MPV player is one of the most widely used media players used on Windows, Linux and macOS. It is an extremely lightweight player, and you have to customize it according to your need. We have already discussed the differences between the VLC media player and an MPV player, so if you are not into customizations and just need to have a video player that “just works,” then the MPV player might not be for you.
As a user who has used a VLC media player his whole life, I found certain things which I didn’t like about this player, such as the Keyboard shortcuts and the overall look of the player. So I changed it using Lua scripts available on GitHub and a few custom key bindings. In this tutorial, we are going to discuss exactly those customizations which will make it feel more like a VLC player.
Installing MPV player
This is the starting point, let’s first install it on your distribution before doing anything. Open a Terminal and type the following commands, depending upon your distribution :
# On Debian and Ubuntu based distributions sudo apt update && sudo apt install mpv # On Arch Linux based distribution sudo pacman -S mpv # On Fedora Workstation sudo dnf install mpv
When you first play any file using this player, you will be greeted with an Interface which looks something like this :
Customizing MPV player
Now, let’s start customizing, open your terminal and type the following command to clone scripts from GitHub :
git clone https://github.com/maoiscat/mpv-osc-modern
You can use any theme listed on this page.
Now, let’s create a directory which will store all of our scripts and will be utilized by MPV :
Now, from the cloned directory, let’s move the Lua scripts into our newly created directory. Type :
mv mpv-osc-modern/modern.lua ~/.config/mpv/scripts
Create another directory which will host the font required by this script :
Again, move the font in this directory by typing :
mv mpv-osc-modern/Material-Design-Iconic-Font.ttf ~/.config/mpv/fonts
Well, that’s it, open any file now to check what mp looks like now :
There are many more scripts listed on this page, so you can install any of them that suits your needs.
Now, This part is optional, but I have also changed the key bindings of various actions, you can also do this by creating a file named
input.conf using your favourite text editor, type :
# For Vim users vim ~/.config/mpv/input.conf # For nano users nano ~/.config/mpv/input.conf
Press ‘I’ to get into insert mode if you are using vim. My config file looks something like this :
The above configuration does the following :
- ‘The up arrow key’ increase the volume by 5 units
- ‘Down arrow key’ decreases by 5 units
- ‘Mouse/Touchpad scroll up’ increases the volume
- ‘Mouse/Touchpad Scroll down’ decreases the volume
- ‘Swiping left on touchpad’ goes 5 seconds back
- ‘Swiping right on touchpad’ goes 5 seconds forward
- ‘n’ Key will play the next media in the playlist
- ‘p’ key will play the previous file in the playlist
If you are using vim, then press the Escape key and type :wq to save and exit. If you are using nano editor, then press Ctrl+O and Ctrl+X to save and exit.
You should also edit the mpv.conf file to suit your needs, open it in either vim or nano using :
vim ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf # OR nano ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf
Add the following lines :
save-position-on-quit=yes # The default volume of mpv when you open it volume=90 blend-subtitles=yes screenshot-directory=~/Pictures/Screenshots screenshot-format=png osc=no # You should read about Hardware acceleration on mpv to choose your correct settings hwdec=vaapi # Display English Subtitles if available slang=en # Defalt audio language alang=en
Press Ctrl+O and Ctrl+X to save and exit if you are using nano and press the Escape key and then type :wq to save and exit out of vim editor.
Enable the ‘autoload’ script by adding a file named autoload.conf file in the script-opts directory :
vim ~/.config/mpv/script-opts/autoload.conf # Or nano ~/.config/mpv/script-opts/autoload.conf
Add the following lines :
disabled=no images=yes videos=yes audio=yes ignore_hidden=yes
Again, save and exit out of your editor.
If you have enabled the file-browser script, then you can access the file browser from the terminal by pressing Ctrl+O key, and navigating between the directories using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
In the above screenshot, I have used a theme named modern-x-compact, and you can get it from here.
The possibilities are endless here, you can basically add scripts to download subtitles automatically, stream torrents and many more. You can even use an MPV player as an Image viewer. The functionality is definitely much more that a VLC media player, but that requires spending time in the Terminal, which is why many people choose to go with VLC. Hopefully, this tutorial helped you with making MPV more beautiful to look at and easy to use.