Welcome to MPlayer, The Movie Player. MPlayer can play most standard video
formats out of the box and almost all others with the help of external codecs.
MPlayer currently works best from the command line, but visual feedback for
many functions is available from its onscreen status display (OSD), which is
also used for displaying subtitles. MPlayer also has a GUI with skin support and
several unofficial alternative graphical frontends are available.
MEncoder is a command line video encoder for advanced users that can be built
from the MPlayer source tree. Unofficial graphical frontends exist but are
This document is for getting you started in a few minutes. It cannot answer all
of your questions. If you have problems, please read the documentation in
DOCS/HTML/en/index.html, which should help you solve most of your problems.
Also read the man page to learn how to use MPlayer.
- You need a working development environment that can compile programs.
On popular Linux distributions, this means having the glibc development
- To compile MPlayer with X11 support, you need to have the X Window System
development packages (like for XFree86 or X.Org) installed.
- For the GUI you need the GTK development packages.
Before you start...
Make sure that your version of X has Xvideo support, without it even very
fast machines may not be able to properly play high resolution videos in
fullscreen mode. Consult DOCS/HTML/en/video.html for details. There you may
also find out about special card-specific video output drivers that can yield
STEP0: Getting MPlayer
Official releases and Subversion snapshots, as well as binary codec packages
and a number of different skins for the GUI are available from the download
section of our homepage at
The GUI needs at least one skin and codec packages add support for some more
video and audio formats. MPlayer does not come with any of these by default,
you have to download and install them separately.
You can also get MPlayer via Subversion. Issue the following commands to get
the latest sources:
svn checkout svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/mplayer/trunk mplayer
A directory named 'mplayer' will be created. It will include all necessary
FFmpeg libraries, you don't need to get them separately as was the case in
the past. You can later update your sources by saying
from within that directory.
STEP1: Installing Binary Codecs
MPlayer has builtin support for the most common audio and video formats. For a
few formats no native decoder exists and external binary codecs are required
to handle them, for example newer RealVideo variants and a variety of uncommon
formats. This step is not mandatory, but recommended for getting MPlayer to
play a broader range of formats. Please note that binary codecs only work on
the processor architecture they were compiled for.
Unpack the codecs archives and put the contents in a directory where MPlayer
will find them. The default directory is /usr/local/lib/codecs/ (it used to be
/usr/local/lib/win32 in the past, this also works) but you can change that to
something else by passing the '--codecsdir' option to './configure'.
STEP2: Configuring MPlayer
MPlayer can be adapted to all kinds of needs and hardware environments. Run
to configure MPlayer with the default options. GUI support has to be enabled
if you want to use the GUI.
If something does not work as expected, try
to see the available options and select what you need.
The configure script prints a summary of enabled and disabled options. If you
have something installed that configure fails to detect, check the file
configure.log for errors and reasons for the failure. Repeat this step until
you are satisfied with the enabled feature set.
STEP3: Compiling MPlayer
Now you can start the compilation by typing
You can install MPlayer with
provided that you have write permission in the installation directory.
If all went well, you can run MPlayer by typing 'mplayer'. A help screen with a
summary of the most common options and keyboard shortcuts should be displayed.
If you get 'unable to load shared library' or similar errors, run
'ldd ./mplayer' to check which libraries fail and go back to STEP 3 to fix it.
Sometimes running 'ldconfig' is enough to fix the problem.
NOTE: If you run Debian you can configure, compile and build a proper Debian
.deb package with only one command:
fakeroot debian/rules binary
If you want to pass custom options to configure, you can set up the
DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS environment variable. For instance, if you want GUI
and OSD menu support you would use:
DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS="--enable-gui --enable-menu" fakeroot debian/rules binary
You can also pass some variables to the Makefile. For example, if you want
to compile with gcc 3.4 even if it's not the default compiler:
CC=gcc-3.4 DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS="--enable-gui" fakeroot debian/rules binary
To clean up the source tree run the following command:
fakeroot debian/rules clean
STEP4: Choose an onscreen display font
You can use any TrueType font installed on your system. Just pass '-font
/path/to/font.ttf' on the command line or add 'font=/path/to/font.ttf' to
your configuration file. The manual page has more details. Alternatively
you can create a symbolic link from either ~/.mplayer/subfont.ttf or
/usr/local/share/mplayer/subfont.ttf to your TrueType font.
STEP5: Installing a GUI skin
Unpack the archive and put the contents in /usr/local/share/mplayer/skins/ or
~/.mplayer/skins/. MPlayer will use the skin in the subdirectory named default
of /usr/local/share/mplayer/skins/ or ~/.mplayer/skins/ unless told otherwise
via the '-skin' switch. You should therefore rename your skin subdirectory or
make a suitable symbolic link.
STEP6: Let's play!
That's it for the moment. To start playing movies, open a command line and try
or for the GUI
gmplayer is a symbolic link to mplayer created by 'make install'.
Without <moviefile>, gmplayer will start with the GUI filepicker.
To play a VCD track or a DVD title, try:
mplayer vcd://2 -cdrom-device /dev/hdc
mplayer dvd://1 -alang en -slang hu -dvd-device /dev/hdd
See 'mplayer -help' and 'man mplayer' for further options.
'mplayer -vo help' will show you the available video output drivers. Experiment
with the '-vo' switch to see which one gives you the best performance.
If you get jerky playback or no sound, experiment with the '-ao' switch (see
'-ao help') to choose between different audio drivers. Note that jerky playback
is caused by buggy audio drivers or a slow processor and video card. With a
good audio and video driver combination, one can play DVDs and 720x576 MPEG-4
files smoothly on a Celeron 366. Slower systems may need the '-framedrop'
Questions you may have are probably answered in the rest of the documentation.
The places to start reading are the man page, DOCS/HTML/en/index.html and
DOCS/HTML/en/faq.html. If you find a bug, please report it, but first read