Multimedia in Ubuntu

By | August 29, 2009

Movie Player – Totem (video)

Totem being the standard movie player of the Gnome Desktop Environment represents a very simple player, which can read a large number of file formats. You need not to install it as it comes as a part of Ubuntu. Though it has pretty usual functionality you can use different plugins (YouTube browser, BBC content view, infrared remote control, subtitles downloader, video disc recorder, Jamendo plugin and etc.) to improve it. It plays most mpeg, avi and asf files, supported by many native and win32 DLL codecs. You can watch VCD, DVD and even DivX movies too.

For now let’s check some screenshots of given player. The main window:


Watching a movie:


Preferences panel:


As regards the other features of Totem, here are some of them:

  • Video thumbnailer for the file manager
  • Mozilla (Firefox) plugin to view movies inside your browser (in development)
  • Screenshot feature
  • Full keyboard control
  • DVD (with menus), VCD playback, disc-type automatically detected
  • Visualization plugin when playing audio-only files and etc.

Overall it seems to be pretty decent media player, still it lacks some features (for instance, equalizer) users may need. However taking into consideration the fact that you don’t need to install it (if you use Ubuntu), it would be a nice idea to check it out before you try something else.

MPlayer (mainly video)

Mplayer is another popular media player that supports almost all media formats: it plays most mpeg, avi and asf files, supported by many native and win32 DLL codecs. You can watch VCD, DVD and even DivX movies. At the moment it’s available not just for Linux based operating systems, but for Windows and Mac OS as well (you can download the version you need here). Moreover there are a lot of keyboard options which you can use while watching movies. You can get full details of these hotkeys by typing man mplayer command in your terminal.

Due to its simple interface Mplayer is extremely easy to use. Let’s check the screenshots, so you can see how simple it is. The main window screenshot:


Watching a movie:


Preferences, equalizer and playlist:


Please visit this page, if you would like to get familiar with other Mplayer features.

As far as the installation is concerned given media player can be install both from Add/Remove panel and by typing the following command in terminal:

sudo apt-get install mplayer

Quod Libet (audio)

Quod Libet represents a media player designed to provide an intuitive interface for organizing media files. It provides several different ways to view your audio library, as well as support for Internet radio and audio feeds. Moreover it has very flexible metadata tag editing and searching capabilities. That’s why given application is the one many people prefer to use in Ubuntu.

Thanks to its interface Quod Libet is extremely easy-to-use. Here are the screenshots which can help you understand the way it looks. As soon as you start it for the first time, you will get the following picture:


Playlist view in Quod Libet:

111_QuodLibet_playlistviewPreferences and plugins panels:


Here you can set preferences and install a lot of useful plugins.

Overall Quod Libet produces very positive impression. It can easily scale to libraries of thousands of songs supporting most of the features users expect from a modern media player. However you should know that it does not play videos.

To install it from the terminal enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install quodlibet

If you don’t really know how to deal with the terminal you can easily install it from Add/Remove panel :)

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