Any viable option for video playing within Workstation on KVM?


When I have occasionally tried to play a video file within Workstation, I’ve noticed it’s nearly impossible. I’ve already made the config change to VLC Player to set it to use X11 output and prevent instant crash:

But still whenever I load any video file into it, regardless of format, resolution etc, the sound will play smooth but the video will be horribly stuttered and shaky and slow. I have tried several other players including mplayer, totem, kaffeine, miro etc, but all without success. Miro comes the closest to working, actually playing everything smoothly for about a minute, then quitting completely every time.

I imagine this issue is less related to codecs (since some players install all the needed ones automatically) and more a function of the guest VM not having full direct access to the host system video hardware and memory etc, and needing to use an emulated driver.

Is there any recommended fix for getting best results under this situation? Thanks…

EDIT: The same videos play perfectly smoothly under VLC on host system (Linux Mint), no issue at all.

EDIT by Patrick: Added KVM to subject.

Can't play HD videos in YouTube

What about HD html5 [or flash] [youtube or similar] videos?

Works for me on Qubes-Whonix. [Downloaded a youtube html5 HD video and played with VLC without any changes.]

I would guess this is virtualizer specific. Perhaps specifically KVM? I guess you’re aware of https://www.whonix.org/forum/index.php/topic,1454.msg9178.html#msg9178 already?


Yes, I am one of the posters in that thread who confirms that the change specified improves drastically the overall graphical performance in Whonix :slight_smile:

However, not so much help with video files.

[quote=“Patrick”]What about HD html5 [or flash] [youtube or similar] videos?
Works for me on Qubes-Whonix. [Downloaded a youtube html5 HD video and played with VLC without any changes.][/quote]

HTML5 I have not specifically tried yet, but will shortly. However many types of mp4, avi, xvid, divx, mkv, h264 etcetera all produce the same stuttery result. If there is a file of these types freely/libre available somewhere on the net that plays smoothly for you, let me know and I will try it on my system too.

I am involved/interested with Qubes as well, but right now am not running it as a host for Whonix, since my hardware has some issues with the current release version. Linux Mint and KVM seen to work okay for the most part, and everything is perfect under Mint itself.


Moved to KVM forum, since it seems virtualizer specific.
(Btw nevermind about posting it in the wrong section. Sometimes it’s hard figuring out the best category. Specifically for this one. I could still be wrong.)


On the weekend when I have a chance, I will install Virtualbox version of Whonix and try the same video files out of curiosity, to see if the performance is any different. At least that way we will know whether it is KVM related or not. In the meantime, if anyone can point to an avi/mp4 type file that does play fine for them using VLC player, I will test this too under my current installation.


You won’t be able to play video as flawless as on the host yet. When Debian Stretch is released the new graphics acceleration will be ready. When I tested it before video playback was ok when VLC hardware acceleration was set on max settings.


Okay, good to know and in that case I’ll just wait for that improvement, and use the host for playing videos in the meantime. In my case, currently it isn’t even a question of not playing them as flawlessly, but rather not playing them at all. None of the standard Linux players will even open (or stay open) under Workstation presently, and VLC plays them in an un-watchable mode. We aren’t just talking a bit of stuttering here and there, I am talking about maybe one frame change every three seconds or so, thus basically no video functionality whatsoever.

If this is just an unavoidable effect of the emulated environment for the time being, I’ll accept that and use other solutions. As long as I’m not just doing something wrong that could be corrected. Thanks…


If it’s about file format, you can try this too lto do video conversion: [link to suspected spam site removed]
Also, the resolution and bite rates have important effect.


It was never about format or even bitrate. And even if it was who would bother with another software for file format conversion when we have media players like VLC?