Linux streaming video with MPlayer

Ever since MPlayer came around, video playback on Linux has been a dream. To put it simply, the thing can play freaking anything. MPEG, DVD…check. WMV, AVI, ASX…check. QuickTime? RealVideo? Believe it or not, check. It leverages avifile so it can actually use Windows codecs.

Oh, and if you can watch a streaming video with MPlayer, you can always save it. Just add --dumpstream to your command line.

Sometimes, it requires a teensy bit of manual labor to get things going. MPlayer doesn’t understand complex HTML pages with JavaScript and ActiveX controls (well, technically Linux doesn’t understand ActiveX controls, but that’s a feature).

For example, today I wanted to watch Herb Sutter’s OOPSLA ’04 keynote on C++/CLI. Check it out here.

This is one of those annoying pages that tries to embed WMP in your browser window. Screw that. All one needs to do is find the actual link to the video. First, I wget’ed (wgot?) the url, using the --user-agent= switch to masquerade as Internet Explorer. Buried in the output was a link to the ASX file. After wget’ing that, I had a nice link to the WMV itself.

mplayer mms://

It’s moments like this when I remember why I use Linux for fun and Windows to pay the mortgage.


%d bloggers like this: