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MPlayer was the best video player for a long time. Then a fork happened and many developers left for MPlayer2. That was in turn abandoned for mpv which is now the most updated and feature-rich branch. MPlayer is still updated and alive but updates are essentially just small fixes to make sure it still compiles against modern versions of ffmpeg.

MPlayer comes with a video conversion tool called mencoder. This has also not been more than barely maintained for decades.

The modern alternatives

  • mpv is a better and more updated stand-alone player than mplayer (and mplayer2)
  • SMPlayer is a better choice than GMPlayer if you want a video player with a graphical interface
  • ffmpeg is a far better tool for converting audio or video than mencoder.



Program rating framework backend highlights
Celluloid Sad hyemi2.jpgSad hyemi2.jpg GTK mpv Has a playlist. Otherwise very limited.
GNOME Videos Frustrated stallman cropped.jpg GTK/GNOME GStreamer Useless GUI, problems playing a lot of files
mpv Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg libmpv On-screen controls. No playlist, no GUI. Plays everything.
Parole Frustrated stallman cropped.jpg GTK GStreamer Very basic media player. No features what so ever.
SMPlayer Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg Qt mpv Fully featured. Playlist, advanced playback options, easy to use.
VLC Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg libvlc Fully featured. Playlist, advanced playback options, video conversion, live stream recording

discontinued: Xine | GMPlayer | MPlayer