Most current video multimedia players play many video formats (as well as audio), including the Flash video .flv format.
VLC Multimedia Player
VLC is a cross-platform multimedia player that supports many formats without need for additional codecs. It can not only receive video streams (also see here to convert it to mp4), but can act as a server for video streams, as well. It is one of the only players that can view and backup almost any DVD format, no matter which copy protection is used. See these tips for using VLC to backup/rip encrypted DVDs.
sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse
- Troubleshooting tip: On some hardware (such as the Acer Aspire One), the video is blank or VLC freezes when trying to play a file or disc. To solve this problem, select "X11 video output":
- VLC -> Tools -> Preferences -> Video -> Output: X11 video output (XCB) -> Save
- To play VLC through a browser (e.g. when using Chromium with Chromecast), install the browser plugin:
sudo apt-get install browser-plugin-vlc
- If you are interested in streaming or transcoding, you should additionally install
sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra-53.
- There are many VLC plugins. You will likely only need to install a few of them, however, depending on your hardware and input/output configuration:
sudo apt-get install vlc-plugin-ggi vlc-plugin-jack vlc-plugin-pulse vlc-plugin-sdl vlc-plugin-svgalib mozilla-plugin-vlc vlc-plugin-esd
MPlayer Multimedia Player
Mplayer (and now Mplayer2) is a video player with a wide range of formats supported (including RealMedia and Windows-codecs) and a wide variety of outputs.
sudo apt-get install mplayer
sudo apt-get install mplayer2
- There are several frontends for MPlayer. See this complete list.
Dump a video stream to disc
You can dump a video stream to disc using Mplayer:
mplayer -dumpstream streamurl
If you don't know the exact URL of the stream you wish to save, you can discover it from the webpage it is embedded in by using the Firefox add-on UnPlug. Do not save streams that are illegal to download.
Dragonplayer is the default KDE media player included in Kubuntu. It does not have as many options or play as many formats as other video players, but is integrated into the KDE framework.
Kaffeine Video Player
Kaffeine is a video player for Kubuntu/KDE. It does not play as many formats as other video players. Install:
sudo apt-get install kaffeine
Xine-UI Multimedia Player
Xine UI is a multimedia player based, of course, on the xine platform. It can also play streamed video from the Internet and supports most formats, including some uncommon ones.
sudo apt-get install xine-ui
RealPlayer 11 Multimedia Player
The Linux Realplayer is actually based on the open-source Helix player. Helix itself can be installed as a package easily (read Helix plug-in) and used instead of Realplayer. These instructions are to install the proprietary version of RealPlayer only.
Download Real Player official linux player
Open a terminal and cd to the directory you have downloaded realplayer's .bin file. Then issue the following commands
chmod +x RealPlayer11GOLD.bin sudo ./RealPlayer11GOLD.bin
When it asks for installation path enter /usr/local/RealPlayer
For all other questions just choose default by pressing enter.
If you have installed mozilla-mplayer package you will need to delete the mplayer firefox plugin for real player videos. Other wise all real player files will open with mplayer. For that please do this
cd /usr/lib/firefox/plugins sudo rm mplayerplug-in-rm.*
Please remember to restart firefox and when ever you click on a real player video choose the option open with and use /usr/bin/realplay
See MythTV. Ubuntu TV is essentially Myth TV.
Miro Player (formerly Democracy TV Player) is an open-source Internet TV and video player that allows you to watch Internet TV and videos. Unlike other video players, it contains a structured guide that includes more than 2500 channels, has built-in BitTorrent, and has features that can automatically save videos, such as from YouTube.
sudo apt-get install miro
Sopcast Internet TV
Sopcast is an interface to play live P2P video streams through the VLC media player. Install VLC first. This is a Chinese program and most content is hosted in China and may not be legal in your area. Please consult local regulations.
You can install a SopCast Player PPA using the following commands:
echo "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/jason-scheunemann/ppa/ubuntu `lsb_release -cs` main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys CD30EE56
If you are using Karmic or later:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jason-scheunemann/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install sopcast-player
- Applications->Sound & Video->SopCast Player
Zattoo is a free Internet TV player that allows you to watch terrestrial television from various countries in Europe. See the Zattoo Download page for further instructions on installation. For screenshots and an alternate installation guide, see this UbuntuGeek guide.
- Install dependencies first:
sudo apt-get install libgtkglext1 adobe-flashplugin
- Download the latest .deb package from Zattoo Download page.
- Install the downloaded .deb package:
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
- Run Zattoo:
- K -> Application -> Multimedia -> Zattoo Player
- Note: you have to register for a free account when the player starts.
TV Time (TV Viewer)
TVTime allows the display of television and other digital inputs (made available to the computer by a video capture card). A plugin for the Remuco remote control (remuco-tvtime) is also available. Install:
sudo apt-get install tvtime
BBC iPlayer provides replays and downloads of BBC programs to UK residents. The BBC, however, has crippled its streams to prevent downloading and legal actions against iPlayer appear to be in progress. (Flvstreamer may be required for rtmp stream recording). To install a Flash 64-bit edition of iPlayer:
sudo apt-get remove flashplugin-installer sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer
get_iplayer (BBC program recording)
- get_iplayer allows BBC streams (through their iplayer service) for UK users, as well as Hulu streams for US users, to be recorded to mp4, wav, and mp3 files (depending on content). See here for usage instructions. Install (may not work for all users):
sudo apt-get install get-iplayer
- See the website for usage or:
- Get a current listing of what's available and save it in the home directory
- Having found some interesting programmes (and noted the numbers found in the left-hand column), download them:
get-iplayer --get 123 537
- iPlayer can be run in Wine using these instructions.
- Some users will need to install rtmpdump for successful streaming.
Netflix in Wine app
- To run the app requires a 32-bit operating system. On my 64-bit systems I sometimes install it within a dedicated partition / 32-bit (K)Ubuntu OS installation.
- For a 64-bit operating system this may require installing ia32-libs-multiarch.
- For help with installing ia32-libs-multiarch (ia32-libs), see this section.
- Install the PPA repository (for Netflix-desktop) and update:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio sudo apt-get update
- The package installs the Microsoft core fonts (ttf-mscorefonts-installer). During this part of the installation a prompt to accept the Microsoft EULA will appear. Use the "TAB" key to maneuver to the "Ok" button and then press "Enter" to accept. The installation should then continue to completion.
- Install the Netflix-desktop and correct package installation errors:
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop sudo apt-get install -f sudo dpkg --configure -a
- The package creates a menu item for the Netflix Desktop, or the app can be started from a terminal with a command. (I start it the first time from the command-line so I can watch the completion of the final installation steps, which occurs with the initial run.):
- The Netflix app starts in full screen mode. You can exit out of the app completely by pressing ALT+F4 or by using the pop-up "X." You can also press F11 to exit out of full screen mode.
- Additional installation tips are here.
- On some of my systems, installing a full Mono setup (sudo apt-get install mono-complete) worked better prior to installing the Netflix-desktop. After doing this, I then answered "No" whenever the Netflix-desktop installer prompted me to install mono.
- For both updates and troubleshooting, the following steps also seemed to be necessary for me. See this discussion.
- Remove the netflix-desktop and the wine-browser settings folder, reinstall the netflix-desktop, then restart netflix-desktop in order to complete the reinstallation:
sudo apt-get purge netflix-desktop rm -rf ~/.wine-browser/ sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop netflix-desktop
Netflix through Chrome
Netflix can also be played through a recent version of the Google Chrome browser. See this section.
Netflix Android App
Internet radio streams through different ports, so check your firewall if you are not able to play the streams.
LastFM is a service for sharing music recommendations and individual radio streams. It is included as an option in Amarok, or can be installed separately:
sudo apt-get install lastfm
Shoutcast Internet Radio
Shoutcast is the first and last free mp3 streaming service. Hundreds of radio streams can be played through Amarok, Audacious, or other multimedia player. Simply associate the .pls streams with your favourite player (Audacious or QMMP recommended). Of course, Shoutcast can also be played through Amarok.
StreamTuner Stream Directory Browser
StreamTuner lists streams available on the Internet through a GTK-based interface. It lists Shoutcast and Live365 streams, among others. Install:
sudo apt-get install streamtuner
sudo apt-get install streamripper
- Fadecut is a front-end script that allows the removal of certain elements of live streams (sudo apt-get install fadecut)
- KStreamRipper/KRadioRipper is a GUI front-end for KDE (sudo apt-get install kradioripper)
- Streamripper is also available within the music player Amarok using the RecordStream plug-in.
RadioTray is an app that, once started, docks in the System Tray and allows easy selection from a list of online .pls streams (listed by radio station genre). Additional .pls streams and genres can be easily added to the pre-configured list. Install:
sudo apt-get install radiotray
Pithos (Pandora client)
sudo apt-get install pithos
Spotify is a music streaming service that bases streams on user tastes and interests. Download the Spotify client .deb package for your system (i386 version for 32-bit systems or amd64 version for 64-bit systems) and either the Qt version or Gnome front-end from this location then click on the two packages to automatically install them. For example, to install the 64-bit version with the Qt front-end:
wget -O spotify-client_current.deb http://repository.spotify.com/pool/non-free/s/spotify/spotify-client_0.9.4.183.g644e24e.428-1_amd64.deb wget -O spotify-client-qt_current.deb http://repository.spotify.com/pool/non-free/s/spotify/spotify-client-qt_0.9.4.183.g644e24e.428-1_all.deb sudo dpkg -i spotify-client_current.deb sudo dpkg -i spotify-client-qt_current.deb sudo rm spotify-client_current.deb sudo rm spotify-client-qt_current.deb
Alternatively, install the repository and install the packages from the repository.
- To use the keyserver, port 11371 in your firewall must be unblocked temporarily, then add the repository key manually (using the command-line terminal):
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 94558F59
- Add the repository manually (using the command-line terminal):
sudo apt-add-repository "deb http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free" sudo apt-get update
or add the repository deb http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free to your package manager through its settings dialog.
- Install either the regular 64-bit version or select the 32-bit (i386) version, either using your package manager or manually (using a command-line terminal):
sudo apt-get install spotify-client
- Install one of the GUI frontends (Qt for Kubuntu or Gnome for Ubuntu), either using your package manager or manually (using a command-line terminal):
sudo apt-get install spotify-client-qt
sudo apt-get install spotify-client-gnome-support
Media Centers and PVR (Personal Video Recorder)
There are a number of open-source Media Centers for Linux, some of which include personal video recorder functions. For a full list of open-source media centers, see this guide.
Plasma Media Center for KDE
Plasma Media Center provides a media center interface for the KDE desktop useful for watching videos, listening to music, browsing photos, or streaming YouTube. Install:
sudo apt-get install plasma-mediacenter
or install the plasma-mediacenter package through the Muon Package Manager.
MythTV is a media center with PVR (personal video recorder) for retrieving, recording, and playing broadcast and Internet TV and other multimedia content. It has many options and plugins for expansion. To be useful, you will need a compatible TV tuner card. For setup tips, see this guide. Install:
sudo apt-get install mythtv
Mythbuntu is an integrated Ubuntu (Xubuntu) desktop optimised for MythTV usage. In can be used instead of adding MythTV to a (K)Ubuntu desktop.
XBMC is a free, mature, open-source cross-platform media center. It does not have a PVR capability nor as many functions as MythTV, but has a very nice interface. Install:
sudo apt-get install xbmc
Boxee is an XBMC-like open source package to allow streaming video over the Internet, including from YouTube and other sites. It is a fork of XBMC, and is still in alpha development and testing stage. It is currently available for 32-bit systems only, and recommended for Hardy. A current version is anticipated soon. (Note: Boxee does not run Netflix on Linux, despite their ads). See these download instructions.
Elisa is a cross-platform media center that uses the Gstreamer multimedia framework. Commercial plugins are available from Fluendo. It supports PVR and Music Jukebox . Install:
sudo apt-get install elisa
MPD Multimedia Playing Server
MPD is a music server meant for LAN usage. It can be controlled from remote clients. It can also stream internet streams.
TiMidity++ MIDI Sound Server
TiMidity is a MIDI software synthesizer required by several games and other MIDI-dependent applications.
sudo apt-get install timidity
uShare UPnP A/V Media Server
uShare is a UPnP media server compatible with the Xbox360 and PS3.
sudo apt-get install ushare
Also see: How-to: Run uShare at Startup.
Icecast2 is a multimedia streaming server that allows the creation of an "Internet radio station." Install:
sudo apt-get install icecast2
- There are several GUI-frontends for Icecast (that allow live inputs to be streamed).
- EZStream (sudo apt-get install ezstream)
- DarkIce (sudo apt-get install darkice)
- Ices2 (sudo apt-get install ices2) is part of the Icecast2 project. It allows Ogg Vorbis streaming only.
- Oggfwd (sudo apt-get install oggfwd) is a barebones client to send Ogg Vorbis files to an Icecast server.
- Djplay (sudo apt-get install djplay) is Qt-based, uses the Jack audio system, and supports live Icecast broadcasting.
- LiquidSoap (sudo apt-get install liquidsoap liguidsoap) is an OCAML and Python-based scripting language and GTK-based GUI for building complex audio-streaming systems (with many plug-ins available) for use with an Icecast (or other streaming) server
CRTMPServer (aka Rtmpd) is a free (GPLv3-licensed) server that can stream Flash and many other media types using rtmp streaming. Install:
sudo apt-get install crtmpserver
Red5 Media Server
The Red5 Media Server is a Java-based media streaming server and recorder that uses rtmp and AMF protocols to stream (and/or receive) flash video and other content. Install:
sudo apt-get install red5-server
Flvstreamer is an open source command-line RTMP client to stream audio or video content from all types of flash or rtmp servers. It is a fork from rtmpdump with encrypted rtmp and swf verification support removed. Install:
sudo apt-get install flvstreamer
rtmpdump (Capture streaming video)
Rtmpdump allows the capture of many types of streaming video. Install:
sudo apt-get install rtmpdump
Streamcapture with VLC
- VLC -> Media -> Stream... -> Network -> Please enter a network URL:
- If you don't know the exact URL of the stream you wish to save, you can discover it from the webpage it is embedded in by using the Firefox add-on UnPlug. Do not save streams that are illegal to download.
Streamcapture with MPlayer
- See this section.