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MPlayer2 is a fork of MPlayer that "contains significant further development and supports a number of features not available in other Unix players".

Improvements included in MPlayer2 that aren't available in the original MPlayer:
  • better pause handling (In MPlayer executing any commands forced the player to unpause; in MPlayer2 you can change settings, seek, or run other commands while paused)
  • better Matroska support, including support for ordered chapters and editions
  • It's easy to build MPlayer2 with FFmpeg-mt support which gives a big performance increase on multicore machines
  • better support for VDPAU functionality on NVIDIA cards
  • support for precise seeking (seek to any frame in the video)
  • support for gettext-based translations
  • no longer depends on embedded FFmpeg tree or internal FFmpeg symbols
  • improvements in audio/video sync handling
  • support for gapless playback of audio files
  • support modifier keys in command bindinds
  • OSS4 volume control
  • lots of bug fixes
You can read a complete comparison between MPlayer and MPlayer2, here.

Unfortunately, there's something missing too: MEncoder is not available with Mplayer2 because "MEncoder codebase was in very bad shape". There is, however, a MPlayer2 development branch that adds some of MEncoder functionality and it will likely be merged with MPlayer2 sometime around the 2.1 release.

Using existing MPlayer front-ends with MPlayer2

It is possible to use existing MPlayer front-ends like UMPlayer, SMPlayer, XT7 Player and GNOME Mplayer with MPlayer2, because it uses the same binary filenames. However, some of the MPlayer2 features may not be available when using these players.

Install MPlayer2 in Ubuntu

MPlayer 2 is already available in the official Ubuntu Oneiric and Precise repositories so you can easily install it using Ubuntu Software Center, Synaptic, etc., however, if you want to install a newer version, you can use the MOTU Media MPlayer Daily Builds PPA.

To add the PPA and install MPlayer2 (only available for Ubuntu Oneiric and Precise), use the commands below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:motumedia/mplayer-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mplayer2

The last command above removes mplayer and installs mplayer2.

If later on you want to go back to using the original MPlayer, simply run:
sudo apt-get install mplayer
This should remove MPlayer2 and install Mplayer.

Install SMPlayer2 in Ubuntu


There is a SMPlayer fork called SMPlayer2 which lets you take advantage of some of the features in MPlayer2 that are not available in the original SMPlayer, like precise seeking, better Matroska support, etc.

To install SMPlayer2 under Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot or 12.04 Precise Pangolin, use the commands below (only use it if you've installed MPlayer2):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:smplayer2/daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install smplayer2

Note: The SMPlayer2 PPA recommends using the latest MPlayer2 from the MOTU Media MPlayer Daily Builds PPA (see above).

Thanks to Eric Appleman for the SMPlayer2 tip!