The N900 has support for a host of video formats out of the box – .mp4, .avi, .wmv, .3gp; codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, Xvid, WMV, H.263 but that does not mean that all videos with these containers will play on the N900. If you, like me, hate converting videos and then transferring them to the N900, you will soon realize that quite a lot of the videos that you have on your computer have issues playing on the N900.
The N900 has powerful hardware that has the capability of playing most non HD videos perfectly well without stutters or a loss of audio sync. So how do you take advantage of this? Enter Mplayer. Mplayer is a command line only application that supports a host of video codecs and makes possibly playing virtually any video that you might have on your computer. Mplayer is available from the extras-devel repository which means it is in the development stage right now and is not recommended for normal consumers, but if you are up for beta-testing it, follow these directions to enable extras-devel if you already haven’t.
Next find Mplayer in the ‘Multimedia’ section and install it. Unlike most other applications, you will not see an icon for Mplayer appear. From here on, there are two ways of using it:
- Install an application called ‘SiB’ from the ‘Multimedia’ section. SiB works like a GUI interface for Mplayer and allows you to play movies without knowing how to use the command line interface. All you need to do is add the folder in which you have your videos to the SiB list and hit play once they show up. It will also list the various keyboard shortcuts for the N900 if you hit ‘Info’.
- The second is a little more complicated and involves use of the Xterminal application on the N900. Under this method, you need to navigate to the directory in which your video is kept using the ‘cd’ command and then run Mplayer from there. Here is an example of how to play a video file placed in the Movies folder located under MyDocs.
Once you hit enter, the movie will start playing in a few seconds. Hit ‘f’ to goto full screen. You can use all the shortcuts shown in the screenshot above here as well.
The N900 is an amazing video consumption device and in the last few days I have found myself watching a movie or a TV show on the N900 just before I sleep despite the fact that my laptop and TV are right next to me.