SMPlayer – Linux Video Player

Written by BinnyVA on September 18, 2008 – 12:37 am -

I have used a lot of video players on Linux – and over the time my favorite video player have changed. When I wrote the post Top 5 Video Players in Linux, it was VLC. After that, the position was held by Xine for a long time. But that was before I discovered SMPlayer.

SMPlayer is a front-end for MPlayer, from basic features like playing videos, DVDs, and VCDs to more advanced features like support for MPlayer filters and more.

Features

Remembers the settings of all files you play
So you start to watch a movie but you have to leave… don’t worry, when you open that movie again it will resume at the same point you left it, and with the same settings: audio track, subtitles, volume…
Extremely Configurable
This is one feature I absolutely must have in a video player – I want to use very specific settings. And SMPlayer is one of the few players that lets me do that.
Configurable subtitles
You can choose font and size, and even colors for the subtitles. Or you can drag and drop a subtitle file into the player when you are playing a video – the video will use that subtitle file from then on. Or you can automatically get the subtitle of the currently playing film from OpenSubtitles with the click of a button(you need the latest version for this).
Audio track switching.
You can choose the audio track you want to listen. Works with avi and mkv. And of course with DVDs.
Seeking by mouse wheel.
You can use your mouse wheel to go forward or backward in the video.
Video equalizer
Allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and gamma of the video image. I have never used this feature – but it might come in handy for a bad quality video.
Multiple speed playback
You can play at 2X, 4X… and even in slow motion. SMPlayer speeds up the audio as well – which is kinda distracting – I wish they would mute it in fast mode.
Filters
Several filters are available: deinterlace, postprocessing, denoise… and even a karaoke filter (voice removal).
Audio and subtitles delay adjustment
Allows you to sync audio and subtitles.
Advanced options
Such as selecting a demuxer or video & audio codecs, providing mplayer command line options and more. Seriously, take a look at the Preferences dialog of this app.
Playlist
Allows you to enqueue several files to be played one after each other. Autorepeat and shuffle supported too.
Multiplatform
Binaries available for Windows and Linux.
Free Software
SMPlayer is under the GPL license.

Installing SMPlayer

In Fedora/Red Hat system, you can install SMPlayer using yum…

yum install smplayer

The package name is the same for Ubuntu/Debian systems…

apt-get install smplayer

Or you can download the app from their site and install it manually.

Related Links


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Applications, Reviews, Video | 7 Comments »

MPD – Music Player Daemon

Written by BinnyVA on April 14, 2008 – 11:48 pm -

MPD is not for everyone.

Before continuing into the article, a word of warning. MPD is not for everyone. If you are a casual desktop linux user with zero geek genes, stay away from this player. There are many other simpler players for you.

But then again, ‘casual desktop linux user’ – that sounds like a contradiction in terms. The very fact that you are reading this means that you are a geek.

Getting Started with MPD

Setting up MPD is not as simple as other music players.

Installation

To see MPD in action, first we have to install MPD – and a client. I installed the following…

  • MPD server
  • MPC – A command line MPD client
  • gmpc – A GUI client for Gnome

In a RedHat based system, you can install these using the command…

yum install mpd mpc gmpc

Configuration

Here is where it starts to get a bit confusing. MPD don’t have a pretty GUI to go along with it. It has to be configured using a text file. Create a file ‘.mpdconf’ in your home folder and enter the following in it…


port					"6600"
music_directory         "~/Songs"
playlist_directory      "~/.mpd/playlists"
db_file                 "~/.mpd/mpd.db"
log_file                "~/.mpd/mpd.log"
error_file              "~/.mpd/mpd.error"

The ‘music_directory'(“~/Songs” in our example) must point to the folder where you keep your music. If you have your music in multiple folders then I cannot help you. MPD was designed with just one music root directory in mind.

It is a good idea to create the playlist folder now – it will prevent errors later on. To do that run the command…

mkdir -p ~/.mpd/playlists

Next run these commands…

mpd --create-db
mpc update
mpc add /
mpc play

If all went well, you must be hearing sweet music now. Here is an explanation of the commands we used and their purpose…

mpd –create-db
This will start the daemon. The ‘–create-db’ argument will read the contents of the root music directory and add the Music files to a text database. You should see the list of files being added into the DB. This may take some time to complete – based on size of your music collection.
mpc update
The command used here is ‘mpc’ – not ‘mpd’. We are using a command line client now. This command scans the root music directory for updates.
mpc add /
This command will add all the files in the music directory to the current playlist. Please note that the ‘/’ here means root music directory – and not the global linux root.
mpc play
This will start playing the files in the current playlist.

GUI Clients

There are many GUI clients for MPD – the ones I would recommend are…

  • Gnome Music Player Client(gmpc)
  • Sonata

Once the mpd daemon is up and running, just open these clients and click on the connect button to control the daemon using these clients.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Audio, Configuration | 4 Comments »

Listen – Gtk MP3 Player

Written by BinnyVA on March 22, 2008 – 11:27 pm -

Listen Logo

I expected my MP3 player series will end with the last post – but the comments pointed to some other players. Two players stood out – so I decided that I will review them as well. The first one is Listen. Its a Gtk player written in Python.

Features

  • Supports Shoutcast Webradio
  • Supports Podcast
  • Multiple Display modes
  • Wikipedia Integration
  • Native Lyrics Support

Listen Screenshot

Disadvantages

No Global Shortcuts
At least, none that I could find.
“Interesting” Layout
The layout is kinda different from the standand layout of amaroK, Exaile, Rythmbox etc. I am still getting used to it. But once you get the hang of it, it could turn out to be a better system than the one that the other players use.

Advantages

OSD
Shows up on mouse hover and track change.
Tray Icon
Supports play/pause with middle click.
Music Library
Listen has a music library – but it supports only a single folder as its library folder.

More Information


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Applications, Audio, Gnome | 7 Comments »

Top 10 Linux MP3 Players

Written by BinnyVA on March 14, 2008 – 11:11 am -

Music

There are no shortage of audio players in Linux. It has everything from command line MP3 players(mpg123) to RAM eating GUI players(like Amarok). With easily available codecs, linux supports almost all available formats.

This is the final post on a series about MP3 Players in linux. This series focuses on dedicated audio players – not video players that can handle audio as well(like mplayer). Without further ado, presenting the top 10 Linux MP3 players…

1. Amarok

Amarok Logo

amaroK is currently the player of my choice – it rocks. Everything I ever wanted in a MP3 Player and more. It is the clear winner in this field. In my opinion, there is nothing that beats amarok even if you look at Windows and Mac MP3 players as well.

Amarok Linux MP3 Player Screenshot

More Information on Amarok MP3 Player

2. XMMS

XMMS Logo

A Winamp clone. Simple and user friendly, it is very popular on linux. It does not have a large feature set – but I am going to give it second place due to its popularity.

XMMS MP3 Audio Player Screenshot

Official Sites for XMMS Player

3. RhythmBox

RhythmBox Gnome Music Player Logo

Rhythmbox Music Player is a music player and library for tagged files, that support various music formats. It was inspired by Apple’s iTunes. Although it is designed to work well under the GNOME Desktop, I had no issues with it in KDE.

RhythmBox – Gnome Music Player

RhythmBox Media Player Screenshot

Official Sites

4. Exaile

Exaile MP3 Player Logo

Exaile is a music player aiming to be similar to KDE’s Amarok, but for GTK+ and written in Python. It incorporates many of the cool things from Amarok (and other media players)

Exaile – Music Player for Gtk+

Exaile Media Player Screenshot

Official Sites

5. Audacious

Audacious Logo

Audacious is not among the ‘star media-players’ in Linux – so many people never try it out. But those who have tried it out like it. For the sake of the article, I installed it – and I liked it. I even considered switching from amaroK to Audacious.

Audacious Media Player

Official Sites

6. Banshee

Banshee Music Player Logo

Banshee is an MP3 players for Gnome. You can import, organize, play, and share your music using Banshee’s simple, powerful interface.

Banshee – Music Management and Playback for GNOME

Banshee MP3 Player Screenshot

Banshee Official Sites

7. SongBird

SongBird MP3 Software Logo

SongBird is an MP3 player built on the XUL framework. It’s a desktop media player mashed-up with the Web.

SongBird – The Firefox of MP3 Players

Songbird Screenshot

Official Sites

8. Juk

Juk MultiMedia Player Logo

An audio jukebox that supports collections of MP3, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files. It is a part of the kdemultimedia package.

Juk


9. mpg123/mpg321

mpg123 is a fast, free, minimalist, console MPEG audio player software program for UNIX and Linux operating systems.

mpg123/mpg321 – The Command Line MP3 Players

Official Sites

10. Other MP3 Players and Media Software…

Instead of putting the last MP3 Player here, I am going to list the MP3 software that did not make it to the list…

So, which is your favorite MP3 Player? Leave a comment…

Update: I reviewed two more players…


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Applications, Audio, Gnome, KDE | 96 Comments »

mpg123/mpg321 – The Command Line MP3 Players

Written by BinnyVA on February 25, 2008 – 1:25 am -

Terminal

So far we looked at the GUI MP3 Players for linux – like Amarok, Exile, XMMS etc. Most linux users need only that – but there are some people who want a simpler system – command line players. The two top players in this area are mpg123 and mpg321.

mpg123

mpg123 is a fast, free, minimalist, console MPEG audio player software program for UNIX and Linux operating systems. The development on this project ceased for a long time – but now it has a new maintainer.

mpg321

mpg321 is a clone of mpg123.

Installation

Most distros have mpg321 in their repositories(not all have mpg123) – so just log in as root and use these commands to install it…
yum install mpg321 – For RedHat, Fedora, CentOS etc.
OR
apt-get install mpg321 – For Debian, Ubuntu, etc.

Using mpg321

Using mpg321 is straight forward. Since it has no GUI, just go to the folder with the song and just execute the command…

mpg321 MP3_FILE_NAME

If you want to play all the songs in a folder, you have to create a list of files in that folder. Then you have to specify this list as an argument for the mpg321 command. These commands can get the job done…

Create a list of all MP3 Files in the current folder…

find . -name "*.mp3"|sed 's/\.\///;'|sort>List.lst

Use this list as the play list for mpg321

mpg123 --list List.lst

Why Use Command Line Players?

If we have a number of shiny GUI players, why should one use a command line player? Unless you are an anti-GUI command line guru, chances are you don’t need it. But still, it has its uses.

For example, if you have to restart the X Server often for some reason, then mpg321 is the best player for you. All other player will stop playing when X server is down.

This actually happend to me – when I bought my second LCD screen, it took me some time to configure it. And that meant editing the xorg.conf file and restarting the X Server to see if it worked. At that time, I opened a virtual terminal(Ctrl+Alt+F1) and opened mpg321 with a bunch of MP3s in the list. It kept playing even if the X server is down. This is propably the reason that I was still sane after around six hours of XOrg configuration. :-)


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Audio, Command Line, Tools | 11 Comments »

Exaile – Music Player for Gtk+

Written by BinnyVA on January 7, 2008 – 11:12 pm -

Exaile Logo

Exaile an amarok clone for Gnome – and I have to admit – I am impressed.

Exaile is a music player aiming to be similar to KDE’s Amarok, but for GTK+ and written in Python. It incorporates many of the cool things from Amarok (and other media players) like automatic fetching of album art, handling of large libraries, lyrics fetching, artist/album information via Wikipedia, Last.fm submission support, and optional iPod support via a plugin.

Exaile Screenshot

Features

It has many features that make amarok great…

  • Automatic fetching of album art
  • Handling large music libraries
  • Lyrics fetching
  • Fetches Artist/Album information from Wikipedia

And some features that amarok does not have…

  • Tabbed playlist interface
  • Song Blacklist Manager

Disadvantages

  • I could not find the Global Hotkeys feature

Download

If you want to try exaile, you can download exaile and install it yourself.

Related Links


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Applications, Audio, Gnome | 8 Comments »