I'm working on a web interface to control my file server. I have the machine hooked up to my audio/video equipment in my living room. In an effort to try and get of the keyboard/mouse i'm going to use my wifi on my pda to control the server using the webserver running on the server. I'm using php to run common os commands (volume up/down, etc) and store the paths for my music and movies in a database.

I use mpg123 for music and mplayer for movies. For music, mpg123 works great.
For watching an entire movie, mplayer works great by starting it in the background.

Unfortunately i'm greedy and would like to be able to send commands to mplayer so that i could fast forward/rewind/pause/etc. But the way that i'm starting mplayer is looking for input from /dev/null, so i don't know how to send commands to it.

Is there some other way i can tell mplayer to listen for commands from a source, but still start it in the background.

fyi, i found http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/faq.html#id2544151 that told me how to start mplayer in the background. It makes sense.

I've tried using an empty file for input for mplayer, but it didn't like that.

for anyone interested, heres the command i use to start mplayer in the background and to use the default X screen (so i can launch from *anywhere* and it still shows up where i want it)

mplayer -zoom -fs -display :0 /path/to/file < /dev/null &