Install multimedia codecs in Debian Linux

April 13, 2007
Media player codecs
This guide will explain how to install in Debian all the media player codecs - which include multimedia codecs & libdvdcss which is necessary to play DVDs in Linux.

Because of licensing restrictions, Debian Linux does not ship with the multimedia  codecs necessary to play a variety of audio and video files. Instead, the users themselves have to download all the media player codecs and install it on their Debian Linux machine. Fortunately, Debian uses a fabulous package management system called apt-get which makes the end user's task in installing the codecs all the more easy.

Install Media Player Codecs

You can install multimedia codecs in Debian Linux in 4 easy steps.

Download the multimedia key ring package from here. It is a deb package which contain the keyring files for the repository you are going to add in Debian.

Logging in as root, install the keyring package as follows :

# dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2008.10.16_all.deb

Again as super user (root), open the file /etc/apt/sources.list in your favourite text editor.

Append the following line (shown in blue) to this file.

#FILE /etc/apt/sources.list
deb stable main

It is assumed that you are running stable version of Debian. If you are running testing,unstable or experimental version of Debian Linux, replace the word "stable" in the line with testing,sid, or experimental respectively.

Update the package database using the apt-get command as follows:

# apt-get update

Install all the media player codecs as well as libdvdcss which is necessary to view DVD movies running the following command :

# apt-get install w32codecs libdvdcss2

After apt-get has finished installing the packages, try playing a movie or music. Chances are Debian Linux will play any and all media player files with ease.