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2. About Xine

Xine is a free GNU General Public License (GPL) licensed video player for Unix-like systems. It supports many popular video and audio formats.

Xine plays the video and audio data of the stream and synchronises the playback of both. Depending on the properties of the stream, playback will need more or less processor power. Full frame rate for MPEG 2 has been seen on a 400 MHz PII system.

Xine can play Video CDs, SVCDs and DVDs directly. Unfortunately the legal status of encrypted/locked DVD playback is uncertain in some countries so we cannot include any DVD unlock/decrypt code with Xine. To play back such DVDs you'll need external programs or a special Xine plugin. More details can be found in the Playing DVDs section.

Xine tries to be straight forward and effective. No bells and whistles are being developed at this time. The primary aim is to achieve good playback of video.

2.1 Where can I obtain Xine?

Xine can be obtained from The most current version as of the time of writing is 0.9.8. Xine is available as a tar.gz archive and Debian and RPM packages.

2.2 Xine Features

Xine supports playback of the following video formats:

On x86 platforms, Xine may make use of Video For Windows Dynamic-Link-Libraries (DLLs) for playback of Indeo, Cinepak, Windows Media 7/8 and many other files.

Xine supports the following audio formats:

on x86 platforms, Xine may make use of Video For Windows Dynamic-Link-Libraries (DLLs) for playback of DivX audio (WMA), ADPCM, GSM and many other files.

Xine understands the following file formats (methods of combining separate audio and video streams into one file):

2.3 Supported platforms and requirements

Xine needs a locally attached graphics device and monitor (playback over a networked X-session is at best slow and more usually completely unwatchable).

Xine needs either MIT-SHM (The MIT Shared Memory Extension), which is supported in XFree86 for quite some time (3.3.x will be fine), or the X-Video Extension (Xv) which is faster and supports fullscreen operation but is only provided by some XFree86 4.x drivers. For more information on Xv (and if it is supported on your video card), refer to the section on increasing the performance of Xine below or look at the XFree86 organisation's website (

Experimental plugins exist for accelerated output via OpenGL and the SyncFB device available for Matrox cards (more information at See the README.syncfb file included in the Xine distribution for more details. The main advantage of using this driver is the synchronisation of the video picture with the refresh of your monitor removing the `tearing' artifacts which may occur in fast-moving scenes.

Under Linux, Xine also supports the use of the Dxr3/Holywood+ DVD decoder cards for DVD output. Xine can only use these cards to play MPEG and DVD input and can transcode other formats for display via the Dxr3. More information about setting up the Dxr3 device is available on

It is recommended that, if you do not use Xv, you set your screen colour depth to 16 bits-per-pixel (bpp) for reasons of speed. Xv seems to work fine at both 16bpp and 24bpp.

You need to have a sound card which is supported by the OSS or ALSA drivers. The ESD and aRts sound daemons are also supported. The remainder of this HOWTO assumes that you have correctly setup and configured your sound card and X server.

Software decoding of video is a computationally intensive task. It is recommended that, for smooth DVD playback, an x86 system should have at least a 400MHz processor. Greater resources are required for the unaccelerated XShm output plugin.

Xine has successfully been installed and run on non-x86 platforms (e.g. PPC or Solaris/IRIX Unices).

2.4 Where can I ask questions about or report bugs on Xine?

There is a mailing list called xine-user hosted at Sourceforge on which you may ask questions. Full details are available on the Xine website ( Please review the FAQ and this HOWTO to see if your question is answered before posting to the list.

There is also an IRC chat room, #xine which is hosted on

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