5 best Linux media players

music n tux icon

A media player is an application where everyone needs to play some kind of media files, be it an audio file or video file. There are numerous media players for Linux operating system out there that are good in one way or another. Some can only play video files, where others are best known for audio files, and some are good for both audio and video files. Below is a list of 5 such media players which you can use on your Linux Desktop system.

MPlayer (audio and video):

mplayer icon

MPlayer is one of the most trusted and used media player for Linux Desktop. It is also known to be one of the oldest media player in existence.


  • Free and open source, means you can use the program and legally upgrade it to the latest version without paying a penny.
  • Can be installed and used on various operating systems, including Linux, Microsoft, Mac OS, OS/2 etc.
  • Can play almost any kind of media file because it supports a large number of media codecs as referenced at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPlayer#Media_formats


  • The basic installation does not have any GUI. But you can install SMPlayer which is just a GUI version of MPlayer.
  • Some extra packages/programs are needed to make MPlayer work with various kind of file formats.

VLC Media Player (audio and video):

vlc icon

VLC does not need any introduction as it is already very well known in the Linux community. This is also a cross platform application which works on Linux, Windows and MacOS systems.


  • It is a lightweight media player that uses relatively few system resources.
  • VLC can also play nearly any format, including (but not limited to) MPEG, AVI, MP4, MOV etc.
  • It is extremely customizable as you can change nearly any video and audio setting in the program, including codec settings, video filters, network settings and hot-keys using the “preferences” of this program.
  • Interface is simple and user friendly for general functions to perform on the media files.


  • Official documentation is limited and outdated or incomplete.
  • A user has to spend more time digging through the menu and options to find more advanced actions that VLC can perform on media files.

Miro (audio, video, Internet TV):

miro logoMiro is not just a video/audio player but a much more. You can view RSS video feeds, Hulu, YouTube etc. from one window. You can also convert videos from within the GUI of the program.


  • Plays nearly all video and audio files.
  • It can play RSS feeds and YouTube videos directly from GUI.
  • It has an in-built video converter.


  • Not stable! Although this application have so much to offer but it makes no sense when the program itself is not stable.
  • The development cycle is very slow.

If the developers decide to work on it extensively and try to fix all the issues it currently has, it might be one of the best choices among media players for a user.

MPV (audio and video):

mpv iconMPV is another fork of MPlayer and MPlayer2 which has all the old features plus new ones.


  • Just like VLC, MPV does not need extra codecs and libraries to play media files.
  • Very lightweight, which means it takes less system resources.
  • Since it is lightweight, it is very fast as compared to other media players in this list.


  • It has a very simple interface which might be a issue for beginner level users.
  • All the configuration files are stored in text files. A lot of users will find it difficult to configure MPV to match their needs.

DeadBeef (audio only):

deadbeef iconThis one is my favorite when it comes to play music files only.


  • Very lightweight, which makes it a perfect choice for older systems with less resources.
  • Very customizable, it has a lot of plug-in support which users can use to customize various options, interface and controls.


  • Not as many options as other media players but if you are just looking for audio player and nothing fancy, then DeadBeef could prove one of the best music players.


Which one do you prefer?

Choosing one of the above media players is hard because all of them are better than the other in one way or another. For me, VLC media player works the best so far. It all comes down to preferences and how you feel about the application you are using. So pick one that you like the most and enjoy your time.

Tell us what you think and which one suits your needs the best. Share your input with us in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *