Playing Sound and Video
pyglet can play many audio and video formats. Audio is played back with either OpenAL, XAudio2, DirectSound, or PulseAudio, permitting hardware-accelerated mixing and surround-sound 3D positioning. Video is played into OpenGL textures, and so can be easily manipulated in real-time by applications and incorporated into 3D environments.
Decoding of compressed audio and video is provided by FFmpeg v4 or v5, an optional component available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. FFmpeg needs to be installed separately.
If FFmpeg is not present, pyglet will at a minimum be able to play WAV files only. Depending on the OS, an additional limited amount of compressed formats may also be supported, but only WAV is guaranteed (see “Supported media types ” below). the This may be sufficient for many applications that require only a small number of short sounds, in which case those applications need not distribute FFmpeg.
pyglet can use OpenAL, XAudio2, DirectSound, or PulseAudio to play sound. Only one driver can be used at a time, but the selection can be changed by altering the configuration and restarting the program.
The default driver preference order works well for most users. However,
you may override it by setting a different preference sequence before
pyglet.media module is loaded. See
Choosing the audio driver to learn more.
The available drivers depend on your operating system:
OpenAL does not come preinstalled on Windows and some Linux distributions.
Choosing the audio driver
'audio' key of the
specifies the audio driver preference order.
On import, the
pyglet.media will try each entry from first to
last until it either finds a working driver or runs out of entries. For
example, the default is equivalent to setting the following value:
pyglet.options['audio'] = ('xaudio2', 'directsound', 'openal', 'pulse', 'silent')
You can also set a custom preference order. For example, we could add this line before importing the media module:
pyglet.options['audio'] = ('openal', 'pulse', 'xaudio2', 'directsound', 'silent')
It tells pyglet to try using the OpenAL driver first. If is not available, try Pulseaudio, XAudio2, and DirectSound in that order. If all else fails, no driver will be instantiated and the game will run silently.
The value for the
'audio' key can be a list or tuple which contains
one or more of the following strings:
No audio output
The following sections describe the requirements and limitations of each audio driver.
XAudio2 is only available on Windows Vista and above and is the replacement of DirectSound. This provides hardware accelerated audio support for newer operating systems.
Note that in some stripped down versions of Windows 10, XAudio2 may not be available until the required DLL’s are installed.
DirectSound is available only on Windows, and is installed by default. pyglet uses only DirectX 7 features. On Windows Vista, DirectSound does not support hardware audio mixing or surround sound.
The favored driver for Mac OS X, but also available on other systems.
This driver has the following advantages:
Either preinstalled or easy to install on supported platforms.
Implements features which may be absent from other drivers or OS-specific versions of their backing APIs.
Its main downsides are:
Not guaranteed to be installed on platforms other than Mac OS X
Windows users can download an OpenAL implementation from openal.org or their sound device’s manufacturer.
On Linux, the following apply:
It can usually be installed through your distro’s package manager.
It may already be installed as a dependency of other packages.
It lacks the limitations of the PulseAudio driver.
The commands below should install OpenAL on the most common Linux distros:
Common Linux Distros
Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, Debian
You may need to prefix these commands with either
sudo or another
command. Consult your distro’s documentation for more information.
The backend for this driver is nearly universally supported.
Even distros using PipeWire often come with a PulseAudio compatibility layer preinstalled. If this driver fails to initialize, consult your distro’s documentation to learn which audio back-ends you can install.
This driver has the following downsides:
Limited features compared to other drivers
A bug which can crash your program under certain conditions.
Although PulseAudio can theoretically support advanced multi-channel audio, the pyglet driver does not. The following features will not work properly:
Positional audio: automatically changing the volume for individual audio channels based on the position of the sound source
Integration with surround sound
Switching to OpenAL should automatically enable them.
The driver will initialize correctly, but pyglet will crash during execution.
The traceback will contain a message like the one below:
Assertion 'q->front' failed at pulsecore/queue.c:81, function pa_queue_push(). Aborting.
The following conditions can trigger the crash:
A debugger paused or resumed the program while audio is playing
Unpredictably when 2 or more sounds are playing
The easiest fix is installing installing OpenAL and restarting the program.
See the GitHub issue for more information. The following are currently unclear:
How different PulseAudio implementations affect the bug (PipeWire vs original)
How often the bug occurs for users on less common distros
Its full details; it is believed to be an unpredictable concurrency issue involving locks.
Whether it is worth fixing; the workarounds are easy and PulseAudio is being replaced by PipeWire.
Supported media types
pyglet has included support for loading Wave (.wav) files, which are therefore guaranteed to work on all platforms. pyglet will also use various platform libraries and frameworks to support a limited amount of compressed audio types, without the need for FFmpeg. While FFmpeg supports a large array of formats and codecs, it may be an unnecessarily large dependency when only simple audio playback is needed.
These formats are supported natively under the following systems and codecs:
Windows Media Foundation
Supported on Windows operating systems.
The following are supported on Windows Vista and above:
The following are also supported on Windows 7 and above:
The following is undocumented but known to work on Windows 10:
Supported on Linux operating systems that have the GStreamer installed. Please note that the associated Python packages for gobject & gst are also required. This varies by distribution, but will often already be installed along with GStreamer.
Supported on Mac operating systems.
Supported on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.
PyOgg is a lightweight Python library that provides Python bindings for Opus, Vorbis, and FLAC codecs.
If the PyOgg module is installed in your site packages, pyglet will optionally detect and use it. Since not all operating systems can decode the same audio formats natively, it can often be a hassle to choose an audio format that is truely cross platform with a small footprint. This wrapper was created to help with that issue.
Supports the following formats:
Refer to their installation guide found here: https://pyogg.readthedocs.io/en/latest/installation.html
FFmpeg requires an external dependency, please see installation instructions in the next section below.
With FFmpeg, many common and less-common formats are supported. Due to the large number of combinations of audio and video codecs, options, and container formats, it is difficult to provide a complete yet useful list. Some of the supported audio formats are:
Some of the supported video formats are:
For a complete list, see the FFmpeg sources. Otherwise, it is probably simpler
to try playing back your target file with the
New versions of FFmpeg as they are released may support additional formats, or fix errors in the current implementation.
You can install FFmpeg for your platform by following the instructions found in the FFmpeg download page. You must choose the shared build for the targeted OS with the architecture similar to the Python interpreter.
Currently Pyglet supports versions 4.x and 5.x of FFmpeg.
Choose the correct architecture depending on the targeted Python interpreter. If you’re shipping your project with a 32 bits interpreter, you must download the 32 bits shared binaries.
On Windows, the usual error message when the wrong architecture was downloaded is:
WindowsError: [Error 193] %1 is not a valid Win32 application
Finally make sure you download the shared builds, not the static or the dev builds.
For Mac OS and Linux, the library is usually already installed system-wide. It may be easiest to list FFmpeg as a requirement for your project, and leave it up to the user to ensure that it is installed. For Windows users, it’s not recommended to install the library in one of the windows sub-folders.
Instead we recommend to use the
import pyglet pyglet.options['search_local_libs'] = True
This will allow pyglet to find the FFmpeg binaries in the
located in your running script folder.
Another solution is to manipulate the environment variable. On Windows you can add the dll location to the PATH:
os.environ["PATH"] += "path/to/ffmpeg"
For Linux and Mac OS:
os.environ["LD_LIBRARY_PATH"] += ":" + "path/to/ffmpeg"
- ..note:: If your project is going to reply on FFmpeg, it’s a good idea to
check at runtime that FFmpeg is being properly detected. This can be done with a call to
pyglet.media.have_ffmpeg(). If not True you can show a message and exit gracefully, rather than crashing later when failing to load media files.
Audio and video files are loaded in the same way, using the
pyglet.media.load() function, providing a filename:
source = pyglet.media.load('explosion.wav')
If the media file is bundled with the application, consider using the
resource module (see Application resources).
The result of loading a media file is a
Source object. This object provides useful
information about the type of media encoded in the file, and serves as an
opaque object used for playing back the file (described in the next section).
load() function will raise a
MediaException if the format is unknown.
IOError may also be raised if the file could not be read from disk.
Future versions of pyglet will also support reading from arbitrary file-like
objects, however a valid filename must currently be given.
The length of the media file is given by the
duration property, which returns the media’s
length in seconds.
Audio metadata is provided in the source’s
audio_format attribute, which is
silent videos. This metadata is not generally useful to applications. See
AudioFormat class documentation for details.
Video metadata is provided in the source’s
video_format attribute, which is
audio files. It is recommended that this attribute is checked before
attempting play back a video file – if a movie file has a readable audio
track but unknown video format it will appear as an audio file.
You can use the video metadata, described in a
VideoFormat object, to set up display of the video
before beginning playback. The attributes are as follows:
Width and height of the video image, in pixels.
The aspect ratio of each video pixel.
You must take care to apply the sample aspect ratio to the video image size for display purposes. The following code determines the display size for a given video format:
def get_video_size(width, height, sample_aspect): if sample_aspect > 1.: return width * sample_aspect, height elif sample_aspect < 1.: return width, height / sample_aspect else: return width, height
Media files are not normally read entirely from disk; instead, they are streamed into the decoder, and then into the audio buffers and video memory only when needed. This reduces the startup time of loading a file and reduces the memory requirements of the application.
However, there are times when it is desirable to completely decode an audio file in memory first. For example, a sound that will be played many times (such as a bullet or explosion) should only be decoded once. You can instruct pyglet to completely decode an audio file into memory at load time:
explosion = pyglet.media.load('explosion.wav', streaming=False)
explosion = pyglet.media.StaticSource(pyglet.media.load('explosion.wav'))
In addition to loading audio files, the
module is available for simple audio synthesis. There are several basic
waveforms available, including:
These waveforms can be constructed by specifying a duration, frequency, and sample rate. At a minimum, a duration is required. For example:
sine = pyglet.media.synthesis.Sine(3.0, frequency=440, sample_rate=44800)
For shaping the waveforms, several simple envelopes are available. These envelopes affect the amplitude (volume), and can make for more natural sounding tones. You first create an envelope instance, and then pass it into the constructor of any of the above waveforms. The same envelope instance can be passed to any number of waveforms, reducing duplicate code when creating multiple sounds. If no envelope is used, all waveforms will default to the FlatEnvelope of maximum amplitude, which esentially has no effect on the sound. Check the module documentation of each Envelope to see which parameters are available.
An example of creating an envelope and waveforms:
adsr = pyglet.media.synthesis.ADSREnvelope(attack=0.05, decay=0.2, release=0.1) saw = pyglet.media.synthesis.Sawtooth(duration=1.0, frequency=220, envelope=adsr)
The waveforms you create with the synthesis module can be played like any other loaded sound. See the next sections for more detail on playback.
Simple audio playback
Many applications, especially games, need to play sounds in their entirety without needing to keep track of them. For example, a sound needs to be played when the player’s space ship explodes, but this sound never needs to have its volume adjusted, or be rewound, or interrupted.
explosion = pyglet.media.load('explosion.wav', streaming=False) explosion.play()
You can implement many functions common to a media player using the
class. Use of this class is also necessary for video playback. There are no
parameters to its construction:
player = pyglet.media.Player()
A player will play any source that is queued on it. Any number of sources can be queued on a single player, but once queued, a source can never be dequeued (until it is removed automatically once complete). The main use of this queueing mechanism is to facilitate “gapless” transitions between playback of media files.
queue() method is used to queue
a media on the player - a
StreamingSource or a
StaticSource. Either you pass one instance, or you
can also pass an iterable of sources. This provides great flexibility. For
instance, you could create a generator which takes care of the logic about
what music to play:
def my_playlist(): yield intro while game_is_running(): yield main_theme yield ending player.queue(my_playlist())
When the game ends, you will still need to call on the player:
The generator will pass the
ending media to the player.
StreamingSource can only ever be queued on one
player, and only once on that player.
objects can be queued any number of times on any number of players. Recall
StaticSource can be created by passing
streaming=False to the
In the following example, two sounds are queued onto a player:
Playback begins with the player’s
Standard controls for controlling playback are provided by these methods:
Begin or resume playback of the current source.
Pause playback of the current source.
Dequeue the current source and move to the next one immediately.
Seek to a specific time within the current source.
Note that there is no stop method. If you do not need to resume playback,
simply pause playback and discard the player and source objects. Using the
next_source() method does not guarantee gapless
There are several properties that describe the player’s current state:
The current playback position within the current source, in seconds. This is read-only (but see the
True if the player is currently playing, False if there are no sources queued or the player is paused. This is read-only (but see the
A reference to the current source being played. This is read-only (but see the
The audio level, expressed as a float from 0 (mute) to 1 (normal volume). This can be set at any time.
Trueif the current source should be repeated when reaching the end. If set to
False, playback will continue to the next queued source.
When a player reaches the end of the current source, an
(on end-of-source) event is dispatched. Players have a default handler for this event,
which will either repeat the current source (if the
attribute has been set to
True), or move to the next queued source immediately.
When there are no more queued sources, the
event is dispached, and playback stops until another source is queued.
For loop contol you can change the
at any time, but be aware that unless sufficient time is given for the future
data to be decoded and buffered there may be a stutter or gap in playback.
If set well in advance of the end of the source (say, several seconds), there
will be no disruption.
The end-of-source behavior can be further customized by setting your own event handlers; see Event dispatching & handling. You can either replace the default event handlers directly, or add an additional event as described in the reference. For example:
my_player.on_eos = my_player.pause
To play back multiple similar sources without any audible gaps,
SourceGroup is provided.
SourceGroup can only contain media sources
with identical audio or video format. First create an instance of
SourceGroup, and then add all desired additional
sources with the
Afterwards, you can queue the
on a Player as if it was a single source.
Player is playing back a source with
video, use the
texture property to obtain the
video frame image. This can be used to display the current video image
syncronised with the audio track, for example:
@window.event def on_draw(): player.texture.blit(0, 0)
The texture is an instance of
pyglet.image.Texture, with an internal
format of either
GL_TEXTURE_RECTANGLE_ARB. While the
texture will typically be created only once and subsequentally updated each
frame, you should make no such assumption in your application – future
versions of pyglet may use multiple texture objects.
pyglet includes features for positioning sound within a 3D space. This is particularly effective with a surround-sound setup, but is also applicable to stereo systems.
Player in pyglet has an associated position
in 3D space – that is, it is equivalent to an OpenAL “source”. The properties
for setting these parameters are described in more detail in the API
documentation; see for example
A “listener” object is provided by the audio driver. To obtain the listener for the current audio driver:
This provides similar properties such as
describe the position of the user in 3D space.
Note that only mono sounds can be positioned. Stereo sounds will play back as normal, and only their volume and pitch properties will affect the sound.
Ticking the clock
If you are using pyglet’s media libraries outside of a pyglet app, you will need to use some kind of loop to tick the pyglet clock periodically (perhaps every 200ms or so), otherwise only the first small sample of media will be played:
If you wish to have a media source loop continuously (player.loop = True) you will also need to ensure Pyglet’s events are dispatched inside your loop:
If you are inside a pyglet app then calling pyglet.app.run() takes care of all this for you.