Command Line Video Player

External links Overview System requirements Downloads Changelog Compilation Release cycle Bug reports Contributing License Contact External links Wiki FAQ Manual Overview mpv is a free (as in freedom) media player for the command line. It supports a wide variety of media file formats, audio and video codecs, and subtitle types. There is a FAQ. Releases…

Command Line Video Player

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External links


mpv is a free (as in freedom) media player for the command line. It supports
a wide variety of media file formats, audio and video codecs, and subtitle types.

There is a FAQ.

Releases can be found on the release list.

System requirements

  • A not too ancient Linux, Windows 7 or later, or OSX 10.8 or later.
  • A somewhat capable CPU. Hardware decoding might help if the CPU is too slow to
    decode video in realtime, but must be explicitly enabled with the --hwdec
  • A not too crappy GPU. mpv’s focus is not on power-efficient playback on
    embedded or integrated GPUs (for example, hardware decoding is not even
    enabled by default). Low power GPUs may cause issues like tearing, stutter,
    etc. The main video output uses shaders for video rendering and scaling,
    rather than GPU fixed function hardware. On Windows, you might want to make
    sure the graphics drivers are current. In some cases, ancient fallback video
    output methods can help (such as --vo=xv on Linux), but this use is not
    recommended or supported.


For semi-official builds and third-party packages please see


There is no complete changelog; however, changes to the player core interface
are listed in the interface changelog.

Changes to the C API are documented in the client API changelog.

The release list has a summary of most of the important changes
on every release.

Changes to the default key bindings are indicated in


Compiling with full features requires development files for several
external libraries. One of the two build systems supported by mpv is required:
meson or waf. Meson
can be obtained from your distro or PyPI. Waf can be downloaded by using the
./ script. It will get the lastest version of waf that was tested
with mpv. Some documentation about the differences between the build systems are
located in build-system-differences.


After creating your build directory (e.g. meson build), you can view a list
of all the build options via meson configure build. You could also just simply
look at the meson_options.txt file. Logs are stored in meson-logs within
your build directory.


meson build
meson compile -C build
meson install -C build


For a list of the available build options use ./waf configure --help. If
you think you have support for some feature installed but configure fails to
detect it, the file build/config.log may contain information about the
reasons for the failure.

NOTE: To avoid cluttering the output with unreadable spam, --help only shows
one of the two switches for each option. If the option is autodetected or
enabled by default, the --disable-*** switch is printed; if the option is
disabled by default, the --enable-*** switch is printed. Either way, you can
use --enable-*** or --disable-** regardless of what is printed by --help.

To build the software you can use ./waf build: the result of the compilation
will be located in build/mpv. You can use ./waf install to install mpv
to the prefix after it is compiled.


./waf configure
./waf install

Essential dependencies (incomplete list):

  • gcc or clang
  • X development headers (xlib, xrandr, xext, xscrnsaver, xinerama, libvdpau,
    libGL, GLX, EGL, xv, …)
  • Audio output development headers (libasound/ALSA, pulseaudio)
  • FFmpeg libraries (libavutil libavcodec libavformat libswscale libavfilter
    and either libswresample or libavresample)
  • zlib
  • iconv (normally provided by the system libc)
  • libass (OSD, OSC, text subtitles)
  • Lua (optional, required for the OSC pseudo-GUI and youtube-dl integration)
  • libjpeg (optional, used for screenshots only)
  • uchardet (optional, for subtitle charset detection)
  • nvdec and vaapi libraries for hardware decoding on Linux (optional)

Libass dependencies (when building libass):

  • gcc or clang, yasm on x86 and x86_64
  • fribidi, freetype, fontconfig development headers (for libass)
  • harfbuzz (required for correct rendering of combining characters, particularly
    for correct rendering of non-English text on OSX, and Arabic/Indic scripts on
    any platform)

FFmpeg dependencies (when building FFmpeg):

  • gcc or clang, yasm on x86 and x86_64
  • OpenSSL or GnuTLS (have to be explicitly enabled when compiling FFmpeg)
  • libx264/libmp3lame/libfdk-aac if you want to use encoding (have to be
    explicitly enabled when compiling FFmpeg)
  • For native DASH playback, FFmpeg needs to be built with –enable-libxml2
    (although there are security implications, and DASH support has lots of bugs).
  • AV1 decoding support requires dav1d.
  • For good nvidia support on Linux, make sure nv-codec-headers is installed
    and can be found by configure.

Most of the above libraries are available in suitable versions on normal
Linux distributions. For ease of compiling the latest git master of everything,
you may wish to use the separately available build wrapper (mpv-build)
which first compiles FFmpeg libraries and libass, and then compiles the player
statically linked against those.

If you want to build a Windows binary, you either have to use MSYS2 and MinGW,
or cross-compile from Linux with MinGW. See
Windows compilation.

Release cycle

Every other month, an arbitrary git snapshot is made, and is assigned
a 0.X.0 version number. No further maintenance is done.

The goal of releases is to make Linux distributions happy. Linux distributions
are also expected to apply their own patches in case of bugs and security

Releases other than the latest release are unsupported and unmaintained.

See the release policy document for more information.

Bug reports

Please use the issue tracker provided by GitHub to send us bug
reports or feature requests. Follow the template’s instructions or the issue
will likely be ignored or closed as invalid.

Using the bug tracker as place for simple questions is fine but IRC is
recommended (see Contact below).


Please read

For small changes you can just send us pull requests through GitHub. For bigger
changes come and talk to us on IRC before you start working on them. It will
make code review easier for both parties later on.

You can check the wiki
or the issue tracker
for ideas on what you could contribute with.


GPLv2 “or later” by default, LGPLv2.1 “or later” with --enable-lgpl.
See details.


This software is based on the MPlayer project. Before mpv existed as a project,
the code base was briefly developed under the mplayer2 project. For details,
see the FAQ.


Most activity happens on the IRC channel and the github issue tracker.

  • GitHub issue tracker: issue tracker (report bugs here)
  • User IRC Channel: #mpv on
  • Developer IRC Channel: #mpv-devel on

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One thought on “Command Line Video Player

  1. Aditya avatar

    I use mpv (and mplayer before that) from CLI and I find it the best user experience. Sure, it takes some time to read the man and play with it, but now I start it with a bash alias on the display I want and the sound output for either: TV + big sound system or monitor + desktop speakers, depending on whether I am at my desk or on the couch. With a cheap wireless mini keyboard I get all the shortcuts one single key press away.

    With a GUI player I have to navigate menus with a pointer to switch displays and sound, or to select sound and subtitle language, subtitle delay, contrast and brightness, etc.

    Mpv also integrates with youtube-dl. You can tune the buffer size to never require pausing because of internet problems, select whatever quality with no auto switching like the native youtube client. Supports playlists and everything.