Friday, October 3, 2008


Getting More out of Mplayer

Most Linux users know that mplayer is an invaluable tool. When it is configured and compiled with the proper options it can be used to watch television, listen to the radio (over antenna or via the internet), rotate videos upside-down and even watch videos with their colours inverted. Reading through the documentation can be a daunting task and I seriously doubt that any one person is familiar with all of mplayer's options and remembering how to type in all the options is next to impossible. Here are some uses of mplayer which may be infrequently used and therefore unfamiliar to most users:

Watch and rotate a video 90 degrees clockwise:
mplayer video.mpg -vf rotate=1

Watch a video with the colours inverted:
mplayer -vo xv -vf eq2=1.0:-.8 file.mpg

You have two DVD players and wish to use your 2nd drive:
mplayer -dvd-device /dev/cdrom dvd://1

Watch a video in ASCII mode:
mplayer -vo aa -monitorpixelaspect 0.5. video.mpg

Watch a video and use post-processing:
(this is an example of using the linear blend deinterlacer, very useful in certain cases)
mplayer video.mpg -vf pp=lb

Learn more about post-processing options:
mplayer -pphelp

Learn more about video output drivers:
mplayer -vo help

Learn more about audio output drivers:
mplayer -ao help

Listen to the radio off the antenna:
mplayer radio://88.7

Watch a video 37 minutes in:
mplayer -ss 37:00 video.mpg

Process audio from a wmv file to a wav file:
mplayer test.wmv -ao pcm:file=test.wav

Listen to WBFO (National Public Radio) streaming over the internet:
mplayer -playlist

Naturally to get all of these features out of mplayer you will need to use configure with additional options. The base mplayer may not be able to use your radio card for example.
Surely mplayer must be one of the most sophisticated and useful utilities ever written.


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