How to install and configure best video player on Linux (SMPlayer)
February 10, 2024
What is SMPlayer. Why SMPlayer is better than other video players
SMPlayer is one of the most convenient video players I've ever used. In terms of its ability to play various formats, SMPlayer is no worse than another great cross-platform video player – VLC. But when it comes to ease of use, SMPlayer is ahead of VLC.
SMPlayer is a media player with built-in codecs that can play virtually all video and audio formats.
SMPlayer has many useful functions (crop video to fit the screen, fine-tune the appearance and location of subtitles, select the number of audio output channels) and many other settings, including those related to performance optimization and hardware acceleration of video decoding.
One of the most interesting features of SMPlayer: it remembers the settings of all the files you play. So you start watching a movie, but you need to leave… don't worry, when you open that movie again, it will resume from the same place where you left it and with the same settings: audio track, subtitles, volume, framing images to fit your screen size.
You can also search and download subtitles directly in the SMPlayer interface.
With the help of additional applications and plugins, SMPlayer can work with YouTube: play and search videos on YouTube.
SMPlayer official website: https://www.smplayer.info/
In this short post I will show you how to install SMPlayer on Linux and how to enable hardware acceleration for video decoding.
How to install SMPlayer on Debian, Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Kali Linux and their derivatives
To install the video player, run the following commands:
sudo apt update sudo apt install smplayer
Additionally, you can install a package with themes to change the appearance of SMPlayer, as well as a file with translations if you want the SMPlayer interface to be in a language other than English:
sudo apt install smplayer-themes smplayer-l10n
How to install SMPlayer on Arch Linux, Manjaro, BlackArch and their derivatives
To install the video player, run the following command:
sudo pacman -S smplayer
If you wish, you can install one or all of the optional dependencies:
sudo pacman -S smplayer-themes smplayer-skins youtube-dl yt-dlp mplayer
Description of optional dependency packages:
- smplayer-themes: collection of theme icons
- smplayer-skins: collection of interface themes
- youtube-dl: YouTube video and streaming (note that SMPlayer also has built-in support for video service sites, including YouTube)
- yt-dlp: YouTube video and streaming (based on youtube-dl and has improvements)
- mplayer: alternative multimedia engine
How to enable SMPlayer hardware acceleration. How to improve smooth video playback in SMPlayer
Modern high-bitrate 4K and 8K video files can challenge even an average-performing computer, and are nearly impossible to play on a low-end computer.
To improve the situation, you can enable hardware acceleration of video decoding.
To enable hardware accelerated video decoding in SMPlayer, go to “Options” → “Preferences” → “Performance” from the application menu.
From the “Hardware decoding” drop-down list, select “Auto”.
After this, if your computer supports hardware video decoding, the load on the central processor will noticeably decrease. Video files with very high bitrates can be played more smoothly on low to mid-range machines.
Additionally, you can set the number of threads for decoding. To do this, change the “Threads for decoding (MPEG-1/2 and H.264 only)” value. Please note that the number of threads should not be greater than the number of CPU cores on your computer. This setting apparently has no effect if hardware encoding is used.
To avoid audio and video desynchronization on weak computers, you can enable the “Allow frame drop” option.
Continue to explore SMPlayer settings and features. While playing a video, right-click on the SMPlayer window and you will see numerous video, audio and subtitle settings.
For example, see how you can find subtitles for any movie in SMPlayer: https://suay.site/?p=3879#smplayer
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