Play Videos in the Terminal
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ASCII Art player

This is a sketched project to demonstrate the FFMpeg API for playing videos. It just consumes an arbitrary video file and plays it on the console. I recommend to use xterm or rxvt as it's rendering is really fast, compared to other terminal emulators like the gnome-terminal.


  • ffmpeg (latest git version)
    • libavcodec
    • libavformat
    • libswscale

You will probably need to compile the latest version of ffmpeg yourself. For Ubuntu you can find a good guide here.

Be sure you build ffmpeg with --enable-shared as otherwise you will not be able to link to the ffmpeg libraries. Also will also have to add /usr/local/lib to your library path, for e.g.

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib

or by adding /usr/local/lib to your /etc/ and run ldconfig

Build and play

./asciiplayer <video>


  • A really well written tutorial on the FFMpeg API can be found here. Though it's sligtly out of date, it shows in a very detailed fashion, how to write a fully functional video player in under 1000 lines of C code, using FFMpeg and SDL.

  • The official FFMpeg Documention