Spend some time for yourself – Best Linux entertainment apps you can try in 2021

Entertainment is an important thing in our lives. We need entertainment to take a break and gather mental energy. Everyone needs entertainment in our everyday lives. After doing a long productive hour, ‌you may want to enjoy a movie, listen to radio or music, or read books. Linux has lots of excellent entertainment applications. In this article, I will list some great entertainment apps you can install and start enjoying.

Now, I will skip basic players because you already know about it. Beside I have written a good list of apps you can install on your system.

SMTube – Youtube viewer

No matter how much I try, I cannot abandon YouTube fully, because of how much content I miss and the creators. Now, I tried other Libre alternatives like LBRY, but no matter what; I got back to YouTube to take some break and enjoy my favorite content creators. Now, the problem with other platforms is, one they have fewer videos and creators on their platforms, and also, second, YouTube has local CDN that gives a significant performance boost that allows me to watch videos in high quality without buffering, even when my network is slow.

Unfortunately, many YouTube viewers are not working right now, thanks to YouTubes new core update. My favorite Minitube isn’t working anymore, and GTK YouTube Viewer is ancient. The only desktop application that is being updated and working well is SMTube. It is an excellent YouTube viewer that plays YouTube videos in your favorite media player. Some features of SMTube are:

  1. Very minimal and lightweight
  2. Straightforward interface and easy to use
  3. Plays videos in players of your choice (Its own player by default)
  4. No ads, no obstruction
  5. Powered by Tonvid where you can check description, change language and content country
  6. Change quality and video source from settings

As you can see, SMTube is pretty basic, yet works well. You will miss out on community features, but if you want to watch YouTube videos without ads and on big screens, it is currently a good way. Download SMTube from this link, and you can download SMTube from Manjaro official repository if you are on Manjaro.

Stremio – Watch shows and Movies

Stremio is a media streaming app that allows you to stream movies, TV shows, Series and many other contents for free. It is an open source application, and source code is available at GitHub. This makes it much safer and unrestricted. No DRM and no nothing. Stremio itself does not host any media, so there is no way someone can block Stremio and its services. This is what I like most about decentralized solutions.

Stremio has basic features such as a content browser, search option, discovery page and a good player interface, and it also has some cool unique features such as add-ons, Calendar, Library which lets you continue watching shows. The addon part is very interesting. These work the same as KODI add-ons, but are much more useful. KODI add-ons feel like hacks, but in Stremio, add-ons are part of the Stremio app. You can install, search, and uninstall add-ons from within the app.

Read our full review and how to get: Stremio app review–Is it time to Cancel my Netflix?

Hypnotix – free IPTV

This is an excellent IPTV player made by our most beloved distribution, Linux Mint developers. Hypnotix is a very minimal IPTV player that looks outstanding and works well.

One thing I like about applications developed by the Linux Mint team is, they make apps for humans, the consumers and maintain them well. Well made and working apps you can always expect from Mint team. Now Hypnotix is no different, it is an excellent application that you can use to watch IPTV and other streaming options. Some feature of Hypnotix includes:

  1. Over 3000+ legal TV channels are available by default.
  2. Add your own IPTV subscription via m3u.
  3. It also supports other media streaming, just add the playlist and you will be ready.
  4. Uses MPV by default.
  5. Maintained by developers that are known to the whole Linux community.

Although the included channels are vast, don’t expect everything to work or stream well. IPTV requires strong internet connection, especially when streaming HD channels. So some south Asian users may find it unresponsive, while it is functional in actual life. You can download the .deb file for Hypnotix from her. You can find Hypnotix in the Manjaro community repository too. It is also available in AUR.

Mellow Player – Non stop music streaming

If you have a good deal of online music subscription and you want to group all of them together and have a unified music streaming experience, you can do it with Mellow Player. It is a plugin based music streaming app that works with tons of music streaming services. It is a native desktop app, so no more Electron and chrome mess.

Mellow Player boasts a beautiful UI with support for many services, including Spotify, Google play music, YouTube music, Deezer, Tidal, Jamendo, YMPD and more. Since it is plugin based, you can access more and more services and features easily. Some features of Mellow Player are:

  1. Many services in one place
  2. Background play with system integration
  3. Block ads using built in ad blocker
  4. Plugin based, so you can expand it
  5. Nice looking UI, easy to use

Mellow player integrates well with desktop, and you can control playbacks with system controls and remote media controllers. It is a nice app that can bring extra features to your existing music streaming services with system integration and native apps that groups all services in one play. Download Mellow Player from here. It is also available in AUR.

Spot – Spotify client

Spotify is a great service. It contains millions of music including latest releases. If you are a music lover, many of your favorite music and artists are on Spotify, and that is why many people subscribe to it for its vast collection of music. So if you have a premium account and want a good Spotify streaming experience with native GTK client (unlike the Spotify app) with system integration and other additional features, ‌try Spot.

They built Spot with Rust and GTK. So it looks fantastic, and the UI is simple and intuitive. You can scan for artists, songs, and tracks using Spot. Play, pause, and skip tracks, browse your current playlists, and view bio pages of artists. Some Spot features are :

  1. Display saved albums, songs, playlists, and more.
  2. MPRIS Integration
  3. Check for artists and albums
  4. View Profiles for Artists

Download Spot from Flathub.

Shortwave – For radio fans

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of radio, but when I travel, I often listen to local radio stations. I think it is fun to listen to the radio. But many people ‌enjoy radio while traveling in cars. There is still a feel to it. You need an FM capable device for local radio streaming, but the easiest and modern way for listening to radio is via the internet. You can find many radio stations and also podcasts when you use an internet radio client. Shortwave is a nice client with which you can achieve that.

Now, it is a native GTK app built with Rust. Which looks amazing and follows the style guide of your distribution. Therefore, I always prefer native apps over Electron. The reason I’m suggesting Shortwave is that it is a Gnome app. That means we can use it in phones powered by Gnome such as Librem 5.

It is convergent, so if you are a Linux phone user, you can use this app with no UI issue. And since many Linux phones do not ship with FM based radio playback capabilities, you can use this as your phone’s radio player. Shortwave is powered by the community and the stations are too provided by the community.

Komikku – Browse and read Manga

This is ‌special because of few things. They designed it for both desktop and mobile. So it is a convergent app that fully fits on mobile display and automatically adapts to it. Apart from this Komikku is a great app for reading Manga. The best thing is, you do not have to have Manga on your local disk. It has lists of free online Manga archives like Manga Plus and few dozen others, and you can search and browse through the vast collection.

Komikku loads quite fast and it is a well built native app. You can control basic aspects like reading direction from preference and turn on dark mode, even if your system does not support dark mode (although every distribution supports Darkmode for years now). You can read Manga both online and offline with this app, and you can also save Mangas for reading later. A pleasant addition to this app is the keyboard shortcuts. They are handy when you are on a desktop. You can download Komikku from Flathub. It is also available in AUR.

News Flash – For RSS readers and lovers

I still use RSS readers to get news and content updates from my favorite sites. RSS is still alive and is my preferred way of getting contents instead of manually visiting every site or enabling notifications. There are tons of good RSS readers, but few are superb. News Flash is a GTK app that has a nice interface with an organized view.

Some features of News Flash are:

  1. Sync with third-party RSS feed service FeedBin, Miniflux & Fever
  2. Can fetch/check for new articles in the background
  3. Create custom feed tags and categories
  4. Various article sorting options, including ‘newest first’
  5. Built-in content parser(s)
  6. ‘Star’ articles for easy access
  7. Keyboard shortcuts
  8. Dark mode support
  9. Responsive UI

News Flash is handy, because you do not have to start a new collection when you move to it. You can add your existing web feeds to it and everything will be ready and synced. You can Download News Flash from Flathub, and it is also available in AUR.


Blanket – Ambient noise for focus and sleep

And a bonus application for our readers. For those who have trouble sleeping, they can try this little app. It is like A Soft Murmur which I use very often when I want to sleep faster or it is troubling for me to sleep. While A Soft Murmur is nice, there is no app version of it. Instead, you can use this lightweight app that plays Ambient noise. The choice is limited, but not bad. It also helps you to focus and do things quietly and peacefully.

You can install Blanket from Flathub. The AUR has both a git and binary version, which will be faster to install (the app is already lightweight).

So here you go. Some apps to entertain yourself and take a break. Most of the apps I listed here are used by me daily. These are the best I have found yet. I hope you will enjoy using them. If you have any other apps that are cool and unique, you can comment and I will add those with credits. And thank you for reading. Have a great day.

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