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Revision as of 18:51, 9 January 2014 by Bluerider (Talk | contribs) (Troubleshooting)

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MPlayer is a popular movie player for GNU/Linux. It has support for pretty much every video and audio format out there and is hence very versatile, even though most people use it for viewing videos.


Various flavours of MPlayer can be installed from the official repositories or from the AUR:

Notable variants are:

Note: mplayer2 development seems to be ceased in favour of mpv, which is focused on speed and quality of development, though this breaks compatibility with old hardware and software. Be aware of its differences if you want to use it.

Additional installation tips


  • Deepin Media Player — Rich GTK2/Python interface for the Deepin desktop. || deepin-media-playerAUR
  • GNOME MPlayer — Simple GTK+-based GUI for MPlayer. || gnome-mplayer
  • KMPlayer — Video player plugin for Konqueror and basic MPlayer/Xine/ffmpeg/ffserver/VDR frontend for KDE. || kmplayerAUR
  • Pymp — PyGTK frontend for MPlayer. || pympAUR
  • Rosa Media Player — Multimedia player based on SMPlayer with clean and elegant UI. || rosa-media-playerAUR
  • SMPlayer — Qt multimedia player with extra features (CSS themes, YouTube integration, etc.). || smplayer
  • Xt7-Player — Graphical user interface for MPlayer written in Gambas, with a huge list of features. || xt7-playerAUR

Browser integration

If you want to let MPlayer control video viewing in your favorite web browser, install one of the following plugins for your browser.


A browser plugin is available in the official repositories with the gecko-mediaplayer package.

Note: It depends on gnome-mplayer, which provides a complete frontend to MPlayer.


A plugin for Konqueror can be found in the AUR with the kmplayerAUR package.

Note: kmplayerAUR also provides a complete frontend to MPlayer.


The gecko-mediaplayer plugin for Firefox also works in Chromium.



System-wide configuration is located in /etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf, whereas the user-local settings are stored in ~/.mplayer/config. The file /etc/mplayer/example.conf is a good starting point.

An example configuration:

# default configuration that applies to every file

# use X11 for video output, use a framebuffer as fallback

# use alsa for audio output, choose oss4 as fallback

# multithreaded decoding of H264/MPEG-1/2 (valid: 1-8)

# prefer using six channels audio
channels = 6

# scale the subtitles to the 3% of the screen size
subfont-text-scale = 3

# never use font config
nofontconfig = 1

# set the window title using the media filename, when not set with --title.

# add black borders so the movies have the same aspect ratio of the monitor
# for wide screen monitors

# for non wide screen traditional monitors

# disable screensaver
heartbeat-cmd="xscreensaver-command -deactivate &" # stop xscreensaver
stop-xscreensaver="yes" # stop gnome-screensaver

# correct pitch when speed is faster or slower than 1.0

# allow to seek in a file which is still downloading whilst watching it

# allow to increase the maximal volume

# skip displaying some frames to maintain A/V sync on slow systems

# more intense frame dropping (breaks decoding)

# profile for up-mixing two channels audio to six channels
# use -profile 2chto6ch to activate

# profile to down-mixing six channels audio to two channels
# use -profile 6chto2ch to activate

Key bindings

System key bindings are configured via /etc/mplayer/input.conf. Personal key bindings are stored in ~/.mplayer/input.conf. This is a list of some basic default MPlayer keys. For a complete list of keyboard shortcuts look at man mplayer.

Key Description
p Toggle pause/play.
Space Toggle pause/play.
Backspace Return to menu when using dvdnav.
Seek backward ten seconds.
Seek forward ten seconds.
Seek backward one minute.
Seek forward one minute.
< Go back in the playlist.
> Go forward in the playlist.
m Mute the sound.
0 Volume up.
9 Volume down.
f Toggle fullscreen mode.
o Toggle OSD state.
v Toggle subtitle visibility.
I Show filename.
1, 2 Adjust contrast.
3, 4 Adjust brightness.
j Cycle through the available subtitles.
# Cycle through the available audio tracks.

Tips and tricks

Automatic resuming from where you left off

To get this behavior, you can install the mplayer-resumerAUR package from the AUR. The package contains a Perl wrapper script for MPlayer which will allow you to autoresume playback from the point it was last stopped.

To use it, simply call the wrapper script in place of MPlayer:

$ mplayer-resumer options path/to/file

If this script is restarted within a short amount of time after closing MPayer (default 5 seconds) then it will delete the file used to keep track of the videos resume position, effectively starting the video from the beginning.

If the video file to be played is on a read-only filesystem, or otherwise lives in a location that cannot be written to, resume will fail. This is because the current implementation uses a file parallel to the video file to store the timecode.

Enabling VDPAU

For a complete list of NVIDIA VDPAU capable hardware, see this table. Ensure the nvidia driver is installed and consider one of the following two methods to automatically enable VDPAU for playback.

For Intel/AMD, you can use libvdpau-va-gl — VAAPI backend for VDPAU. For AMD you should also install xvba-videoAUR. To use it, create:

export VDPAU_DRIVER=va_gl

and make it executable:

# chmod +x /etc/profile.d/

and reboot or relogin.

Using a configuration file

Append the following to either the system-wide (/etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf) or user-specific (~/.mplayer/config) configuration files:

Note: The trailing commas are important! They tell MPlayer to fall back on other drivers and codecs should the specified ones not be found.
Warning: The ffodivxvdpau codec is only supported by the most recent series of NVIDIA hardware. Consider omitting it based on your specific hardware. See the NVIDIA page for more information.

Using a wrapper script

The AUR contains a trivial Bash script called mplayer-vdpau-autoAUR that detects which video codec to use and when to use VDPAU as the video output.

Another simple wrapper is mplayer-vdpau-shell-gitAUR, which can recover from a VDPAU FATAL error. This wrapper uses the "-include" option to include a VDPAU configuration, so it will ignore any VDPAU specific settings in your ~/.mplayer/config file.

Translucent video with Radeon cards and Composite enabled

To get translucent video output in X you have to enable textured video in MPlayer:

$ mplayer -vo xv:adaptor=1 file

Or add the following line to ~/.mplayer/config:


You can use xvinfo to check which video modes your graphic card supports.

Watching streamed video

If you want to play a video stream (e.g an ASX link) use:

$ mplayer -playlist link-to-stream.asx

The -playlist option is necessary because these streams are actually playlists and cannot be played without it.

DVD playing

To play a DVD with MPlayer:

$ mplayer dvd://N

where N is the desired chapter number. Start at 1 and work up if unsure.

Mplayer checks /dev/dvd by default. Tell it to use /dev/sr0 with the dvd-device option at the command line, or the dvd-device variable in ~/.mplayer/config.

To play a DVD image file:

$ mplayer -dvd-device movie.iso dvd://N

To enable the DVD menu use:

$ mplayer dvdnav://
Note: You use arrow keys to navigate and the Enter key to choose.

To enable mouse support in DVD menus use:

$ mplayer -mouse-movements dvdnav://

To find the audio language, start MPlayer with the -v switch to output audio IDs. An audio track is selected with -aid audio_id. Set a default audio language by editing ~/.mplayer/config and adding the line alang=en for English.

With MPlayer, the DVD could be set to a low volume. To increase the maximum volume to 400%, use softvol=yes and softvol-max=400. The startup volume defaults to 100% of software volume and the global mixer levels will remain untouched. Using the {ic|9}} and 0 keys, volume can be adjusted between 0 and 400 percent.


JACK support

To have MPlayer audio output directed to JACK as its default behavior, edit ~/.mplayer/config and add:


If you don't have JACK running all the time, you can have MPlayer output to JACK on an as-needed basis by invoking MPlayer from the command line as such:

$ mplayer -ao jack [path/to/file]


Mplayer randomly pauses during playback

Mplayer seems to have an issue with alsa playback; switch to pulseaudio to avoid the random pauses mplayer may experience with video playback.

MPlayer fails to open files with spaces

MPlayer can fail to open a file with spaces (e.g. 'The Movie') by saying that it could not open the file file:///The%20Movie (where all spaces are converted to %20). This can be fixed by editing /usr/share/applications/mplayer.desktop to changing the following line from:

Exec=mplayer %U


Exec=mplayer "%F"

If you use a frontend/GUI for MPlayer, enter its name in Exec=gui_name "%F".

SMPlayer: No video issue

SMPlayer may have trouble opening some MP4 (and probably FLV) videos. If it plays only audio without any video, a possible fix is to add the following lines to your ~/.mplayer/config file:


If problem persists after doing so, it is because SMPlayer is keeping settings for that specific file. Deleting the settings for all the files that SMPlayer is keeping will solve this problem:

$ rm -rf ~/.config/smplayer/file_settings

SMPlayer: fail to resume playback after pause

SMPlayer might stop playing a video after pausing it if your audio output driver is incorrectly set. You can fix this by specifically setting your audio driver. For example, if you use PulseAudio, this can be done by starting MPlayer with the -ao pulse argument or by adding the following to your ~/.mplayer/config file:


You can also change this from SMPlayer by going to Options > Preferences > General > Audio and setting the Output Driver option to pulse.

SMPlayer: no video when using transparency in GNOME

This problem may arise under GNOME when using Compiz to provide transparency: SMPlayer starts with a transparent screen with audio playing, but no video. To fix this, create (as root) a file with the contents:

exec smplayer.real "$@"

Then do the following:

# chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/smplayer.helper
# ln -sf /usr/local/bin/smplayer.helper /usr/local/bin/smplayer

SMPlayer: OSD font too big / subtitle text too small

Since SMPlayer (with MPlayer2 20121128-1), the ratio of the subtitle font to the OSD font is very strange. This can result in the OSD text filling the whole screen while the subtitles are very small and unreadable. This problem can be solved by adding:

-subfont-osd-scale 2

or to the extra options passed to MPlayer from SMPlayer. These options are found in Options > Preferences > Advanced > Options for MPlayer. This can also be achieved by adding the following line to ~/.mplayer/config:


See also