Use Mplayer On Windows

Published Date
01 - Mar - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Mar - 2006
Use Mplayer On Windows
Here we introduce you to a media player that's very different from common Windows players. Mplayer-a media play-back software originally designed for Linux systems-now has precompiled packages available for Windows. The packages are available from various sources, but the home site is

What makes Mplayer different? First, you need not install a third-party codec pack to play file formats such as DivX. Well, even VLC player can play back DivX without additional codec packs, but what's different about Mplayer is its command line interface. Yes, Mplayer works from the command line, which means there's no scroll bar, play/pause buttons or visualisation. You control everything via the keyboard. At this point, Mplayer may sound like a media player tailor-made for a geek, but believe us-once you start using Mplayer, you'll find it very easy to control it.

A GUI can be complied for Linux distros, and there are numerous skins to choose from. An effort at creating a GUI version for Windows is still in its early stages, but some developers have created a front-end to the command line. We will look at that as well.
STEP 1. Downloading Mplayer
Downloading the player can be confusing, as there are many download sources. A few developers have compiled a helpful installer and front-end for Windows.

If you stick to the main source of the software (, you'll get a compressed file, MPlayer-mingw32-dev-*.zip (7.92 MB), containing a pre-compiled set of files that also includes Mencoder, a command-line tool to convert files from one format to another.

If you'd prefer, you can get the installer package with a GUI front-end (3.55 MB), which is a small interface placed over the command-line player. You can add files to it and play back files by double-clicking on them. The playback will open in a command window. The GUI front-end only simplifies the use of the command-line Mplayer. We recommend you download the package available at mplayer/index.php. Note that this package does not contain Mencoder.

STEP 2. Installing Mplayer
The method of installation varies for the two cases mentioned above.

If you downloaded the package from MplayerHQ, uncompress the package to a folder with preferably the same name. Locate the file named 'mplayer.exe', right-click it and choose 'Send to desktop'. This will create a desktop shortcut. That's it-Mplayer is ready to play files! Just drag and drop the files onto the desktop shortcut to play them.

If you downloaded the package with the GUI front-end, the installation is just like any Windows application installer, but a few changes are needed to set the GUI front-end. The desktop icon created by the installer is incomplete: you need to set the path to its executable by double-clicking on the icon and choosing 'winmplauncher.exe'. Double-click this shortcut to open the GUI front-end. This will help you to add files to a playlist and then play them by clicking the Play button.

If you are playing files for the first time using Winmplauncher then you will have to locate mplayer.exe using the windows as shown above

If you're running it for the first time, you're likely to see "Please locate mplayer.exe"; click OK and then the "Find" button in the pop-up window. Mplayer.exe is located in C:Program FilesMplayer, unless you changed the installation path. The setup is ready to play files.

STEP 3. Playback using the keyboard
In both cases, you can drag-and-drop a media file to the desktop shortcut, or use the front-end to list and play files; both will open the command-line interface. Control the player using the keyboard. Listed below are the keys that can be used.

To play a video file, open Winmplauncher (the GUI front-end) and click on the ' ' button to add a file to the playlist. Now, double-click the file listed to play it. The video playback opens within a window of the actual video resolution and it won't resize by default. Use [F] to toggle to full-screen mode, or just resize the window by stretching at the corner. To stop video playback and quit, press [Esc].

Other features include correction of audio-to-video lag by using the [ ] and [-] keys on the numeric keypad, calibrated to as low as 0.1 seconds per keystroke. Now, let's say you've changed the file extension of a video file from .AVI to .MP3. Add this file to, say, Windows Media Player; it will not be able to play back the file, stating "Corrupt file or format". But Mplayer recognises the file format intrinsically and plays the file without any error.

You can take our word for it-once you get the hang of Mplayer, you'll forget about all other media players! 

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