Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

09 Mar 2004

(Unix) Media Players

I have simple needs, something to play audio CDs, something to play MP3s or Oggs, something to play MPEG video and something to stream audio or video off the Internet. All these functions don't need to be in the same application, video playback is quite different from audio playback.

On my Windows machine I use to use Zinf to play Oggs and CDs. It was simple unobtrusive and worked well, and I was happy. There is a Linux version, but not one that will work on the current Debian stable, so I had to choose something else. XMMS is what comes recommended, and like Zinf, it's simple and with a plain skin, is perfectly functional.

Next comes video, and this is where the pain starts. The video player people obviously have a lot of different codecs to deal with, but why do they all try to do everything, audio as well? I first tried Xine which seems okay, though it's prone to crashing. Next I tried MPlayer which seems to do everything, including segfault, and today I'm trying Video Lan Client which hasn't crashed.

What really annoys me about all these apps, and WinAmp and Quicktime is there awful interface, why does everyone try to make them look like actual hi-fi kit, and why do they all have these awful bitmap skin interfaces? Why oh why is there a visualisation thing, what's it for? The only good thing about the skin interface technology is that now and then I can find a skin that I can actually read to see where the play button is...