VLC Media Player

Introduction

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Summary

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  • Language support
  • OS support
Torch browser Rating: 7 out of 10

VLC supports many audio and video file formats. It can also be used for streaming on computer networks. It is used to manage media libraries. By default, VLC has many free decoding and encoding libraries, and this eliminates the need for proprietary plugins. VLC has its protocol implementations, and it can transcode media files.

VLC is free and open-source. It also contains no advertisement. As a media application, VLC plays most codecs, i.e., MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MKV, WMV, etc. It can also be used to rip CDs. Its source code is available for developers to download. It is compatible with Windows Phone, Android, iOS, Apple TV, macOS, Windows NT, Linux, etc. The application is available for download via this link.

About VLC Player

VLC started as an academic project by students from the Ecole Centrale Paris in 1996 before its official release in 2001. It was initially designed for streaming of videos across a campus network. Initially, the project has a client/server infrastructure, but this has been long removed from the app, which led to its renaming.

On July 7th, 2009, the version 1.0.0 of VLC media player was released. Later on, the framework for its Android version was built and published on Google Play Store in 2011. A French tech company identified as Applidium designed its iOS version. VLC for Windows was first released on March 13th, 2014. Its download count has totaled over 3 billion downloads.

VLC operates LGPLv2.1+ license. It can be used to take snapshots while using the media player. Its latest version supports Chromecast. It was the first media player that provided playback support for encrypted DVDs on macOS and Linux operating systems using the libdvdcss DVD decryption library. Users can customize the app by adding new skins using the VLC skin editor. Users can also include subtitle files while watching videos. VLC media player can be used to convert files from one format to the other. As a packet-based player, it can be used to play multiple video formats.

Features

In its over eight years of existence, VLC media player has been improved on which has led to the addition of several fantastic features on the program. These include;

Media Player

VLC media player can be used to play all kinds of music, videos, recordings, etc. The app can play files of different formats, both audio, i.e., MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, AMR, MACE, etc and video, i.e., MKV, MP4, MPEG4, 3GP, FLV, etc. It plays discs, webcams, and contents on external devices. The player can play some files even if it is damaged, or incomplete. It also has an internet feature that allows the user to connect to the internet for podcasts and radio services.

Hardware Decoding

Almost all versions of the application on various platforms have hardware decoding.

Subtitles

VLC media player allows users to add subtitles when using the app. You can now download the SRT files for your media files and read them. To add subtitle file, click Subtitle on the taskbar.

Snapshots/Screenshots

The application allows users to take screenshots while watching a movie or streaming. For snapshots, click Video -> Take Snapshot.

Streaming

VLC media player can be used to stream files to other computer networks. Also, a user can use the player as a server and client application. VLC can stream MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 files, DVDs, etc. All these files have required bandwidth for streaming, i.e., MPEG-4 (0.5 – 4 Mbit/s), MPEG-2 (3 – 4 Mbit/s), and DVDs (6 – 9 Mbit/s).

Chromecast

This feature is available only on version 3.0 of VLC for Windows and Mac. Therefore, users can now stream audio and video files from PC to TV. To connect, click Playback -> Renderer, if your Chromecast is on the list, click to join, however, if it is not, click Scan. You can then play your files, however, if you receive a security warning, confirm the exception to continue.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It is Free: VLC media player is a free application available for download on Windows (8 & 10), macOS, Linus, iOS, Android, Windows Phone devices, etc. Developed by a non-profit organization, VLC media player, however, receives donations via its website.
  • Plays Multiple Formats: VLC media player allows users to play multiple audio and video formats. Users can play discs, DVDs, VCDs, etc.
  • Multiple Device Compatibility: VLC media player supported by Android, Linux, iOS, macOS, Tizen, Xbox One, Apple TV, Windows Phone, etc.
  • Chromecast Support: VLC media player supports streaming protocols. Users can now stream and enjoy their contents on their TVs using Chromecast.
  • Contains No Advertisement: Unlike most free software, VLC is an NGOs product. The application wasn’t developed to generate funds. Hence it contains no ads.
  • Converter: It has a conversion feature which allows users to convert videos from one format to another. To use this feature, click Media -> Convert/Save and follow the instructions.

Cons                                                          

  • It cannot be used to manage a user’s media library. Files can only be accessed by manually browsing the system storage. It makes it hard for the user to locate content quickly.

Tips and Tricks

VLC media player can be used to play Blu-ray discs. This feature is only accessible on version 2.0 and higher versions. The following are tips on how to play Blu-ray movies

  • Having downloaded the latest version of the app, go to https://www.vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name/, if you’re using Windows, download the KEYDB.cfg file and libaacs.dll file. It is vital that you know the version of your system if it’s 32-bit or 64-bit.
  • Access the AppData section from the Users folder on the local disk, create a new folder named aacs. Move the KEYDB.cfg file into this folder.
  • Download and install the AACS Dynamic Library downloaded from https://www.vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name. After installation, click C: Program Files\Video LAN\VLC and paste the libaacs.dll file there. You can now play Blu-ray movies.

Compatibility

There are different versions for different platforms. The latest version for Android is VLC 3.1, available for download. VLC for Windows latest version is 3.0.6. Download 32bit and 64bit here. Most recent versions for all other supported devices can be download at its official website.

FAQs

What is the official site for VLC Media Player?

The official site for VLC is www.videolan.org.

Can I cast from VLC?

Yes, you can cast from VLC. This feature is available on the updated PC version of the software, i.e., VLC 3.0.

Is VLC player safe?

The application contains no spyware. Thus, it is safe to use. Usually, viruses infiltrate a computer via advertisements. Therefore, since the app is ad-free and the software is spyware-free, it is therefore recommended for use.

How do I get VLC media player?

Install VLC media player on the computer or mobile device by downloading from the download section of VideoLAN.

How do I stream VLC to my Smart TV?

Users can now stream video contents to their TVs using the Cast option. To cast from VLC, ensure the Chromecast device and the TV is switched on. Check the taskbar and click Playback -> Renderer. Next, connect the device. Next, open a file using the media option. For first time users, you’ll receive an “insecure site” message. However, view the security certificate, ‘Accept permanently.’ You can now view your content.

Summary                                             

VLC media player is a media application. It is used to play audios and videos. The app supports streaming, and it can be used to cast videos to smart TVs. Initially developed by VideoLAN as a student project, the media player supports Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, and other operating systems. To learn more about VLC, visit its website.