SMPlayer

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SMPlayer is a very nice multimedia player which uses the Qt libraries for the GUI and mpv or MPlayer as back-end for video playback. It has a playlist you can drag and drop files to. It lets you open links to websites with videos on them as well as DVDs and BlueRays. You can easily choose subtitles, audio track and so on when playing a video.

Plays everything you throw at it perfectly

SMplayer itself can't play videos, it acts as a front-end for mpv (or the less updated mplayer). It is essentially just a graphical interface for mpv.

mpv is really good at playing any and all video formats. This means smplayer will too.

Secret compact mode

SMPlayer will by default present you with a menu and a toolbar on the top and a timeline and play and stop and fullscreen icons as well as a volume slider on the bottom. These things are useful when you initially choose and start playing a video but they are not that useful while you are watching. Pressing f in smplayer gives you a fullscreen view. There is a secret compact mode you can use when you want to watch videos in a window on your screen. Pressing ctrl-c activates it. You can also toggle it by right-clicking the video and choosing Video then Compact mode.

The pianist in this clip is a Japanese singer-songwriter called shimamo.

Installation and configuration

You need rpmfusion to install mpv on Fedora. Run sudo dnf -y install smplayer mpv if you have rpmfusion setup. Run sudo apt install smplayer or click here on Ubuntu.

The first thing you want to do once smplayer is installed is to configure some basic video playback options.

Go to the menu item Options then Preferences. Click the Video tab in the General section. Choose gpu if you have a AMD or NVidia GPU and vaapi of you have a Intel GPU. Using vaapi is specially important on a weak Intel iGPU like a Atom or Pentium based notebook.

Next click the Performance section and Hardware decoding to vaapi if you have a Intel iGPU or a AMD GPU. NVidia users should choose vdpau or none.

One last important step is to select the Advanced section and the MPlayer/mpv tab. Here you need to enter --gpu-context=x11egl in the Options field for vaapi hardware decoding to work with the gpu output option chosen earlier. We recommend that users of AMD graphics cards copy and paste all of this into the Options: field:

--profile=gpu-hq --gpu-context=x11egl --video-sync=display-resample --interpolation --tscale=oversample --cache=yes --cache-secs=120

If you are using a 4K display you may want to add this too, btw:

--ytdl-format=bestvideo[height>=1440][fps<=?30]+bestaudio/bestvideo[height<=?1440]+bestaudio/best

This ask for the best format when streaming videos from websites, but only up to 1440p. Only videos running 30 fps or less would be requested with this setting. This is useful if you have bandwidth limitations.

Troubleshooting

If GPU accelerated video play does not work then make sure you have these packages on a AMD GPU system:

xorg-x11-drv-amdgpu mesa-vdpau-drivers libva-vdpau-driver vdpauinfo

or these on a Intel iGPU system:

libvdpau-va-gl libva-intel-driver libva-intel-hybrid-driver

Good luck.


Video players: SMPlayer | mpv | VLC | GNOME Videos

discontinued: Xine | GMPlayer | MPlayer

Stand-alone Audio players:

Filesystem-oriented: Audacious
Database-oriented: Elisa | Strawberry | Exaile | GNOME Music
Bankrupt and finished: Clementine | Amarok

Music Player Daemon audio player clients:

GUI: Cantata | GMPC | Xfmpc (Xfce)
ncurses: ncmpc - Command-line: mpc
Dead and berried: Sonata | KMP | Glurp