Have You Tried the VLC Media Player?

Category: Video

Do you like to play music or videos on your PC, Mac or mobile device? Are you frustrated with the limitations of iTunes or Windows Media Player? Tired of having to convert audio or video formats? Here comes VLC Media Player to the rescue! Read on...

VLC Media Player: A Better Way

You may not be familiar with VLC Media Player, but it's one of the most popular programs on Earth; it passed the three billion downloads mark in early 2019. Today, it’s available on more operating systems than any other media player, and it just keeps getting better.

In June 2019, version 3.0.7 of VLC Media Player was released for Windows and Mac OS X. It is also available for over a dozen flavors of Linux/Unix; there are mobile versions for Apple/iOS, Android, and Windows Phone; and even versions for Chrome OS, Apple TV, and OS/2. VLC Media Player plays practically all video and sound formats, as well as DVDs, audio CDs, and various streaming protocols. Notably, it is developed by a non-profit organization, and has no spyware, ads, or user tracking.

The latest version includes features like 360-degree video navigation, 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. With every release, support for new codecs (file formats) are added, further reducing the chance that you will ever encounter a multimedia file that VLC can’t play.

VLC Media Player

The latest versions include security updates, improvements for Blu-ray and HDR (high dynamic range), 4k (and 8K) playback support, and hardware acceleration. VideoLAN President Jean-Baptiste Kempf is quoted as saying "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.

If you read recently that VLC Media Player had a "critical software vulnerability" that could allow attackers to compromise your computer, you can relax. VideoLAN, the company that develops the VLC Player, says their software is "not vulnerable" to the flaw reported by security researchers. The "security issue" was related to a third-party software library called libebml, which was fixed more than 18 months ago, and incorporated in version 3.0.3, which was released in May 2018.

It Slices, It Dices, It Even Streams!

Why does the VLC project feature an orange traffic cone in its logo? Some believe that it means VLC is always "under construction." But the real answer is much more interesting. VLC was started in 1996 as an academic project by students at the École Centrale Paris. At the time, there was a tradition amongst the members of the École Centrale's Networking Students' Association to steal borrow collect traffic cones. So the cone was adopted by the group as the VLC logo.

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.”

Do you use VLC Media Player? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
Ask Your Computer or Internet Question

  (Enter your question in the box above.)

It's Guaranteed to Make You Smarter...

AskBob Updates: Boost your Internet IQ & solve computer problems.
Get your FREE Subscription!


Email:

Check out other articles in this category:



Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:

This article was posted by on 13 Aug 2019


For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.

Prev Article:
Try These Tips to Boost Your WiFi Signal

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
Geekly Update - 14 August 2019

Most recent comments on "Have You Tried the VLC Media Player?"

(See all 30 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Coco
13 Aug 2019

pdsterling,

Try checking or unchecking "Resize interface to video size" to see if that makes a difference. Also, just resize the whole window to a size that gives you the desired look.


Posted by:

Louis Toscano
13 Aug 2019

Isn't "Record" the same as "Burn"?


Posted by:

JohnRS
13 Aug 2019

Been using it for ages. Don't think I've ever had something it couldn't handle. Definitely a great piece of software.

Every time it updates, it amuses me to see the names of the new versions are all Terry Pratchett/Discworld related.


Posted by:

Mike Davies
13 Aug 2019

Excellent bit of kit.
If you've ever downloaded a movie (perhaps from an "alternative source") and found that the screen dimensions are wrong for your machine, e.g. it's playing in 4:3 and it should be in 16:9, VLC Player lets you alter this manually.
Just click "Video", scroll down to "Aspect Ratio" and select the correct dimensions.


Posted by:

CT
13 Aug 2019

Have been using this for years with very, very few problems. The only improvement I can imagine is if it had a more easily understood manual. Trying to decipher what is meant by some of the settings and controls is frustrating, since little of it is explained in clear language. I have a feeling it could do almost anything one would ever want to do with audio/visual sources if you could just figure out how to navigate its interface.


Posted by:

Dale B.
13 Aug 2019

I found VLC a few years ago when it was recommended to me as a tool to flip a video upright that I took upside down with my phone. I honestly never thought to use it for my audio files. I have a huge CD collection that I have stored in my iTunes library. It is probably no surprise that I hate iTunes as it is loaded with problems, etc.. I think it is a horrible app. Can anyone comment regarding how difficult it would be to convert my iTunes library over to VLC? How does VLC handle artwork (or does it handle it at all)? Thanks for any useful feedback.


Posted by:

Bill
13 Aug 2019

Using it for years To the 1st poster just grab a corner and size it down!
Plays anything I've tried so far


Posted by:

Ric
13 Aug 2019

I have used VLC for years as my player of choice. It is preferable to Windows player or QuickTime. My complaint is VLC is awful at playing .TS files. Typically, video is poor quality, choppy at best and freezes a lot.

I am not the only complainer. Do a google search for "Why does VLC have problems playing TS files".

I have converted .TS files to other formats with not good results. I wish VLC would fix it so I don't have to jump through hoops for .TS files.


Posted by:

Ric
13 Aug 2019

I have used VLC for years as my player of choice. It is preferable to Windows player or QuickTime. My complaint is VLC is awful at playing .TS files. Typically, video is poor quality, choppy at best and freezes a lot.

I am not the only complainer. Do a google search for "Why does VLC have problems playing TS files".

I have converted .TS files to other formats with not good results. I wish VLC would fix it so I don't have to jump through hoops for .TS files.


Posted by:

steveg
13 Aug 2019

I have used VLC for years and is the only media player I use anymore. It just keeps getting better all the time.


Posted by:

The Baroness
13 Aug 2019

Sorry, Folks, but I loathe The VLC Media Player - Here's why: It's intrusive and grabs on to your computer's "innards" and never lets go. I have found that when Comcast's internet service offers you Norton's Virus Shield, Norton does the exact same thing. Both have tentacles that go so deep, there are always remnants in the computer that not even some of the best big-city computer techs (including Comcast's) can get rid of. I've had VLC hijack three separate laptops of mine (2 HP's and an ASUS) that ran Windows 7 to 10 when I tried to view something via Windows Media Player or another media player. No thank you, VLC, I will not download you ever again. Just my opinion, Folks.


Posted by:

BobJ
14 Aug 2019

VLC doesn't seem to like .mkv files. Video play back is "jerky". (Audio is ok.)


Posted by:

Neville
14 Aug 2019

I have used it for years - and now rarely use any other player. I have used it on both Windows 7 and Windows 10 operating systems.
As other have noted, it seems to handle almost all types of video and audio files that I encounter.
I use it as my default for playing almost any video file.


Posted by:

CDW
14 Aug 2019

Yes, I too have been using VLC for many years. As a matter of fact many years age I was having trouble finding a player that played a specific file type well. I don't recall the file type at this time. Bottom line I mentioned it to my son who told of a program still in beta that he had great success with. It was VLC. It worked great, played the file I was having trouble with and I've been using it ever since. It's one of those programs that I initially put on any new computer I buy/build right after the operating system. It handles it all.


Posted by:

Michael
14 Aug 2019

I am using VLC for many years at all my devices, don't and didn't had any problems with it. Now where iTunes is ending its even more important to have a decent media player when you don't like to put everything to knowledge of Microsoft.


Posted by:

Will
14 Aug 2019

Keyboard commands are very useful. I often speed up podcasts in steps of 10% when a speaker is rather slow. There are probably many hotkeys of which I am not aware. Very long time user.


Posted by:

Peter Oh
14 Aug 2019

No mention of either "Pot Player" or "MPC - Home cinema".
I stopped using VLC due to a poorer video play back than either of the others.
Even MS Player often plays video back just as well or better, admittedly recognising fewer formats.


Posted by:

SysOp404
14 Aug 2019

Great article, Bob! We ran the whole gambit of players through the years. By the time Microsoft was pulling back support from theirs, we had narrowed it to VLC and the free Pot Player from Daum Communications, on all our machines. After 3 years of comparing similar impressive features of both, we settled on the Pot Player for best suiting our needs. Truthfully, it was hard to choose, as they tied in quality and performance, in so many respects.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
18 Aug 2019

Tried it, did not like it, period, end of quote. I found that it was not that flexible or easy to use. As one other posted, the Help is useless, since it is almost in a foreign language. Why not simply have Help in everyday language so "dummies" like me, can understand??? I can say the same thing for many other computer programs.

Just because someone is a developer, doesn't mean that they are that "smart", when they write the Help files in either "geek" speak or "code" speak. I can usually figure out most things, but then there are those that completely frustrate me and make me want to simply stop using the "whatever", and try something that is easier to use.

VLC was one of those programs where the Help did not help. Sorry, but that what I felt at the time I used it and still do today. It wasn't that long ago that I tried out VLC, about 18 months or so.


Posted by:

RandiO
19 Aug 2019

Thank you for the nostalgia.
Back in the day, Windows' provided media player was referred to as "WiMP". Then, came VideoLAN Client (VLC) at around the same time as the porting of WiMP to a stand-alone FREEware called MediaPlayerClassic (MPC). Over the ensuing years, while our appetite grew for more digital content as entertainment; I first gravitated to BSPlayer (w/recent sketchy support/upgrades). In the last few years, I have been relying on ZoomPlayerMAX for watching NAS-streamed digital content, via a home theater PC (HTPC) feeding a large-screen TV (via HDMI).
-TMI- The slow death of the old trusted WinAmp for digital audio (mp3s, etc.) has allowed me to discover stand-alone FREEware application called AIMP3 music player, as a capable replacement.


There's more reader feedback... See all 30 comments for this article.

Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! Comments of a political nature are discouraged. Please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are reviewed, and may be edited or removed at the discretion of the moderator.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.

Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
RSS   Add to My Yahoo!   Feedburner Feed
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy


Article information: AskBobRankin -- Have You Tried the VLC Media Player? (Posted: 13 Aug 2019)
Source: https://askbobrankin.com/have_you_tried_the_vlc_media_player.html
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved