When running Compiz Fusion as the window manager in Ubuntu and having the 3D cube enabled, there is a known bug in the Ubuntu distros that can cause video playback to only display a black or blue screen (the sound is fine). Apparently, the bug has to do with a conflict relating to the video output driver xv. Compiz Fusion prevents the video application to use the driver. A workaround is to change the video output driver of your video application, for example vlc, to x11. A procedure that worked for me is outlined below and was posted in the Compiz Fusion forum by user kevinmedina, who got his inspiration from Gremlinzzz, who posted a solution here.

(The default video player in Ubuntu, totem-gstreamer, and any video player that is based on the gstreamer backend)

  • Open a terminal and do
  • Click the Video tab.
  • Under Default Video Plugin select “X Window System (No Xv)”.
  • Click Test to verify that video playback is working (you should be able to see the standard TV testing colour stripes).
  • Click Close

(VLC is not installed by default; you need to search in the package manager, then install)

  • Start VLC and click on Settings, then Preferences.
  • Expand Video and then expand Output modules. You will notice several options for output device.
  • Select the item Output modules, and notice the checkbox at the bottom right that says Advanced options. Check the box, and now you have the option to select a different output device.
  • Pick X11 video output
  • Click on Save and you are set!

(Mplayer is not installed by default)

  • Start Mplayer
  • Right-click on the screen and select Preferences
  • Select the Video tab and under Available Drivers select “X11 (XImage/Shm)”
  • Click Save and restart the program for the setting to take effect.
  • Some users reported that MPlayer may not be able to show videos in full screen.


  • Start xine
  • Click File, then Configure and then Preferences
  • In experience_level select “Master Of The Known Universe” so that all available settings are visible.
  • Select the tab for video.
  • Under Driver select “xshm”.
  • Restart xine.
  • The same process enables Totem that has the totem-xine backend configured.

A screenshot of the 3D cube with working video (“One night in Paris”) is shown below:

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