Have You Tried VLC Media Player?

Category: Music , Video

Do you play music or videos on your PC, Mac or mobile device? Are you 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, with over 2.3 BILLION downloads since 2005. Today, it’s available on more operating systems than any other media player, and it just keeps getting better.

Lots of people have had problems with Windows Media Player after upgrading to Windows 7, 8, or 10. Additionally, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 don't come with DVD movie playback capability that was available in earlier Windows operating systems. Microsoft's suggested solution is to buy their Windows DVD Player app for $15. But why, when VLC Media Player is free, and arguably a better choice?

Version 2.2.4 of VLC Media Player is the current release, and includes desktop versions for Windows, Mac OS X, several flavors of Linux, mobile versions for Apple/iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. The VLC download page lists over two dozen options, depending on your device(s). You can even download the source code if you're curious.

VLC Media Player

Be careful to download the file only from the official site: Videolan.ORG. There may be rogue versions on other sites that contain malware. If you see a website offering VLC Version 3.0, it's definitely not legit, unless you see it on Videolan.ORG. As of this writing, there is no announced release date for Version 3.0.

The latest version includes 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. With each release support is added for more codecs, further reducing the chance that you will ever encounter a multimedia file that VLC can’t play.

The Swiss Army Knife of Media Players

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.

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.”

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? Something else? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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

(See all 30 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

28 Apr 2017

I have been using vlc for a long time and love it, in fact I stopped using Microsoft Windows and all its programs a long time ago, I just got sick of its viruses, blue screens, having to install every single program in case of disaster and format, etc... So in its place went to Ubuntu, and after trying a few versions I got stuck with Linux Mint, I like the fact that never had to re-format due to virus and anything like, my old laptop will not freeze and if i have to hard boot won't loose any dll files, I re-formated the drive a couple of time, not because I had to but I wanted to, and most of the regular programs I use on daily basis are automatically installed with the OS, and any other I will install without looking for CDs on my shelves, even for backups of my files, just copy - paste to external drive. In short I like it (bye windows bye) Yes, there are limitation but I've been able to overcome them. (This home use only not office evirontment)
Would anybody comment on this?
Now my problem is I am trying to install wiles cameras using the Linux Mint but the software that comes with most cameras is Windows based, for some reason WINE, the Windows emulator opens the software of the camera but that software won't display the camera.

Posted by:

28 Apr 2017

Been using VLC since our son and his family were here last year on vacation. He is s music/worship pastor at his church and they do a lot of creative things which one might not think possible with VLC.

Posted by:

28 Apr 2017

I am surprised by the universal praise for the VLC player. Based on past reviews I tried the program twice over the years, and both times was disappointed. Same with iTunes, even though it is already on my computer to sync my phone. Windows Media Player continues to work fine for me, including on Win10.

By the way, EAC (Exact Audio Copy) is a great choice for ripping CDs to MP3.

Posted by:

john silberman
28 Apr 2017

I am a long time user of VLC. I have recently noticed many are switching to SMPlayer and/or MPV Player. I have not tried either yet but have seen many good reviews.

Posted by:

28 Apr 2017

I use VLC but not so much now as it won't integrate with Google Cast. For that reason I'm interested to know what you mean by “partial” integration with Google Chromecast?

Posted by:

richard a florer
28 Apr 2017

That is a good program. However sir I tend to like
SM player more for me it seems a easier install plays at least as many formats as VLC and seems to have less issues.
Richard A Florer

Posted by:

Peter Mauro
28 Apr 2017

Bob, I use the " FLV Player"
It allows multiple videos to be played simultaneous.
I tried doing that with VLC and could not , although that was a long time ago.
Also, it's the original version of FLV that works ,not the new one .
Have you any experience with FLV?

Posted by:

28 Apr 2017

One of the first things I install on any device I own. Use it for streaming low bandwidth audio. Can't say much for the visualizations compared to Windows Media Player, but almost never use that feature.

Posted by:

Steve Gordon
28 Apr 2017

VLC will play just about anything. Has great menus and gives you the ability to be able to play something even if it is out of sync. Best player out there, period.

Posted by:

Steve Gordon
28 Apr 2017

VLC will play just about anything. Has great menus and gives you the ability to be able to play something even if it is out of sync. Best player out there, period.

Posted by:

Michael Mac
28 Apr 2017

Howdy Bob!

I like VLC, but for the last 3-4 years, no matter what I do, I just cannot get it to play a Blu-Ray disc. Downloaded this and that file addition, changed this and that "check box," and so on, and so on.

If anyone has the secret code to finally get this sucker to play Blu-Ray discs, I'm all ears. Otherwise, I'll just keep using (paid version)Cyberlink PowerDVD. (Only so I can play my Blu-Ray discs, sadly.)

Keep up the great work, Bob!

Posted by:

Raymond Ste Marie
28 Apr 2017

I have used VLC Player. It is a good player. However I found out what I think is a better player. It's called Daum Pot Player. The person who developed it was on the staff that created the KLM Player. Gizmo's Freeware ( http://www.techsupportalert.com ) is a website I trust implicitly ( as well I trust Bob Rankin's site). While watching a video, you can adjust color, brightness, saturation, tint & many other things. Frame by frame, video capture into multiple formats, record any portion of a video. Plays about everything but a Pizza. You will not find a recommendation on Gizmo's site unless it is virus/ malware free as well as a truly free program. I'm not knocking VLC, I am saying Daum Player is better.

Posted by:

Jay R
28 Apr 2017

I feel that I should get CME credits for reading Bob's email. I'm always learning stuff. VLC. Hmmm? Violin Legend CharlieDaniels. Maybe that's FLC. I wonder if MS is trying to figure out how to charge us for not using their stuff. Well, I'm off to download.

Posted by:

29 Apr 2017

VLC fan since it used to be called "VideoLANclient". Have always installed it but never as default. Did not know that WiMP can't play DVDs.
I use BSPlayer for desktop video playback.
I use ZoomPlayer for HTPC/TV movie playback.
I use AIMP for audio playback since the demise of WimAmp eons ago.

Posted by:

30 Apr 2017

I've used VLC for about 10 years, and it handles pretty much all the media files I throw at it. I have, however, recently been using MusicBee when I want to sit back and relax while listening to my music library. If you've not tried MusicBee, you should give it a try.

Posted by:

Nat G
30 Apr 2017

I had trouble getting VLC to play videos recorded on my GoPro. I switched to Media Player Classic and it seems to play everything I throw at it.

Posted by:

02 May 2017

I, too, can't remember a time I didn't use VLC (Randi O, I also remember when it was "VideoLANclient"). I feel silly that I didn't even realize that it supports internet streaming - you have just made things so much easier for me! I have used it to extract audio files and convert between different media formats.

And, as for decrypting CSS, if this article is accurate: "Why Watching DVDs on Linux is Illegal in the USA" (https://www.howtogeek.com/138969/why-watching-dvds-on-linux-is-illegal-in-the-usa/), it just levels the playing field for us Linux users!

Posted by:

Tom Thomas
03 May 2017

Don't understand the praise for VLC. I have tried using VLC to play DVDs but it ALWAYS stutters. Have tried various fixes for this, but no joy.

Switched to SMPlayer and Windows Media Player Classic and all is well.

Posted by:

09 May 2017

Bob, you're my hero. I am sick to death of all the media players wanting to connect to my metered internet connection. This player asked me during installation if I want to automatically connect. No. And thanks for asking. I love to be able to just play my media, and with an easy to use interface too? Buyaa my friend!

Posted by:

Belen Baker
01 Jun 2018

VLC has some hidden features like downloading YouTube videos and remove audio from videos. Yet I prefer other specialized tools like free hd video converter factory.

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