How to install HandBrake on Linux

HandBrake is one of the most popular open-source video transcoder software available on multiple platforms including MacOS, Windows and Linux. It can convert video of nearly any format to a wide range of video codecs. HandBrake is available for free with GNU GPLv2+ license, but proprietary license applies to the FAAC encoder used by HandBrake.

One of the best user-friendly features of HandBrake is its support for portable devices. HandBrake offers built-in device profiles for iPod, iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, Android, and Android Tablet. To convert video for one of these devices, all you have to do is to choose a corresponding device profile. HandBrake will then automatically configure high quality video conversion for that particular device.

HandBrake supports the following input and output video formats.

  • Input formats: VIDEO_TS, Matroska (MKV), ISO image (ISO), Video Object (VOB), Audio Video Interleave (AVI), MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4).
  • Output container formats: MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4), iTunes Video (M4V), Matroska (MKV).
  • Output video formats: H.264 (x264), MPEG-4 ASP (FFmpeg), Theora.
  • Output audio formats: Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III (MP3), Dolby Digital (AC-3) passthrough, DTS (DTS) passthrough, Vorbis.

In Linux, HandBrake is available as a command-line interface program with GTK-based GUI frontend. In this tutorial, I will describe how to install HandBrake on various Linux platforms.

Install HandBrake on Debian or Linux Mint

In Debian or Mint, build HandBrake from its source, and install it as follows. You also need to install various codecs as dependencies.

$ sudo apt-get install subversion yasm build-essential autoconf libtool zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev libogg-dev libtheora-dev libvorbis-dev libsamplerate-dev libxml2-dev libfribidi-dev libfreetype6-dev libfontconfig1-dev libass-dev intltool libglib2.0-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libgtk2.0-dev libgudev-1.0-dev libwebkit-dev libnotify-dev libgstreamer0.10-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-dev libappindicator-dev
$ svn checkout svn:// hb-trunk
$ cd hb-trunk
$ ./configure --launch
$ cd build
$ sudo make install

Install HandBrake on Ubuntu

On Ubuntu platforms, there is an official HandBrake PPA, and thus you can install HandBrake directly from the PPA as follows.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk handbrake-cli

Install HandBrake on Fedora

Fedora does not have an official repository for HandBrake. Thus you need to build it from the source. The following is the instruction for building and installing HandBrake.

$ sudo yum groupinstall "Development Tools" "Development Libraries" "X Software Development" "GNOME Software Development"
$ sudo yum install yasm zlib-devel bzip2-devel libogg-devel libtheora-devel libvorbis-devel libsamplerate-devel libxml2-devel fribidi-devel freetype-devel fontconfig-devel libass-devel dbus-glib-devel libgudev1-devel webkitgtk-devel libnotify-devel gstreamer-devel gstreamer-plugins-base-devel
$ svn checkout svn:// hb-trunk
$ cd hb-trunk
$ ./configure --launch
$ cd build
$ sudo make install

Install HandBrake on CentOS or RHEL 6

On CentOS, maintains repositories which contain audio or video related packages for EL6-compatible distros. You can install HandBrake directly from its release repository as follows.

$ cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
$ sudo wget
$ sudo yum install handbrake-gui handbrake-cli

Launch HandBrake

You can launch a GTK version of HandBrake as follows. Note that desktop menu options may vary with different desktop managers.

You can also launch HandBrake with GUI from the command line as follows.

$ ghb

HandBrake's user interface looks like the following.

If you want to use HandBrake's command line interface instead, you can use HandBrakeCLI command.

$ HandBrakeCLI --help
Syntax: HandBrakeCLI [options] -i  -o 

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.

5 thoughts on “How to install HandBrake on Linux

  1. Thank you very much for the tuto :D I think there is small problem concercing Debian 7.2.0; once the commands have run, nothing appears in the menu ($ ghb works, albeit with a start up error). Would you perhaps know how to fix the menu this? Thank you & bye,

  2. doesn't work on linux mint 13 :-(

    W: Failed to fetch 404 Not Found

    W: Failed to fetch 404 Not Found

    W: Failed to fetch 404 Not Found

    E: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

    • In Linux Mint, you can build it from the source as described in the tutorial, instead of using Ubuntu PPA. I was able to build HandBrake on Linux Mint 14.

  3. Is there an update to this for Linux Mint 17.1 I followed everything but the last command: $ sudo make install does nothing.

    It gives me this error:
    /bin/cp ./HandBrakeCLI /usr/local/bin/HandBrakeCLI
    /bin/cp: cannot stat ‘./HandBrakeCLI’: No such file or directory
    make: *** [test.install] Error 1


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