2.2. Supported codecs

2.2.1. Video codecs

See the codec status table for the complete, daily generated list. Quite a few codecs are available for download from our homepage. Grab them from our codecs page.

The most important ones above all:

  • MPEG-1 (VCD) and MPEG-2 (DVD) video
  • native decoders for DivX ;-), OpenDivX (DivX4), DivX 5 (Pro), 3ivX, M$ MPEG-4 v1, v2 and other MPEG-4 variants
  • native decoder for Windows Media Video 7/8 (WMV1/WMV2), and Win32 DLL decoder for Windows Media Video 9 (WMV3), both used in .wmv files
  • native Sorenson 1 (SVQ1) decoder
  • native Sorenson 3 (SVQ3) decoder
  • 3ivx v1, v2 decoder
  • Cinepak and Intel Indeo codecs (3.1,3.2,4.1,5.0)
  • MJPEG, AVID, VCR2, ASV2 and other hardware formats
  • VIVO 1.0, 2.0, I263 and other H.263(+) variants
  • RealVideo 1.0 & 2.0 from libavcodec, and RealVideo 3.0 & 4.0 codecs using RealPlayer libraries
  • native decoder for HuffYUV
  • Various old simple RLE-like formats

If you have a Win32 codec not listed here which is not supported yet, please read the codec importing HOWTO and help us add support for it. DivX4/DivX5

This section contains information about the DivX4 and DivX5 codecs of Project Mayo. Their first available alpha version was OpenDivX 4.0 alpha 47 and 48. Support for this was included in MPlayer in the past, and built by default. We also used its postprocessing code to optionally enhance visual quality of MPEG-1/2 movies. Now we use our own, for all file types.

The new generation of this codec is called DivX4 and can even decode movies made with the infamous DivX codec! In addition it is much faster than the native Win32 DivX DLLs but slower than libavcodec. Hence its usage as a decoder is discouraged. However, it is useful for encoding. One disadvantage of this codec is that it is not available under an Open Source license.

DivX4 works in two modes:

-vc odivx
Uses the codec in OpenDivX fashion. In this case it produces YV12 images in its own buffer, and MPlayer does colorspace conversion via libvo. (Fast, recommended!)
-vc divx4
Uses the colorspace conversion of the codec. In this mode you can use YUY2/UYVY, too. (SLOW)

The -vc odivx method is usually faster, due to the fact that it transfers image data in YV12 (planar YUV 4:2:0) format, thus requiring much less bandwidth on the bus. For packed YUV modes (YUY2, UYVY) use the -vc divx4 method. For RGB modes the speed is the same, differing at best according to your current color depth.


If your -vo driver supports direct rendering, then -vc divx4 may be faster, or even the fastest solution.

The DivX4/5 binary codec library can be downloaded from avifile or divx.com Unpack it, run ./install.sh as root and do not forget adding /usr/local/lib to your /etc/ld.so.conf and running ldconfig.

Get the CVS version of the OLD OpenDivX core library like this:

  1. cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.projectmayo.com:/cvsroot login

  2. cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.projectmayo.com:/cvsroot co divxcore

  3. This core library is split into a decore and encore library that have to be compiled separately. For the decore Library, simply type

    cd divxcore/decore/build/linux
    cp libdivxdecore.so /usr/local/lib
    ln -s libdivxdecore.so /usr/local/lib/libdivxdecore.so.0
    cp ../../src/decore.h /usr/local/include

  4. Alas, for the encore library there is no Linux Makefile available, and the MMX optimized code only works on Windows. You can still compile it, though, by using this Makefile.

    cd ../../../encore/build
    mkdir linux
    cd linux
    cp path/Makefile .
    cp libdivxencore.so /usr/local/lib
    ln -s libdivxencore.so /usr/local/lib/libdivxencore.so.0
    cp ../../src/encore.h /usr/local/include

MPlayer autodetects DivX4/DivX5 if it is properly installed, just compile as usual. If it does not detect it, you did not install or configure it correctly. FFmpeg/libavcodec

FFmpeg contains an open source codec package, which is capable of decoding streams with various audio and video codecs. It also offers an impressing encoding facility and higher speed than the Win32 codecs or the DivX.com DivX4/5 libraries!

It contains a lot of nice codecs, especially important are the MPEG-4 variants: DivX3, DivX4, DivX5, Windows Media Video 7/8 (WMV1/WMV2). Also a very interesting one is the WMA decoder.

The most recent codec deserving credit is the Sorenson 3 (SVQ3) codec. This is the first, completely opensource implementation. It's even faster than the original. Be sure to prefer this instead of the binary codec!

For a complete list of supported codecs please visit the FFmpeg homepage. Supported video and audio codecs.

If you use an MPlayer release you have libavcodec right in the package, just build as usual. If you use MPlayer from CVS you have to extract libavcodec from the FFmpeg CVS tree as FFmpeg releases are very rare. The CVS is mostly stable and offers the most features. In order to achieve this do:

  1. cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@mplayerhq.hu:/cvsroot/ffmpeg login

  2. cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@mplayerhq.hu:/cvsroot/ffmpeg co -P ffmpeg/libavcodec

  3. Move the libavcodec directory from the FFmpeg sources to the root of the MPlayer CVS tree. It should look like this: main/libavcodec

    Symlinking is not enough, you have to copy/move it!

  4. If you prefer having libavcodec updated at the same time you update MPlayer CVS, put the following line into the main/CVS/Entries file:


  5. Compile. configure should detect problems before compilation.


MPlayer from CVS does contain a libavcodec subdirectory, but it does not contain the source for libavcodec! You must follow the steps above to obtain the source for this library.

With FFmpeg and my Matrox G400, I can view even the highest resolution DivX movies without dropped frames on my K6-2 500. XAnim codecs


Be advised that the XAnim binary codecs are packaged with a piece of text claiming to be a legally binding software license which, besides other restrictions, forbids the user to use the codecs in conjunction with any program other than XAnim. However, the XAnim author has yet to bring legal action against anyone for codec-related issues.

INSTALLATION AND USAGE.  MPlayer is capable of employing the XAnim codecs for decoding. Follow the instructions to enable them:

  1. Download the codecs you wish to use from the XAnim site. The 3ivx codec is not there, but at the 3ivx site.

  2. OR download the codecs pack from our codecs page

  3. Use the --with-xanimlibdir option to tell configure where to find the XAnim codecs. By default, it looks for them at /usr/local/lib/codecs, /usr/local/lib/xanim/mods, /usr/lib/xanim/mods and /usr/lib/xanim. Alternatively you can set the environment variable XANIM_MOD_DIR to the directory of the XAnim codecs.

  4. Rename/symlink the files, cutting out the architecture stuff, so they will have filenames like these: vid_cvid.xa, vid_h263.xa, vid_iv50.xa

XAnim is video codec family xanim, so you may want to use the -vfm xanim option to tell MPlayer to use them if possible.

Tested codecs include: Indeo 3.2, 4.1, 5.0, CVID, 3ivX, H.263. VIVO video

MPlayer can play Vivo (1.0 and 2.0) videos. The most suitable codec for 1.0 files is FFmpeg's H.263 decoder, you can use it with the -vc ffh263 option. For 2.0 files, use the Win32 DLL through the -vc vivo option. If you do not supply command line options MPlayer selects the best codec automatically. MPEG-1/2 video

MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 are decoded by the multiplatform native libmpeg2 library, whose source code is included in MPlayer. We handle buggy MPEG-1/2 video files by catching Signal 11 (segmentation fault), and quickly reinitializing the codec, continuing exactly from where the failure occurred. This recovery technique has no measurable speed penalty. MS Video1, Cinepak CVID, and other older codecs

MPlayer is able to play most of the older codecs used in AVI and MOV files. In the past they were decoded with binary Win32 codecs, but now we have native codecs for most of them using libavcodec. RealVideo

MPlayer supports decoding all versions of RealVideo:

  • RealVideo 1.0, 2.0 (fourcc RV10, RV20) - en/decoding supported by libavcodec
  • RealVideo 3.0, 4.0 (fourcc RV30, RV40) - decoding supported by RealPlayer libraries

Download Real codecs from http://www.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/ and extract them to the /usr/local/lib/codecs directory. If you want to store them in a different location, pass the --with-reallibdir option to configure.


RealPlayer libraries currently only work with Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD and Cygwin on the x86, Alpha and PowerPC (Linux/Alpha and Linux/PowerPC have been tested) platforms and with Mac OS X. XviD

XviD is a forked development of the OpenDivX codec. It happened when ProjectMayo changed OpenDivX to closed source DivX4 (now DivX5), and the non-ProjectMayo people working on OpenDivX got angry, then started XviD. So both projects have the same origin.


  • open source
  • its API is compatible with DivX4 so adding support for it is easy
  • 2-pass encoding support
  • nice encoding quality, higher speed than DivX4 (you can optimize it for your box while compiling)


  • currently it does not properly decode all DivX/DivX4 files (no problem as libavcodec can play them)
  • under development


It is currently available only from CVS. Here are download and installation instructions (you need at least autoconf 2.50, automake and libtool):

  1. cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.xvid.org:/xvid login

  2. cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.xvid.org:/xvid co xvidcore

  3. cd xvidcore/build/generic

  4. ./bootstrap.sh

  5. ./configure
    You may have to add some options (examine the output of ./configure --help).

  6. make && make install

  7. If you specified --enable-divxcompat, copy ../../src/divx4.h to /usr/local/include/.

  8. Recompile MPlayer with --with-xvidlibdir=/path/to/libxvidcore.a --with-xvidincdir=/path/to/xvid.h Sorenson

Sorenson is a video codec developed by Sorenson Media and licensed to Apple who distribute it with their QuickTime Player. We are currently able to decode all version of Sorenson video files with the following decoders:

  • Sorenson Video v1 (fourcc SVQ1) - decoding supported by native codec (libavcodec)
  • Sorenson Video v3 (fourcc SVQ3) - decoding supported by native codec (libavcodec)



Currently only 32-bit Intel platforms are supported.

  1. download MPlayer CVS

  2. download QuickTime DLL pack from http://www.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/

  3. extract QuickTime DLL pack to your Win32 codecs directory (default: /usr/local/lib/codecs/)

  4. compile MPlayer

2.2.2. Audio codecs

The most important audio codecs above all:

  • MPEG layer 1/2/3 (MP1/2/3) audio (native code, with MMX/SSE/3DNow! optimization)
  • Windows Media Audio 7 and 8 (AKA WMAv1 and WMAv2) (native code, with libavcodec)
  • Windows Media Audio 9 (WMAv3) (using DMO DLL)
  • AC3 Dolby audio (native code, with MMX/SSE/3DNow! optimization)
  • AC3 passing through sound card hardware
  • AAC
  • Ogg Vorbis audio codec (native library)
  • RealAudio: DNET (low bitrate AC3), Cook, Sipro and ATRAC3
  • QuickTime: Qualcomm and QDesign audio codecs
  • VIVO audio (g723, Vivo Siren)
  • Voxware audio (using DirectShow DLL)
  • alaw and ulaw, various gsm, adpcm and pcm formats and other simple old audio codecs Software AC3 decoding

This is the default decoder used for files with AC3 audio.

The AC3 decoder can create audio output mixes for 2, 4, or 6 speakers. When configured for 6 speakers, this decoder provides separate output of all the AC3 channels to the sound driver, allowing for full "surround sound" experience without the external AC3 decoder required to use the hwac3 codec.

Use the -channels option to select the number of output channels. Use -channels 2 for a stereo downmix. For a 4 channel downmix (Left Front, Right Front, Left Surround and Right Surround outputs), use -channels 4. In this case, any center channel will be mixed equally to the front channels. -channels 6 will output all the AC3 channels as they are encoded - in the order Left, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround, Center and LFE.

The default number of output channels is 2.

To use more than 2 output channels, you will need to use OSS, and have a sound card that supports the appropriate number of output channels via the SNDCTL_DSP_CHANNELS ioctl. An example of a suitable driver is emu10k1 (used by Soundblaster Live! cards) from August 2001 or newer (ALSA CVS is also supposed to work). Hardware AC3 decoding

You need an AC3 capable sound card, with digital out (S/PDIF). The card's driver must properly support the AFMT_AC3 format (C-Media does). Connect your AC3 decoder to the S/PDIF output, and use the -ac hwac3 option. It is experimental but known to work with C-Media cards and Soundblaster Live! + ALSA (but not OSS) drivers and DXR3/Hollywood+ MPEG decoder cards. libmad support

libmad is a multiplatform, integer (internally 24bit PCM) only MPEG audio decoding library. It does not handle broken files well, and it sometimes has problems with seeking, but it may perform better on FPU-less (such as ARM) platform than mp3lib.

To enable support, compile with the --enable-mad configure option. VIVO audio

The audio codec used in VIVO files depends on whether it is a VIVO/1.0 or VIVO/2.0 file. VIVO/1.0 files have g.723 audio, and VIVO/2.0 files have Vivo Siren audio. Both are supported. RealAudio

MPlayer supports decoding nearly all versions of RealAudio:

  • RealAudio DNET - decoding supported by liba52
  • RealAudio Cook/Sipro/ATRAC3 - decoding supported by RealPlayer libraries

Instructions on how to install the RealPlayer libraries are in the RealVideo section. QDesign codecs

QDesign audio streams (fourcc:QDMC, QDM2) are found in MOV/QT files. Both versions of this codec can be decoded with QuickTime libraries. For installation instructions please see the Sorenson video codec section. Qualcomm codecs

Qualcomm audio streams (fourcc:Qclp) is found in MOV/QT files. It can be decoded with QuickTime libraries. For installation instructions please see the Sorenson video codec section. AAC codec

AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is an audio codec sometimes found in MOV and MP4 files. An open source decoder called FAAD is available from http://www.audiocoding.com. MPlayer includes a CVS snapshot of libfaad 2.1 beta, so you do not need to get it separately.

If you use gcc 3.2 which fails to compile our internal FAAD or want to use the external library for some other reason, download the library from the download page and pass --enable-external-faad to configure. You do not need all of faad2 to decode AAC files, libfaad is enough. Build it like this:

cd faad2/
sh bootstrap
cd libfaad
make install
Binaries are not available from audiocoding.com, but you can (apt-)get Debian packages from Christian Marillat's homepage, Mandrake RPMs from the P.L.F and RedHat RPMs from Grey Sector.

2.2.3. Win32 codecs importing HOWTO VFW codecs

VFW (Video for Windows) is the old Video API for Windows. Its codecs have the .DLL or (rarely) .DRV extension. If MPlayer fails at playing your AVI with this kind of message:

UNKNOWN video codec: HFYU (0x55594648)

It means your AVI is encoded with a codec which has the HFYU fourcc (HFYU = HuffYUV codec, DIV3 = DivX Low Motion, etc.). Now that you know this, you have to find out which DLL Windows loads in order to play this file. In our case, the system.ini contains this information in a line that reads:


So you need the huffyuv.dll file. Note that the audio codecs are specified by the MSACM prefix:


This is the MP3 codec. Now that you have all the necessary information (fourcc, codec file, sample AVI), submit your codec support request by mail, and upload these files to the FTP site: ftp://ftp.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/incoming/[codecname]/


On Windows NT/2000/XP search for this info in the registry, e.g. search for "VIDC.HFYU". To find out how to do this, look at the old DirectShow method below. DirectShow codecs

DirectShow is the newer Video API, which is even worse than its predecessor. Things are harder with DirectShow, since

  • system.ini does not contain the needed information, instead it is stored in the registry and
  • we need the GUID of the codec.

New Method:

Using Microsoft GraphEdit (fast)

  1. Get GraphEdit from either DirectX SDK or doom9

  2. Start graphedit.exe.

  3. From the menu select Graph -> Insert Filters.

  4. Expand item DirectShow Filters

  5. Select the right codec name and expand item.

  6. In the entry DisplayName look at the text in winged brackets after the backslash and write it down (five dash-delimited blocks, the GUID).

  7. The codec binary is the file specified in the Filename entry.


If there is no Filename and DisplayName contains something like device:dmo, then it is a DMO-Codec.

Old Method:

Take a deep breath and start searching the registry...

  1. Start regedit.

  2. Press Ctrl+F, disable the first two checkboxes, and enable the third. Type in the fourcc of the codec (e.g. TM20).

  3. You should see a field which contains the path and the filename (e.g. C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\TM20DEC.AX).

  4. Now that you have the file, we need the GUID. Try searching again, but now search for the codec's name, not the fourcc. Its name can be acquired when Media Player is playing the file, by checking File -> Properties -> Advanced. If not, you are out of luck. Try guessing (e.g. search for TrueMotion).

  5. If the GUID is found you should see a FriendlyName and a CLSID field. Write down the 16 byte CLSID, this is the GUID we need.


If searching fails, try enabling all the checkboxes. You may have false hits, but you may get lucky...

Now that you have all the necessary information (fourcc, GUID, codec file, sample AVI), submit your codec support request by mail, and upload these files to the FTP site: ftp://ftp.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/incoming/[codecname]/

If you want to add a codec yourself, read DOCS/tech/codecs.conf.txt.