HowTo: Eliminate the Green Bar on video playback in Totem (and other media players)

Some people, including myself, have experienced an annoying issue whereby some videos you playback, particularly those encoded with the Xvid codec, have an apparent corruption of video represented by a thick Green Bar(TM) somewhere on the image. Generally the colours are askew as well and sometimes sections of the image are blurred. You might assume that the original video is corrupt in some way, but this is not the case as the video will typically run fine through media players on other platforms.

The Green Bar(TM) and general video corruption looks similar to this:

The dreaded Green Bar of DeathTM

The issue is that the XVideo extension of X Windows (aka Xv) is having trouble dealing with the decoded video data when using your video card to scale the video to fit the window. There is a fix, however, at a minor cost of some CPU time – instead of getting your video card to do the scaling, get the CPU to do it instead.

  1. Press ALT+F2 to bring up the Run Application dialog (or just open a terminal) and type in gstreamer-properties and hit Enter.
  1. You will be presented with the GStreamer properties app. Click on the Video tab and you will see the following:
  1. Change the Default Output Plugin from Autodetect to X Window System (No Xv) and then close the application.
  1. Now re-run your video file through Totem and the Green Bar(TM) should now be gone. Scaling of the video to fit the window is now being done by the CPU. The impact should be negligible. Should you experience playback slowdown with other videos that never had the Green Bar(TM) issue previously, you should go back into GStreamer’s properties and re-enable Xv as required.
  1. Retrieve popcorn and enjoy movie.