Try VLC: A Better Media Player
Do you like to play music, videos, CDs or DVDs on your computer 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 3.5 billion downloads mark this month. Today, it’s available on more operating systems than any other media player, and it just keeps getting better.
In January 2021, version 3.0.12 of VLC Media Player was released for Windows and Mac OS X. It is also available for over a dozen flavors of Linux and 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 MPEG, AVI, H.264, MKV, WebM, WAV, WMA, WMV, MP3, MP4, and practically all other 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 VLC Player 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 or disc that VLC can’t play.
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 1996, 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 somewhere 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 several years ago, and incorporated in version 3.0.3, which was released back in May 2018.
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.
Since 2009, the software has been developed and maintained by VideoLAN, an autonomous non-profit organization. It is now a worldwide open-source project with developers from 40 countries. You can download the source code to learn, or even contribute your time to the development, documentation, testing, or user support of the VLC Media Player project.
It Slices, It Dices, It Even Streams!
VLC is also a streaming media server, so you can use it to play YouTube, 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 geographic 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.”
If you don’t like the look and feel of the VLC player, you can download a “skin” to change it. Choose from dozens of skins or create your own with the VLC Skin Editor. (Skins only work on Windows and Linux/Unix systems.) There are also extensions created by fans to add features not found in the standard version.
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 8 Mar 2021
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Try VLC: A Better Media Player (Posted: 8 Mar 2021)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved