Archives For November 30, 1999

GNOME, the default desktop for Ubuntu, expects to replace its core Totem video player with ‘Showtime’, which is still in development stage.

Due to switch to GTK4, GNOME has replaced some of the core apps, including image viewer, text editor, camera app, and terminal emulator. And, Decibels is proposed as core app for playing audio files.

As the current Totem video player has not been maintained for nearly a year and sticks to GTK3, Showtime is submitted and accepted into the GNOME Incubator, which will be the core app if it reaches the required maturity.

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MPV, the popular free open-source media player, announced new 0.38.0 release few days ago!

The release improved --deinterlace with auto value, and --deinterlace-field-parity to automatically turn on deinterlacing. It can improve the overall clarity, sharpness of the video, by converting interlaced video (commonly found in analog television, VHS, Laserdisc, digital television (HDTV)) into a progressive form.

Without using config file, users can now press and hold Ctrl key then use mouse wheel scrolling to zoom in or zoom out the video playback.

Ctrl + Mouse Wheel to zoom in/out

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After more than a year of development, Kodi media player 21, code-name “Omega”, is finally released!

Kodi 21 is a new major release. It’s now based on FFmpeg 6.0, that features Radiance HDR image support, VAAPI decoding and QSV decoding for 10/12bit 422, 10/12bit 444 HEVC and VP9, MediaCodec decoder, and various other exciting new features, see ffmpeg.org for details.

For macOS, the release supports HiDPI (retina) displays using its native implementations for window displays. And, it fixed crash on speech recognition activation, improved window resizing when moving (or fallback when display disconnected) from one display to another, and implemented Hotkeycontroller for media keys.
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QMPlay2, the free open-source Qt media player, released version 24.03.16 few days ago.

QMPlay2 is a Qt based media player that uses FFmpeg as backend for most video and audio codecs support. It also supports Audio CD, raw files, Rayman 2 music and chiptunes, as well as ALSA, PulseAudio or PipeWire sound servers. And, it has built-in a browser to search & play YouTube videos.

The most recent 24.03.16 release added better support for FFmpeg 6.1, and experimental Vulkan Video decoder support. So, since this release, the media player now supports hardware accelerated video playback through following APIs:

  • Vulkan Video (needs FFmpeg 6.1).
  • CUVID (NVIDIA only)
  • DXVA2 (Windows Vista and higher)
  • D3D11VA (Vulkan, Windows 8 and higher)
  • VDPAU/VA-API (X11 for VDPAU, Linux/BSD only)
  • VideoToolBox (macOS only).

QMPlay2 YouTube browser


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Parole, the lightweight media player for XFCE Desktop, released version 4.18.1 few days ago.

The new release updates the app icons with 32px, 64px, 96px sizes support, so it should have a cleaner look in system menus like App Finder, Whisker Menu.

The extensions icons have been updated using newer Xfce palette, and semi-transparent borders giving it a sharper look in dark themes.

The system tray icon now is disabled outside X11. And, it now supports middle click actions to control video playback:

  • middle click to pause/resume playback.
  • middle wheel scrolling over tray icon to volume up/down.

Other changes in the release include:

  • Allow to built without X11 support and therefore whithout XfceSMClient.
  • Fix critical warning and memory leak
  • mpris2: Properly disconnect signal handlers
  • honor gtk-dialogs-use-header as Xfce 4.18 is CSD opt-in.
  • Small UI Improvements and many translation updates

How to Install Parole 4.18.1:

At the moment of writing, there’s no binary package of Parole 4.18.1 for Ubuntu.

But it’s not hard to compile the package from the source (tested in XUbuntu 22.04):

  • First, open terminal and run command to install the build dependency packages:
    sudo apt install debhelper-compat gtk-doc-tools intltool libclutter-1.0-dev libclutter-gtk-1.0-dev libdbus-1-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0-dev libgstreamer1.0-dev libgtk-3-dev libnotify-dev libtagc0-dev libxfce4ui-2-dev libxfconf-0-dev pkg-config xfce4-dev-tools
  • Then, download the source tarball by going to XFCE website via the link below:
  • Extract the source tarball, then right-click on the new generated folder, and select “Open in Terminal”. Finally, run the 3 commands below one by one to compile it from source:
    ./configure
    make -j4
    sudo make install

NOTE: It by default installs the parole executable to /usr/local/bin without overriding the pre-installed one. Meaning you’ll have 2 versions of the media player installed in your system, while the app icon in menu will launch the newer 4.18.1 version.

(Uninstall) By opening the source folder in terminal, you may also uninstall the media player by running command:

sudo make uninstall

For VLC users who prefer installing the player via the classic .deb package, here’s an Ubuntu PPA contains the most recent (3.0.21 updated) for Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 23.10, and Ubuntu 24.04.

VLC media player is available in Ubuntu system repository, but always old. For the most recent version, VideoLAN provides Snap package, which however runs in sandbox environment.


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Xfce’s Parole media player announced the 4.18.0 released a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 22.10 and their based systems.

Parole is a modern simple video player based on the GStreamer. It’s an free opensource app fit well in the lightweight XFCE desktop, though also works in other Linux desktops.

The new version 4.18.0 was released last night. It’s been more than 2 years since the last release, there’s however NO big changes but only bug-fixes, minor improvements, and translation updates.

Changes in Parole 4.18.0 according to the NEWS file:

  • Hovering mouse wheel over a speaker icon can also increase volume now.
  • Reduce playback control panel to stay 2 seconds when in full-screen mode.
  • Fix memory leak when loading cover image.
  • Some icon updates and translation updates.

How to Install Parole 4.18.0 via PPA in Ubuntu:

The project does not provide official binary packages. Besides building from the source tarball, XUbuntu, Linux Lite, Linux Mint, and of course other Ubuntu based systems can get it from this unofficial PPA.

NOTE: Parole seems not working good in GNOME desktop with Wayland session. Meaning Ubuntu and Fedora workstation with default desktop environment need to switch to classic Xorg for this app.

1. First, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard or search for and open terminal window from start menu. When it opens, run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps

Type user password (no asterisk feedback) when it asks and hit Enter to continue. The PPA support for Ubuntu 20.04 and higher with both amd64 and arm64/armhf cpu architecture types.

2. Some Ubuntu based systems may need to manually update package index after adding PPA. To do so, run command:

sudo apt update

3. Finally, either upgrade the media player from an existing version (if any) using Software Updater (Update Manager), or run command in terminal to install it:

sudo apt install parole

Uninstall Parole or Restore original package

To restore the original version, run command in terminal to purge the PPA as well as downgrade the package:

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

Or, you can remove the Ubuntu PPA either via “Software & Updates” tool under “Other Software” tab, or run command:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps

To remove the media player, use command:

sudo apt remove --autoremove parole

Since 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, add the following new line:

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 (or App Center).

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