Simply the best multi-format media player
- Free to use
- Plays almost anything
- Great hotkey support
- Integration with web channel streaming services
- Much slicker interface in version 3
- More format support in version 3
- Plays BluRay and HD
- Basic interface
Still the most powerful free media player
VLC media player is the most stable, flexible and lightweight audio and video player around today, especially when compared to others that will play unusual formats after downloading a codec, or simply refuse to play things.
The program handles tons of formats, from MPEG to FLV and RMBV files. V10 bit codes plus multi-threaded decoding for H.264, MPEG-4/Xvid and WebM, as well as the ability to play HD and BluRay.
Also useful is the fact that you can use VLC media player to preview files you are downloading since it plays incomplete parts of video files. VLC media player is not just for video playback however. It also offers superb integration with video channel streaming services such as Channels.com giving you access to channels such as ESPN, Reuters and National Geographic.
Just right-click or CMD-click on the playlist, select Services Discovery and Channels.com. Channels.com will then appear in your VLC media player playlist. Click on it to reveal the the different categories of channels available. Click on the category you want and a drop down list of all available channels appears in VLC media player. Just click on the channel you want to watch and streaming should begin almost immediately.
Easy to control and create playlists
VLC media player also has great hotkey support and if you take the time to learn the shortcuts so it can be controlled without touching your mouse. If you're watching DVDs or video files through it, this is not an issue. For music, it plays more or less any file and features an equalizer and playlist creation. VLC media player isn't as intuitive as iTunes as a media manager, but it's a much more flexible player in terms of file formats. You can even use VLC to convert your files, and on top of all the formats and physical media it will play, many streaming protocols and TV capture cards are supported.
VLC media player makes it easy to add subtitles to your video files too - just add the SRT file to the folder where your video is kept, and it will automatically play with subtitles.
The Mac interface is considerably slicker than on Windows, with a single window for everything. However, it's only available in two colors: Lion grey and QTX black. The preferences menu is comprehensive without being overwhelming, and there is extensive documentation online.
Don't forget to check out some of our articles such as VLC media player v KMPlayer, How to rotate a video with VLC media player, How to sync audio with video in VLC media player and How to use subtitles with VLC media player.
The ultimate free multiformat media player
There's very little to fault with VLC media player. It's a superb lightweight media player that will successfully play the most stubborn files where other players fail.