Dec 3 2007

How to watch Windows Media Video streams on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10)

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Google Query: install win32codecs in gutsy gibbon

One question that I often get asked by those who are new to Ubuntu Linux is how to watch streaming Windows Video (WMV). This requires the installation of the win32codecs. After searching, a post at got me started. The steps involved are listed below.

-In the terminal type:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

-After your sources.list file is open, add this to the file:
deb gutsy free non-free

-Don’t forget to add the GPG key to your keyring with this command:
wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

-Update our sources with this command:
sudo apt-get update

-Install the w32codecs with this command:
sudo apt-get install w32codecs

Since the gstreamer that comes with Ubuntu doesn’t do a very good job of playing Windows Media streams (even with the w32codecs installed), you should also install mplayer and the mplayer plugin for Firefox. The steps are outlined below:

-Install mplayer with this command in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install mplayer

-Install the mplayer Firefox plugin with this command:
sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer

Almost done…

-Uninstall the totem-mozilla plugin by opening Synaptic (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager)
-Click on “Search” and type in “totem-mozilla”.
-”Mark for complete removal” the “totem-mozilla” package.

Now open up Firefox and try to stream some Windows Media. A good site to test this on is a Local Television Station in my home town. Happy Streaming!

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5 Comments on this post


  1. Wray said:

    THANKS! That was easy enough….from one who is continually tripping over himself trying to learn how to spell Ubuntu, let alone drive it. At least I can listen to my favorite while U-B-U-N-T…….uh, next?

    December 5th, 2007 at 8:42 pm
  2. hstagner said:

    You’re Welcome! I am glad I could help. I think you’ll find that after a while using the command line in Ubuntu is much easier than drilling through cascading menus in Windows ;)

    If you start using Ubuntu more often, check out my post on How to have the terminal at your command with one key.

    December 5th, 2007 at 10:25 pm
  3. woody said:

    Why would you want to watch a windows media video?

    December 7th, 2007 at 4:07 pm
  4. migs said:

    the list of packages for removal is huge when searching on gstreamer, including totem etc. so i’m reluctant to commit that change, can you be more specific about packages for removal?

    February 15th, 2008 at 8:56 am
  5. hstagner said:

    Hello migs,

    To get mplayer to work in Firefox, I believe the only package you need to remove is “totem-mozilla”.

    I finally found out which package it was after a recent build of Ubuntu 7.10 on a new system that I have been working on.

    I hope this helps. I will edit the post accordingly. Thank you for reading!


    Harley Stagner

    February 15th, 2008 at 9:51 am


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