by January 2, 2003 0 comments

Another audio format steadily gaining popularity after MP3 is WMA (Windows Media Audio) from Microsoft. It offers CD quality audio at 64 kbps and is supposed to offer much better compression than MP3. Owing to this, WMA is also looked at as a good choice for streaming music. Till now if you wanted to play WMA files, you needed Windows Media Player, which is only bundled with the Windows OS. So, what if you’re running Linux? Enter the new Media player for Linux. It’s a tiny command line-based utility that can be downloaded from www1.mplayerhq.

In addition to WMA, the player also supports all other popular audio/video formats, which include MPEG, AVI, QuickTime, RealMedia, MP3, MP4, WMA, DivX4/DivX5, etc. Besides this, it can also play Audio CDs, Video CDs, and even

To install it on your Linux desktop, copy the downloaded file into \root directory. Open the terminal console and issue these commands from \root directory to extract the files from zipped file:

You can play all popular audio/video formats with this player

# bzip2 —d MPlayer-0.90rc1.tar.bz2 (To extract the
zipped tar file)
# tar —xvf MPlayer-0.90rc1.tar ( To extract from tar file)

This will make a folder called Mplayer-0.9rc1, which contains all the source files of Media Player for Linux. To configure the media player, open the terminal console again, go to “MPlayer-0.90rc1” directory and give following commands.

# ./configure 
# make 
# make install

Once installed, playing any media file using the player is as simple as giving the following command. 

#mplayer filename

Since the player is command-line based, all playback properties have to be controlled using various key combinations. You can use the right and left arrow keys to rewind or fast forward files, press ‘P’ for pausing and the same key to resume, and the “/” and “*” keys on the keyboard’s number pad for volume control. When playing movies, you can switch between different resolutions using the —vm parameter followed by the resolution on the x, y axis. To play a video file in full-screen mode, use the following command.

#mplayer filename —fs — vm -zoom

The player also lets you create your own play lists, and has some other neat features like support frame dropping to play files on slower machines, control the positioning of sub-titles, and several other interesting features. While it’s not as fancy as a GUI-based media player, it’s definitely a neat utility. 

Sanjay Majumder

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