Everyone likes a good media player, no matter what system they’re using. While I still highly recommend VLC media player as one of the best for any system because of its wide range of playable formats and open source nature, it certainly isn’t the only media player worthy of your time.
In fact, most of the popular Linux distributions come with a very worthy media player which can play a decent amount of formats and is rather simple to use. While I wouldn’t say it’s better than VLC, it does remove the need to install VLC unless you require a very specific feature.
Totem is the default media player for most Gnome-based distributions, and with plenty of reasons. It is extremely easy to use, doesn’t have a cluttered preferences window, and plays just about anything you’ll find regularly without any difficulties. Some distributions are known for not including codecs for legal reasons, so the user usually has to install these on their own.
Totem, along with an appropriate plugin which is often already installed alongside Totem, can determine which codec is needed for whatever you want to play, and will download and install it for you.
In case, for whatever reason, Totem isn’t installed on your system, you can do so by searching for the package “totem”. It’s also often just called Movie Player, so don’t be confused if you see what whenever you search for Totem. Ubuntu users can install Totem via the command line using the command
sudo apt-get install totem, while Fedora users can run
sudo yum install totem.
When you first launch Totem, you’ll immediately see the simplicity of the application. Most of the screen is obviously taken up by whatever video is playing, or if it’s music, then a large Totem logo or other visualization. On the bottom you’ll have your usual media control buttons as well as volume control and full screen, while on the right side you’ll have either a playlist view or technical data about the media such as bitrate.
Totem also supports a multitude of plugins, many of which come automatically with the installation of Totem. Some notable plugins include the ability to change your instant messaging status based on what’s currently playing, a YouTube browser, support for Jamendo, thumbnails, support for Zeitgeist, and Bemused capabilities (which lets you control Totem from your mobile device).
The preferences are, like mentioned above, fairly uncluttered. Here you can take care of things such as network speeds, subtitles, playback, display, visual effects, color balance, and audio output. These settings are necessary to make use of the hardware that you have at hand, but other than that there’s nothing more you need in a simple viewing experience.
Overall, Totem is a very nice application to use for all your music and videos. There’s nothing that gets in the way of your viewing experience, which is great when all you want to do is watch or listen. The plugins help make the application more functional for those who’d like to get a bit more out of it, but otherwise it is perfect for the niche it serves. In case you’ve been resorting to other media players, give Totem a try!
What’s your favorite media player and why? What could be done to improve Totem? Let us know in the comments!
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