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This article is about the open source media player. For Microsoft's media player (mplayer2.exe), see Windows Media Player. For the online gaming community, see
MPlayer on Linux using the gMplayer front-end
Developer(s) MPlayer team
Initial release 2000
Stable release 1.1.1 (May 5, 2013; 19 months ago (2013-05-05)) [±]
Preview release none (None) [±]
Written in C
Platform Cross-platform
Available in English, Hungarian, Polish, Russian and Spanish
Type Media player
License GNU General Public License

MPlayer is a free software and open source media player. The program is available for all major operating systems, including Linux and other Unix-like systems, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Versions for OS/2, Syllable, AmigaOS, MorphOS and AROS Research Operating System are also available. A port for DOS using DJGPP is also available.[1] Versions for the Wii Homebrew Channel[2] and Amazon Kindle[3] have also emerged.

Video acceleration[edit]

There are various SIP blocks that can do the computations to decode video in certain formats, such as PureVideo, UVD, QuickSync Video, TI Ducati and more. Such needs to be supported by the device driver, which in turn provides one or multiple interfaces, like e.g. VDPAU, VAAPI, Distributed Codec Engine or DXVA to end-user software like MPlayer to access this hardware and offload computation to it.

Capabilities and classification[edit]

MPlayer can play a wide variety of media formats[4] and can also save all streamed content to a file.

A companion program, MEncoder, can take an input stream or file and transcode it into several different output formats, optionally applying various transforms along the way.


Development of MPlayer began in 2000. The original author, Hungarian Árpád Gereöffy, started the project because he was unable to find any satisfactory video players for Linux after XAnim stopped development in 1999.[5] The first version was titled mpg12play v0.1 and was hacked together in a half hour using libmpeg3 from After mpg12play v0.95pre5, the code was merged with an AVI player based on avifile's Win32 DLL loader to form MPlayer v0.3 in November 2000.[6] Gereöffy was soon joined by many other programmers, in the beginning mostly from Hungary, but now located worldwide.

Alex Beregszászi has maintained MPlayer since 2003 when Gereöffy left MPlayer development to begin work on a second generation MPlayer. The MPlayer G2 project is currently abandoned, and all the development effort is put on MPlayer 1.0.[7]

MPlayer was previously called "MPlayer - The Movie Player for Linux" by its developers but this was later shortened to "MPlayer - The Movie Player" after it became commonly used on other operating systems.

Media formats[edit]

MPlayer being run via command line in Microsoft Windows.

MPlayer can play many formats, including:[8]

MPlayer can also use a variety of output driver protocols to display video, including VDPAU, the X video extension, OpenGL, DirectX, Direct3D, Quartz Compositor, VESA, Framebuffer, SDL and rarer ones such as ASCII art (using AAlib and libcaca) and Blinkenlights. It can also be used to display TV from a TV card using the device tv://channel, or play and capture radio channels via radio://channel|frequency.

Since version 1.0RC1, Mplayer can decode subtitles in ASS/SSA subtitle format, using libass.

Available plugins[edit]

Graphical front-ends[edit]

Like GStreamer, MPlayer is a command-line application and there are a couple of front-ends available, which use GUI widgets of GTK+, Qt or some other widget library.

  • GTK+-based are gMplayer and Gnome MPlayer
  • Qt-based are SMPlayer, UMPlayer and ExMplayer and KMPlayer
  • GNUstep-based are MPlayer OS X Extended and MPlayerX[9]


  • mpv is a GPLv2 licensed fork of mplayer2 (see below) and effectively its successor. The project focuses mainly on modern systems and encourages developer activity, which has lead to removal of large portions of code originating from MPlayer as well as the introduction of many new features and improvements at the cost of compatibility with its predecessors due to changed behavior and configuration options. A distinguishing change for developers who wish to integrate mpv into their applications is the deprecation of the previous way to control running mpv processes programmatically—the so-called “slave mode”—due to various shortcomings and broken compatibility,[10] instead allowing mpv to be compiled and used as a library which exposes a client API to control the player. Media encoding functionality (previously a separate program called MEncoder) has been reintroduced to the player itself as audio/video output drivers utilizing FFmpeg libraries.[11]
  • mplayer2 was a GPL3 licensed fork of MPlayer; it contained a number of features not available in the original MPlayer.[12][13] However, some features were also removed, such as MEncoder. The first release, 2.0, was published in March 2011. As of April 2014, there have been no subsequent stable releases, and there have been no commits to the Git repository since October 2013.[14]
  • MPlayer-WW is a fork of MPlayer by William Wang.[15][not in citation given] It has the following features:
    • Only available for Microsoft Windows
    • Multithreaded H.264, MPEG-2 Decoder (ffmpeg-mt)
    • DirectShow demuxer and decoder
    • Fully compatible with CoreAVC Decoder
    • PMP demuxer for PSP media files
    • Better compatibility with TS, TP, HDTV
    • Skin and Windows native theme
    • Can use Winamp's DSP plugins
    • Native playlist and video equalizer window
    • MEditor2 (MPlayer Preference) graphic setting program
    • Direct3D and OpenGL video output
    • Auto play next file

Legal issues[edit]

MPlayer interprets most video and audio formats natively through the libavcodec library of the FFmpeg project. For those formats where no open source decoder has been made yet MPlayer relies on binary codecs. It can use Windows DLLs directly with the help of a DLL loader forked from avifile (which itself forked its loader from the Wine project).

The combination of CSS decryption software and use of formats covered by software patents places a fully functional MPlayer in the legal bind shared by most open source multimedia players. In the past, MPlayer used to include OpenDivX, a GPL-incompatible decoder library. This has since been removed, making MPlayer use only GPL-like or BSD-like licenses. Usage of patented codecs in free software however is a still pending potential problem affecting FFmpeg, MPlayer and similar software when used in countries where software patents apply.

In January 2004, the MPlayer website was updated with an allegation that the Danish DVD player manufacturer, KISS Technology, were marketing DVD players with firmware that included parts of MPlayer's GPL-licensed code. The implication was that KISS was violating the GPL, since KISS did not release its firmware under the GPL license. The response from the managing director of KISS, Peter Wilmar Christensen, countered that the similarities between the two pieces of code indicate that the MPlayer team had in fact used code from KISS's firmware.[16] However, the KISS DVD player, released in 2003, used a subtitle file format that is specific to MPlayer, which was designed by an MPlayer developer in 2001.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Index of /pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/util/user/mplayer". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  2. ^ Erant. "libdi and the DVDX installer". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  3. ^ "kindlebrew". Gitorious. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Codec Status Table". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  5. ^ "The XAnim Home Page". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  6. ^ History
  7. ^ "MPlayer - The Movie Player". Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  8. ^ "MPlayer Features". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  9. ^ "MPlayer OSX Extended". 09-12-2011. Retrieved 09-12-2011.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ "mpv command line options, see "--slave-broken"". Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  11. ^ "mpv encoding mode documentation". Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  12. ^ "Did You Know there was a Fork of MPlayer?". 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  13. ^ "Is MPlayer2 a viable fork of MPlayer?". Phoronix. 2011-03-24. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  14. ^ "mplayer2 git repo". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  15. ^ Gianluigi Tiesi (Sherpya) (2013). "MPlayer on Windows". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  16. ^ a b "MPlayer - The Movie Player". 2004-01-10. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 

External links[edit]