There are a lot of free and open-source video players available for Ubuntu. Most of them do the basic job pretty well and you do not miss anything from Windows that you could use on Ubuntu. However, some players provide additional features and you can pick which one would suit you best depending on the feature list. In this article, we will give you an introduction to some famous video players for Ubuntu. We will also tell you where to find their websites and how to install them on Ubuntu. All of these players can be reliably downloaded graphically from the Ubuntu Software but we will also explain other methods of installation for educational purposes. Also, some methods let you install the latest available version of the software from the Internet so we will not miss out on those.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

VLC Player

VLC is a free and open-source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

It notably plays MKV, MP4, MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MOV, WMV, QuickTime, WebM, FLAC, MP3, Ogg/Vorbis files, BluRays, DVDs, VCDs, podcasts, and multimedia streams from various network sources. It supports subtitles, closed captions and is translated in numerous languages.

Installing VLC on Ubuntu

The popular VLC multimedia player is available in the list of reliable Ubuntu Software for you to install. It provides an easy way to install the player, using the graphical interface.

Click the Ubuntu Software icon from the Activities toolbar on your Ubuntu desktop. The Ubuntu Software utility will open, from where you can search for VLC by clicking the search button and then entering VLC in the search bar.

The following result will be displayed according to your search keyword:

Install VLC Player on Ubuntu

When you click on the VLC search entry, the following window will open:


Through this window, you can install the latest version of the VLC media player by clicking the Install button. After that, you will be asked to provide authentication through the following dialog, as only an authorized user can add/remove software on Ubuntu.

Authenticate as admin

Enter the password for a privileged user and then click the Authenticate button, after which the installation process will begin as follows:

Installing software

The following window indicates successful installation of the player. You can directly Launch it through this Window and also Remove it immediately for any reason you want.

VLC Player successfully installed

Exit the Ubuntu Software after the installation is complete.


Mplayer is a movie player for Linux (runs on many other platforms and CPU architectures, see the documentation). It plays most MPEG/VOB, AVI, ASF/WMA/WMV, RM, QT/MOV/MP4, Ogg/OGM, MKV, VIVO, FLI, NuppelVideo, yuv4mpeg, FILM and RoQ files, supported by many native and binary codecs. You can watch VCD, SVCD, DVD, Blu-ray, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5, WMV and even H.264 movies, too.MPlayer supports a wide range of video and audio output drivers. It works with X11, Xv, DGA, OpenGL, SVGAlib, fbdev, AAlib, libca‐ca, DirectFB, Quartz, Mac OS X CoreVideo, but you can also use GGI, SDL (and all their drivers), VESA (on every VESA-compatible card, even without X11), some low-level card-specific drivers (for Matrox, 3dfx and ATI) and some hardware MPEG decoder boards, such as the Siemens DVB, Hauppauge PVR (IVTV), DXR2 and DXR3/Hollywood+. Most of them support software or hardware scaling, so you can enjoy movies in fullscreen mode.

Installing MPlayer on Ubuntu

The mplayer utility is easily available through the official Ubuntu repositories and can easily be

installed through the command line using the apt-get command.

Open your Terminal application either through the system Application Launcher Search or through the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut.

The next step is to update your system’s repository index through the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

Update package lists

This helps you in installing the latest available version of a software from the Internet. Please note that only an authorized user can add, remove and configure software on Ubuntu.

Now you are ready to install mplayer; you can do so by running the following command as sudo:

$ sudo apt-get install mplayer

Install MPlayer with apt

The system might ask you the password for sudo and also provide you with a Y/n option to continue the installation. Enter Y and then hit enter; the software will be installed on your system. The process may, however, take some time depending on your Internet speed.

You can see all you can do with this application, and also verify that it is indeed installed on your system, through the following command:

$ man mplayer

Mpv Player

MPV is a fork of mplayer2 and MPlayer. It shares some features with the former projects while introducing many more. MPlayer’s options parser was improved to behave more like other CLI programs, and many option names and semantics were reworked to make them more intuitive and memorable. MPV has an OpenGL based video output that is capable of many features loved by videophiles, such as video scaling with popular high-quality algorithms, color management, frame timing, interpolation, HDR, and more.

Mpv Installation on Ubuntu

The MPV Player can be installed through the Snap Store but here we will describe how you can install it through the Doug McMahon PPA for its latest version.

First, please open the Terminal either through the system Dash or the Ctrl+Alt +T shortcut.

Now, enter the following command to add the PPA repository to your Ubuntu:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/mpv-tests

Add MPV PPA Repository

Enter the password for sudo, after which the PPA repository will be added to your system.

Tip: Instead of typing the command, you can copy it from here and paste in the Terminal by using the Ctrl+Shift+V, or by using the Paste option from the right-click menu.

The next step is to update your system’s repository index through the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

This helps you in installing the latest available version of a software from the Internet.

Now that you are done with adding the PPA, use the following command as sudo in order to install the MPV Player to your Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install mpv

Installing mpv with apt on Ubuntu

The system might prompt you with a y/n option to continue the installation. Please enter Y if you want to continue with the installation. The process might take some time, depending on your Internet speed, after which the software will be installed on your system.

This was all about some famous video players for Ubuntu. Now you can choose which one you want to install and also how to easily install the one you want.

Top 3 Video Players for Ubuntu

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn