mpv-build 0

Helper scripts to compile mpv on Linux

3 years after


This is a collection of scripts to make downloading and building mpv, ffmpeg and libass easier. ffmpeg and libass get special treatment, because they are essential, and distribution packages are often too old or too broken.

If you are running Mac OSX and using homebrew we provide homebrew-mpv_, an up to date formula that compiles mpv with sensible dependencies and defaults for OSX.

Generic Instructions

(For Debian/Ubuntu see Instructions for Debian and Ubuntu_)

Make sure git is installed. Also check that the dependencies listed in the next section are installed.

Checkout the build repo:

git clone

cd mpv-build

To get the ffmpeg, libass and mpv sources and build them, run the command:

./rebuild -j4

The -j4 asks it to use 4 parallel processes.

Note that this command implicitly does an update followed by a full cleanup (even if nothing changes), which is supposed to reduce possible problems with incremental builds. You can do incremental builds by explicitly calling ./build. This can be faster on minor updates, but breaks sometimes, e.g. the FFmpeg build system can sometimes be a bit glitchy.

Install mpv with:

sudo ./install

mpv doesn't need to be installed. The binary ./mpv/build/mpv can be used as-is. You can copy it to /usr/local/bin manually. Note that libass and ffmpeg will be statically linked with mpv when using the provided scripts, and no ffmpeg or libass libraries are/need to be installed. There are no required config or data files either.


Essential dependencies (incomplete list):

  • gcc or clang, yasm, git
  • autoconf/autotools (for libass)
  • X development headers (xlib, X extensions, vdpau, GL, Xv, ...)
  • Audio output development headers (libasound, pulseaudio)
  • fribidi, freetype, fontconfig development headers (for libass)
  • libjpeg
  • OpenSSL or GnuTLS development headers if you want to open https links (this is also needed to make youtube-dl interaction work)
  • youtube-dl (at runtime) if you want to play Youtube videos directly (a builtin mpv script will call it)
  • libx264/libmp3lame/libfdk-aac if you want to use encoding (you have to add these options explicitly to the ffmpeg options, as ffmpeg won't autodetect these libraries; see next section)

Note: most dependencies are optional and autodetected. If they're missing, these features will be disabled silently. This includes some dependencies which could be considered essential.

Enabling optional ffmpeg dependencies

ffmpeg doesn't autodetect many dependencies. Instead, it requires you to enable them explicitly at configuration time. (And it will simply fail if the dependencies are not available.)

You can put additional ffmpeg configure flags into ffmpeg_options. For example, to enable some dependencies needed for encoding:

echo --enable-libx264    >> ffmpeg_options

echo --enable-libmp3lame >> ffmpeg_options

echo --enable-libfdk-aac >> ffmpeg_options

Do this in the mpv-build top-level directory (the same that contains the build scripts and this readme file). It must be done prior running ./build or ./rebuild.

Instructions for Debian and Ubuntu

Warning: DO NOT USE THESE INSTRUCTIONS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. These scripts are fragile (probably rather Debian's fault than ours). They will often fail with weird errors that are hard to solve. They only exist for users who want to hurt themselves. Use the generic instructions, unless you really insist on having a Debian package as result.

Install some fundamental packages with the command:

apt-get install git devscripts equivs

Now, to checkout the build repo, run:

git clone

cd mpv-build

To make sure that everything is up to date:


Install the dependencies with:

rm -f mpv-build-deps_*_*.deb

mk-build-deps -s sudo -i

This will generate and install a dummy package that depends on the required packages. The rm -f command makes sure there are no previous versions of the build-deps package lying around that may otherwise confuse mk-build-deps.

If you don't want to use sudo, you can also try:


su -c 'dpkg -i mpv-build-deps_*_*.deb || apt-get install -f'

You can now build a full mpv Debian package with the following command:

dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us -b -j4

"4" is the number of jobs running in parallel - change it to match your number of processors. The file mpv.deb will be created in the parent directory. Install it with

sudo dpkg -i ../mpv_<version>_<architecture>.deb

where you must replace with the version of mpv you just built (as indicated in debian/changelog) and with your architecture. As with the mpv-build-deps package, you should ensure you are installing the correct package and not one you previously compiled.

To recompile a new package based on the latest sources, repeat the above steps starting with and including ./update.

For further information regarding the Debian package, see debian/README.Debian.

Local changes to the git repositories

Making local changes to the created git repositories is generally discouraged. Updating might remove local changes or conflict with them. Sometimes the repositories might be wiped entirely. If you make local changes, always keep them in a separate repository and merge them after updating.

In general, changes to the mpv-build repository itself are relatively safe, keeping branches in sub-repositories might be ok, and making local, uncommitted changes in sub-repositories will break.

Selecting release vs. master versions

By default, mpv, ffmpeg and libass use the git master versions. These are bleeding edge, but should usually work fine. To get a stable (slightly stale) version, you can use release versions. Note that at least for mpv, releases are not actually maintained - releases are for Linux distributions, which are expected to maintain them and to backport bug fixes (which they usually fail to do).

The following command can be used to delete all local changes, and to checkout the latest release version of mpv:


And run ./rebuild or similar. Use this to switch back to git master:


Likewise, you can use ./use-ffmpeg-master and ./use-ffmpeg-release to switch between git master and the latest FFmpeg release.

Use on your own risk.

mpv configure options

Just like ffmpeg_options, the file mpv_options in the mpv-build top-level directory can be used to set custom mpv configure options prior to compiling. Like with ffmpeg_option, it expects one switch per line (e.g. --enable-something).

But normally, you shouldn't need this.

Building libmpv

You can enable building libmpv by enabling the configure option:

echo --enable-libmpv-shared > mpv_options

Note that this will make the mpv-build scripts also enable PIC for all used libraries. For this reason, be sure to run ./clean before rebuilding.

The Debian packaging scripts do not support libmpv yet.


You can find us on IRC in #mpv on

Report bugs to the issues tracker_ provided by GitHub to send us bug reports or feature requests.

.. _issues tracker: .. _homebrew-mpv:

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