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Linux Movie players: VLC Vs Totem Vs Parole

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

VLC may the king of features, but is it the king of performance? Needing something light for my netbook I decided to take a quick unofficial gander as to how VLC stacked up against Ubuntu default ‘Totem’ Movie Player and Xubuntu default Parole.

Since all 3 play subtitles, support play-lists and have fullscreen controllers I’ve decided not to focus on features.

The test

I took an average .avi file of about 25 minutes in length and played it in each player 3 times, noting CPU and RAM usage when both played and paused at 3 minutes in and 10 minutes in respectively. I then calculated the average CPU and RAM score from these.

When Playing: CPU / RAM

  • VLC: 6% / 25.2MiB
  • Totem: 12% / 26.3 MiB
  • Parole: 12% / 56.3MiB

When Paused: CPU / RAM

  • VLC:  0% / 26.5 MiB
  • Totem: 0% / 27.7 MiB
  • Parole:  0% / 58.9MiB

Both Totem and Parole use Gstreamer multimedia framework so, in many ways, you’d expect their results to be similar and not see such a wide chasm.

I’m not sure if my results are flukes. Having used Parole on my netbook it seemed perfectly snappy. Totem has given me the most ‘issues’ – playing stutters for the first minute or so – so maybe these results are not indicative of how well an application performs but rather what it needs to use perform acceptably.

Either way, I’m sticking with VLC for now.