How can I use my laptop's media buttons [Play/Pause, Next, Previous] to work with Mplayer? The XF86 buttons I think they're called.


Create a named pipe like this:

mkfifo ~/.mplayer/pipe

Then, put the following line in ~/.mplayer/config:


or you can run mplayer with input argument:

mplayer -input file=/home/<username>/.mplayer/pipe

Now use System Setting->Keyboard->Shortcut and add a shortcut with the command parameter as (see mplayer -input cmdlist for the command list):

echo "<mplayer command>" > /home/<username>/.mplayer/pipe

e.g. echo "pt_step 1" > /home/<username>/.mplayer/pipe for next track.

and then assign a key to this shortcut.

  • Sounds interesting, but what happens when I'm not using MPlayer? Will my media buttons still work as normal? Or will these keyboard shortcuts override the normal functions of them. – Matt Aug 26 '12 at 16:39
  • Nope! They would still echo commands to the pipe which will go wasted! – Hedy Aug 29 '12 at 23:08
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    Hmm.. ok, I finally got around to trying this, and it doesn't seem to work. Nothing I echo into the pipe does anything. I have tried both .config, and with the arg pointing to the pipe, but still no luck. version is MPlayer svn r34540. I just tried lsof and it lists .mplayer/pipe is open by mplayer. – Matt Sep 12 '12 at 21:36
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    This works well. But how to enable the key without caring about active window. Like if I want to press a key while I am browsing but I want to act that key on Mplayer. – soham Oct 12 '14 at 3:30

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