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A python interface to the mpv media player

Project description

python-mpv is a ctypes-based python interface to the mpv media player. It gives you more or less full control of all features of the player, just as the lua interface does.


pip install mpv

…though you can also realistically just copy into your project as it’s all nicely contained in one file.


libmpv either locally (in your current working directory) or somewhere in your system library search path. This module is somewhat lenient as far as libmpv versions are concerned but since libmpv is changing quite frequently you’ll only get all the newest features when using an up-to-date version of this module. The unit tests for this module do some basic automatic version compatibility checks. If you discover anything missing here, please open an issue or submit a pull request on github.

On Windows you can place libmpv anywhere in your %PATH% (e.g. next to python.exe) or next to this module’s Before falling back to looking in the mpv module’s directory, python-mpv uses the DLL search order built into ctypes, which is different to the one Windows uses internally. Consult this stackoverflow post for details.

Python >= 3.9

We only support python stable releases from the last couple of years. We only test the current stable python release. If you find a compatibility issue with an older python version that still has upstream support (that is less than about four years old), feel free to open an issue and we’ll have a look.

Supported Platforms

Linux, Windows and OSX all seem to work mostly fine. For some notes on the installation on Windows see this comment. Shared library handling is quite bad on windows, so expect some pain there. On OSX there seems to be some bug int the event logic. See issue 36 and issue 61 for details. Creating a pyQT window and having mpv draw into it seems to be a workaround (about 10loc), but in case you want this fixed please weigh in on the issue tracker since right now there is not many OSX users.


import mpv
player = mpv.MPV(ytdl=True)'')

python-mpv mostly exposes mpv’s built-in API to python, adding only some porcelain on top. Most “input commands” are mapped to methods of the MPV class. Check out these methods and their docstrings in the source for things you can do. Additional controls and status information are exposed through MPV properties. These can be accessed like player.metadata, player.fullscreen and player.loop_playlist.


The mpv module starts one thread for event handling, since MPV sends events that must be processed quickly. The event queue has a fixed maximum size and some operations can cause a large number of events to be sent.

If you want to handle threading yourself, you can pass start_event_thread=False to the MPV constructor and manually call the MPV object’s _loop function. If you have some strong need to not use threads and use some external event loop (such as asyncio) instead you can do that, too with some work. The API of the backend C libmpv has a function for producing a sort of event file descriptor for a handle. You can use that to produce a file descriptor that can be passed to an event loop to tell it to wake up the python-mpv event handler on every incoming event.

All API functions are thread-safe. If one is not, please file an issue on github.

Advanced Usage

Logging, Properties, Python Key Bindings, Screenshots and youtube-dl

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import mpv

def my_log(loglevel, component, message):
    print('[{}] {}: {}'.format(loglevel, component, message))

player = mpv.MPV(log_handler=my_log, ytdl=True, input_default_bindings=True, input_vo_keyboard=True)

# Property access, these can be changed at runtime
def time_observer(_name, value):
    # Here, _value is either None if nothing is playing or a float containing
    # fractional seconds since the beginning of the file.
    print('Now playing at {:.2f}s'.format(value))

player.fullscreen = True
player.loop_playlist = 'inf'
# Option access, in general these require the core to reinitialize
player['vo'] = 'gpu'

def my_q_binding():
    print('THERE IS NO ESCAPE')

def my_s_binding():
    pillow_img = player.screenshot_raw()'screenshot.png')'')

del player

Skipping silence using libav filters

The following code uses the libav silencedetect filter to skip silence at the beginning of a file. It works by loading the filter, then parsing its output from mpv’s log. Thanks to Sean DeNigris on github (#202) for the original code!

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import sys
import mpv

p = mpv.MPV()[1])

def skip_silence():
    p.set_loglevel('debug') = 'lavfi=[silencedetect=n=-20dB:d=1]'
    p.speed = 100
    def check(evt):
        toks = evt['event']['text'].split()
        if 'silence_end:' in toks:
            return float(toks[2])
    p.time_pos = p.wait_for_event('log_message', cond=check)
    p.speed = 1 = ''


Video overlays

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import time
from PIL import Image, ImageDraw, ImageFont
import mpv

player = mpv.MPV()

player.loop = True'test.webm')

font = ImageFont.truetype('DejaVuSans.ttf', 40)

while not player.core_idle:

    overlay = player.create_image_overlay()

    for pos in range(0, 500, 5):
        ts = player.time_pos
        if ts is None:

        img ='RGBA', (400, 150),  (255, 255, 255, 0))
        d = ImageDraw.Draw(img)
        d.text((10, 10), 'Hello World', font=font, fill=(0, 255, 255, 128))
        d.text((10, 60), f't={ts:.3f}', font=font, fill=(255, 0, 255, 255))

        overlay.update(img, pos=(2*pos, pos))


Playlist handling

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import mpv

player = mpv.MPV(ytdl=True, input_default_bindings=True, input_vo_keyboard=True)


player.playlist_pos = 0

while True:
    # To modify the playlist, use player.playlist_{append,clear,move,remove}. player.playlist is read-only

Directly feeding mpv data from python

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import mpv

player = mpv.MPV()
def reader():
    with open('test.webm', 'rb') as f:
        while True:

Using external subtitles

The easiest way to load custom subtitles from a file is to pass the --sub-file option to the loadfile call:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import mpv

player = mpv.MPV()
player.loadfile('test.webm', sub_file='')

Note that you can also pass many other options to loadfile. See the mpv docs for details.

If you want to add subtitle files or streams at runtime, you can use the sub-add command. sub-add can only be called once the player is done loading the file and starts playing. An easy way to wait for this is to wait for the core-idle property.

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import mpv

player = mpv.MPV()'test.webm')

Using MPV’s built-in GUI

python-mpv is using mpv via libmpv. libmpv is meant for embedding into other applications and by default disables most GUI features such as the OSD or keyboard input. To enable the built-in GUI, use the following options when initializing the MPV instance. See Issue 102 for more details

# Enable the on-screen controller and keyboard shortcuts
player = mpv.MPV(input_default_bindings=True, input_vo_keyboard=True, osc=True)

# Alternative version using the old "floating box" style on-screen controller
player = mpv.MPV(player_operation_mode='pseudo-gui',

PyQT embedding

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import mpv
import sys

from PyQt5.QtWidgets import *
from PyQt5.QtCore import *

class Test(QMainWindow):
    def __init__(self, parent=None):
        self.container = QWidget(self)
        player = mpv.MPV(wid=str(int(self.container.winId())),
                vo='x11', # You may not need this

app = QApplication(sys.argv)

# This is necessary since PyQT stomps over the locale settings needed by libmpv.
# This needs to happen after importing PyQT before creating the first mpv.MPV instance.
import locale
locale.setlocale(locale.LC_NUMERIC, 'C')
win = Test()

PyGObject embedding

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import gi

import mpv

gi.require_version('Gtk', '3.0')
from gi.repository import Gtk

class MainClass(Gtk.Window):

    def __init__(self):
        super(MainClass, self).__init__()
        self.set_default_size(600, 400)
        self.connect("destroy", self.on_destroy)

        widget = Gtk.Frame()

        # Must be created >after< the widget is shown, else property 'window' will be None
        self.mpv = mpv.MPV(wid=str(widget.get_property("window").get_xid()))"test.webm")

    def on_destroy(self, widget, data=None):

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # This is necessary since like Qt, Gtk stomps over the locale settings needed by libmpv.
    # Like with Qt, this needs to happen after importing Gtk but before creating the first mpv.MPV instance.
    import locale
    locale.setlocale(locale.LC_NUMERIC, 'C')

    application = MainClass()

Using OpenGL from PyGObject

Just like it is possible to render into a GTK widget through X11 windows, it also is possible to render into a GTK widget using OpenGL through this python API.

Using OpenGL from PyQt5/QML

Robozman has mangaed to make mpv render into a PyQt5/QML widget using OpenGL through this python API.

Using mpv inside imgui inside OpenGL via GLFW

dfaker has written a demo (link) that uses mpv to render video into an imgui UI running on an OpenGL context inside GLFW. Check out their demo to see how to integrate with imgui/OpenGL and how to access properties and manage the lifecycle of an MPV instance.

Running tests

Use pytest to run tests.

Coding Conventions

The general aim is PEP 8, with liberal application of the “consistency” section. 120 cells line width. Four spaces. No tabs. Probably don’t bother making pure-formatting PRs except if you think it really helps readability or it really irks you if you don’t.


python-mpv inherits the underlying libmpv’s license, which can be either GPLv2 or later (default) or LGPLv2.1 or later. For details, see the mpv copyright page.

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