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When you watch a video in YouTube, you can seek it with the thumbnail preview. Many Windows' and MacOS' video players have this feature, but what about Linux's? I've already read this same question, but the information in it seems out-of-date. The ExMPlayer official website is still alive but the project is neglected (see git repo), and actually the player doesn't work on the latest Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Is there any video player which has the feature and works on the latest linux distributions? Or must I use Windows' one with VirtualBox? If only VLC would implement this feature, but it seems that won't happen as far as I read this.

YouTube's seek preview: enter image description here

2 Answers 2

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Ipor Sircer's answer is sufficient and perfect but let me write a step by step answer for beginners.

  1. Install mpv. In Ubuntu, you can execute this command.

    sudo apt update && sudo apt install mpv

  2. Visit mpv-thumbnail-script releases page and download mpv_thumbnail_script_client_osc.lua and mpv_thumbnail_script_server.lua.

  3. Copy these lua scripts to ~/.config/mpv/scripts/. The directory may not exist by default.

Just following these steps, without any further configurations and with --osc=no option[*], the feature of the thumbnail seek is turned on. However, please note that the feature is automatically disabled when you play a video whose length is over an hour. You can again enable the feature by pressing Shift+t on the player or change the setting. As for the latter case, see mpv-thumbnail-script Configurations or execute echo "autogenerate_max_duration=0" >> ~/.config/mpv/lua-settings/mpv_thumbnail_script.conf.

[*]: You can instead execute echo "osc=no" >> ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf once.

If you feel it takes much time to generate thumbnails, you can turn on multi-threading. It is quite easy. See again mpv-thumbnail-script Configurations. In my case, it really works well.

My test environment:

$ lsb_release -d
Description:    Linux Mint 19 Tara

$ mpv --version
mpv 0.27.2 (C) 2000-2017 mpv/MPlayer/mplayer2 projects

(Japanese AGMPlayer for Ubuntu also worked on the same environment, though this wasn't stable.)

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  • 06/2023: Unfortunately it didn't work for me (Macos). But this worked: github.com/po5/thumbfast with UI github.com/tomasklaen/uosc
    – Jogusa
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 13:29
  • JFYI: In my macOS environment (macOS Ventura 13.4, Apple M1, mpv 0.33.0), my answer is working well in 06/2023.
    – ynn
    Commented Jun 17, 2023 at 11:58
  • According to the linked page's "issues" section, the "current" working version of the script is here: github.com/marzzzello/mpv_thumbnail_script
    – bvargo
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 14:51
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Yes, there is a plugin called mpv-thumbnail-script for mpv.

enter image description here

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  • 1
    Thank you for your perfect answer. It works!
    – ynn
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 12:04
  • According to the linked page's "issues" section, the "current" working version of the script is here: github.com/marzzzello/mpv_thumbnail_script
    – bvargo
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 14:51

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