Is it possible to have video player without GUI?

On Raspberry Pi, I can play video with omxplayer (for debian buster) ou vlc (for debian bulleyes) without desktop.
Is this possible with RockPi4 B+ ?
When I tried vlc or ffplay in Ubuntu server, it says ‘gl vout display error: parent window not available’

ffmpeg are the default tools for cli processing, but not really what you want but worth a mention.
I had to think and couldn’t think of anything, Google says ‘sudo apt install mpv’ but do a search for mpv as that looks the stuff you may have to find a repo version if apt doesn’t work.

Sort of strugging how it could without at least xorg installed but something like xinit -- /usr/bin/vlc-wrapper video.mp4 should work.

Actually, you can run ffplay without Desktop with the help of SDL2 for hw acceleration.
Here i used my modified SDL2 version (source on github) and kernel 4.19.y , have a look :slight_smile:

Building the latest stock version of SDL2 (and Mesa) with a mainline kernel (panfrost enabled) will most likely work, but care must be taken with a special ffmpeg version for hw decoding and must match the kernel version. As they say is not a walk in the park…

ffplay can work without hw decoding but not really a nice experience with 4k or some high bit rate video.

Ok. Just for the record.
After many tests, it’s seems not possible.

  • I can read and write in /dev/fb0 if X11 is not running.

#include <sys/mman.h>
#include <sys/ioctl.h>
#include <errno.h>

int main()
int fbfd = 0;
struct fb_var_screeninfo vinfo;
struct fb_fix_screeninfo finfo;
long int screensize = 0;
char *fbp = 0;
int x = 0, y = 0;
long int location = 0;

// Open the file for reading and writing
fbfd = open("/dev/fb0", O_RDWR);
if (!fbfd) {
    printf("Error: cannot open framebuffer device.\n");
printf("The framebuffer device was opened successfully.\n");

// Get fixed screen information
if (ioctl(fbfd, FBIOGET_FSCREENINFO, &finfo)) {
    printf("Error reading fixed information.\n");

// Get variable screen information
if (ioctl(fbfd, FBIOGET_VSCREENINFO, &vinfo)) {
    printf("Error reading variable information.\n");

printf("%dx%d, %dbpp\n", vinfo.xres, vinfo.yres, vinfo.bits_per_pixel );

// Figure out the size of the screen in bytes
screensize = vinfo.xres * vinfo.yres * vinfo.bits_per_pixel / 8;
errno = 0;

// Map the device to memory
fbp = (char *)mmap(0, screensize, PROT_READ | PROT_WRITE, MAP_SHARED,
                   fbfd, 0);
if ((long int) fbp == -1) {
    printf("Error: failed to map framebuffer device to memory.\n");

perror(“Echec mmap”);
printf(“The framebuffer device was mapped to memory successfully.\n”);

x = 100; y = 100;       // Where we are going to put the pixel

// Figure out where in memory to put the pixel
for ( y = 100; y < 300; y++ )
    for ( x = 100; x < 300; x++ ) {

        location = (x+vinfo.xoffset) * (vinfo.bits_per_pixel/8) +
                   (y+vinfo.yoffset) * finfo.line_length;

        if ( vinfo.bits_per_pixel == 32 ) {
            *(fbp + location) = 100;        // Some blue
            *(fbp + location + 1) = 15+(x-100)/2;     // A little green
            *(fbp + location + 2) = 200-(y-100)/5;    // A lot of red
            *(fbp + location + 3) = 0;      // No transparency
        } else  { //assume 16bpp
            int b = 10;
            int g = (x-100)/6;     // A little green
            int r = 31-(y-100)/16;    // A lot of red
            unsigned short int t = r<<11 | g << 5 | b;
            *((unsigned short int*)(fbp + location)) = t;

munmap(fbp, screensize);
return 0;