I just bought a Dell Mini 1012, which comes with a Broadcom Crystal media accelerator chip. I'd like to know what is the current state-of-the-art with regard to using this hardware on Ubuntu? What I mean by this is, what is the best way to install drivers to make use of this hardware, and what media players currently support it? I've read that XBMC currently does, but what about gstreamer?

Ideally, I'd like to find a solution so that I can accelerate Flash videos using the device. It seems like one strategy may be to download Flash videos to the hard drive and play them with an external, Crystal-enabled media player, and so that seems like one option, but I'm wondering if any of the free flash alternatives (Gnash and Lightspark) support hardware acceleration of flash video using the Crystal API?

It seems like there is a lot of information about all of this on the web, but it's not consolidated, and seems like a rapidly moving target, so any insight anyone may have into this would be appreciated.

4 Answers 4


i tried crystalHD on ubuntu 12.04 and 11.10. both ubuntu versions` having problem with totem, playback is so choppy on mp4 format. i installed indicator to make sure crystalHD is running, yes it is! removing the gstreamer crystalHD plugin will make totem play the mp4 smoothly. But playing 1080p youtube/streaming sites with crystalhd is flawless. i hope anyone can point why totem is not friendly with crystalhd in some cases.

installed lastest crystalHD from git..


The driver for BCM lives in linux-firmware-nonfree. Install that! It should cover you for GStreamer-using media players. Totem, the default video player in Gnome+Ubuntu is GStreamer-based.

You might need to run sudo modprobe crystalhd now to load the driver (it should do this automatically on the next boot).

If that doesn't work, you could build the modules yourself. It's not hard and it's fairly well documented. Download the zip from their support page and read through the readme.

I confess I don't know the status of other media players. I did think mplayer and xine had both made progress but I could be wrong.

As for Flash, even if Adobe were shouting support from the rooftops, I wouldn't believe it until I'd seen it.

  • Thanks for getting me started! However, are you sure the crystalhd kernel module lives in linux-firmware-nonfree? I checked the package contents on packages.ubuntu.com for lucid, maverick and natty, and none of them seemed have a file named crystalhd.ko. See e.g.: packages.ubuntu.com/maverick/all/linux-firmware-nonfree/… On the other hand, it looks like it's in most of the kernels for maverick, including the generic one: packages.ubuntu.com/maverick/i386/linux-image-2.6.35-22-generic/…
    – jbeard4
    Nov 6, 2010 at 9:44
  • Also, your answer seems to imply that it is not necessary to compile a gstreamer patched to support the crystal API, but that gstreamer from the repository already includes support for it. Could you please just confirm that? Thanks again for your reply.
    – jbeard4
    Nov 6, 2010 at 9:46
  • Actually, I see your comment was correct: bcm70012fw.bin and bcm70015fw.bin in linux-firmware-nonfree is for the crystal hd chip. On Maverick, then, the driver is included in the kernel, but I can't seem to find the application library (libcrystalhd.so) or gstreamer plugin (libgstbcmdec.a) by searching packages.ubuntu.com, so it's still not clear to me whether gstreamer on Maverick comes with crystal support OTB, or whether these libraries must be installed via apt, or built from source. In any case, I'm still currently on Lucid, so it seems I'm going to need to compile these libs myself.
    – jbeard4
    Nov 6, 2010 at 10:19
  • @echo-flow You need to add all this information to your original question, which will add more detail and also bump it so we can continue to diagnose how to help you. Nov 20, 2010 at 20:09

As of tonight, i've been able to succesfully have hardware acceleration in Flash Player (youtube 1080p videos running smoothly). I've detailed my instructions here:


I have got it up and running very well on AO532h with Ubuntu Natty. I had to compile from a git snapshot though from here: http://git.wilsonet.com/crystalhd.git/ (I used 2011-01-23 one). Acceleration with Flash (10,2,154,18) works without problems, as well as in totem (GStreamer).

  • Tomas, that's great to hear! I appreciate your feedback. Does seeking work within Totem? In my past experiences, that would often cause X to throw a wobbly.
    – jbeard4
    Mar 13, 2011 at 14:20

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