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What is Totem?

Totem is the official movie player of the GNOME desktop environment based on GStreamer. It features a playlist, a full-screen mode, seek and volume controls, as well as keyboard navigation.
It comes with added functionality such as:

Where can I get it?

Installing from a repository

If you are running a recent distribution, there is a high chance totem is already installed since it is the default movie player of the GNOME desktop environment. If this isn't the case, you can install it by using a online repository

For deb-based distributions (like Debian, Ubuntu, …) this is:

$ sudo apt-get install totem-gstreamer

For yum-based distributions (like Fedora Core, …) this is:

$ sudo yum install totem

For portage-based distributions (like gentoo linux, …) this is:

$ sudo emerge totem

Use the -xine USE flag to install the GStreamer version.

Installing from a file

The way mentioned above is the preferred way, since your package manger will handle future updates of totem. You can however still install totem from a binary package file. These packages are created for a specific distribution. If you can't find a package for your distribution, you can try your luck on a package for a distribution that is related to yours, or you can compile totem from source (see "Installing from source").

Installing from source

You can also compile totem for source. The latest sourcecode of totem can be found at the GNOME ftp site.

Installing from SVN

If you want to play with the latest bleeding-edge features, you can try an SVN copy. Note that SVN versions can be unstable! Check out the documentation on how to do this. The module you have to check out is totem.

What are the minimum requirements?



Totem can display a variety of formats, based on what backend you use. To see what backend you are using check the "About" dialog of Totem.


When using the GStreamer backend, you can install multiple plugin packages. You can install them the same way as you would install totem. Some information about the gstreamer-plugins packages can be found here.

DVB support

Using Totem, you can watch TV on over-the-air and satellite digital television. You'll need a DVB-T or DVB-S card supported by Linux, and gnome-dvb-daemon.

Generating the channels.conf

Work is on-going to have a scanner interface in Totem, so that the out-of-the-box experience is better, but you will have to use another application to generate the channels listing.

We recommend you use w_scan as it doesn't require any initial scanning data to scan for channels.

Note that you will need to generate the file in xine format.

YouTube support

With the YouTube plugin you can browse YouTube and watch videos from it. You'll need libgdata installed. YouTube-style buffering is supported in the most recent versions of Totem and GStreamer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does seeking with the keyboard keys (Left and Right arrow) in Totem not seek the same amount of time in either direction?
A: This is on purpose. To find a particular point in a film, most people will seek forward and then realise that they've gone too far. Seeking back, if it used the same amount of time, would mean going back to where they last seeked from. You can experiment with pressing Ctrl or Shift along with the arrows to seek further, or closer (respectively).

Q: Why doesn't the space bar work to play/pause in windowed mode? It only works in fullscreen, and sometimes in windowed mode.
A: The space bar will work in fullscreen. But when in windowed mode, for accessibility reasons, we cannot use the space to play/pause (it is used to "push" buttons already). It will work sometimes, as the play/pause button, or the video widget might be the one with the keyboard focus. Try using "P" to play/pause instead.

Q: Why does the browser plugin advertise itself as handling some file/stream types it can't handle? (e.g. why does it say it supports MP3 in the about:plugins when it doesn't?)
A: The problem is that the Mozilla/Gecko/Firefox plugin system doesn't allow for fine-grained advertising of those features.
For example, the Totem GMP plugin advertises itself as a Windows Media Player compatible-plugin. There is unfortunately no way to check whether all the necessary plugins are available to the media framework to play the stream before we try. For example, the installed plugins might only be able to play back a specific version of Windows Media Video. There is no way to advertise that fact using the current plugin system. There is also no way to know what will be inside the stream before we start playing it back.

Q: Why does my screen go into power saving mode whilst the player is actually playing a video?
A: You will either need gnome-screensaver and gnome-power-manager running, or none of those two. Totem talks to gnome-screensaver to stop the screensaver itself, which in turn talks to gnome-power-manager to avoid going into power saving modes. If none of those are running, Totem will use X directly to disable the screensaver.

Q: My screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio, why isn't it listed in the View ➙ Aspect Ratio menu?
A: The View ➙ Aspect Ratio menu is actually about the aspect ratio of the file you're trying to play, not of your screen. Usually, streams will include information about their aspect ratio directly in the file. You would only use the menu item item to switch ratios if that data was wrong. If you want to remove black borders, you should use the “Zoom” menu items instead, in the View menu.

Reporting bugs

Before you want to file a bug, make sure you are running the latest version. After that, you must find out if the bug is caused by totem or by its backend (GStreamer). If it is something visual in the video or something in the audio, it probably is a bug in the backend and has to be submitted to the right bugtracker. To see what backend you are using check the "About box" of totem.

Backend: GStreamer bug

If you are running the GStreamer backend, and you notice a problem with the sound or video (out of sync, garbled output, …), you can file a bug to GStreamer. As with all bugs, first check if it isn't already reported. If your bug isn't in that list, file new bug. You might want to include the output of this command to your bug report:

GST_DEBUG_NO_COLOR=1 GST_DEBUG=*:2 totem 2> log

or if the problem seems to be with the file you're playing, include the output of:

gst-launch-0.10 playbin2 uri=<location of the file>

or if that fails, compare with the output of:

gst-launch-0.10 playbin uri=<location of the file>

Totem bug

If you are convinced the problem is with Totem itself, you should first check the bug list if your bug isn't already reported. If you can't find your bug, go ahead and file it on the the totem bugtracker.
To have better debug-output, open a terminal and enter the following command.

totem --debug


Here you can find a collection of usefull links related to totem.


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