Play videos packed in RAR without extracting them in Linux

By | August 21, 2009

Most DivX/XviD movies you download from Torrent sites are packed in multiple RAR archives. It takes some time for each to extract. If you don;t want to wait, you can use VLC and unrar to play the file within instantly. You won’t be able to rewind and move fast forward within the file, but you’ll be able to play it and stop the movie without actually unarchiving the video file. Here’s how:

unrar p -inul /path/to/movie_folder/ | vlc –

This will let you enjoy the video without extracting it first.

5 thoughts on “Play videos packed in RAR without extracting them in Linux

  1. drax

    You’re still unpacking it you’re just not storing it on disk permanently. So you’d have to unpack it every time you wanted to watch the contents. Why not just unpack it once and be done with it ? It’s a neat enough trick but I can’t think of a situation where it’d be useful.

  2. T4L Post author

    I, for example, have been in situations when diskspace was an issue. I only had 1GB of free space and wanted to watch a 700MB movie I downloaded form a torrent site. Torrent site that makes you keep the RAR files you downloaded for at least 24hrs. Site rules – the 1:1 ratio. Meanwhile I’m downloading other files and I need that space. I can’t afford to waste 700MB while unpacking the movie, I can’t delete the RAR files anyway for 24 more hours, so I’d rather watch the movie now with the help of this tip.
    Not to mention that you have to wait precious minutes while unpacking a RAR-ed 8GB MKV movie. Why not watch it right away without unpacking it first?
    So that’s where this little trick comes in handy.

  3. Owen

    Neat trick, can see uses for it, could work with other applications too. Maybe I’ll write a post about this.

  4. Daeng Bo

    XMBC does this automatically for you, adding files inside RAR archives to your library and playing without manually unarchiving.


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