All video players on Linux

Linux has many options when it comes to playing video; however, media playback in general (this includes audio playback, etc.) is not as straightforward on Linux as it is on other platforms. This is not due to some kind of technical deficiency, but is merely a legal issue. Specifically, due to patents governing various multimedia formats, making it "illegal" for open source projects to play DVDs or some popular video and audio codecs.
Installation of non-free multimedia codecs.

Before carrying out this installation, the repositories must be activated Universe y multiverse (see Activating universe and multiverse).
If we want to use Totem with GStreamer (default engine), we must install the packages:

  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad
  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse
  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly
  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse
  • gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg
  • gstreamer0.10-pitfdll

If instead we want to use Totem with Xine, we must install the packages:

  • libxine-extracodecs
  • totem-xine

To use MPlayer, Just install the package mplayer. To use VLC, the package vlc.
Starting with Ubuntu 7.10, for install multimedia codecs (GStreamer) including Java, can be done from the official Ubuntu repositories. Just install these virtual packages:

  • ubuntu-restricted-extras for Ubuntu.
  • kubuntu-restricted-extras for Kubuntu.
  • xubuntu-restricted-extras for Xubuntu.

Most popular video players:

  • VLC: Complete and multi-system multimedia player.
  • xine: Very complete multimedia program, specialized in video playback.
  • Totem: The official movie player for GNOME.
  • MPlayer: a very powerful engine and its front-end.
  • SMPlayer: Qt-based MPlayer front-end.
  • KMPlayer basic audio / video player for KDE.
  • Coffee: the complete player for KDE.
  • Ogle: DVD player that supports DVD menus.
  • Helix: media player based on the Helix DNA client.
  • Real player: realaudio format player.
  • Miro: platform for television and video for the Internet.
  • Moovida Media Center: platform for television and video for the Internet.
  • Gnash: Flash movie player.


VLC Media Player looks like a simple player at first, but it is not simple. In addition to having a good appearance (and being configurable through downloadable skins from the internet) it is capable of playing audio / video from local files, files available on the network / internet and is even capable of playing the streaming of the webcam. Like the MPlayer player, its codecs are taken from FFmpeg, libavcodec and other codec modules such as Cinepak, libmpeg2, MAD, and Vorbis. The VLC player also supports various types of subtitles in case you want to watch subtitled movies.

Like MPlayer, VLC can play damaged and incomplete files and offers a function to try to repair damaged videos. It also supports filters, such as post-production editors, and allows you to adjust contrast and brightness.

VLC has user interface packs for different systems, an example is wxWidgets or also Qt interface; In addition, it includes packs with up to 50 designs or skins to your liking. In the web interface you can create playlists or play files online. It is free under the GPL license.



Xine is one of the oldest Linux video players. Xine is a modular application, which means that it clearly separates the core from the extra functionality that is added with plugins. The part that can be called the core of the player handles the synchronization of audio and video, serves the communication between the different modules of Xine, etc. Then the plugins act as layers between the source from which it is played, DVD, VCD and the Xine player.

The different decoders decide how to use the different file formats and pass them on to Xine, which uses libraries like liba52, libmpeg2, FFmpeg, libmad, FaaD2, or Ogle, as well as Windows binary codecs like w32codecs.

Xine can be controlled via the keyboard, in addition to right clicking on the menu; on the other hand, it incorporates a synchronization function that tries to repair damaged video files. This player is free under the GPL license.


One of the most popular video players is Totem, it is the player that is installed by default in Gnome and Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Mandriva, and Fedora.
The Nautilus file explorer shows, through a Totem plugin, video previews and lists with details of codecs, dimensions and duration of the videos. There is another plugin for the Firefox web browser that allows you to play online from the browser.

Totem is simple and functional, it can play videos in full screen or from units with TV output. Allows you to make adjustments such as contrast, brightness, and other aspects of video playback. Totem uses the GStreamer multimedia framework to obtain all its necessary codecs and drivers. We must also take into account the Pitfdll plugin that allows access to binary files such as Quicktime QTX or Directshow / DMO DLLs, thus reproducing formats such as WMV 9 or Intel Indeo 5.



Mplayer is, to my humble knowledge and understanding, the best player for Linux. Its native codecs are in libavcodec, which it borrows from the FFmpeg project, as well as the binary codecs necessary to play videos in MPEG, AVI, ASF, WMV, RM, QT, MP4, OGG, MKV formats, as well as flash video files. in FLV format.

MPlayer works with many types of drivers: from VESA, X11 to OpenGL, or the specific drivers associated with graphics cards, such as ATI, Nvidia, Matrox. It can be controlled from the command line or through the graphical user interface that can be customized with skins.

Using the libdvdread and libdvdcss codecs, MPlayer plays any DVD without problems. By having libdvdnav, it allows navigation in DVD menus. The player supports a large number of subtitle formats and also allows repair of corrupted videos. Different filters can be created for video playback, changing resolution options, subtitle space, brightness, contrast level, audio and saving those options in a configuration file.

MPlayer can stream files over the network using HTTP, FTP, MMS or RTSP / RTP protocols, even with proxy.



MPlayer is intended to be a complete interface for MPlayer, with options for basic things, like playing videos, DVDs and VCDs to more advanced options like support for MPlayer filters and much more.

One of the coolest things about SMPlayer: remember the options of all the files you play. You start watching a movie but you have to go ... don't worry, when you reopen the movie it will continue from the same place where you left it, and with the same options: audio track, subtitles, volume ...
Other interesting options:

  • Configurable subtitles. You can choose the font and size, and even the color.
  • Selecting the audio track. You can choose the audio track you want. It works with avi and mkv files. And of course with DVDs.
  • Scrolling the video using the mouse wheel. You can use the mouse wheel to move forward or backward through the video.
  • Video equalizer, allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and gamma of the video image.
  • Multiple playback speed. You can play 2X, 4X ... or even slow motion.
  • Filters. Various filters are available: deinterlacing, post-processing, noise removal ... and including a karaoke filter (removes voice).
  • Audio and subtitle synchronization adjustment.
  • Advanced options, such as selecting a demuxer or video and audio codecs.
  • Play list. It allows you to add several files that will be played one after another. There are also options for auto repeat and random play.
  • Preferences dialog. You can easily configure each SMPlayer option in a nice preferences dialog.
  • Ability to automatically search subtitles in
  • Translations: SMPlayer is currently translated into more than 20 languages, including Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese ...
  • It is multiplatform. There are binaries for both Windows and Linux.
  • SMPlayer is under license LPG.

Website: SMPlayer.


KMPlayer is a very complete player, easy to use, stable and agile. A candidate to become the only player you need on your PC for both video and audio.

As for video playback, KMPlayer is very efficient and supports many formats, as long as you have the codecs installed.

If we talk about KMPlayer as an audio player, it is inevitable to remember Winamp, so much has been based on it that even one of the KMPlayer windows is called "Winamp Library".

Website: KMPlayer.

Kaffeine KDE Media Player

Kaffeine can play DVD, VCD, CD, user created playlists, it allows to play videos in AVI format with subtitles extensions sub, smi, srt, asc, ssa or txt. It includes a plugin for the Mozilla Firefox web browser but must be downloaded separately.

To play WMV / Quicktime / Real Media video files, download the latest win32 codec pack from and copy the files to: / usr / lib / win32.
Website: Coffee.


Ogle is an old player, even before Xine. It is the first video player for Linux to fully support DVD playback and menu operation. The other video players played quite a few audio and video formats that were not dedicated to DVD like Ogle.

Ogle has different versions in the repository of Linux distributions that host it. Its graphical interface comes in a separate package, and you need the libdvdcss library to play the encrypted DVDs. In the Ogle interface you can choose chapters, change subtitles or choose different audio options, it also has a function for movies with a view from various angles. It was once the best DVD player, but today there are other players that can provide a better user experience.

Web address:

Helix / Real Player

Helix project was created by RealNetworks. It uses the Helix project code in its applications just like the famous RealPlayer player. Helix Player is the Open Source version, based on Helix Client and used in 350 million mobile phones, although it plays a limited number of formats.

Helix supports the H.263 codec used for playing flash videos. However, it doesn't seem like it can play FLV videos or videos on sites like YouTube, AVI, MPEG, MP3, or DVD formats. It does not give problems with the OGG format, but it is not as used as the others. RealPlayer for Linux is not as advanced as its Windows version but it surpasses the Helix player, playing MP4, Flash, WMV9 formats although it gives problems with AVI, MPEG, or DVD formats. Both players have a plugin for web browsers and allow playlists.
Real Player, the famous rmvb media player, is the "closed" or "proprietary" version of Helix. From what I understand, it has better support for some formats, but basically it is the same program ... so, in your place, I prefer Helix.

Web: Helix & Real Player


Miro It is an excellent player for those who like to watch a lot of online videos or follow podcasts, etc. You can automatically download videos from RSS-based channels, manage and play them. Miro is designed to integrate with other PCF products such as Video Bomb, a social video tagging website, and the Channel Channel, a TV guide for Internet television.

Miro Player is based on XULRunner, and it is free software. It is available for Microsoft Windows, GNU / Linux and Mac OS X operating systems, and integrates an RSS source aggregator, a BitTorrent client, and VLC media player (or Xine Media Player under GNU / Linux).

Available from February 10, 2009, version 2.0 of Miro is characterized by having a better interface, faster download speed of Torrents and a better performance that comes from the hand of a lower memory use. The best of all is that from now on, the program automatically detects the availability of high definition (HD) content when downloading videos, something that will obviously significantly improve the final result.

Website: Miro

Moovida Media Center

Moovida, formerly known as Elisa, is a project aimed at creating a multiplatform "media center". If you like media centers and have your images, music and videos in a single program, this is a good option; the visual change that it has undergone recently has been most pleasant.

Moovida is much more than a simple multimedia player, it also allows us to organize our library with multiple options for video, audio and images. The elegant and easy-to-use interface automatically displays all types of works, quickly organizing the collection, and accessing the synopsis and cover of the film or album in question. In addition, it allows to extend its functionality with a large number of plugins.

Supports a variety of audio and video files, subtitles, multi-channel audio playback capability, media library, movie and music database, support for multiple playback modes, background playback, DVD playback, and a huge amount of plugins that make it an even more powerful program.

Website: Moovida.


Gnash is a GNU flash video player, based on GameSWF. Its developers are part of the Free Software Foundation's Savannah project. It includes a plugin for web browsers like Firefox or Konqueror. It allows watching videos on portals such as or Use OpenGL to enhance the graphical appearance of your desktop player.
Gnash supports SWF files up to version 7 and some features of versions 8 and 9. You can now play videos in FLV format from well-known sites such as YouTube or MySpace. They hope to release a version for Windows and Mac soon. This is a good alternative for those who like to keep their System free of proprietary code.

Website: Gnash

There is therefore a great variety of players to choose from for Linux users, in a general assessment, Mplayer could be considered the most advanced, although if you are used to using another one, you don't want to change. It works fine even if you have a slow machine or weak hardware, such as computers based on Celeron processors.

Did I forget any? Did I spark to mention some important information? Leave us your comments and experiences with video players in Linux.

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  1.   frann said

    My alter-ego who uses WIndows KMP Plus, one of the best video players I have come across. And unfortunately I have not been able to find a player with which I feel completely happy ... 🙁

  2.   mfcollf77 said

    Someone has installed the "SRS Audio Sandbox" program, it is said that many things are achieved with the sounds of music, video, movies.

    I have been looking for a program to listen to music and watch videos with a sound of the quality of windows media player version 11 and 12, since the ones I have installed in FEDORA 17 cannot be convinced at that point of the sound. I found one that I have not installed yet and I would very much like if someone has it to read their experience with it.

    In this direction there are many topics for LINUX

  3.   mfcollf77 said

    Someone has installed the "SRS Audio Sandbox" program, it is said that many things are achieved with the sounds of music, video, movies.

    been looking for a program to listen to music and watch videos with a
    quality sound of windows media player version 11 and 12, since
    those that I have installed in FEDORA 17 cannot be convinced at that point of the
    sound. I found one that I have not installed yet and I would very much like it to
    if anyone has it read their experience with it.

    In this direction there are many topics for LINUX

  4.   manudechile said

    Hello my email is the following:
    I would love a lot of help to gain experience in Linux
    I post you in taringa

    Greetings Manudechile