Try this fix if Screen is flickering during Video Playback in Ubuntu

If you’re having screen flickering issues while playing videos in Ubuntu, then the below steps might help you to fix it. In my case, I have an Intel HD 3000 GPU (ain’t gonna win any gaming contests!) and few days ago I noticed that whenever I’m playing a video file using ‘Totem’ (default media player in Ubuntu/Gnome-desktop) the screen started to flicker here and there, and it drove me mad!.

Interestingly, then I used my favorite media player, the ‘MPLayer’, and it played these videos without any issues whatsoever. So I thought, perhaps it has something to do with ‘Gstreamer’ (the real multimedia engine that Totem uses for the playback) and decided to adjust few of its settings using a configuration editor known as the ‘gstreamer-properties’ window, and it did fix it for me.

So, if you’ve already tried out the latest drivers and software updates but still haven’t been able to fix it, then perhaps below steps might help you out. But please remember that, there’s no guarantee that this will fix all the issues, but, since it’s only gonna take like 5-10 seconds, why not just give it a go? :).

Let’s do it …

1. First of all, close Totem or any video player that uses ‘Gstreamer’ before we begin.

2. Now, open your Terminal window and enter the below command and press ‘Enter’.


3. Then, from the next window, click on the ‘Video’ tab. Then, under ‘Default output’ -> ‘Plugin’ sub option, make sure the default value is set to ‘Autodetect’.



If so, then simply click on the ‘Test’ button.

This should open a video output as shown below, let it play for few seconds and then click on the ‘OK’ button to finish the testing.


Now, close the settings window and try opening ‘Totem’ and the video flickering issue might be fixed!.

Optional …

4. If however, if it didn’t help or it was fixed temporarily but came back when you restarted the PC, then you can try manually changing the video output as it might do the trick.

For that, again follow the above ‘3’ steps and this time, under ‘Plugin’, click on it and from the drop down menu choose, ‘X Windows System (X11/XShm/Xv)’ option.


Then, try clicking on the option ‘Device’, and if it has listed an option that goes with the name of your GPU (in this instance I used ‘Intel (R) Textured Video’), then select it. If it’s not there or if you can’t find it, then choose ‘Default’ from the list.


5. After that, again click on the ‘Test’ button’ and let the video output to play for few seconds, then click on the ‘OK’ button to close it.

Now close the ‘gstreamer-properties’ window and try playing a video using ‘Totem’, and who know, it might be fixed this time :). That’s it, good luck.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

2 thoughts on “Try this fix if Screen is flickering during Video Playback in Ubuntu”

  1. Just wanted to thank you for the advice. It helped.
    Didn’t test the “Optional” one, worked directly with the first fix.

    Thank you.


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