One of the perks of Linux is that it offers a large numbers of free tools and applications. Ubuntu supports a vast number of media players, below we have reviewed 12 of them along with their installation instructions and usage. The benefit of writing the installation instructions along with a short review is that it helps a user to install multiple apps easily without having to visit the product page.
It is a very stable, cross-platform and portable media player which can also be used as media converter. There is long list of audio and video formats like Wave, DivX, MPEG, mp3, ogg, and aac which VLC player can support. Installing and using it on Ubuntu is easy. To install it, run the following command in terminal.
sudo apt-get install vls vls-plugin-esd mozilla-plugin-vlc
Once installation is complete, it can be loaded from Applications > Sound & Video > VLC Media Player.
Here is the screenshot showing main window of VLC media player while playing an audio media file.
It has very rich set of features and a lot of options are available. You can use Media tab to perform basic media operations like Open File, Open Directory, Open Disc, Save Media File and Convert etc.
Similarly Audio and Video menus offers wide range of options, you can check various play list options from Playlist menu.
Mplayer is also one of the most used media player across all operating systems. It offers features like user-friendly interface, support for large number of media formats, etc. We have already covered MPlayer in one of our previous post, you can check the full details regarding its installation and usage here .
Amarok is a cross-platform media player which has gained quite a popularity over the time. It has rich set of features like playing all media formats files, tagging music, creating and editing play lists, etc. Bbasically it uses the components of KDE and in case you are going to use it in Gnome Desktop environment then you will need to install its supporting components. Installation is very easy, just follow through the following steps.
Go to Applications > Add/Remove.
Search and Choose Amarok and click Apply Changes, it will install all its required components as well.
Once installation is complete, load it from Applications > Sounds & Videoss> Amarok. Here is screenshot showing its main window.
As discussed in its introductory paragraph that it offers wide range of features, you really need to spend some time with it to get familiar with its all set of feature.
SongBird is one of the most famous open source, customizable media player. It is well known for interacting with online contents using its plugins.
To install it, first download its latest release from its official site. Once download is complete, open terminal and go through following steps.
1. Untrar the downloaded file as :
tar -xvf Songbird_1.2.0-1146_linux-i686.tar.gz
2. Go into extracted folder
3. Run following command to initialize the installation wizard.
Now, go through the graphical installation wizard. At first step accept the license agreement and click Continue.
Next, choose Add-ons and click Continue to proceed further.
In the final step, click Finish.
Now, songbird will initialize to install, it will hardly take couple of minutes to complete installation.
Thats all, now here is how it looks when launched.
Banshee makes organizing, playing, and sharing music much more easier. It has very eye-candy and user friendly interface. It encodes/decodes different media formats by using GStreamer on the back end. To install it, run following command in terminal.
sudo aptitude install banshee
Once installation is complete, load it from Applications > Sounds & Video > Banshee Media Player.
You can play any media file with it by going to Media > Open Location option. Here browse the directory structure and select the file.
It lets you import/export music libraries from Media > Import Media option. You can also create your own play lists (called smart list) in Banshee.
Rhytmbox is originally inspired by Apple’s iTunes, it also works very well under Gnome desktop environment. It lets you play and organize the media files, to install it in Ubuntu, run the following command in terminal.
sudo apt-get install rhythmbox
Once installation is complete, load it from Applications > Sound & Video > Rhythmbox Music Player.
It has an icon bar located under the main bar. Here you can find most commonly used options like Play, Shuffle and Repeat. You can add play lists form Music > Playlist > New play list option.
One of the most exciting feature of Rhythmbox is that you can subscribe to podcast (podcast is actually a series of media files which are available to be downloaded via web).
It also lets you update your subscription with podcast in an easy way by using Update option.
JuK is free audio media player for Ubuntu and it supports MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC audio files. It has strong focus on management of music but it also offers CD burning feature. Installing it in Ubuntu is a piece-of-cake, go to Applications > Add/Remove. Choose Juk from list of available program and click Apply Changes. It will take some time to install as it involves some dependencies.
Once installed, you can launch it from Applications > Sounds & Videos > Juk.
You can open audio media file by using File > Open option. Further you can explore its different available options to get acquainted with its different feature, e.g View menu offers rich set of features.
The main goal for quodlibet is to provide an easy-to-use interface for organizing media collection. It is an audio media that most people prefer to use it in Ubuntu. To install it , run the following command in terminal.
sudo apt-get install quodlibet
Once installation is complete, load it from Applications > Sound & Videos > Quodlibet.
You can easily manage your audio collection form Music Option which is located in the main menu. You can add new files/folders, browse your already created libraries, set preferences for Quod Libet and install many useful plugins.
Totem is yet another media player to play audio and video in Gnome Desktop environment . It has features like advanced coding support, full screen mode, forward and seek facility. You need not to install it as it comes as a part of Ubuntu distribution.
It can be launched from Applications > Sound & Videos > Movie Player.
One of the well known feature of totem is Youtube support, you can browse and watch Youtube video in it. To watch it, select Youtube from Playlist drop down.
Xine is also a free, light-weight, and high performance media player in Ubuntu. It offers very powerful API and is further extended and used by many opensource applications.
Run the following command to install it in Ubuntu.
sudo aptitude install xine-ui libxine-extracodecs
Once installation is complete, launch it from Applications > Sounds & Videos > Xine Media Player. Here is screenshot of how it looks.
Exaile media player offers a wide range of advanced features specially automatic fetching of album art, handling of large libraries, and lyrics fetching etc. To install it in Ubuntu, run the following command in terminal.
sudo apt-get install exaile
It will take almost no time to install, once installation is complete you can easily launch it from Applications > Sounds & Videos > Exaile. Let me share the screenshot of its main window.
You can find common media playere’s functions like Opening media files, discs, etc from File Menu.
Beep is a free media player which is actually based on XMMS (XMMS is a free, opensource audio player just like Winamp). To install Beep is a piece-of-cake, run the following command in terminal to install it.
sudo apt-get install beep
Once installation is complete, you can load it from Applications > Sounds & Videos > Beep Media Player. Here is screenshot showing how it looks when playing music file.
There could be many other media players out there, but we have reviewed only a few commonly used ones. We hope that you will find the article useful. Enjoy!