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mpv is a media player based on MPlayer and the now unmaintained mplayer2. It supports a wide variety of video file formats, audio and video codecs, and subtitle types. A comprehensive (although admittedly incomplete) list of differences between mpv and the aforementioned players can be found here.


Install the mpv package or mpv-gitAUR for the development version.

Front ends

See List of applications/Multimedia#mpv-based.


mpv comes with good all-around defaults that should work well on computers with weaker/older video cards. However, if you have a computer with a more modern video card then mpv allows you to do a great deal of configuration to achieve better video quality (limited only by the power of your video card). To do this one only needs to create a few configuration files (they do not exist by default).

Note: Configuration files are read system-wide from /etc/mpv and per-user from ~/.config/mpv (unless the environment variable XDG_CONFIG_HOME is set), where per-user settings override system-wide settings, all of which are overridden by the command line. User specific configuration is suggested since it may require some trial and error.

To help you get started mpv provides sample configuration files with default settings. Copy them to use as a starting point:

$ cp -r /usr/share/doc/mpv/ ~/.config/

mpv.conf contains the majority of mpv's settings, input.conf contains key bindings. Read through both of them to get an idea of how they work and what options are available.

General settings

Add the following settings to ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf.

High quality configurations

This loads high quality OpenGL options when using vo=gpu as video output (default). Most users can run these without any problems, but they are not enabled by default to avoid causing problems for the few users who cannot run them:


The gpu-hq profile defaults to the spline36 scaling filter for mid quality and speed. For the best quality video output, the manual states that if your hardware can run it, ewa_lanczossharp is probably what you should use.


These last three options are a little more complicated. The first option makes it so that if audio and video go out of sync then instead of dropping video frames it will resample the audio (a slight change in audio pitch is often less noticeable than dropped frames). The mpv wiki has an in depth article on it titled Display Synchronization. The remaining two essentially make motion appear smoother on your display by changing the way that frames are shown so that the source framerate jives better with your display's refresh rate (not to be confused with SVP's technique which actually converts video to 60fps). The mpv wiki has an in depth article on it titled Interpolation though it is also commonly known as smoothmotion.

Note: If NVIDIA Optimus is being used, the line video-sync=display-resample may cause video to be sped up.

Beyond this there is still a lot you can do but things become more complicated, require more powerful video cards, and are in constant development. As a brief overview, it is possible to load special shaders that perform exotic scaling and sharpening techniques including some that actually use deep neural networks trained on images (for both real world and animated content). To learn more about this take a look around the mpv wiki, particularly the user shader's section.

There are also plenty of other options you may find desirable as well. It is worthwhile taking a look at mpv(1). It is also helpful to run mpv from the command line to check for error messages about the config.

Custom profiles

In mpv.conf it is possible to create profiles which are essentially just "groups of options" with which you can:

  • Quickly switch between different configurations without having to rewrite the file.
  • Create special profiles for special content.
  • nest profiles so that you can make more complicated profiles out of simpler ones.

Creating a profile is easy. The area at the top of mpv.conf is called the top level, any options you write there will kick into effect once mpv is started. However, once you define a profile by writing its name in brackets then every option you write below it (until you define a new profile) is considered part of that profile. Here is an example mpv.conf:

profile=myprofile2        #Top level area, load myprofile2
ontop=yes                 #Always on top

[myprofile1]              #A simple profile, top level area ends here
profile-desc="a profile"  #Optional description for profile
fs=yes                    #Start in full screen

[myprofile2]              #Another simple profile
profile=gpu-hq            #A built in profile that comes with mpv
log-file=~~/log           #Sets a location for writing a log file, ~~/ translates to ~/.config/mpv

There are only two lines within the top level area and there are two separate profiles defined below it. When mpv starts it sees the first line, loads the options in myprofile2 (which means it loads the options in gpu-hq and log-file=~~/log) finally it loads ontop=yes and finishes starting up. Note, myprofile1 is never loaded because it is never called in the top level area.

Alternatively one could call mpv from the command line with:

$ mpv --profile=myprofile1 video.mkv

and it would ignore all options except the ones for myprofile1.

Key bindings

Key bindings are fairly straightforward given the examples in /usr/share/doc/mpv/input.conf and the relevant section in the manual.

Add the following examples to ~/.config/mpv/input.conf:

shift+s         screenshot each-frame
Shift+UP        seek  600
Shift+DOWN      seek -600
=               cycle video-unscaled
-               cycle-values window-scale 2 3 1 .5
WHEEL_UP        add volume 5
WHEEL_DOWN      add volume -5
WHEEL_LEFT      ignore
WHEEL_RIGHT     ignore
Alt+RIGHT       add video-rotate 90
Alt+LEFT        add video-rotate -90
Alt+-           add video-zoom -0.25
Alt+=           add video-zoom 0.25
Alt+j           add video-pan-x -0.05
Alt+l           add video-pan-x 0.05
Alt+i           add video-pan-y 0.05
Alt+k           add video-pan-y -0.05
Alt+BS          set video-zoom 0; set video-pan-x 0; set video-pan-y 0

For an attempt to reproduce MPC-HC key bindings in mpv, see [1].

Additional configuration files

In addition there are a few more configuration files and directories that can be created, among which:

  • ~/.config/mpv/script-opts/osc.conf manages the On Screen Controller.
  • ~/.config/mpv/scripts/script-name.lua for Lua scripts. See [2] for an example.

See for more.


mpv has a large variety of scripts that extend the functionality of the player. To this end, it has internal bindings for both Lua and JavaScript (added recently).

Scripts are typically installed by putting them in the ~/.config/mpv/scripts/ directory (you may have to create it first). After that they will be automatically loaded when mpv starts (this behavior can be altered with other mpv options). Some scripts come with their own installation and configuration instructions, so make sure to have a look. In addition some scripts are old, broken, and unmaintained.


JavaScript (ES5 via MuJS) has been supported as an mpv scripting language since 2014. Currently only a few scripts are available, but documentation exists for anyone interested in making their own.

To get started, drop a script with a .js extension in the mpv scripts directory, e.g.:


function onPauseChange (prop, enabled) {
    if (enabled) {
        mp.set_property('fullscreen', 'no')

mp.observe_property('pause', 'bool', onPauseChange)

For more details, e.g. on using require to load CommonJS modules, see the documentation.

JavaScript support is available in the mpv package, as well as some AUR packages, e.g. mpv-fullAUR and mpv-full-gitAUR.


There are a lot of interesting Lua scripts for mpv. If you would like to make your own, the relevant documentation may be found here.


mpv-stats (or simply stats) is a Lua script that outputs a lot of live statistics showing how well mpv is currently doing. It is very useful for making sure that your hardware can keep up with your configuration and for comparing different configurations. Since version v0.28.0, the script is built into mpv and can be toggled on or off with the i or I keys (by default).


mpv-webm (or simply webm) is a very easy to use Lua script that allows one to create WebM files while watching videos. It includes several features and does not have any extra dependencies (relies entirely on mpv).



The C plugin mpv-mpris allows other applications to integrate with mpv via the MPRIS protocol. For example, with mpv-mpris installed, kdeconnect can automatically pause video playback in mpv when a phone call arrives. Another example is buttons (play\pause etc) on bluetooth audio-devices.

Install mpv-mprisAUR and follow the post-installation instructions displayed by Pacman.


Vapoursynth is an alternative to AviSynth that can be used on Linux and allows for Video manipulation via python scripts. Vapoursynths python scripts can be used as video filters for mpv.

To use vapoursynth filters you have to install the vapoursynth package (or vapoursynth-gitAUR) and compile mpv with the --enable-vapoursynth build flag.

This is easier to do by first installing Vapoursynth and then installing (or re-installing if it is already installed) mpv-gitAUR. The configure script for mpv-gitAUR will auto-detect Vapoursynth (as long as it has already been installed) and it will automatically compile mpv with support for Vapoursynth without having to manually change any configure options or anything (this makes it very easy to update mpv as well).

SVP 4 Linux (SmoothVideoProject)

SmoothVideoProject SVP is a program that is primarily known for converting video to 60fps. It is free [as in beer] and full featured for 64bit Linux (costs money for Windows and OS X and is incompatible with 32bit Linux).

It has three main features and each one can be disabled/enabled as one chooses (you are not forced to use motion interpolation).

  1. Motion interpolation (youtube video) - An algorithm that converts video to 60fps. This creates the somewhat controversial "soap opera effect" that some people love and others hate. Unfortunately the algorithm is not perfect and it also introduces more than its share of weird artifacts. The algorithm can be tuned (via a slider) for either performance or quality. It also has some artifact reduction settings that interpolate actual frames with the generated frames reducing the noticeability of the artifacts. The framerate detection can be set to automatic or manual (manual seems to resolve performance issues for some users).
  2. Black bar lighting (youtube video) - If the image has an aspect ratio that produces black bars on your display then SVP will illuminate the black bars with "lights" generated by the content on the screen. It has some amount of customization but the defaults are pretty close to optimal.
  3. LED ambient lighting control (youtube video) - Has the ability to control LED ambient lighting attached to your television.

Once you have mpv compiled with Vapoursynth support it is fairly easy to get SVP working with mpv. Simply install svpAUR, open the SVP program to let it assess your system performance (you may want to close other programs first so that it gets an accurate reading), and finally add the following mpv profile to your mpv.conf[3]:

input-ipc-server=/tmp/mpvsocket     # Receives input from SVP
hr-seek-framedrop=no                # Fixes audio desync
resume-playback=no                  # Not compatible with SVP

# Can fix stuttering in some cases, in other cases probably causes it. Try it if you experience stuttering.

Then, in order to use SVP you must have the SVP program running in the background before opening the file using mpv with that profile. Either do:

$ mpv --profile=svp video.mkv

or set profile=svp in the top-level portion of the mpv configuration.

If you want to use hardware decoding then you must use a copy-back decoder since normal decoders are not compatible with Vapoursynth (choose a hwdec option that ends in -copy). For instance:


Either way, hardware decoding is discouraged by mpv developers and is not likely to make a significant difference in performance.

Tips and Tricks

Hardware video acceleration

See Hardware video acceleration.

Hardware accelerated video decoding is available via --hwdec=API option. For list of all supported APIs and other required options see relevant manual section.

For Wayland use --gpu-context=wayland option. For list of other available GPU APIs see manual.

Save position on quit

By default you can save the position and quit by pressing Shift+q. The shortcut can be changed by setting quit_watch_later in the key bindings configuration file.

To automatically save the current playback position on quit, start mpv with --save-position-on-quit, or add save-position-on-quit to the configuration file.

Volume is too low

Set volume-max=value in your configuration file to a reasonable amount, such as volume-max=150, which then allows you to increase your volume up to 150%, which is more than twice as loud. Increasing your volume too high will result in clipping artefacts. Additionally (or alternatively), you can utilize dynamic range compression with af=acompressor.

Volume normalization

Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: Add little more details about the available filters, see [4] for a comparison of loudnorm and dynaudnorm. (Discuss in Talk:Mpv#)

Different sources may have different or inconsistent loudness, so mpv users may need to configure automatic volume normalization. For example:

n cycle_values af loudnorm=I=-30 loudnorm=I=-15 anull

This binds the key n to cycle the audio filter settings (af) through the specified values:

  • loudnorm=I=-30: loudnorm setting with I=-30, soft volume, might be suitable for background music
  • loudnorm=I=-15: louder volume, might be good for the video currently in view
  • anull: reset audio filter to null, i.e., disable the audio filter
Note: Binding a key does not change the default audio filter. To change the default, add e.g. af=loudnorm=I=-30 to the main configuration file.

Audio filtering in mpv is provided by the FFmpeg backend. See Wikipedia:EBU R 128 and ffmpeg loudnorm filter for details.

See also upstream issues [5] and [6] which mention different options.

Play a DVD

mpv does not support DVD menus. To start the main stream with the longest title of a video DVD, use the command:

$ mpv dvd://

An optional title specifier is a number (starting at 0) which selects between separate video streams on the DVD:

$ mpv dvd://[title] 

DVDs which have been copied on to a local file system (by e.g. the dvdbackup tool) are accommodated by specifying the path to the local copy: --dvd-device=PATH.

See the following desktop file example for playing DVDs from a local file system:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=mpv Media Player DVD 
GenericName=Multimedia player
Comment=Play movies and songs
Exec=mpv dvd:// --player-operation-mode=pseudo-gui --force-window --idle --dvd-device=%f
# (MimeType and X-KDE-Protocols omitted, see orginianl mpv.desktop file)

By replacing the Exec line with

Exec=mpv dvd://0 dvd://1 dvd://2 dvd://3 dvd://4 dvd://5 dvd://6 dvd://7 dvd://8 dvd://9  --player-operation-mode=pseudo-gui --force-window --idle --dvd-device=%f

the mpv player will queue DVD title 0 to 9 in the playlist, which allows the user to play the titles consecutively or jump forward and backward in the DVD titles with the mpv GUI.

Install libdvdcss, to fix the error:

[dvdnav] Error getting next block from DVD 1 (Error reading from DVD.)

Quickly cycle between aspect ratios

You can cycle between aspect ratios using Shift+a.

Ignoring aspect ratio

You can ignore aspect ratio using --keepaspect=no. To make option permanent, add line keepaspect=no to configuration file.

Draw to the root window

Run mpv with --wid=0. mpv will draw to the window with a window ID of 0.

Always show application window

To show application window even for audio files when launching mpv from command line use --force-window option. To make option permament, add line force-window=yes to the configuration file.

Disable video output

To disable video output when launching from command line use --vid=no option, or its alias, --no-video.

Restoring old OSC

Since version 0.21.0, mpv has replaced the on-screen controls by a bottombar. In case you want on-screen controls back, you can edit the mpv configuration as described here.

Use as a browser plugin

With the help of mozpluggerAUR, mpv can be used in a supported browser to play video. See Browser plugins#MozPlugger for configuration details. This coupled with a user script such as ViewTube, allows you to use mpv in place of a site's integrated video player.

It may be needed to specify a valid user agent for HTTP streaming, e.g. user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:49.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/49.0".

Browser plugins#Multimedia playback page shows other easy ways to watch videos.

Improving mpv as a music player with Lua scripts

The development of mpv's Lua scripts are documented in DOCS/man/lua.rst and examples are shown in TOOLS/lua of the mpv repository. This blog post introduces the music.lua script, which shows how Lua scripts can be used to improve mpv as a music player. streaming over mpv

If youtube-dl is installed, mpv can directly open a Twitch livestream.

Alternatively, see Streamlink#Twitch.

Another alternative based on Livestreamer is this Lua script:

youtube-dl and choosing formats

The default --ytdl-format is bestvideo+bestaudio/best. For youtube videos that have 4K resolutions available, this may mean that your device will struggle to decode 4K VP9 encoded video in software even if the attached monitor is much lower resolution.

Setting the right youtube-dl format selectors can fix this easily though. In the following configuration example, only videos with a vertical resolution of 1080 pixels or less will be considered.


If you wish to avoid a certain codec altogether because you cannot hardware-decode it, you can add this to the format selector. For example, we can additionally choose to ignore VP9 as follows:


If you prefer best quality open codecs (VP9 and Opus), use:


youtube-dl audio with search

To find and stream audio from your terminal emulator with yta search terms put the following function in your .bashrc:

function yta() {
    mpv --ytdl-format=bestaudio ytdl://ytsearch:"$*"

Creating a single screenshot

An example of creating a single screenshot, by using a start time (HH:MM:SS):

$ mpv --no-audio --start=00:01:30 --frames=1 /path/to/video/file --o=/path/to/screenshot.png

Screenshots will be saved in /path/to/screenshot.png.


General debugging

If you are having trouble with mpv's playback (or if it is flat out failing to run) then the first three things you should do are:

  1. Run mpv from the command line (the -v flag increases verbosity). If you are lucky there will be an error message there telling you what is wrong.
    $ mpv -v video.mkv
  2. Have mpv output a log file. The log file might be difficult to sift through but if something is broken you might see it there.
    $ mpv -v --log-file=./log video.mkv
  3. Run mpv without a configuration. If this runs well then the problem is somewhere in your configuration (perhaps your hardware cannot keep up with your settings).
    $ mpv --no-config video.mkv

If mpv runs but it just does not run well then a fourth thing that might be worth taking a look at is installing the mpv-stats script and using it to see exactly how it is performing.

Fix jerky playback and tearing

mpv defaults to using the OpenGL video output device setting on hardware that supports it. In cases such as trying to play video back on a 4K display using a Intel HD4XXX series card or similar, you will find video playback unreliable, jerky to the point of stopping entirely at times and with major tearing when using any OpenGL output setting. If you experience any of these issues, using the XV (Xorg only) video output device may help:

Note: This is the most compatible VO on X, but may be low-quality, and has issues with OSD and subtitle display.

It is possible to increase playback performance even more (especially on lower hardware), but this decreases the video quality dramatically in most cases.

The following options may be considered to increase the video playback performance:


Problems with window compositors

Window compositors such as KWin or Mutter can cause trouble for playback smoothness. In such cases, it may help to set x11-bypass-compositor=yes to make mpv also disable window compositing when playing in windowed mode (if supported by the compositor).

With KWin compositing and hardware decoding, you may also want to set x11-bypass-compositor=no to keep compositing enabled in fullscreen, since reanabling compositing after leaving fullscreen may introduce stutter for a period of time.

No volume bar, cannot change volume

Spin the mouse wheel over the volume icon.

GNOME Blank screen (Wayland)

mpv may not suspend GNOME's Power Saving Settings if using Wayland resulting in screen saver turning off the monitor during video playback. A workaround is to add gnome-session-inhibit to the beginning of the Exec= line in mpv.desktop.

Use mpv with a compositor

If you are using a compositor (e.g. in KDE Plasma 5) and find that composition is disabled (e.g. in Plasma this would make you unable to present windows or see window thumbnails in the default app switcher) when mpv is playing a video, try x11-bypass-compositor=no

Cursor theme not respected under GNOME Wayland

On Wayland, clients can display different cursor themes because there is not a unique configuration file for it. For the cursor theme, Qt apps usually accept the value that is set for the environment variable XCURSOR_THEME. However, in the specific case of mpv, the cursor theme that is displayed needs to be the one set in ~/.icons/default/index.theme. Since GNOME does not update this file when changing the cursor theme with GNOME Tweaks, you will have to do it manually. See Cursor themes#XDG specification for more information.