There are many free and open-source video players for Ubuntu. Most of them do the basic tasks pretty well and you won’t miss anything you know from Windows that you could use on Ubuntu. However, some players offer additional features and you can choose which one is best for you based on the feature list. In this article, we will introduce you to some popular 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’ll also explain other installation methods for educational purposes. Also, there are methods you can use to install the latest available version of the software from the Internet, so we won’t leave those out.
We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system. The same commands will work on the new Ubuntu 22.04 version too.
VLC is a free and open-source cross-platform multimedia player that plays most multimedia files, as well as DVDs, audio CDs, VCDs and various streaming protocols.
In particular, it 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 and closed captioning and is translated into numerous languages.
Install VLC on Ubuntu
The popular multimedia player VLC is included in the list of reliable Ubuntu software you can install. It can be easily installed via the graphical interface.
Click on the Ubuntu Software icon in the Activities toolbar on your Ubuntu desktop. The Ubuntu Software utility will open, where you can search for VLC by clicking the Search button and then typing VLC in the search bar.
The following result will be displayed according to your search term:
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.
Enter the password for a privileged user and then click the Authenticate button, after which the installation process will begin as follows:
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.
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 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 also watch VCD, SVCD, DVD, Blu-ray, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5, WMV and even H.264 movies.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 any VESA-compatible card, even without X11), some card-specific low-level drivers (for Matrox, 3dfx and ATI) and some hardware MPEG decoder cards like the Siemens DVB, Hauppauge PVR (IVTV), DXR2 and DXR3/Hollywood+. Most of them support software or hardware rescaling so you can enjoy movies in full screen mode.
Installing MPlayer on Ubuntu
The mplayer utility is available in the official Ubuntu repositories and can be easily
via the command line using the apt-get command.
Open your terminal application either by searching in the system application launcher or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
In the next step, update your system’s repository index with the following command:
$ sudo apt-get update
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
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 is a fork of mplayer2 and MPlayer. It shares some features with the earlier projects and introduces many new ones. MPlayer’s option parser has been improved to behave more like other CLI programs, and many option names and semantics have been revised to be more intuitive and memorable. MPV has an OpenGL-based video output that offers many features loved by video enthusiasts, such as video scaling with popular high-quality algorithms, color management, frame timing, interpolation, HDR, and more.
Mpv installation on Ubuntu
MPV Player can be installed via the Snap Store, but here we describe how you can install it via the Doug McMahon PPA for his latest release.
First, open the terminal, either via System Dash or the key combination Ctrl+Alt +T.
Now type the following command to add the PPA repository to your Ubuntu:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/mpv-tests
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
The system may prompt you to continue the installation by typing Y/N. Please enter Y if you want to continue with the installation. The process may take some time to install the software on your system depending on your internet speed.
That was all about some popular video players for Ubuntu. Now you can choose which one you want to install and the easiest way to install it.