>This makes me think there is something horribly wrong with your mlt instalation. If melt can't play a simple mpeg file, then nothing else is going to work either.

Yes, there is something wrong with my mlt build.  I think I may have upgraded ffmpeg in after I built mlt.

If I try to build mlt again, I get these error messages:

cc -I../.. -DARCH_X86_64 -Wall -DPIC -O2 -pipe -fno-tree-dominator-opts
-fno-tree-pre -ffast-math -DUSE_MMX -DUSE_SSE -DUSE_SSE2 -g
-D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -fPIC -pthread
-DAVDATADIR=\"/usr/local/share/ffmpeg/\" -I/usr/local/include
-I/usr/local/include -I/usr/local/include -DFILTERS -DCODECS -DSWSCALE
-DAVDEVICE -c -o producer_avformat.o producer_avformat.c

producer_avformat.c: In function 'decode_audio':
producer_avformat.c:2243: warning: 'avcodec_decode_audio3' is deprecated (declared at /usr/local/include/libavcodec/avcodec.h:3682)
producer_avformat.c:2276: warning: 'audio_resample' is deprecated (declared at /usr/local/include/libavcodec/avcodec.h:4224)
producer_avformat.c: In function 'producer_get_audio':
producer_avformat.c:2430: error: 'AVCODEC_MAX_AUDIO_FRAME_SIZE' undeclared (first use in this function)
producer_avformat.c:2430: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
producer_avformat.c:2430: error: for each function it appears in.)
producer_avformat.c: In function 'producer_avformat_close':
producer_avformat.c:2808: warning: 'audio_resample_close' is deprecated (declared at /usr/local/include/libavcodec/avcodec.h:4233)
make[2]: *** [producer_avformat.o] Error 1
make[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/MLT/src/tmp2/mlt-0.8.8/src/modules/avformat'
make[1]: *** [all] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/MLT/src/tmp2/mlt-0.8.8/src/modules'
make: *** [all] Error 1

I tried to post about the mlt build problems yesterday, but it's awaiting moderator approval.