[Solved] mplayer version 1.0rc2-4.3.2 has trouble disabling the screensaver in my configuration. This led to a 5-10 second pause before playback started. I'm running 64bit Ubuntu, Intrepid Ibex.
The first solution is to disable this feature (to disable screensaver disabling). Add this to ~/.mplayer/config:
stop-xscreensaver = no
And modify the entry in ~/.mplayer/gui.conf:
A second possible solution is to start the dcopserver before running mplayer. Enter dcopserver in a shell, and this may help.
This temporary measure should workaround the delay until the mplayer dev team has a good fix, and it's propagated to your distribution.