- FFmpeg vs. Libav
- Release cycle
- Bug reports
- Relation to MPlayer and mplayer2
- Man pages
mpv is a media player based on MPlayer and mplayer2. It supports a wide variety of video file formats, audio and video codecs, and subtitle types.
Releases can be found on the release list.
- A not too ancient Linux, or Windows Vista or later, or OSX 10.8 or later.
- A somewhat capable CPU. Hardware decoding might sometimes help if the CPU
is too slow to decode video realtime, but must be explicitly enabled with
--hwdecoption. On Windows, a CPU with SSE4 instruction set is required to get decent hardware decoding performance.
- A not too crappy GPU. mpv is not intended to be used with bad GPUs. There are
many caveats with drivers or system compositors causing tearing, stutter,
etc. On Windows, you might want to make sure the graphics drivers are
current, especially OpenGL. In some cases, ancient fallback video output
methods can help (such as
--vo=xvon Linux), but this use is not recommended or supported.
For semi-official builds and third-party packages please see mpv.io.
Compiling with full features requires development files for several external libraries. Below is a list of some important requirements.
The mpv build system uses waf but we don't store it in your source tree. The script './bootstrap.py' will download the latest version of waf that was tested with the build system.
For a list of the available build options use
./waf configure --help. If
you think you have support for some feature installed but configure fails to
detect it, the file
build/config.log may contain information about the
reasons for the failure.
NOTE: To avoid cluttering the output with unreadable spam,
--help only shows
one of the two switches for each option. If the option is autodetected by
--disable-*** switch is printed; if the option is disabled by
--enable-*** switch is printed. Either way, you can use
--disable-** regardless of what is printed by
To build the software you can use
./waf build: the result of the compilation
will be located in
build/mpv. You can use
./waf install to install mpv
to the prefix after it is compiled.
Essential dependencies (incomplete list):
- gcc or clang
- X development headers (xlib, X extensions, libvdpau, libGL, libXv, ...)
- Audio output development headers (libasound/ALSA, pulseaudio)
- FFmpeg libraries (libavutil libavcodec libavformat libswscale libavfilter and either libswresample or libavresample) At least FFmpeg 2.4.0 or Libav 11 is required.
- iconv (normally provided by the system libc)
- libass (OSD, OSC, text subtitles)
- Lua (optional, required for the OSC pseudo-GUI and youtube-dl integration)
- libjpeg (optional, used for screenshots only)
- uchardet (optional, for subtitle charset detection)
- vdpau and vaapi libraries for hardware decoding on Linux (optional)
- gcc or clang, yasm on x86 and x86_64
- fribidi, freetype, fontconfig development headers (for libass)
- harfbuzz (optional, required for correct rendering of combining characters, particularly for correct rendering of non-English text on OSX, and Arabic/Indic scripts on any platform)
- gcc or clang, yasm on x86 and x86_64
- OpenSSL (has to be explicitly enabled when compiling ffmpeg)
- libx264/libmp3lame/libfdk-aac if you want to use encoding (has to be explicitly enabled when compiling ffmpeg)
- Libav also works, but some features will not work. (See section below.)
Most of the above libraries are available in suitable versions on normal Linux distributions. However FFmpeg is an exception (distro versions may be too old to work at all or work well). For that reason you may want to use the separately available build wrapper (mpv-build) that first compiles FFmpeg libraries and libass, and then compiles the player statically linked against those.
If you want to build a Windows binary, you either have to use MSYS2 and MinGW, or cross-compile from Linux with MinGW. See Windows compilation.
FFmpeg vs. Libav
Generally, mpv should work with the latest release as well as the git version of both FFmpeg and Libav. But FFmpeg is preferred, and some mpv features work with FFmpeg only (subtitle formats in particular).
Preferred FFmpeg version
Using the latest FFmpeg release (or FFmpeg git master) is strongly recommended. Older versions are unsupported, even if the build system still happens to accept them. The main reason mpv still builds with older FFmpeg versions is to evade arguing with people (users, distros) who insist on using older FFmpeg versions for no rational reason.
If you want to use a stable FFmpeg release, use the latest release, which has most likely the best maintenance out of all stable releases. Older releases are for distros, and at best receive basic changes like fixing critical security issues or build fixes, and at worst are completely abandoned.
FFmpeg ABI compatibility
mpv does not support linking against FFmpeg versions it was not built with, even if the linked version is supposedly ABI-compatible with the version it was compiled against. Expect malfunctions, crashes, and security issues if you do it anyway.
The reason for not supporting this is because it creates far too much complexity with little to no benefit, coupled with absurd and unusable FFmpeg API artifacts.
Newer mpv versions will refuse to start if runtime and compile time FFmpeg library versions mismatch.
Every other month, an arbitrary git snapshot is made, and is assigned a 0.X.0 version number. No further maintenance is done.
The goal of releases is to make Linux distributions happy. Linux distributions are also expected to apply their own patches in case of bugs and security issues.
Releases other than the latest release are unsupported and unmaintained.
See the release policy document for more information.
Please use the issue tracker provided by GitHub to send us bug reports or feature requests.
For small changes you can just send us pull requests through GitHub. For bigger changes come and talk to us on IRC before you start working on them. It will make code review easier for both parties later on.
Relation to MPlayer and mplayer2
mpv is based on mplayer2, which in turn is based on the original MPlayer (also called mplayer, mplayer-svn, mplayer1). Many changes have been made, a large part of which is incompatible or completely changes how the player behaves. Although there are still many similarities to its ancestors, mpv should generally be treated as a completely different program.
mpv was forked because we wanted to modernize MPlayer. This includes removing cruft (including features which stopped making sense 10 years ago), and of course adding modern features. Such huge and intrusive changes made it infeasible to work directly with MPlayer, which is mostly focused on preservation, so a fork had to be made. (Actually, mpv is based on mplayer2, which already started this process of removing cruft.)
In general, mpv should be considered a completely new program, rather than a MPlayer drop-in replacement.
If you are wondering what's different from mplayer2 and MPlayer, an incomplete list of changes is located here.
Most activity happens on the IRC channel and the github issue tracker. The mailing lists are mostly unused.
- GitHub issue tracker: issue tracker (report bugs here)
- User IRC Channel:
- Developer IRC Channel:
To contact the
mpv team in private write to
only if discretion is required.
Mostly GPLv2 or later. See details.