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Please correct me if I'm wrong... I have a sense that prophet621 didn't do any GUI installation... mplayer default configure doesn't include any GUI, you have to enable it using --enable-gui option and do skin and font installation to use it, also you have to use gmplayer instead of mplayer to have the GUI. Take the default skin Blue and rename it to default to use a nice default skin... I like the skin a lot...
Well, as a fellow noob, I can tell you from my experience that mplayer is the way to go. xmms for mp3's (musicmatch is better IMHO, but try to get that working in linux...)
mplayer has played an unbelieveable variety of vid files for me just by dbl clicking the file. XviD, DivX, avi, etc, right out of the box. That to me is important. Xine so far plays nothing. Well, I get the video (choppy as hell with XviD), but no sound, PLUS an ugly interface.
I have both xine and mplayer installed and i dont like either one, they dont have much configuration, you cant lock to a view, you cant keep the aspect ration constant, its like whatever the video default it thats how you have to look at it or fullscreen. There should be more options.
I use both Xine and mplayer, inmy RH 8. Xine works nice, without problem so far. I do not know how I got/or it got it itself , that some mpeg files can be opened through xmms, wich uses mplayer plugin. one thing wich I couldn't resolve is when I want to watch in full screen in mplayer, the window maximizes, but not the movie. Is there anyone who knows how to solve this?