Nvidia card for GPU video playback in Linux

By | 2010/06/22

How do I use my Nvidia graphics card for video playback in Linux?

One way is to use mplayer and vdpau.

Firstly, this requires you have a supported Nvidia GeForce 8 series or later graphics card. Wikipedia has a supported list here.

In the latest Ubuntu, make sure to have the following installed:


Run mplayer once in the command line which will populate a proper config file in your home directory.

Exit mplayer and next, edit that config file:

nano ~/.mplayer/config

Put the following in your file, and then save:


Done! Now use mplayer (or gmplayer) to watch videos using your Nvidia GPU for playback instead of your CPU.

For a quick example, you can watch the twit live stream with this command:

mplayer -aspect 16:9 http://bglive-a.bitgravity.com/twit/live/high

Look ma – no CPU used to playback HD!