What is VLC Media Player?
Do you play music or videos on your PC, Mac or mobile device? Frustrated with the limitations of iTunes or Windows Media Player? Here comes VLC Media Player to the rescue! Read on...
VLC Media Player: A Better Way
VLC Media Player is one of the most popular programs on Earth; it passed the one-billion-downloads mark in 2012. Today, it’s available on more operating systems than any other media player, and it just keeps getting better.
Version 2.2.0 of VLC Media Player was released on February 27 in the program’s first all-platforms simultaneous release. That includes desktop versions for Windows, Mac OS X, and several flavors of Linux; mobile versions for Apple/iOS, Android, and Windows Phone; and even versions for Windows RT and Android TV.
The latest version includes highly desired new features like the ability to detect vertically oriented video and rotate it automatically, and the ability to re-start a video at the point where you left off or closed it accidentally. Additionally, over 1,000 bugs have been fixed in this release and support for a “very large number” of unusual codecs has been added, further reducing the chance that you will ever encounter a multimedia file that VLC can’t play.
The iOS version’s user interface has been made more like iTunes and the Android version now conforms to Google’s new Material Design standards. "Moving VLC to the mobile world was difficult, but the difficult is done," VideoLAN President Jean-Baptiste Kempf said in a statement. "VLC runs everywhere, plays everything.”
That is the whole point of VLC Media Player, of course. The open-source project got its start in 2001, a time when numerous software developers were trying to establish dominance in multimedia by imposing their proprietary file formats on everyone. VLC set out to support Windows Media Video (WMV), Apple QuickTime (MOV), RealPlay’s RealAudio and RealVideo, and every other format. Today, it’s the Swiss Army Knife of media players. Just install VLC on every device you own and don’t worry about converting one file format to another.
It Slices, It Dices, It Even Streams!
VLC is also a streaming media server, so you can use it to play YouTube, Netflix, and other streaming media without a browser that supports streaming. In fact, you can even use VLC to save streamed files to your hard drive. Or if you like, use the red Record button to save a short clip from a video as it plays.
VLC even decrypts the weak CSS encryption used on DVDs, allowing them to be played outside of their regions or ripped to backup copies. This is a controversial feature that violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but it furthers VLC’s mission of being able to “play everything.”
On OS X, VLC’s interface is updated for compatibility with Yosemite. Also, VLC has returned to the Apple App Store for the first time since it was mysteriously yanked last September.
Desktop versions also got a built-in extension downloader allowing easier expansion of the core VLC app with third-party add-ons. A new hardware acceleration mechanism appears on some platforms that support it.
Version 3.0 of VLC is already in the works, according to Kempf. Due later this year, it will include hardware acceleration support for more platforms, better support for the MP4 format, and “partial” integration with Google Chromecast.
Do you use VLC Media Player? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Mar 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- What is VLC Media Player? (Posted: 23 Mar 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved