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I am using Totem Media player which is using xine-lib and I have followed the directions quoted below but now need to find the "xine" config file to tell it to use the win32 dir I made and all the files I moved in from the mplayer "essential" codec pack.
While the container format (system layer) ASF (wmv is just an alias) is fully supported in xine, for newer windows media 9 based streams you'll need to install windows binary codecs (.DLLs).
Possibly the most convenient way to get the Windows DLLs is to download them from the MPlayer website http://www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage/dload.html . The package is called "essential". Unpack it and move everything you find inside to /usr/lib/win32 (actually you can place them anywhere you want, e.g. someplace in your home directory, but then you'll have to set decoder.external.win32_codecs_path in your xine config file accordingly). Restart xine then and you should be able to watch windows media streams.
I think those directions might be a bit outdated. /usr/lib/win32 is the old method. It is better to put them in /usr/lib/codecs (or /usr/local/lib/codecs) with a link called win32 pointing to this directory. As far as the "xine config file" goes, The path to the codecs is defined at compile './configure --help' should give you the correct options. You can also try ~/.xine/config and see if that is what you need. I'm not sure about xine, but MPlayer requires a .configure/recompile when new codecs are added.
I think those directions might be a bit outdated. /usr/lib/win32 is the old method. It is better to put them in /usr/lib/codecs (or /usr/local/lib/codecs) with a link called win32 pointing to this directory.
I usually just install them to /usr/lib/win32 and then create symlinks to /usr/lib/codecs just in case an app is looking for them there.
Whichever your preference, just make sure all of your bases are coverd. Also, I don't know if this is necisary or not, but I have simlinks at /usr/local/lib/win32 & /usr/local/lib/codecs too. The later is the default folder for MPlayer.
Totem used to let you configure the path for win32 codecs, but the option was removed in recent versions. A symbolic link is basically a file that points to another file. In your case, you could do the following,
#ln -s /usr/lib/win32 /usr/lib/codecs
For learning basic Linux stuff, take a look at rute.
Install xine first and make sure it's working before you start playing with totem. It's best not to over complicate things when trying to debug a problem. By the way, I was not able to get all media types to work with the "sineessential codec" package. I would suggest getting the "all codec" package.