How To Install On Debian with Several Codecs

How To Install On Debian with Several Codecs

mplayer project home page

These step by step instructions have been tested on June 25, 2005

I have tested this how-to on Etch (Testing).

This howto only includes codecs for win32, Quicktime, RealPlayer, (streaming for protocols such as reaplayer), and some less common AVI.

Not up for doing all of this? There are unofficial debian packages provided by marillat: read more


Files to download


MPlayer v1.0pre7 source - 6.6M M go here to download, or download directly from:mirror2)
(unless you have a src file of your own you wish to use)


win32codecs.tar.bz2 - 6.3 M (mirror1 | mirror2)
divx4linux-20020418.tgz - 288 K (mirror1 | mirror2)
live.2005.06.16.tar.gz - 398 K (mirror2)
qt6dlls.tar.bz2 - 2.5 M (mirror1 | mirror2)
rp8codecs.tar.bz2 - 380 K (mirror1 | mirror2) OR rp9codecs.tar.bz2 - 500 K (mirror1 | mirror2)
(some realplayer stuff wont work with 8, some won't work with 9, you just need to choose which is best for you. I use 8, so in my directions I will be using that, just change the number if you want to use 9)

User Conf:

mplayer-user-conf.tar - 690 k (mirror1 | mirror2)

Since I don't know where you are downloading these to, you will just need to move them to the proper place when I ask you to unpack them.

Uninstalling Old Version

If you have an older version of mplayer on your system remove all traces of it (if you used a deb do dpkg -P mplayer then go through your system and make sure EVERYTHING for mplayer is gone, some things will not be removed with dpkg -P). This step is VERY important.

Things from apt

as root:

apt-get install libogg0 libogg-dev libvorbis0a libvorbis-dev vorbis-tools libpng3 libpng2-dev liblogfile-rotate-perl libconfhelper-perl debhelper fakeroot g++ libgtk1.2 libgtk1.2-dev svgalibg1 svgalibg1-dev aalib1 aalib1-dev libsdl1.2-dev

NOTE: Make sure your gcc and g++ versions match!

Installing the Codecs

as root:

rm -r /usr/lib/win32

(If it exists. These are the w32 codecs, don't worry, we will replace these later, you can pack them up and move them if you are really concerned about losing them)

cd /usr/lib/

mkdir win32

Win32 codecs

cd win32/

tar -jxvvf win32codecs.tar.bz2

Quicktime codecs

tar -jxvvf qt6dlls.tar.bz2 Codecs (for streaming realplayer)

cd /usr/local/lib/

tar -xvvzf live.2005.06.16.tar.gz

cd live/

./genMakefiles linux


divx4linux package, added support for filetypes like AVI (see for more)

cd /usr/src/

mkdir mplayer

cd mplayer/

tar -xvvzf divx4linux-20020418.tgz

cd divx4linux-20020418/


Realplayer Codecs

cd /usr/src/mplayer/

tar -jxvvf rp8codecs.tar.bz2

Setting up the ~/.mplayer directory

(you can skip this if you have your own configs and settings, and/or don't want to use gmplayer)

become your user


tar -xvvf mplayer-user-conf.tar

this will create the ~/.mplayer directory including a skin (neutron), arial size 18 font, and config file

in line 27 of the ~/.mplayer/gui.conf file, change: font_name = "/home/lyz/.mplayer/font/font.desc" to reflect your username (I havent found a way around this step, ~ doesn't work).

Creating the .deb and installing mplayer

as root:

cd /usr/src/mplayer/

tar -jxvvf MPlayerVersion.tar.bz2 (where 'Version' is your version, ie -1.0pre7)

cd MPlayerVersion

DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS="--disable-runtime-cpudetection --enable-gui --disable-rtc --enable-live --with-livelibdir=/usr/local/lib/live --enable-real --with-reallibdir=/usr/src/mplayer/rp8codecs/" fakeroot debian/rules binary

Make sure there aren't spaces between -- and any-of-the-options

when it's finished compiling, it will create an mplayerVersion.deb file in /usr/src/mplayer

cd /usr/src/mplayer/

dpkg -i mplayerVersion.deb

when it asks about video output choose which is right for you, if unsure just use xv

The End

launch mplayer by typing mplayer moviefile (where moviefile is the name of the file you wish to use to test mplayer)

You're done! Congrats!

Some Notes:

This also includes gmplayer. gmplayer allows you to use "skins" for mplayer, I don't usually use skins because I don't need the gui control, and the skins tend to take away from speed and quailty of movie decoding.

In debian unstable, in September of 2003 the following was noted: "The gtk1.2 and gtk1.2-dev was not found within the sources. This made the building of the deb file abort quickly. A bit of searching the web and guessing made me try install libgtkmm-dev. This did it. The following dpkg -i went fine." (thanks Helge)

It was also noted that in unstable xv might not work properly as a video output, try x11.

Sometimes you will want to watch realplayer files that are .ram; remember that a .ram can be viewed as a simple text file with the stream location of the actual .rm is in that file. mplayer will not play the .ram but it will play the .rm stream. (Apparently there is a patch out so that mplayer will play .ram but I have never used it).


There is an mplayer in apt, why would I want to install this one?

If you are at this site, you probably know the answer to this. The one in apt is an older version, and above all, does not support the quicktime codecs.

Something broke, can you help?

I might be able to, as I said, I have tested this, and if something broke it might be a conflict in versions (stable vs testing vs unstable vs mixed system) or a simple user error. It is quite possibly due to not completely uninstalling previous versions of mplayer, this is a very important step! If all else fails, you can always uninstall the deb, and reinstall what you had before.

I'm not on debian but I want to install mplayer, any pointers?

Not really, I could point you to some sites I have found for other distros, but I have never tried them, so I can't guarantee they will work.

Why don't you include more codecs?

Are there many more? I have included the ones I primarily use, so these are the only codecs I have installed and tested.

What about DVD support?

I don't have a DVD-ROM, so I have no way of testing DVD support, sorry.