The version I decided to test in this review is 0.6.1 from SVN. SMPlayer basically plays anything video or audio, including DVDs, VCDs or DVD ISO images, audio CDs, MPEG, AVI or ASF. SMPlayer can also play DVD ISO images or mounted images by pointing to the directory which contains the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS directories, or even videos from a given URL location.
Playing Big Buck Bunny at 1080p
One of the great features SMPlayer has is the ability to resume a movie after you closed it and restarted the application. This really is useful and time-saving in case of a reboot, logout or a restart of the X server, or just in case you will need to close it in order to free up memory and CPU for some other task. Settings are saved separately for each video file, but currently it doesn't seem to support resume for DVD images.
Usual instance when SMPlayer is started for the first time
Among the other features it comes with are the OSD (On-Screen Display), very detailed information about the currently playing movie, support for subtitles (which, by the way, are displayed very nice and clean and allow font resizing to anything it fits you better), support for DVD chapters, and a whole bunch of video effects, like rotating or filters. You will have to select the CD/DVD drives in the Options -> Preferences window.
SMPlayer is highly configurable, allowing to change the icon theme, the language (it has full support for many languages, see the screenshot below) and many more. You can select the output video driver too. I liked the support for configuring the interface: besides the language or icon theme, you can also change the style or the default font the application uses. This allows you to make SMPlayer look just the way you want it to.
SMPlayer - the interface is completely available in many languages
You can also change the shortcuts for mostly all of its functions, and also have the mouse behave differently. For example, double-click will toggle fullscreen mode, while you can set single click to anything, like play/pause or mute. The middle button and wheel are also configurable.
SMPlayer is highly configurable
Subtitle support is also powerful: SMPlayer allows any subtitle sizes, it provides the possibility to automatically load subtitles which match a specific criteria, the position of subtitles on screen and the language encoding to use.
I noticed that MPlayer takes up quite some CPU resources when playing a movie with a big resolution, and it was around 20% when playing Big Buck Bunny at 1920x1080 encoded as MP4, on my Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz running Debian Lenny. Also, I encountered a crash on MPlayer when trying to play a DVD from the drive, but the second time it ran just fine.
Since it uses Qt 4, integration with KDE 4.x is very good and the interface blends smoothly in the environment. As for speed, comparing to players for KDE 3 like Kaffeine, it is a little slower (I'm referring to the interface's response only), but I hope this will get fixed as the time passes though.
To sum it up, SMPlayer is a very impressing application and one of the most powerful video players for Linux, together with Kaffeine or VLC.
Updated: Sep 15, 2008