Media player

There are numerous media players around, but most are just GUI front ends ends as kaffeine, smplayer, kmplayer. Power full back ends are:


Mplayer is a video and audio application that runs via command line and is therefore quite stable but has a huge set of command line options. There is also the second big version mplayer2. If it does not work it is as with many Linux programs, they are just nice looking shells, but the work is done behind in different programs. So your mplayer has to know what is installed on your computer. Go to preferences audio or video and try one driver after the other until you get one that work.

For GUI there are different and most desktop environments as KDE and Gnome.

Some GUI front ends are smplayer (with smplayer-themes and smplayer-skins) or gnome-mplayer

If you run into problems it is good to see if the problem is in the front or in the back end. Therefore it is good to be able to start mplayer from the command line to troubleshoot:

Play a mp3:/usr/bin/mplayer '~/media/audio/AC-DC/Highway To Hell/AC-DC - 04 - Touch Too Much.mp3'

Those commands get easily to large, so create a simple bash script to put them in and use the \ to use more than one line.

Example 12.1. mplayer command

/usr/bin/mplayer \
-slave \
-autosync 100 \
-nolirc \
-nojoystick \
-autoq 100 \
-screenw 640 \
-screenh 480 \
-fs \
-vo null \
'~/media/audio/AC-DC/Highway To Hell/AC-DC - 04 - Touch Too Much.mp3'


the # for comments is not accepted between lines with \

Or playing a video

Example 12.2. mplayer video example

/usr/bin/mplayer \
-slave \
-autosync 100 \
-nolirc \
-nojoystick \
-autoq 100 \
-screenw 640 \
-screenh 480 \
-fs \
-ao alsa \
-v \
-vo X11sdl \
-cache 5000 \
-idx ~/media/video/UFO1/ufo-001-Identified.avi \
-vf pp=de,crop=336:288:10:0

Mplayer supports many ways to put the video onto the screen. Type mplayer -vo help to see what video outputs are supported:

xv X11/Xvx11

X11 ( XImage/Shm )

xover General X11 driver for overlay capable video output drivers

gl X11 (OpenGL)

gl2 X11 (OpenGL) - multiple textures version

dga DGA ( Direct Graphic Access V2.0 )

sdl SDL YUV/RGB/BGR renderer (SDL v1.1.7+ only!)

v4l2 V4L2 MPEG Video Decoder Output

directfb Direct Framebuffer Device

dfbmga DirectFB / Matrox G200/G400/G450/G550

null Null video output

xvmc XVideo Motion Compensation

mpegpes MPEG-PES file

yuv4mpeg yuv4mpeg output for mjpegtools

png PNG file

jpeg JPEG file

gif89a animated GIF output

If no video comes try an other video driver as -vo x11 this selects the ost software intensive way, that should work always but is the slowest. sdl means simple direct media layer.

mplayer can convert key strokes and lirc commands to mplayer command using the file /etcmplayer/input.conf or ~/.mplayer/input.conf.

Useful options:

-fs fullscreen

To watch analog TV

mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:norm=PAL:input=0:amode=1:width=384:height=288:\

And to record

/usr/bin/mencoder \
tv:// \
-tv driver=v4l:input=0:norm=pal:channel=K05:chanlist=europe-west:width=320 \
:height=240:outfmt=yuy2:device=/dev/video0: \
adevice=/dev/sound/audio3:audiorate=32000: \
forceaudio:forcechan=1:buffersize=64 \
-ovc lavc \
-lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=1200:keyint=30 \
-oac mp3lame \
-lameopts br=128:cbr:mode=3 \
-ffourcc divx \
-endpos 289 \
-o /media/record/Record.avi 


mpv is a fork from based on mplayer


kaffeine is a standalone player.


Xine is a multimedia player that plays all kinds of files and streams. To get it emerge xine-ui

Type xine-check to see what is going on. Maybe xine does not find the dvd so create a link to the device where the DVD is

ln -s hdb /dev/dvd

A front end for xine is oxine


Gstreamer is an other backend.


VLC (VideoLAN Client) is a nice complete video player that is available for many operating systems and runs even as portable application from a memory stick under windows.

Help can be found It can play but also deal with streams.


VLC version 3 might appear with big ugly icons. To get the desired look, the following environmental variable value assignment needs to be done:


Under Gentoo this is done by putting this line into a file as /etc/env.d/60qt_auto_screen_scale_factor, and run env-update followed by source /etc/profiles

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