Watch All Your Videos & Music With Totem Movie Player [Linux]

Danny Stieben 20-09-2012

movie player linuxEveryone likes a good media player, no matter what system they’re using. While I still highly recommend VLC media player 7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player VLC should be your media player of choice. The cross-platform tool has a bag full of secret features you can use right now. Read More 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.

About Totem

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.

Main Window

movie player linux


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.


best movie player linux

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).


movie player linux


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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  1. bonioloff
    September 24, 2012 at 5:26 am

    I don't use linux because it is difficult..
    But i think, if make more article about it, people will start looking at it :D

    • Danny Stieben
      October 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Give Ubuntu or Linux Mint a try! It's not difficult at all anymore. :)

      • Zhong Jiang
        November 19, 2012 at 12:11 am

        It's not "difficult" per say, there are experience users who matches their skills on certain distribution that classify them. Even when resolving issues after installation, there can be frequent situations you found spending hours long on solving a certain issue with the system, ranging from software to hardware.

        You don't want Linux to be like Windows.

  2. Ahmed Khalil
    September 21, 2012 at 5:00 am

    IT IS VERY GOOG, BUT is it avaluable for MAC or WINDOWS TOO.

    • HLJonnalagadda
      September 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Nah it's just for Linux now guess

    • Danny Stieben
      October 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      It's only available for Linux, and will probably stay that way too.

  3. Greg
    September 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I can never get Totem or VLC to work right. They refuse to play Netflix DVDs, DVDs I bought, and ones I rent locally. I swear it's trying to push movie streaming >:[

    • Danny Stieben
      October 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      You may not have the right packages installed to read DVDs and to read encrypted DVDs (yes, there's two separate packages for those tasks).

      Assuming you use Ubuntu, you can install libdvdread4 from the repos to read DVDs. To read encrypted ones, you need to add the Medibuntu repo (google it), then install libdvdcss2.

  4. Marwa Bakry
    September 20, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Though i use VLC & WMP most of the time , BUT I think i'll give totem a try
    Thanks :)

    • Raunak Jyotishi
      September 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      i dont know how u are gonna use wmp in Linux if ur not using wine

      • Ahmed Khalil
        September 21, 2012 at 5:02 am

        wmp IS NOT AVALIADLE IN Linux, i think Marwa ment what she use in windows