16 Best Open Source Video Players For Linux in 2020

Audio and Video are two common sources of information sharing we see in today’s world. May it be publishing any product, or need of sharing any information between huge community of people, or a way of socializing in the group, or sharing of knowledge (e.g. as we see in online tutorials) audio and video hold a great place in this highly expressive world which wants to share their ideas, prove themselves and do all possible steps which brings them in limelight.

Recommended Read: Best Music Players That Are Worth Trying On Linux

Video players are the channel for people to see videos. There is a huge list of uses of these videos in our life, a few of them namely being: watching movies, online tutorials, broadcasting a social message to a huge mass of people, for fun and laughter (i.e. funny short videos), to name a few. Video Players provide a means to view and even customize the appearance of Videos as we desire.

Below is the list of some quality open-source video players which are available on Linux. Usually, you can find that most video players differ only in the User interface, their backend which is made of shared libraries remains the same for many if not all the players.

So, the distinguishable feature in most Video Players is UI, then libraries used internally, and then any other additional feature which only that player supports that attracts attention. Based on these factors, we have shortlisted few Video Players which are:

1. VLC Media Player

Initially released in 2001 under the VideoLAN project, VLC Media Player is one of the most powerful media players which is available on a large number of OS including but not limited to Linux, Windows, Solaris, Android, iOS, Syllable, etc.

It is written in C, C++ and Objective C and released under GNU GPLv2+ and GNU LGPLv2.1+. It supports a large number of encoding/decoding libraries avoiding the need for calibrating any kind of plugins.

VLC supports a wide variety of audio and video formats including subtitle support. It is one of the few players providing support for DVDs on Linux.

Other features include: providing the ability to play .iso files so that users can play files on a disk image directly, ability to play high definition recordings of D-VHS tapes, can be installed and run directly from USB flash drive or external drive, its functionality can be extended via Lua scripting.

Also, apart from all this, VLC also provides API support by providing various APIs, and browser plugin support in Mozilla, Google Chrome, Safari, etc.

VLC Media Player for Linux

VLC Media Player for Linux

Install VLC in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo apt-get install vlc -y
OR
$ sudo snap install vlc

Install VLC in Fedora

# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install vlc

Install VLC in CentOS/RHEL

-------------- On RHEL/CentOS 8 --------------
# yum install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-8.noarch.rpm
# yum install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/el/rpmfusion-free-release-8.noarch.rpm
# yum install vlc
-------------- On RHEL/CentOS 7 --------------
# subscription-manager repos --enable "rhel-*-optional-rpms" --enable "rhel-*-extras-rpms" # Only needed for RHEL
# yum install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm
# yum install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/el/rpmfusion-free-release-7.noarch.rpm
# yum install vlc

2. XBMC – Kodi Media Center

Formerly known as Xbox Media Center (XBMC) and now Kodi, this cross-platform player is available under GNU General Public License and in 69+ languages. It is written with C++ as a core with python scripts as addons available.

It allows complete flexibility to the user to play both audio and video files and that to from internet podcasts, and all media player files from both local and network storage.

The open-source nature of Kodi has helped it gain a lot of popularity as modified parts of this software are being used along with JeOS as an application suite or framework in a variety of devices including Smart TV, set-top boxes, network-connected media players, etc.

It provides a lot of features as addons which are added as python scripts which include: audio and video streaming plugins, screensavers, visualizations, themes, etc. It provides support of a lot of formats including Audio Formats like MIDI, MP2, MP3, Vorbis, etc, Video formats including MPEG-1,2,4, HVC, HEVC, RealVideo, Sorenson, etc.

Kodi XBMC

Kodi XBMC

Install Kodi in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install kodi

Install Kodi in Fedora

# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install kodi

3. Miro Music and Video Player

Formerly known as Democracy Player (DTV), Miro is a cross-platform audio and video player and Internet television application developed by Participatory Culture Foundation. It supports numerous audio and video formats, some in HD quality. Written purely in Python and GTK and released under GPL-2.0 +, this player is available in more than 40 languages.

It is able to play various file formats including Quick Time, WMV, MPEG files, Audio Video Interface (AVI), XVID. It also integrates RSS news aggregator and podcatcher, a BitTorrent client and a media player. Its video converter is based on FFmpeg and converts various video formats.

It has the ability to notify and automatically download a video once available. It received a great reception with its download link appearing on the front page of Pirate Bay in 2009 under the heading “We Love Free Software”. Apart from this, it received positive critical reviews with a rating of 9/10 in Softonic.

Miro Music and Video Player

Miro Music and Video Player

Install Miro in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pcf/miro-releases
$ sudo apt-get update
# sudo apt-get install miro

Install Miro in Arch Linux

Miro is in the Arch Linux repository.

$ sudo pacman -S miro

4. SMPlayer

SMPlayer is another cross-platform media player and a graphical front end for the likes of Mplayer and its forks, written purely using the Qt library in C++. It is available in multiple languages and only on Windows and Linux OS, released under GNU General Public License.

It provides support for all the default formats as in other media players. Talking about its features it provides Support for EDL files, Configurable subtitles which can be fetched from the Internet, numerous Skins downloadable from the Internet, Youtube browser, Multiple speed playback, Audio, and Video filters and equalizers.

SMPlayer

SMPlayer

Install SMPlayer in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rvm/smplayer
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install smplayer smplayer-themes smplayer-skins

Install SMPlayer in Fedora

# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install smplayer

5. MPV Player

Written in C, Objective-C, Lua, and Python, MPV is another free and cross-platform media player released under GPLv2 or later with the latest stable release being v0.31.0. It is based on MPlayer and focuses mainly on modern systems which have led to advancements in the original code of MPlayer and the introduction of new features.

The transformation from MPlayer to MPV player has led to the deprecation of “slave mode” which was earlier part of MPlayer but now has been discontinued due to broken compatibility.

Instead of this, MPV can now be compiled as a library that exposes client API for better control. Other features include Media Encoding functionality, smooth-motion which is a form of interpolation between two frames for a smooth transition between them.

MPV Player

MPV Player

Install MPV Player in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/mpv-tests
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install -y mpv

Install MPV Player in Fedora

# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
# dnf install mpv

6. Gnome Videos

Formerly known as Totem, Gnome Videos is the default media player for Gnome based desktop environments. It is written purely in C and uses GTK+ and Clutter libraries. From initial stages only, its development was in two stages, one stage used GStreamer multimedia framework for playback and another version (> 2.7.1) was configured to use xine libraries as a backend.

Although xine version had better DVD compatibility but was discontinued as GStreamer version evolved many folds over time with the introduction of DVD compatible features, and its ability to support a wide variety of formats including playlist formats like SHOUTcast, M3U, SMIL, Windows Media Player format, and Real Audio format.

Other features include: still capturing, loading of SubRip subtitles, ability to adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation during playback. GNOME 3.12 added support for direct video playback from online channels like Guardian and Apple.

Gnome Videos Player

Gnome Videos Player

Install Gnome Videos in Linux

$ sudo apt-get install totem  [On Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo dnf install totem      [On Fedora]
$ sudo yum install totem      [On CentOS/RHEL]

7. Bomi (CMPlayer)

Bomi is another powerful and highly configurable video player that promises to fulfill all the requirements one expects from a good video player. It is based on an MPV player.

Various features that are provided by Bomi include: easy to use GUI, playback tracking/ recording and ability to resume playback later, subtitle support and ability to render multiple subtitle files, hardware-accelerated decoding by GPU, and other features that are by default provided by other video players.

Bomi CMPlayer

Bomi CMPlayer

Install Bomi in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:darklin20/bomi
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install bomi

8. Banshee Music and Video Player

Initially called Sonance, Banshee is another open-source cross-platform media player developed in GTK# (C#) which is available on the Linux platform on many Linux distributions. It was initially released in 2005 under MIT License and uses the GStreamer multimedia framework which adds in a lot of functionality including support for a large number of audio and video formats.

Some features provided by this media player include: Multimedia keys support, iPod manager which allows the transfer of audio and video between system and iPod, Podcasting which enables Banshee to subscribe to feeds, notification area icon which it adds in GNOME. These all features are because of Banshee’s enhanced plugin architecture.

Banshee Player

Banshee Player

Install Banshee in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:banshee-team/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install banshee

Install Banshee in Fedora

$ sudo dnf install banshee

9. MPlayer

MPlayer is another multi-lingual cross-platform media player developed by MPlayer team, available for all major Operating Systems i.e. Linux, Mac, Windows and even other systems including OS/2, Syllable, AmigaOS, AROS Research Operating System. It is purely written in C and released under the GNU General Public License.

In itself, it is a command-line media player which has the ability to play: Video, Audio from Physical Media like DVD, CD, etc and Local file system.

In the case of Videos, it can play lots of video input file-formats including CINEPAK, DV, H.263, MPEG, MJPEG, Real Video, and even is able to easily store the streamed content to a file locally.

Other features which make it one of great media players include: supporting variety of output driver protocols like X video extension, DirectX, VESA, Framebuffer, SDL, etc, easy integration with multiple GUI front-ends written in GTK+ and Qt, MEncoder which can take input file or stream and can translate into any output format after applying various transformations and subtitle support for Videos.

MPlayer

MPlayer

Install MPlayer in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo apt-get install mplayer mplayer-gui -y

Install MPlayer in Fedora

$ sudo dnf install mplayer mplayer-gui

10. Xine Multimedia Player

Released under GNU General Public License, Xine is a cross-platform multimedia player written purely in C. It is built around a shared library xine-lib that supports multiple configurable frontends.

The development of the Xine project dates back to the year 2000 when even running DVDs was a manual and tedious process. Other media players which share the same shared library as of xine are Totem and Kaffeine.

Apart from supporting physical media, container formats like 3gp, Matroska, MOV, Mp4, Audio formats, Network Protocols, Xine also supports various Video Devices like V4L, DVB, PVR and Various Video formats like Cinepak, DV, H.263, MPEG series, WMV, etc.

One advantage of this media player is its ability to manually correct audio and video streams synchronization.

Xine Multimedia Player

Xine Multimedia Player

Install Xine in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

sudo apt-get install xine-ui -y

Install Xine in Fedora

$ sudo dnf install xine-ui

11. ExMPlayer

ExMPlayer is a beautiful, robust GUI front-end for MPlayer that offers several media management tools including auto converter, audio extractor, and media cutter. It has playback support for 3D and 2D video and is capable of playing DVD and VCD files, AAC and OGG Vorbis formats, boosting volume by 5000%, subtitle search, etc.

ExMplayer

ExMplayer

Install ExMPlayer in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:exmplayer-dev/exmplayer 
$ sudo apt-get update 
$ sudo apt-get install exmplayer

12. Deepin Movie

Deepin Movie is a beautiful open-source media player created for users to enjoy watching several video formats as easily as possible. It was developed for the Deepin Desktop Environment and can be operated completely with only keyboard shortcuts, streams online videos.

Deepin Movie Player

Deepin Movie Player

Install Deepin Movie in Ubuntu

$ sudo apt install deepin-movie

13. Dragon Player

Dragon Player is a simple media player created for playing multimedia files, especially on KDE. It features a beautiful, non-intrusive UI with brightness and contrast settings, support for CDs and DVDs, automatic loading of subtitles, playback history for resuming videos from the last watched timestamp.

Dragon Player

Dragon Player

Install Dragon Player in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

sudo apt install dragonplayer

Install Dragon Player in Fedora

$ sudo dnf install dragonplayer

14. Snappy

Snappy is an open source small and robust media player that collects the power and adaptability of GStreamer inside the comfort of a minimalistic clutter interface.

Snappy Media Player for Linux

Snappy Media Player for Linux

Install Snappy Player in Debian, Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install snappy

15. Celluloid

Celluloid (previously known as GNOME MPV) is a simple media player and GTK+ frontend for MPV, that aims to be simple to use while keeping a high level of configurability.

Celluloid Media Player for Linux

Celluloid Media Player for Linux

Install Celluloid in Ubuntu & Linux Mint

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xuzhen666/gnome-mpv
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install celluloid

16. Parole

Parole is a modern easy to use media player based on the GStreamer framework and written good enough to fit well in the Xfce desktop environment. It is developed with speed, simplicity and resource usage in mind.

It features playback of local media files, support for a video with subtitles, Audio CDs, DVDs, live streams and can be extensible via plugins.

Parole Media Player for Linux

Parole Media Player for Linux

Install Parole in Ubuntu & Linux Mint

$ sudo apt install parole

Conclusion

These are some selected video players which are available on the Linux platform. If you use any other video player, do write to us in comments and we will include it in our list.

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Currently a Computer Science student and a geek when it comes to Operating System and its concepts. Have 1+ years of experience in Linux and currently doing a research on its internals along with developing applications for Linux on python and C.

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7 Responses

  1. Serge says:

    Snappy minimalistic video player

  2. ThumbOne says:

    Re: Kodi I tried to install it on Ubuntu and it complains about the Python Cryptography module version …

  3. HauxController says:

    Why is mplayer’s screenshoot a windows one? Isn’t this Linux?!

  4. Jens Kirk says:

    Not sure you should bring Kodi to the table. Usually Kodi depends on other players. It might be correct that internally, it’s able to play media files. But in my opinion it is a media center and not a media player.

    mplayer, kmp, vlc, and certain os based players, are more truly media players. Seems a bit too much like putting a banana in a bag and asking you to eat the bag.As Kodi is able to play media by itself (I think it is) you are partly correct,but I still think it is another kind of product.

  5. nisk says:

    I have video file on SMB share with visual aspect ratio about 2:1 (long time ago it was 16:9) and frame aspect ratio 4:3.
    In Windows I just rum MPC-HC, open \\nas\share\video.avi and use numpad to adjust sizes.

    Is there ANY linux player that can do this? I don’t want to mount.cifs that share and convert file to normal frame size, I just want to watch video. From Dolphin context menu :-)

  6. ninja in pyjama says:

    i like smplayer’s ability to navigate video track using keyboard arrow keys, but i hate it for pulling too much dependencies. thanks to mplayer2 i have to install the unwanted whole samba packages because mplayer2 depends on libsmbclient in debian (or smbclient in arch linux). if only them developers can move that foocking samba dependencies to an add-on mplayer2/smplayer would be my favourite player

  7. Susan says:

    Wonderful list. I like VLC more compared to other free video players. Tested already from windows to mac and linux.

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