After an evaluation, GNOME has moved from Bugzilla to GitLab. Learn more about GitLab.
No new issues can be reported in GNOME Bugzilla anymore.
To report an issue in a GNOME project, go to GNOME GitLab.
Do not go to GNOME Gitlab for: Bluefish, Doxygen, GnuCash, GStreamer, java-gnome, LDTP, NetworkManager, Tomboy.
Bug 166970 - Settings for preferred audio/subtitles
Settings for preferred audio/subtitles
Product: totem
Classification: Core
Component: Movie player
Other Linux
: Normal enhancement
: ---
Assigned To: General Totem maintainer(s)
General Totem maintainer(s)
: 334320 351843 588225 635856 (view as bug list)
Depends on: 647035
Reported: 2005-02-10 17:56 UTC by Sven Arvidsson
Modified: 2018-05-24 10:25 UTC
See Also:
GNOME target: ---
GNOME version: Unversioned Enhancement

Description Sven Arvidsson 2005-02-10 17:56:40 UTC
It would be convinient to have some way to set preferred languages for audio
tracks and subtitles.

For example, if you watch a lot of dubbed movies with the dubbed english track
as default you might want to tell Totem to always select the
japanese/chinese/whatever track before the english one. 

Another idea could be to always select subtitles based on the current users
locale setting.
Comment 1 Bastien Nocera 2005-02-17 23:40:52 UTC
If only we could steal the language selector from Epiphany.
Comment 2 Loïc Minier 2005-02-19 16:10:14 UTC
(This is Debian bug <>.)
Comment 3 Bastien Nocera 2006-03-13 11:03:58 UTC
*** Bug 334320 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 4 Bastien Nocera 2006-08-17 21:59:40 UTC
*** Bug 351843 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 5 Michael Monreal 2008-01-09 09:24:00 UTC
Bastien, is there a license problem preventing this form happening?

The feature would be great indeed... for me, it's the reverse use case: I most of the time want to see the secondary (english) track of native language DVDs. 
Comment 6 Bastien Nocera 2008-01-10 10:36:49 UTC
I haven't found a good way to present this though, as Epiphany/Firefox only present one language to the users.

It's kind of hard to say, in the UI:
- select Japanese audio with English subtitles if available
or - select English without subtitles
or - select French without subtitles
or - select any other language with english subtitles

Which would be my selection. If you know of other programs with a similar feature, that would be helpful to post screenshots of their UI. We also don't know whether a specific audio track is the primary or secondary language. Ie. is it the original audio or not?
Comment 7 Josselin Mouette 2008-01-10 12:05:55 UTC
How about a separate selection for audio and subtitles?

|   Audio        |  Subtitles   |
| Japanese (ja)  | French (fr)  |
| English  (en)  | English (en) |
| French   (fr)  |              |
|                |              |
|                |              |

I don’t think this covers all uses but it still remains usable.
Comment 8 Rémy Noël 2009-03-10 21:05:52 UTC
This behaviour should do the trick:
Always get the system settings for the languages, subtitles, and menus by default.

If an item is set, so totem should always use it.
For languages and subtitles, if they are set to the same value, the language has the priority and subtitles are not shown (except forced sub...).

A second version could implement different combinations but I think that's useless for most people.

If you agree I can propose a patch in this way.
Comment 9 Bastien Nocera 2009-07-16 14:01:05 UTC
*** Bug 588225 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 10 Bastien Nocera 2010-11-26 14:34:13 UTC
*** Bug 635856 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 11 Oleksij Rempel 2010-11-26 15:14:25 UTC
@Bastien - why should you do it for subs and audio?

IMHO there is three uses of subtitle:
1) if i can't hear so i need to read subs
2) if i learn this language so need see how to spell words. (i use it)
3) if there is no audio translation, only sub.

so in 90% cases, user will just play some thing and enjoy - understand. No subs needed. Normally locale is the languge what user understand, i expect  user can read menus, he will understand audio too.

1) if i can't hear - it should be possible to enable subs all the time by deafut.
2) if subs not set by deafult and there is german and english track, german will be played by default because my locale is german. If i enable subs i expect to see it in same language as audio. Or i need it other lang so i should choice it.
3) if there is no track in my lang but subs are - totem should play just first track and enable german subs.
Comment 12 Jan Claeys 2011-01-09 22:55:40 UTC
@Alexey & Rémy: Understanding a language is not always the right criterium for selecting a particular audio language.  Many people (i.e. cinephiles) prefer the original audio if there are subtitles available for a language they understand.

E.g. I prefer the original Japanese/Russian/Chinese/Hindu/whatever audio (all of which I don't understand) + English/Dutch/French/German subs over e.g. an English dubbed audio track whenever possible.

Obviously you prefer audio in your language instead, and providing both use cases is part of what makes this complicated...

Note: this might also be a cultural thing: in some countries dubbing is used a lot, while in others (e.g. The Netherlands & the Dutch speaking part of Belgium) it's used only for children's movies/series.

@Bastien: your personal example "rules" seem to indicate that you prefer an English dub of a French movie over the original French audio?  I suppose that's not what you meant?

Remarks on some difficult to solve problems:
- we don't know what the "original language" is (as Bastien remarked), but maybe assuming it's the first one is okay?  (I have no idea how this is in "real world" videos...)
- for some container/subtitle formats it's not known what the language is (although some players try to parse the languages from the subtitle filenames if they are external, which Totem currently doesn't)
Comment 13 Oleksij Rempel 2011-01-10 06:30:23 UTC
So, this issue has two parts, really complicated and easy one. The easy should just take first or default audio track (maktroska can define default track, ogg not. we can assume default is the original track) and/or remember last track played. Current totem will play other track on each start and this is really annoying. If this easy part is fixed, you can start discuss the hard part.
Comment 14 GNOME Infrastructure Team 2018-05-24 10:25:10 UTC
-- GitLab Migration Automatic Message --

This bug has been migrated to GNOME's GitLab instance and has been closed from further activity.

You can subscribe and participate further through the new bug through this link to our GitLab instance: