Archives For media player

In Ubuntu 22.04, you’ll find that the MPV media player does NOT have window border and title-bar out-of-the-box.

That’s quite annoying! You can no longer drag resizing the app window. And, title bar buttons (minimize, maximize, and close) only appear when you hover over the window during video playback.

MPV no window border and title bar

Why:

It’s NOT feature but a bug! Someone has reported the issue almost 9 years ago. Though, it’s still not been fixed due to GNOME Wayland protocol.

You know, MPV is a command line media player. It does not use the GUI toolkit for window borders, but the server-side protocol. However, GNOME developers do deliberately do not support the xdg-decoration protocol for server-side decorations in Wayland (via this FAQ).

Ubuntu 22.04 finally switched Wayland as the default session. So, the problem occurs.

Workaround 1: Switch back Xorg Session

Besides MPV, still many applications have compatibility issues with GNOME Wayland. Even the Night Light feature does not work in Ubuntu 22.04 with this session.

As a workaround, user may switch back to the classic Xorg session. To do so, simply log out, click your username in login screen, then select “Ubuntu on Xorg” via the bottom right gear button menu, and finally type password to log in.

To verify your current session either run echo $XDG_SESSION_TYPE command in terminal or check in “Settings -> About -> Windowing system”.

Workaround 2: Run MPV via X11 backend

For those prefer GNOME Wayland session, it’s possible to run MPV media player via X11 backend without switch session.

1.) To start video playback from command line, use command:

mpv --gpu-context=x11egl --hwdec=vaapi-copy PATH/TO/VIDEO_FILE

Here --gpu-context=x11egl tells to use x11 backend for video playback. And, --hwdec=vaapi-copy is required to enable GPU hardware acceleration in this case.

Thanks to S. Likhitrattanapisal, you may try --hwdec=vaapi flag to enable hwacc. Though it may not work, it depends on your hardware.

2.) To enable this for global use, you may add the flags into MPV configuration file.

Press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When terminal opens, make a copy of configuration file first via command:

sudo cp /etc/mpv/mpv.conf /etc/mpv/mpv.conf.bak

Then, edit the file via command:

sudo xdg-open /etc/mpv/mpv.conf

When file opens, change the content into:

hwdec=vaapi-copy
gpu-context=x11egl

After saving the changes, start playing your movie via MPV. The window border as well as title-bar should be back!

Workaround 3: Use GUI front-end

There are a few media players that use MPV as backend. As far as I know, there are SMPlayer and Celluloid (formerly GNOME MPV), both of which are available to install via Ubuntu Software.

The popular Kodi media center has the first update in 2022 by releasing v19.4. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

The release fixed many issues in the Kodi 19 “Matrix”, including Chinese keyboard character display issue, seekbar wouldn’t disappear when pause via a remote app, EDL mute now working, flickering with interlaced H.264 SD on AMD GPUs. For Linux, it now automatically plays DVDs.

And for Xbox users, it may now passthrough audio via WASAPI, and install Python add-ons without permission issue. See release note for more about Kodi 19.4.

How to Install Kodi 19.4 in Ubuntu:

Kodi has an official Ubuntu PPA. It usually contains the latest packages for all current Ubuntu releases.

1. Add Kodi PPA.

Firstly, open terminal either by searching from the activities overview screen or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard.

When terminal opens, paste the command below into it and hit Enter to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa

Type user password when it asks (no asterisk feedback) and hit Enter to continue.

2. Install / Upgrade Kodi.

If you’re now running the stock version of Kodi package in Ubuntu, the Software Updater may refuse to update it. So it’s recommended to use the command below to install or update the media player.

Firstly refresh system package cache for old Linux, e.g., Ubuntu 18.04, by running command:

sudo apt update

Next, install or upgrade Kodi via command:

sudo apt install kodi

Once installed, you may open Kodi like normal apps by searching from the overview screen. Or log out and select login via Kodi session.

The PPA also provides more audio encoder and PVR add-ons packages. Install them as you need via either apt command or synaptic package manager.

How to Downgrade:

You can purge the Ubuntu PPA as well as downgrade Kodi to the stock version available in Ubuntu main repositories. To do so, run command:

sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:team-xbmc/ppa

This simple tutorial shows how to install the latest version of Kodi media center in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, and their based systems, e.g., Linux Mint 20, Elementary OS 6 and Zorin OS 16.

Kodi, formerly XBMC, is now at version 19.2 “Matrix”. It fixed some possible crashes caused by missing timer type, missing channel icons, accessing invalid PVR channel, or switching monitors, toggling on/off HDR from Windows 10 display settings.

The big one in the release it that Kodi 19.x now is available on the Xbox, along with swap chain and HEVC DXVA2 decoder performance improvements, and 4k resolution and HDR video playback fixes. For more, see the release note.

How to Install Kodi 19.2 in Ubuntu:

Kodi has an official Ubuntu PPA. It usually contains the latest packages for all current Ubuntu releases.

1. Add Kodi PPA.

Firstly, open terminal either by searching from the activities overview screen or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard.

When terminal opens, paste the command below into it and hit Enter to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa

Type user password when it asks, while no asterisk feedback, and hit Enter to continue.

2. Install / Upgrade Kodi.

If you’re now running the stock version of Kodi package in Ubuntu, the Software Updater may refuse to update it. So it’s recommended to use the command below to install or update the media player.

Firstly refresh system package cache for old Linux, e.g., Ubuntu 18.04, by running command:

sudo apt update

Next, install or upgrade Kodi via command:

sudo apt install kodi

Once installed, you may open Kodi like normal apps by searching from the overview screen. Or log out and select login via Kodi session.

The PPA also provides more audio encoder and PVR add-ons packages. Install them as you need via either apt command or synaptic package manager.

How to Downgrade:

You can purge the Ubuntu PPA as well as downgrade Kodi to the stock version available in Ubuntu main repositories. To do so, run command:

sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:team-xbmc/ppa

SMPlayer media player released version 21.8.0 with official dmg package for macOS, and more binary packages for Linux users.

SMPlayer is a free open-source video player for Windows and Linux. By releasing v21.8.0, it finally adds macOS support officially. It uses MPV and/or MPlayer multimedia engine, so it can play virtually all video and audio formats.

The player remembers the settings of all files you play, so when you open an unfinished movie it will be resumed at the same point you left it, as well as the same settings. It also has built-in YouTube browser, allows to search for and click to play YouTube video directly in the media player.

I always keep SMPlayer in my system as an alternative media player, because it has some useful features that I need. They include:

  • ability to fetch subtitles from internet.
  • cast to smart phone and chromecast.
  • rotate video and change aspect ratio while playback.

What’s New in SMPlayer 21.8.0

Besides the macOS package, Linux Appimage, Flatpak, and Snap support, the release also include following changes:

  • Better automatic resizing of the main window, trying to prevent black borders.
  • Add option to rotate the video by 180 degrees.
  • Add some predefined speeds (0.25x, 0.5x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x).
  • Prevent a one second delay when using play prev/next.
  • The installation of YouTube support is now optional on Windows.
  • Disable power saving on Linux Wayland during playback.
  • And some bug-fixes.

How to Get SMPlayer:

The media player now is available at Github. All the binary packages as well as source tarball are available to download at the link below:

For Linux, since Appimage is a non-install executable, Flatpak and Snap are universal package formats need separate daemons to run in sandbox, native .deb / .rpm package may still be preferred.

To install and keep SMPlayer native packages up-to-date, you can either use the official OBS repository for Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE.

Or use the official Ubuntu PPA for all current Ubuntu releases, Linux Mint, and derivatives.

1. Add Ubuntu PPA.

Open terminal either from start menu (click top-left ‘Activities’, search for and open terminal), or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rvm/smplayer

Type user password, no asterisk feedback, and hit Enter to continue. So for, it supports Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, and Ubuntu 21.04.

2. Install / Upgrade SMPlayer:

After adding the PPA, you can either install it via command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install smplayer smtube

or upgrade the player via Software Updater (Update Manager) if an old release was installed.

Uninstall SMPlayer in Ubuntu:

To remove the PPA, either open “Software & Updates”, go to “Other Software” line and remove the relevant repository line, or run command:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:rvm/smplayer

To remove the media player, run command:

sudo apt remove --autoremove smplayer smtube

Parole, a modern simple media player for XFCE, has reached the 0.9.2 release. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.10, Ubuntu 17.04 via PPA.

Parole 0.9.2 requires GTK >= 3.20. Ubuntu 16.04 won’t be able to update to this release with the default GTK+3 libraries.

Parole 0.9.2 features:

  • Update homepage to docs.xfce.org
  • Switch Xfce URLs to HTTPS
  • Keyboard shortcuts helper available in the Help menu
  • New B/N keybindings for previous and next track
  • Fixed null pointer dereference
  • Fixed adding directories to queue via commandline
  • Fixed shuffle functionality also repeating
  • Fixed display order of audio and subtitle tracks
  • Fixed “Clear Recent” clearing global history
  • Fixed Ctrl-Q keybinding when in fullscreen
  • Fixed string escaping in audiobox widget
  • Complete the Parole Plugins documentation and improved documentation quality
  • translation updates and code quality improvements.

How to Install Parole 0.9.2 in Ubuntu:

For Ubuntu 16.10 and Ubuntu 17.04, do following steps to add PPA and install or upgrade Parole to version 0.9.2:

1. Open terminal via Ctrl+Alt+T or by searching for “Terminal” from app launcher. When it opens, run command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps

Type in your password (no visual feedback when typing due to security reason) when it prompts and hit Enter.

parole ppa for zesty

2. Then upgrade the media player via Software Updater utility:

upgrade parole media player

or run following commands to install / upgrade it:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install parole

For Ubuntu 16.04 users who’ve updated GTK version (no recommended for beginners), grab the .deb package for Ubuntu 16.10 from HERE.

Uninstall:

Run following command to purge the PPA repository which also downgrade installed packages to the stock version in your Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps