Playing Proprietary Multimedia Formats

As previously stated, due to the legal restrictions associated with the use of proprietary formats, Ubuntu does not offer support for such formats by default. If you wish to play such proprietary formats, you will need to install additional multimedia codecs. A multimedia codec is a small piece of software that allows you to watch videos or listen to music of a specific format. Although Ubuntu includes many codecs by default, you may need to install more because there are many different multimedia formats and it is unrealistic to provide them all.

Playback of multimedia files in Ubuntu is handled by the Gstreamer multimedia framework. GStreamer by itself does not provide any multimedia codecs, it relies on codecs that have been packaged into a plugin that it uses to perform the actual recording and playback. Typical plugins are:

• gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly

• gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse

• gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad

• gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse

• gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg

To know more about which Gstreamer package contains which plugins, visit the following Web site: http://gstreamer.freedesktop.org/-documentation/plugins.html

Other applications, such as VLC, MPlayer and Xine, do not use the Gstreamer framework.

You can use the Synaptic Package Manager, or the Command Line Interface (CLI) to install these multimedia codecs available in the repositories.

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