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I know that I can change the setting for playback in settings and this will affect vlc globally. However, I don't want EVERY file to be played faster, only mp4 files. Therefore, I figure I can setup a separate application .desktop file with a custom command that can set the playback speed on start.

Does anybody know the configuration setting in command-line to increase playback speed? Thanks!

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All you need to do is add the --rate switch after vlc and specify the value you want or have tested in vlc previously; for example, from the command line I could play a file with

vlc --rate 3 myfile.mp4

So vlc --rate 3 (substitute 3 for the value you want) is the key part of what you need for your launcher.

More command-line options for vlc are available by entering in the terminal vlc -h, or vlc -H for exhaustive help.

I don't know which desktop you are on, but on Xfce I create a very simple vlc mp4 launcher .desktop file in ~/.local/share/applications in this format (and make it executable):

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/vlc --rate 3 %U

Then simply go to your file browser and right click an mp4 file, select this launcher, and check the box to make sure that all mp4s are opened with this .desktop application from now on. Now just clicking the video file will make it play using your custom parameters, but will leave unaffected any other video file that vlc plays.

This is the quickest way to associate your launcher with the filetype, but to do it manually you would edit ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list and add the name of your launcher. As an example, you would add video/mp4=vlcmp4.desktop to the [Default Applications] section and the [Added Associations list] section should have video/mp4=vlc.desktop;vlcmp4.desktop;.

More information on .desktop files and launchers is here at the Ubuntu help pages.

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