have recently switched to Windows and was wondering if there was a way to get the plugin to work in the windows version
Thanks for your developing,

GuySoft - February 6, 2014

Its possible if you disable the notifications that rely on stuff windows does not have, and make sure executing “ffmpeg” in your windows cmd actually runs ffmpeg.

BTW: when you reply on wordpress its usually best to press the “reply” button right under the message you wish to reply to. Because that way it leaves a thread people can follow.

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