VLC has risen very quickly from an obscure backup media player to one of the world’s most versatile and loved media players. VLC (VideoLan Player) is a free, all-purpose, go-to program that plays video and audio files, disks, webcams and streaming media. It is available on Windows, OS X, Linux and Android just to name a few. In addition to this VLC is open source.
There’s no bloatware to navigate so in just about three or four clicks, VLC is installed and ready to go. Once installed, you’ll discover that one of the best features of this program is that it plays most video files right out of the box. Therefore, users don’t need to search for extra codec packs in order to play video files. This is a much welcome change for people used to wrangling with Windows Media Player and other programs that didn’t readily play downloaded video files.
Installing the program automatically associates all video and audio files with VLC Media Player, however you can opt out of this if you wish. Once installed, clicking “Media” allows the user to select the location of the video or audio you want VLC to open and choosing the file you wish to open is straightforward and pain-free. In comparison RealPlayer’s selection method is not only annoying but incredibly backward.
The user interface isn’t exactly minimalist but it isn’t cluttered either. Controls for VLC Media Player are not complicated and all of the major buttons are located on the main window.
Another great thing about the program is the extra volume boost the program allows – much more than Windows Media Player. This comes in very handy when listening to quieter recordings. I discovered, however, that playing mp3s too loudly can distort the sound.
One benefit of VLC Media Player over Windows Media Player is the ability to add subtitles in the form of .srt files when viewing video files that were recorded in another.
VLC Media Player also comes with a bunch of other cool features. Users can tinker with Audio and Video effects such as a graphic equalizer and color and saturation. However, if those are not for you, the website also hosts a solid list of plugins including skins for those looking to get the most out their VLC.
Version 2.0.8 fixed some regressions of the 2.0.x branch of VLC, numerous crashes and dangerous behaviors, and ISDB-S tunning and some OSX issues.