How to play .rmvb files in Ubuntu

This tutorial will take you step by step through installing all of the software necessary to play rmvb (RealMedia Variable Bitrate) files in Ubuntu Linux.

Though the steps and screenshots are specific to Ubuntu, they will likely be similar for other versions of Linux. With that said, be sure to read the MPlayer README file if you’re not using Ubuntu. Similar to some of the other tutorials on Simplehelp, this is almost certainly not the only way to play .rmvb files in Ubuntu, but it’s the easiest way I could find. If you know of a easier method, by all means please feel free to leave a comment.

  1. The first step in playing .rmvb files in Ubuntu is to use the Synaptic Package Manager to install MPlayer. When you mark MPlayer for installation, you’ll be prompted to install additional software packages (if they’re not already installed).
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  3. After MPlayer has been installed, exit out of the Synaptic Package Manager and visit the MPlayer binary codec download page. Download the codec package for your platform (for example, if you’re using a 32bit Intel or AMD processor, download the Linux x86 package).

    Save the file to your desktop (or home folder). Once the download has completed, double-click that file. Select the folder to uncompress, and click the Extract button.

  4. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux
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  5. Choose a location to extract the files (your desktop is ideal) and again click Extract.
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  7. Make sure the files extracted correctly. They’ll be in a folder titled essential-date.
  8. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux

  9. Open up a Terminal by selecting Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal.
  10. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux

  11. Enter the following commands (and your password when prompted):

    cd Desktop
    cd essential-date
    sudo mkdir /usr/lib/codecs
    sudo cp * /usr/lib/codecs

  12. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux
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  13. NOTE: you may need to install libstdc++5 to get .rmvb files to play. Even though it might not be necessary for you, it can’t hurt to install (the package isn’t very big). Run the command: sudo apt-get install libstdc++5 in a Terminal, or use Synaptic and search for libstdc++5. Thanks to everyone who commented (see comments below) for the tip.
  14. Launch MPLayer by selecting Applications -> Sound & Video -> MPlayer Movie Player. Right-click in the Mplayer – Video window and select Preferences from the menu.
  15. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux

  16. Select the Video tab and change the Available drivers: to x11 X11 (XImage/Shm).
  17. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux
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  18. Select the Codecs & demuxer tab and change the Video codec family: to RealVideo decoder and the Audio codec family: to FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders. When you’re done, click OK and close down MPlayer.
  19. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux
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  20. Locate one of your .rmvb files, right-click it and select Properties.
  21. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux

  22. Select the Open With tab and change whatever the default is to MPlayer Movie Player. Click Close.
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  24. Double-click any of your .rmvb files and they should open up in MPlayer and start playing.
  25. play rmvb files in ubuntu linux

166 thoughts on “How to play .rmvb files in Ubuntu”

  1. Pingback: How To Play .rmvb Files In Ubuntu - Linkosphere [ ]

  2. Robby,

    It changes the default codec (audio and video) for MPlayer. Without those changes, I was unable to get rmvb files to play. I’m not sure they’re 100% required for EVERY rmvb file, but I only had two to test with (and neither worked without the changes).



  3. hi i got a error message after following ur steps
    “Mplayer interrrupted by signal 11 in module:init_audio_codec”

    any suggestion to solve this will be appreciated

  4. Pingback: CognitiveCombine » Blog Archive » Playing rmvb files in Ubuntu

  5. Hi
    I came across this page and successfully played all my media files using mplayer in ubuntu. today i tried reinstalling ubuntu and now when i installed mplayer as above, rmvb files dont play in mplayer. any idea what might be the problem? can you mail me any solution.
    thanks a lot

  6. Hi
    Thanks for the reply, its just that rmvb doesnt play, all others, wmv, avi, vob all play. what do you think might be the problem? i’m thinking to reinstall again.

  7. Thank you! I’m using Feisty, and the tutorial worked.. MPlayer is now playing all my movie files with ease. I only have one issue.. when I go to fullscreen, my movies don’t resize, just the window does. Is this normal??

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  9. Just had to say “THANKS!” for this “HowTo”…. Worked 100% and really made a difference….. Now i’m gonna have to look around at the site to see what other gems reside within! :)

  10. Pingback: Memainkan file rmvb dengan MPlayer Movie Player di Ubuntu 7.10 « Do your best or nothing

  11. For the newest version of MPlayer the default codec directory is /usr/lib/codecs. (Working with essential-20071007 and MPlayer-1.0rc2)

  12. Pingback: ..:: My notes

  13. I still having problems with it even after installing libstdc++5 and redirect directory to “/usr/lib/codecs”. I got the error message “Cannot find codec matching selected -vo and video format 0x30345652” and no video is played. Audio works normally though. Any ideas what went wrong? :s

  14. Thank you so much!
    omega super helpful.
    after following Ross and Vincent instruction…
    everything works like magic.

  15. Pingback: Membuka file .rmvb di Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) «

  16. I have the problem mentioned above, audio but no video. And i cant cp the file as i don’t have permission. Can you please help me? thx.

  17. Pingback: sebas » .rmvb en Ubuntu 7.10

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  21. Hey man! Thanks a lot! It worked.
    By the way, here I use Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon!
    — Hey windows! I’m over you! :)

  22. to Ashish on Jan 16, 2008

    Try to drag and drop your rmvb file to mplay. Read all the comments above.

    One more thing, in my case X11/Xv is all right; the X11(XImage/Shm) can play rmvb but cannot enlarge the video.

    Thanks for this post!

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  27. hey! thanks alot for this great tutorial.

    I’m Using Ubuntu 8.04 final, and it didnt work out in the first place.

    after installing libstdc++5 from synaptic
    and copying the codecs to /usr/lib/codecs

    everything worked fine!
    (dont know which one of them made the difference, it probably has been only be the directory change)

  28. Hi,
    I’m using Ubuntu 8.04 and cannot play rmvb files. No images but sound in Mplayer. I wonder how you manage to play rmvb files? and after installing the libstdc++5 how to copy those codec to /usr/lib/codec ?
    Thanks a lot!

  29. I am using Ubuntu 8.04. I am able to play my rmvb files, but I can’t play them in full screen. How can I play them in full screen? Thanks.

  30. Pingback: 在ubuntu8.04中让mplayer播放.rmvb文件 - 六卷书绅 - yyliang’s cute blog

  31. On Ubuntu 8.04,

    you have to install libstdc++5 from synaptic
    and copying the codecs to /usr/lib/codecs!!!

    Great Tutorial!

  32. Hi,

    After following these steps, it plays the audio but the video could not be played, sometimes not even the audio!!

    It throws an error message:
    Cannot find codec matching selected -vo and video
    format (hex address)


    Cannot find codec for audio format (hex address)

    What could be the reason? Any possible solutions?

  33. sudo apt-get install libstdc++5
    this is what you need if you can’t watch rmvb

    by the way, when he asked you to copy the binary into /usr/lib/win32, instead copy everything from the folder you downloaded online into /usr/lib/codec

  34. Problem- “Cannot find codec matching selected -vo and video format 0×30345652″

    Solution- Go to=> Synaptic package manager and search for win32 codec, then choose and select apply.

  35. THANKS!!!!!

    Can’t tell you how much I needed this. I had tried everything, even installed RealPlayer for Linux, but it was only giving audio with no video…

    I had the same problem, but your suggestion worked flawlessly….I have fiesty too.

    Thanks everyone.

  36. for the latest version of ubuntu,mplayer and its codecs. I think libstdc++5 is essential for mplayer to play rmvb files. If you get libstdc++5 and create the codecs folder, it will work for sure:)

  37. I have a different version of mplayer i think. in my preferences i dont have a tab for video. just audio, display and video :s
    any suggestions?

  38. you don’t need mplayer only add more non-free plugins:

    1.-open terminal

    2.-sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

    3.-sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update

    4.-sudo apt-get install w32codecs

    5.-sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

    this work in Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron”:

    for other version check ->

  39. Thanks a lot. Work great. Dhanuraj just creat a directory /usr/lib/codec and copy all files from the folder essential-20071007 and install the library libstdc++5 that all

  40. This isn’t working for me. I followed all the steps, but when i try to play a .rmvb file, I get an error message saying “Cannot find codec matching selected -vo and video format 0x30345652”. It then plays the soundtrack from the .rmvb file, but not the video…

  41. followed all the steps but MPlayer plays only the audio part of the clip not the video and gives error msg = Cannot find codes matching selected -vo and video format 0x30345652

  42. Muy bueno el tutorial pero sin los comentarios no hubiera funcionado en mi ubuntu 8.04
    Solo queda pendiente que no puedo ver pantalla completa. Por favor si alguien lo soluciono seria muy bueno que indique como. Gracias.

  43. Change:
    cd Desktop
    cd essential-date
    sudo mkdir /usr/lib/win32
    sudo cp * /usr/lib/win32
    cd Desktop
    cd essential-date
    sudo mkdir /usr/lib/codecs
    sudo cp * /usr/lib/codecs

  44. Hi,
    I am using ubuntu 8.10 beta version.
    I have followed the above instructions but it’s not working for me, when i play the rmvb file I have the audio but there is no video and I get this error message:
    can not find codec matching selected -vo and video format 0x30345652.

  45. thank you so much!!!

    i’m using Ubuntu 8.10

    i did everything as you said except in Step 6 i used the following:

    sudo mkdir /usr/lib/codecs
    sudo cp * /usr/lib/codecs

    and it works.

    thanks again

  46. I confirm changing step 6 to:

    sudo mkdir /usr/lib/codecs
    sudo cp * /usr/lib/codecs

    Works in 8.10.

    To get fullscreen use OpenGL.

    Thanks very much for this tutorial, I really hate Realplayer.

  47. Hi thanks guys,
    In Ubuntu 8.10:
    Follow Ross’ instructions. Replace /usr/lib/win32 with /usr/lib/codecs as Sergio pointed out.
    It works instantly. Don’t have to do any further step.

  48. hi,

    i downloaded and install RealPLayer for linux from real media home page (

    it plays rmvb files smoothlry and successfully.


  49. Instructions work for me as well (using ubuntu 8.10 intrepid ibex) provided that:

    (1) the installation directory is changed from /usr/lib/win32 to /usr/lib/codecs and
    (2) that libstdc++5 is installed: sudo apt-get install libstdc++5

    Thanks for the instructions!


  50. Pingback: NawaMan’s Blog » Play RealMedia on Ubuntu 8.10

  51. Pingback: Play RealPlayer media (RMVB) files in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid « Coding Code

  52. thanks for the tutorial, but i am having a propblem:
    when i try to open the synaptic, the messages appear:

    E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run ‘dpkg –configure -a’ to correct the problem.
    E: _cache->open() failed, please report.

    i try to run on terminal the command, but it tells that I must be an superadministrator.
    please help me out

  53. @ cesar
    type it way:
    sudo dpkg –configure -a
    sudo executes stuff with superuser rights (superuser do). Could be useful with other stuff but be extreme careful: one wrong command and your system is ******!!

  54. try it with an double hyphen before the configure. i think the blog software corrupted it to a bigger hyphen und the prog does not know that. or have you tried it already?

  55. Awesome, works on Debian Etch. My mistake was to think that libstdc++6 will work. When I play the rmvb file I get “Mplayer interrrupted by signal 11 in module:init_audio_codec”. You need to specifically use libstdc++5. Thanks for the tutorial!

  56. great guide, however I don’t need to change anymore settings on Mplayer anymore, which means I can play rmvb after step 6 or 7

  57. I tried sudo apt-get install libstdc++5, but it doesn’t work.

    at the end of all the warnings/errors
    it says

    The following packages have unmet dependencis:
    libstdc++5: Depends: gcc-3.3-base (>= 1:3.3.6-15ubuntu4) but it is not installable
    E: Broken packages

    I am trying to do this on my PS3 with 8.10

  58. Hey thanks for the tip!

    However when double clicking the videos, I also couldn’t play them in full screen mode as reported Stephanie and An_hin.
    However I noticed that when opening the files through the console
    >mplayer myvideo.rmvb [enter]
    mplayer can resize the video correctly. Wonder if this is a bug in the graphical-user-interface =/


  59. I take that back, it is not a bug.
    You fix that by adding “zoom=true” to the file $HOME\ .mplayer/config

    >cat $HOME/.mplayer/config
    # Write your default config options here!


  60. thank you cperez

    i typed: echo “zoom=yes” >> ~/.mplayer/config
    to terminal, and it worked

    but the video was stuttering too badly once in full screen.

    So now I need to figure out how to make my PS3 play rmvb in full screen smoother.

  61. a very big thank you to you. i tried your way and after months of toiling to get .rm working, i am now able to watch my shows.
    though, the step 9 # Select the Video tab and change the Available drivers: to x11 X11 (XImage/Shm). worked but so well that if the pixels are small, even in full screen mode, the video size will remain small unless changed to x11 X11/Xv where full screen worked for me. the quality depletes but being able to see the video is better than nothing at all.
    once again thank you.

  62. Hi guys,

    I have tried it, it successfully plays the video. However, it has no sound. When I double click on the video it says

    “could not open initialize/audio device -> no sound”

    Can anybody help ?


  63. peace for you all guys
    thanks very much for this information ….. it work properly . but I have a query >>>>>> all movie with *rmvb is working but in small window and I can’t resize it or make it large so what I ganna to do ……
    thanks again

  64. thanks. worked on debian etch after installing the codecs in the specified directory and installing libstdc++5 with aptitude, then choosing the xv/x11 video driver and alsa audio in the preferences menu. changing the audio/video codecs didn’t make any noticeable difference.

  65. Oi!
    Depois de tanto pesquisar, enfim consegui instalar os codecs para ler os filmes com extensão .rmvb, graças as dicas fornecidas aqui neste site. Parabéns! E muito obrigado!

  66. me funciono perfecto en hardy, baje los codecs los instale, instale la libreria q faltaba y anduvo sin ningun otro cambio.. gracias!

  67. thank you so much
    this is an excellent step by step guide and although i freaked out at one point it was simple and easy to follow :)

  68. Pingback: 部落格 | Play rmvb files with mplayer in Ubuntu

  69. I think I’m the 10000th person who make comment in this post:D
    But God Bless you man. It helps me a lot.
    Now I can watch my copy (I’m sorry that is an illegal copy) Of jomung tv series with ubuntu linux.

  70. i didn’t know what i was doing, but i was soooo happy to see exactly the same windows ;D and it worked, thank you a lot:):)

  71. Hi, I am using Ubuntu I have tried what u say above and it plays .rmvb files. So Thanks for that.
    But when I play .3gp file, then the video is played but whit no sound. Can anyone help me… Thanks

  72. I was using RealPlayer, It was doing the job but, no seek bar, and also for some videos the image keeps flickering. So I followed these instructions and worked fine for me.
    Except that I couldn’t install “sudo apt-get install libstdc++5” it seems not included in the repository. the video part working fine but no sound, I just started changing Audio driver until it worked [it is oss:ioctl audio output ].
    Thanks a lot )

  73. Great Solution and very effective and useful , but i think it would be much simpler to just install RealPlayer for linux ( DEB Package ) and just trigger your .rmvb easily , that’s my angle of view :)

    Much Appreciated , Regards


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