For licensing reasons, not all distributions come preconfigured to play several popular media formats, but setting this up is not difficult.
Out of the box, many Linux distributions do not include support to play a few restricted media formats, such as DivX, Windows Media (WMV), Quicktime, and DVDs. The distros don't include the codecs to play these formats due to licensing restrictions. However, you can download the codecs yourself and use them with media player backends such as MPlayer and xine. Getting DVDs to play is a bit trickier.
MPlayer is a cross-platform multimedia player that is quite popular on Linux. The makers of MPlayer host the sites where you can obtain the codecs for media formats that aren't normally supported on Linux. These codecs are usually the Win32.dll files that are used on Windows systems, and MPlayer is programmed to let you use these codecs on Linux. You can obtain the most commonly used media codecs by downloading the essentials package from http://www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage/dload.html. These codecs can be used with the other popular media player on Linux, xine. Uncompress the download and put the contents in /usr/lib/win32, which is where MPlayer and xine will look for codecs by default:
$ tar -jxvf
essential-20050216.tar.bz2$ sudo cp
Restart your media player, and you should now be able to play most restricted formats. For a full list of formats ...