Install and Use Open Source Video Player MPlayer on Linux

MPlayer is a cross-platform, open source media player. Its name is an abbreviation of “Movie Player”. MPlayer has been one of the oldest video players for Linux and during last 18 years, it has inspired a number of other media players. Some of the famous media players based on MPlayer are:

The main reason behind the popularity of MPlayer is its support for a wide range of video files. It can play MPEG, VOB, AVI, Ogg/OGM, VIVO, ASF/WMA/WMV, QT/MOV/MP4, FLI, RM, NuppelVideo, yuv4mpeg, FILM, RoQ, PVA files. It can also play VideoCD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, RealMedia, and DivX movies.

Another big feature of MPlayer is the wide range of supported output drivers. It works with X11, Xv, DGA, OpenGL, SVGAlib, fbdev, DirectFB, but also SDL.

Main Features of MPlayer

MPlayer Linux

Some of the main features of MPlayer are:

  • Supports a wide range of video, audio and subtitle files
  • Supports a number of output drivers
  • Based on open source ffmpeg
  • Can save all streamed content to a file
  • VDPAU hardware acceleration for H.265/HEVC
  • TV and DVB support
  • GUI improvements
  • open source and cross-platform

Install MPlayer on Ubuntu and other Linux distribution

Mplayer is available in all major Linux distribution including Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora etc.

You can install it from the software center of your distribution or use the package manager of your distribution.

In Ubuntu, MPlayer is available from the universe repository. So make sure that you have enabled universe repository.

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt update

And then you can install mplayer using this command:

sudo apt install mplayer mplayer-gui

Remember that MPlayer is essentially a command line tool. You have to start it from the terminal like this:

mplayer <path_to_video_file>

It will play the video in a GUI interface and you can see all the encoding and decoding in the terminal like this:

MPlayer playing video from terminal
MPlayer playing video from terminal

Starting a video player from terminal is not the most convenient way. This is why mplayer-gui package exists. It’s a minimal GUI application and you can find it in menu and use it to play video files like other normal video players. However, mplayer-gui is very buggy in the recent Ubuntu versions and may either crash or won’t start at all.

This is why I prefer MPV player which has a better UI. It’s an open source fork of MPlayer. You can also use SMPlayer, another video player built on top of MPlayer.

Conclusion

What do you think of the Mplayer? Have you ever used it? Do you prefer some other video player like VLC over MPlayer? Do share your views.

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