Multimedia Dynamite

An overview of the awesome power and configurability of MPlayer.
The Command Subsystem

MPlayer has a very rich input command processing subsystem that can be manipulated with the keyboard, mouse, joystick or LIRC remote control. You also can customize several keyboard keys to invoke MPlayer's controls.

The following provides the list of keys that can be configured. The defaults are very sensible, and you may not need to change them:

$ mplayer -input keylist

You also can find MPlayer's controls for seeking, volume control, brightness correction and other things with the following command:

$ mplayer -input cmdlist

The slave.txt file that comes with MPlayer's documentation explains how to customize the input.conf and menu.conf files that come with the MPlayer package in your Linux distribution.

You also can have MPlayer accept input commands from a FIFO file (FIFO stands for First In, First Out). This comes in handy when it is reading the media from the standard input:

$ mkfifo /tmp/fifo
$ cat playlist.txt | mplayer -input 
 ↪file:/tmp/fifo -cache 8192 -playlist -

Typing the following mutes and executes it again with the audio unmuted:

$ echo 'mute' > /tmp/fifo

You can use the mouse for the usual seek operations. The mouse wheel is configured by default to seek files in both directions.

On-Screen Display

Apropos of input methods, MPlayer has excellent support for on-screen display (OSD). I normally use only the superb scalable TTF fonts. These are not available on the MPlayer Web site.

The following command displays a timer:

$ mplayer -osdlevel 3 -font 
 ↪/home/girish/.ttffonts/Comicbd.ttf video.avi

See Figure 2 for a sample of this display.

Figure 2. MPlayer with Basic OSD Support

You can create a custom menu to browse using the keyboard with the OSD facility. It even has a console where you can enter MPlayer slave commands.

Figure 3. MPlayer OSD Menu

Figure 4. MPlayer Built-in Console

Figure 5. MPlayer with OSD of Media File Information

As you can see, the scalability of the OSD fonts does not break with the video scale filter.

Here is how to create this kind of configuration. First, set up most everything in the config file. Here is my ~/.mplayer/config file:

# Write your default config options here!
# Use Matrox driver by default.
# I love doing headstand (Sirsasana) while watching videos.
# Decode/encode multiple files from PNG,
# start with mf://filemask
# Eerie negative images are cool.

The input configuration and menu configuration are stored separately in input.conf and menu.conf, respectively. The menu.conf file needs to have a section that looks something like this:

<cmdlist name="main" title="MPlayer OSD menu" ptr="<>" >
     <e name="Pause" ok="pause"/>
     <e name="Prev/Next" ok="pt_step 1" cancel="pt_step -1"/>
     <e name="Jump to ..." ok="set_menu jump_to"/>
     <e name="Open ..." ok="set_menu open_file"/>
     <e name="Open playlist ..." ok="set_menu open_list"/>
     <e name="Help" ok="set_menu man"/>
     <e name="Pref" ok="set_menu pref_main"/>
     <e name="Properties" ok="set_menu properties"/>
     <e name="Console" ok="set_menu console0"/>
     <e name="Quit" ok="quit"/>

You need this line in input.conf in order to tell MPlayer what event invokes the menu. The setting here invokes the menu if you click the left-mouse button:

MOUSE_BTN0 menu main



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There is good support for

pumarex's picture

There is good support for audio effects

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alaçatı konaklama's picture

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mert2000's picture

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maxi's picture

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comet's picture

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is that true?

Anonymous's picture

see... mplayer can't fully display substation alpha subtitles, it messed up the whole karaoke effects

There is good support for

nihat hatipoglu's picture

There is good support for audio effects, and the karaoke effect especially gets interesting with certain songs.