SMPlayer 0.8.4 Review

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Play all media formats
  • (4 more, see all...)

SMPlayer is just one of the many media players available on the Linux platform, but it's also the member of a very exclusive club of applications that distinguish themselves from the rest by providing everything a user might need.

Just like most players, SMPlayer is actually just a front-end for Mplayer. This doesn't mean that the developer, Ricardo Villalba, didn't add a wealth of options that would put any software to shame.

Most users think that a media player should perform just the simple task of playing a movie, and maybe accept subtitles. The truth is that when we use these types of software, we're in need of a much more complex solution.

Certain features might seem too much for a simple media player application, but it's impossible to know when we're going to need something that it's not usually available in most players.

Before starting to enumerate the SMPlayer features, you have to know that it's a software developed in Qt, which makes it a great solution for multiple platforms, including Linux and Windows.

Installation

We installed SMPlayer in Ubuntu 12.10, from the developer's website. If you don't mind to get an older version, you can install the one available in Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic, which is version 0.8.1.

The other version available on the developer's website is 0.8.4. They are both considered stable, but the latest one contains a few more features and bugfixes.

In any case, the installation is quite simple because the developer has provided a PPA. This way, the user will always be up date and new versions will be offered along with the system update.

In order to install SMPlayer 0.8.4, just open a terminal and enter the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rvm/smplayer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install smplayer smtube smplayer-themes smplayer-skins


As you can see, besides the application itself, a few other things will be installed, including SMPlayer YouTube browser, and a few themes and skins.

If the application is not starting, try to open it from a terminal, and check if any dependencies are missing. Also, a source package is available for download on the official website and Softpedia.

Usage

We're not going to analyze the obvious functionalities of the software, which in this case is playing movies. It works just like any other Mplayer-based application. What makes it better are the additional options implemented as default.

Let's start with some features available straight from the main interface. SMPlayer has the ability to play videos from URLs. Just hit the second button from the interface, paste the URL and just hit play.

Another great tool is the “View information and properties” function. It will display all sorts of useful information about the loaded video, either local or remote. Users can also control the playlist from the main interface, the audios streams, and the subtitles.

Because we ran SMPlayer inside Ubuntu 12.10, we noticed that the application blended very well with Unity. Accessing the menus will offer a number of interesting features such as frame stepping for sound, in various increments, and even speed controls.

In the video submenu, you'll find controls for an equalizer, filters, mirror, delay, and even a screenshot utility.

Conclusion

We usually do a Good and Bad categorization for applications, but the truth is that SMPlayer has to be one of the best players available on Linux. It's even better than VLC, in many respects.

It's a very stable software and it comes with so many smaller options, it would take me all day to catalog them properly. Best of all, SMPlayer looks like a minimalist video player, but in fact it provides everything you could possibly want.

I can't determine why SMPlayer is not the default video player in all the operating systems that could support it, but this software deserves a lot more attention. It's not perfect, but it sure comes pretty close to it.


user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 
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