Top 5 Video Players for Ubuntu

With advancements in GUI OS design, most operating systems now have a default multimedia player. These multimedia players can provide good quality audio and video playback and offer support for a wide variety of video file formats.

Despite their reliability, you may want to switch to a third-party media player because of the wide variety of features they have to offer. These multimedia players are designed to provide the most control to their users.

If you’re someone looking for a different multimedia player for Ubuntu, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve compiled a list of the best video players that provide extensive support for different file types and a plethora of features that will make the default video player seem lackluster.

Without further ado, here’s the list of the top 5 video players for Ubuntu:

1. VLC Media Player

Released back in 2001, the VLC Media player is one of the oldest and the most popular video players available on the internet. The reasons for its popularity are many. Not only is it available for Ubuntu, but for countless other operating systems as well, including Windows, Android, iOS, etc.

This open-source media player can support almost any media file you throw at it without the hassle of any additional plugins. Besides the flexibility to play most kinds of audio and video files on VLC, viewing subtitles is also a breeze.

What also makes it stand out is the support for DVDs and videos present on external storage devices, for example, USB flash drives. This feature is not very common in media players that are available for Linux.

The list of features is endless, from streaming and downloading videos to add-ons for browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, support for high definition videos such as MPEG and HEVC, the ability to download subtitles without the use of additional plugins, and so on.

Installation of VLC on Ubuntu is simple. Just type the following in the Command Terminal:

sudo apt-get install vlc

2. SMPlayer

Another favorite of Ubuntu users, SMPlayer, is an upgraded version of the older Mplayer with a user-friendly interface.

Released in 2006 under GNU GPLv2, this media player is just as capable of running most audio and video files without the requirement of any additional plugins.

Without any additional codec, you can use the software to play and download videos, search and download subtitles from the internet and load them into the video via the player.

SMplayer keeps track of the timestamps, meaning that you can resume watching your videos from where you left them.

Other features include countless skins which can easily be downloaded from the internet, the ability to adjust playback speed, the presence of effective audio and video equalizers, and a customizable toolbar.

All the attractive features apart, a good media player should offer a great playback performance, and SMPlayer maintains a reputation for delivering exactly that. Download SMPlayer simply by running the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rvm/smplayer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install smplayer smplayer-themes smplayer-skins

3. MPV Player

MPV Player is another free media player available for Ubuntu. Released in Oct 2016 under license from GPLv2, it is similar to SMPlayer in terms of the features. MPV Player was designed to make the media player easier to use by including a graphical interface.

Another improvement in the design of the original MPlayer worth mentioning is the improved quality of client API since it can be used by other programs with a library interface by the name of libmpv.

What’s distinguishing about the player is its ability to decode 4K videos which is better than what you would find in most other video players. With the use of youtube-dl, you can play high-definition videos from Youtube and hundreds of other websites.

Besides supporting almost all the different video and audio file extensions, MPV also offers media encoding, smooth transition between two frames, color management, and more.

Here are the commands which you can use to install MPV Player on your system:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/mpv-tests
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y mpv

4. XBMC – Kodi Media Center

Originally known as Xbox Media Center or XBMC, Kodi is a cross-platform media player licensed under GNU. It is a well-known software for playing audio and video files on Ubuntu.

Kodi offers support for most audio and video file formats that are available online. With the help of add-ons, it offers loads of attractive features that include screensavers and themes for a customized interface, syncing and downloading subtitles, video streaming, and visualizations.

As Kodi was originally designed for a gaming console, Xbox, it also supports joysticks and other gaming controllers.

Downloading Kodi on Ubuntu is very simple. Just type the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y kodi

5. Miro

Miro, formerly known as Democracy Player or DTV, is a free audio and video player. It also serves as an online streaming application. It was released under GNU General Public License and offers support for almost all media formats, including the high-definition MPEG and HEVC.

Miro also features a user-friendly video converter based on FFmpeg, which can convert almost any video/audio file format into mp4 or h264. The media player is easy to use and allows you to download and watch videos from various websites on the internet using RSS.

Type the following commands in the Terminal to get Miro on Ubuntu:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:joyard-nicolas/ffmpeg
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ffmpeg miro

So, now that you have the top 5 video players for Ubuntu at your fingertips, it shouldn’t be hard to pick the one that suits your requirements best. Download your pick right away and start enjoying your favorite movies and songs without a hitch.


This concludes our list of the top 5 video players that are available for Ubuntu. Although the core features of each multimedia player are the same, the differences lie in file support, streaming, and GUI. We hope you can choose the video player that’s most suited for you based on these. Enjoy!

About the author

Zeeman Memon

Hi there! I'm a Software Engineer who loves to write about tech. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn.