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 [Ubuntu] GST123: Command-line Based Multimedia Player

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Join date : 2012-02-20
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PostSubject: [Ubuntu] GST123: Command-line Based Multimedia Player   Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:34 pm

GStreamer is an extremely powerful open-source multimedia framework which is mainly used in GNU/Linux (although it is a cross-platform project). If you don’t know what a multimedia framework is, then is simple terms, it’s a set of multimedia playback libraries (each enabling playback of various codes etc) that let programmers to easily create multimedia applications without having to build everything from scratch.

For instance, let’s assume that I was creating a simple audio player that supports the MP3 format. Then I’d have to figure out how to read the MP3 codec (also knowing as “decoding”), optimize the player for that, I’d even have to learn about how to properly render the audio file to an audio output etc which is a really complicated task.

But what happens when you use a multimedia framework for that is, all those hectic tasks such as codec decoding, communicating with a sound server (a special kind of software that takes the audio data from multimedia apps and takes it to your hardware based audio output devices such as the Sound Card for instance), optimizing the codes for optimal playback, filters for audio/video enhancements etc will be taken care by the framework.

Thus you just gotta figure out the user interface and other whatnots of your program, and whenever you want to play a file, you can just “ask” the multimedia framework (usually using simple commands) to do all the “hard work” for your program.

"gst123" in action ...

Anyway, as I was saying, because of the power and features of the Gstreamer framework, a lot of multimedia players are built on top of it. Totem, Banshee, Rhythmbox, Juk, Kaffeine etc are just a few to name.

However, if you don’t like GUI tools that much and also a bit of a command-line addict , who’s looking for a lightweight multimedia player that’s based on the Gstreamer framework, then you should try “gst123″.

Main features …

*. Well, it’s ugly as hell! .
*. Supports playing a huge number of both audio & video codec (anything that Gstreamer supports) such as MP3, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, MPEG 1/2/4, H.263/264, AVI, Windows audio/video codecs, VOB … are just a few to mention.

*. You can load playlists into it and can make them Repeat, Shuffle or choose Random playback. However you cannot create a playlist using “gst123″ though.

*. While playing a file, it shows outputs such as the audio/video bitrate, codec type, sample rate (or if it’s an audio file, then it shows you Artist, Album, Year … audio meta-data in general) and track duration etc.

However, while I was using it, the video codec data was missing, still it plays videos quite nicely nonetheless.

*. Manually disable the video output.
*. Change audio output (to a different sound server for instance).
*. You can use the usual keyboard shortcuts used in Totem (or the ones defined by Gstreamer to be precise) for video/audio playback control such as:
“f’ for full-screen, “1″ for normal size, “m” for mute, “q” for quitting, “arrow-keys” for changing playback position etc for instance.

That’s pretty much it actually.

If interested, you can install “gst123″ in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04 by simply typing the below command in your Terminal window.

sudo apt-get install gst123

A simple example …

Using it is extremely simple. For instance, let’s say that I wanted to open a file called “1.mkv”, in my Home folder. Then I’d open the Terminal and type something like the below command.

gst123 [color=#0000ff]1.mkv[/color]

Just replace the “1.mkv” with your own file’s path. That’s it!.

Whenever you want to quit, simply type “q” (within the terminal window or the if it’s a video, then on it’s window) or press “Ctrl” + “c” keys and it should exit automatically. You can also “Pause” the playback by using the “Space-bar” as well.

You can also read its manual for learning about other commands. For that, please use the below command.
man gst123

Although it’s not even near the power of awesome “mplayer”, still if you’re looking for a command-line based multimedia player that uses little of your system resources and supports massive about of multimedia file formats (thanks to the GStreamer that is! ), then “gst123″ is a pretty decent looking tool that you might wanna try.

However please remember that, if you’re looking for an easy way to listen or manage large amount of multimedia content, then this certainly won’t fulfill that (obviously), but for its purpose, it’s pretty good nonetheless. Good luck.

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PostSubject: Re: [Ubuntu] GST123: Command-line Based Multimedia Player   Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:38 pm

That's kind of cool! Although I'm a vlc guy for video and clementine for audio (because the new version has spotify support... oh yes) but these cli-based media players have a certain charm about them.
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PostSubject: Re: [Ubuntu] GST123: Command-line Based Multimedia Player   Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:54 pm

Yes they do. I just use whatever works now. I was a die hard Rhythmbox fan, then went to Clementine. Now, I don't care as long as it works.
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PostSubject: Re: [Ubuntu] GST123: Command-line Based Multimedia Player   Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:40 pm

Thats cool!

What are the advantages of Gstreamer over Phonon or FFMpeg?

Dx-Gen Smile
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