“Yet Another Zaurus Media Player”… not dead yet: “Quasar Media Player”

Alright, this blog has been very quiet for the last few months. That’s partially due to me being very busy with other stuff.
I’m slowly picking up pace and getting things done again.

So, here is a short update on the media player that I’m currently developing for my Zaurus. Well, actually it’s been in long-term testing mode for ages now… :)
I finally have a name for it. It will be called “Quasar Media Player” – or shorter “Quasar”. Below are some screenshots of the current development version running on Qtopia. I hope to have a release ready soon.

{Quasar} Shown is the new toolbar and play list selector.{Quasar} The new play info screen. Cover art is supported and rendered in this funky view. Any Satch fans out there? ;){Quasar} More eyecandy.{Quasar} Normal list view filtered.

23 thoughts on ““Yet Another Zaurus Media Player”… not dead yet: “Quasar Media Player”

  1. What a COOL Player!

    I have been found the player which can play not only mp3 but also flac.
    Sharp’s MusicPlayer was not able to play flac, So I’m really want to use the Quasar.

    And… I have some question..
    1.Can “Quesar” play some video files? If it can, I’ll trash Kino and Zplayer~!
    2.When I can use the player?
    3.Do you have some plan about supporting pdaXrom or Angstrom? I really want to use Angstrom, but there’s no music player what I want.

    I’ll wait you’re reply & player. thanks~

  2. I’m definitely going to finish the first release. Don’t worry. Should happen really soon now.

    @ExPERTiN: Yes, it can play videos. However, bias is towards audio playback. That’s also what most features are there for.
    As for supporting pdaXrom, yes, this will probably happen. I already have Quasar running on OS X in X11 and native. So, it’s already ported to Qt3 and the code now supports both Qt2/Qtopia and Qt3. However, since Quasar is an mplayer frontend I’m having a hard time to add support for all possible mplayer variants out there. I’ve already encountered 4 different versions with totally different behaviour in slave mode. They work but it’s a PITA.
    Quasar is optimized for Ogg Vorbis, because that’s what I have on my Zaurus: excellent quality on low bitrate (aoTuV). Check out my iTunes Alternative Encoder Scripts if you’re using OS X and iTunes:
    http://katastrophos.net/andre/blog/software/itunes-encoder-scripts/

    Quasar does play MP3 too – of course! ID3 tags are handled by ID3lib which is linked into Quasar.
    FLAC will work, but no meta data support yet.

  3. Alright, the news is, I will probably release the first beta version next weekend – if nothing gets in my way, that is. :)
    I’ve been adjusting a lot of things for the X11 version last weekend. It’s working on pdaXrom now. I still have a few todos on my list but nothing serious.

  4. Hey Andre!

    After not having used my C3000 for quite a while, I stumbled upon your blog and the cool mplayer frontend you are developing!
    As I would like to use my Zaurus as a streaming player in my living room, a better player than the default “Music Player 2.0” is more than welcome :)

    Great stuff you are doing there! Keep it going!

    BTW: Witziger comment spam filter ;)

  5. Oh, another question: How did you implement the album art stuff? Embedded? Seperate picture files?

  6. Thanks for the comments, Boon!
    The album covers are being associated via two methods in the following order:
    1. Same directory as the source file: Quasar will look for any image file in the same directory and will use that as cover art.
    2. Central repository, ie. a separate directory that contains image files in arbitrary order and structure: Quasar will do a recursive search in that directory using some bad and straight-forward heuristics to find a fitting image file.

    If a cover art was found, Quasar will apply some funky effects (reflection projective transformation) on the image and display it. ;)

    Embedded image files aren’t supported yet. However, I think I can extract the image data directly from the MP3s via id3lib.
    Update: Support for embedded image data has been implemented.

  7. Alright, I didn’t make it last weekend. The distros are ready, but some obvious bugs keep me from releasing the IPKs. The release will happen sometime this week though. Please bear with me a bit longer…

  8. Alright, here is a hint: Software > Quasar Media Player ;)
    Not official yet, but for those willing to try it out, please leave a comment!

  9. OK tried it out on my 3100 with pdaxii13 5.4.x (or whatever the last version before v2 beta) and it works very well, I noticed that my battery lasted longer than running XMMS with all my usual programs in the background (KoPi, Gnumeric, GKrellm), but I will have to confirm with some more testing.
    I found that it started up just as fast as any other program, but switching songs was more seamless than XMMS, no hiccups between songs, I liked all the different views you had, too bad you don’t have album art from the file working yet, as my whole collection is like that.
    I couldn’t get the volume control from Quasar working, I could move the slider but it didn’t do a thing.
    Other than that I would say it is superb! VERY GOOD WORK!!! I would be willing to through a few bucks in for it, vote with your dollar as I always say.

  10. Ohh forgot to mention that in a playlist of 51 songs the random with repeat feature wasn’t very random, it played the same 5 songs until I selected another song, I’ll further test this.

  11. Thanks a lot for the feedback! Glad you like it.
    As for the volume control, this is a known problem on pdaXrom. I had to remove the volume control applet from the taskbar so Quasar could access /dev/mixer device. I guess XMMS can adjust the volume anyway, so perhaps I need to look into the issue again.
    I’m going to add the ID3 image extraction feature now.

  12. Uhh.. I Can’t start Quasar on My C1000.
    I’m using Cacko-based Korean-customized ROM.

    When I start player, Qtopia restarts for infinity.
    And other korean users say the same problem. They use Cacko-based, Original Sharprom-based, ETC…

    And, Just One user could use the player. He uses Zaurus 760.

    How can we use the player on Qtopia?

  13. Thanks for the feedback. You say, Qtopia restarts for inifinity. Does that mean, it will not start playback of a file and just continues to switch to the next file over and over again? Or does this really happen on startup of Quasar? When you started it for the first time did it show a message box, saying that no valid settings were found and it will start with the default settings? If so, did you see the player’s UI after that or did it simply crash?

    I just saw the thread over at Zaurusian.net: http://cafe3.ktdom.com/zaurus/bbs/view.php?id=free&no=9917

    My Korean is non-existent and I can’t make any sense of the automatic translation offered by Google here.

    ExPERTiN, perhaps you can help me here? Same trouble with my WM8750Mixer, I simply don’t understand the feedback in the Korean forums and I can’t register and ask directly in English, because the registration form won’t let me.

    Anyway, I’m going to release the sources today with the official release.
    You can also try to fix the problem yourself. I’ll try too, but I can’t promise anything, since I need your detailed reports.

  14. It works, no problems. I’m not noticing the random/looping problem today, it might have just been that first time I tried it.
    Just to note you didn’t change the version number in the About. I wasn’t sure I had installed the correct version at first and checked the Version number but it was still 0.8.

  15. I’m having the same problem as Expertin (using Cacko on C1000). Whenever I try to start Quasar, Qtopia quits and then restarts (although sometimes it just hangs). THis is true for both releases (from last week and today). I tried a manual install but ipkg install returns zcat error and complains about corrupt package. INstalling with package manager goes fine but am not able to actually start the program.

  16. Joey, thanks for the info. I was able to reproduce the problem on a fresh Cacko installation. I’m still wondering why the problem doesn’t crop up on my loaded Cacko setup. It seems to be a library related problem. I’ll look into the issue.

  17. Okay, I’ve uploaded the new version 0.85 (Beta 2). This should fix the Qtopia crashes. The culprit was a QCop call to immediately register Quasar as remote control master. I’ve removed this call now. This means, if you mark “Register as remote control master” in the configuration dialog, you’ll have to restart Qtopia for the change to take effect.

  18. Excellent work! The Zaurus is the coolest device ever, yes, there are still Zaurus users! We are out here. I laid my Android tablet to rest and went back to my Zaurus. I hope you continue with projects for it.

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