VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is a free, open source media player that is fast, light, and plays nearly every audio and video file that exists. Say goodbye to juggling many different media players because one supports a file type that the other doesn’t. VLC handles them all! It is a stable, responsive and useful program that is among the first programs I install when I am setting up a new computer or operating system. VLC is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and there is a version is currently in development for Android.

The interface won’t win any beauty awards, but it does the job. For people coming from Windows Media Player or RealPlayer, it may seem too basic at first. However, once you get used to that, you will start to see where this programs really shines. Example: We all have audio or video files every once in a while that seemingly nothing will play. Windows Media Player? Nope. Itunes? Nope. RealPlayer? Nope. VLC? Yes. I have used VLC on Mint Linux 11 and 12, Windows 7 and XP, and Ubuntu 11.10. and on all of these operating systems, I have found VLC to be rock solid, stable, fast and reliable.

VLC features a great full screen mode, support for subtitles, slowdown/speedup of whatever you have playing, media streaming, multiple, user-made interfaces, which edits its appearance but not its functionality. And there are many many more features that would take far too much time and space to describe. If you would like to see them all, here are two links that should answer all feature-related questions.

VLC Features official website

7 Useful, little known VLC features

Although I wouldn’t call it beautiful, it is elegant in it’s simplicity and it is one of the most feature-ful media players available. Flv files? Mkv? WMA?  No problem, VLC handles them all with grace and speed. I use VLC for all my media needs, except playlists, in which Itunes definitely trumps VLC. The Playlist system in VLC is interesting, but, in my opinion not up to par with its competitors – RealPlayer and Itunes. The way it works is you select folders on your computer and click any file In it and VLC will play all the tracks in that folder. Although this is a different solution for Playlists that is appreciable under a few circumstances, many media players now incorporate that into their functionality anyway and  it is definitely not as useful as the playlists functionality in RealPlayer or Itunes. I use Itunes for playlists and VLC for everything else. So much so, that I actually removed Windows Media Player from my system as I wasn’t using

                        Update (March 9 2012)       

VLC Media Player 2.0 ‘TwoFlower‘ has been out for a little while now. The 2.0 update brings (what I think is the most significant) A  streamlined, slicker, better looking User Interface, Blu-Ray support, support for several more codecs, numerous bug fixes, faster multi-core video decoding, and numerous other updates. It also seems to be faster all round, starting up and playing videos. Due to the much improved User Interface that makes it look much more polished, I have upgraded my rating of VLC Media Player to 10/10 from 9/10.

Overall Impressions

    10/10

VLC Media Player is an excellent (Free!) media player that can play just about anything you can throw at it, the interface is simple, yet efficient, good looking, and neat. The Playlist system needs an overhaul but that’s not a very big issue. It is stable and fast and has no difficulty playing anything you can throw at it. I highly recommend this to anyone!

As always I encourage you to read other reviews of the product to help get a feel for it and different reviewers points of view.

Cnet.com Review and secure download

PC MAG Review

Chip EU review

PC WORLD Review

Softpedia Review

Thanks for reading and until next time!

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