When I first started using Linux, one of the cool applications that drew me to the Linux interface was mplayer. The thing that attracted me to mplayer was its simplicity. It was just a window with a video playing – video navigation and settings were by keyboard. It subscribed to the unix philosophy of doing one thing well.
However, if bare bones video is not your cup of tea, but still want the power and flexibility of mplayer, smplayer may be the answer. smplayer is a graphical frontend for mplayer. It provides a gui interface to all of mplayers options, settings and video navigation. It is a veritable cornucopia of video playback options.
smplayer is pretty mainstream, so there should be packages available for your distro in the standard repositories. Alternatively, download the tarball from the smplayer website and compile it from source.
There is little point in trying to explain how to use smplayer. There are so many knobs and dials to twiddle, that I could go on for pages about what you can do with it. If you are so inclined, just have a play around, and see what you can do with it. Check out the screenshots below for a small sample of what’s available: