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Summary:

Many of us are consuming video and audio content as part of our working lives; some of us are broadcasting it and encoding it, too. For both types of tasks, one of the best applications that you can get is the free, open-source VLC Media Player. […]

Many of us are consuming video and audio content as part of our working lives; some of us are broadcasting it and encoding it, too. For both types of tasks, one of the best applications that you can get is the free, open-source VLC Media Player. It recently came out in a significantly updated version 1.0, and is now out in a stable version 1.0.1. I’ve been using the new version, and highly recommend it, whether you’re running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.


Open source blogger Matt Asay captures a big part of why VLC Media Player may be the best player on the planet:

“One of the amazing things about VLC is that it can play anything that you’ve ever even thought about playing. That random media format that one site in Ecuador requires–VLC likely plays it, while Windows Media, Apple QuickTime, etc. likely will not. This is, in part, a natural result of VLC’s open source heritage.”

Because a global community of users iteratively improves VLC Media Player, it can handle many obscure video file formats. I almost never trip VLC up by throwing a new type of file at it.

It’s also true that because of the widespread open-source community that contributes to VLC Media Player, and all the plug-ins that extend it, it’s easy to miss many of the under-the-hood features it has. You can use it to broadcast your own video and audio content; you can use it as a video transcoder for converting video file formats,;you can listen to and manage podcasts with it, rip DVDs, watch DVDs and much more.

I addressed how to get up to speed on many of the non-obvious nice features that VLC has in this post on OStatic.  There, you’ll find tips and tricks on doing logos and effects for videos, instructions on how to broadcast your own media, and a free online guide that takes you from installation to advanced tasks in a visual tour. These can be particularly helpful for an open-source application, because good documentation is often a weak point in the open source arena.

I also previously covered the new portable version of VLC Media Player here. This is a lightweight version of the application that you can use to view and work with video and audio anywhere, perhaps toting it on a USB flash drive or a netbook.

If you haven’t used VLC Media Player, and especially if you’ve stayed tied to default media tools such as Windows Media Player, give it a trial run. The price is right, and you may agree with me that VLC is outstanding.

Share your VLC Media Player tips in the comments.

  1. I’ve been using VLC for about four years, maybe even longer than that, and have never used other media players in that time! Besides playback, VLC also makes screencapping on videos a breeze. If you’re not aesthetically pleased with the cone icon, Mac users should also take a peek at sleek and sexy icon the kind folks at MacRabbit have up in their Goodies page – http://macrabbit.com/goodies/ ! :)

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  2. VLC is awesome and certainly the best cross-platform player. However, it’s marred by technical problems and a non-compatible feature list between Mac and the PC. Every time they come out with an update, something else is broken. It’s telling that by far the best and most stable version of VLC is 0.8.6. If you do not use VLC, check it out, then find version 0.8.6 and stick with it…

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  3. [...] VLC Media Player 1.0.1: A Must-have Many of us are consuming video and audio content as part of our working lives; some of us are broadcasting it and encoding it, too. For both types of tasks, one of the best applications that you can get is the free, open-source VLC Media Player. It recently came out in a significantly updated version 1.0, and is now out in a stable version 1.0.1. I’ve been using the new version, and highly recommend it, whether you’re running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. [...]

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  4. VLC is indeed VERY useful for playing those annoying, non-native formats–especially WMV and FLV.

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  5. VLC player and Audacity are my all time favorite multimedia open source tools! Been using them for quite some time and both do a great job at what they are meant to do.

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  6. I just downloaded VLC the other day when I couldn’t find the right codec to go with a movie I was trying to watch. Great program! Started up the movie right away without any hassle!

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  7. VLC Media Player 1.0.1: A Must-have Open-source Appthank you for share

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