Watch HD (high definition) videos with Linux Mint and nvidia graphics card

  12 years ago

The mplayer (or GNOME MPlayer), coming pre-installed with almost all flavours of Mint, has the ability to utilize the hardware accelaration of an nvidia graphics card to watch HD videos flimmer-free without stressing your computers CPU. However, some things have to be adjusted to enable the hardware accelaration. This tutorial describes how to do it.

  1. Ensure, that the proprietary nvidia driver is installed. You can check this - and install if necessary -  in the "Control Centre" with the "Hardware Drivers" tool.
  2. Install the vdpau video acceleration. The package is known as libvdpau1. This can be done in the terminal with the command
    sudo apt-get install libvdpau1
  3. Set vdpau as default video output in the GNOME MPlayer. To do this, run GNOME MPlayer from the mint-menu and press ctrl-p to access the settings. In the player tab you can set the video output to "vdpau".

That's it. Now you can watch HD videos without rough-handling your CPU. :-)

I've tested this with Mint 8 Main and Mint 9 Main and Xfce, running some 1080p mkv videos on a 5 years old computer.

mikefreeman 10 years ago

Some older graphics cards aren't vdpau-compatible, and as mentioned below, the newest cards aren't Linux-friendly and would have problems with this. This is not a universal fix for all NVIDIA cards. You might want to mention that in your tutorial.

internaut 10 years ago

DON'T do this if you have a new-ish laptop with Nvidia Optimus, i.e., with a Sandy Bridge Intel chip with built-in Graphics plus an Nvdia graphics card.

Nvidia doesn't provide ANY support for these cards under Linux - unlike previous generations of Nvidia-equipped laptops which worked fine. Basically new Nvidia-equipped laptops now only work under Microsoft, and Nvidia has left Linux users high and dry.

Installing the proprietary Nvidia device driver (or even the open source Nvidia driver) on an Optimus laptop will hang Mint, and a reboot will put you back in Fallback mode with a very confused computer that thinks it's an Intel 915.

I just found this out the hard way - took me the best part of a day to figure it all out, and I still had to reinstall Mint just to get Sandy Bridge graphics back. :( (there may be a better way but I couldn't find it)

These laptops at present only run with the Intel Sandy Bridge driver. The Nvidia card simply doesn't work - and it does consume power. There's not even a reliable way to turn the damn thing off.

On the plus side there are two open source projects, Ironhide and Bumblebee, which will, hopefully, eventually provide support for these Nvidia cards, but as yet are only partly functional. More info here:

Also on the plus side, Sandy Bridge Intel graphics are fine for pretty much everything except high-end gaming.

The annoying thing is that I (like a lot of other people) would not have bought a laptop with an Nvidia card if I'd known about this issue.

It seems NVIDIA are not exactly advertising the fact that their mainstream laptop product no longer works under Linux.

blueXrider 11 years ago

Do any of the suggestions apply to ATI cards?

DJ_KIM 11 years ago

will this work with YouTube videos? My Linux likes to crash when trying to watch YouTube videos.

farnaby 11 years ago

@wyldekey. Honestly speaking, I'm not sure about VLC and vdpau. If I look into the settings of my VLC, I do not find vdpau; just XVideo, GL, X11 and some other more obscure options. Maybe someone has experience to help here?

wyldekey 11 years ago

Would this work with VLC also?

farnaby 11 years ago

hi dgtlmintlint...
Then maybe you have to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf manually in some way. It would be best to search ubuntu (or mint) forums for your specific monitor / graphics card. This is a problem that some nvidia graphics cards seem to have.

dgtlmintlint 11 years ago

This is a great quick down and dirty howto , unfortunately when i install the proprietary video drivers in i lose my monitor and xwindow settings

"Ensure, that the proprietary nvidia driver is installed. You can check this - and install if necessary - in the "Control Centre" with the "Hardware Drivers" tool"

hasuin 11 years ago

Well done. Thank you!

Alexio 12 years ago

@intergallactic - Install libvdpau1 from here.

intergallactic 12 years ago

can't find libvdpau1

linXea 12 years ago

There are a few other tweaks you could add like multi-threading for number of cores etc. Great feature in mplayer/smplayer. Great how-to though =) kudos

hatani 12 years ago

I am very thankful for your effort, nice and simple :) cheers!