VLC for Mac Resting on Shaky Ground


The very capable, and conversion-headache-preventing (HUH?), open-source VLC player is one of the very first things I install on any new Mac, after Firefox. If you’re playing anything that isn’t a straightforward .AVI file, and especially if you want to play the notoriously tricky .MKV format, VideoLAN’s multiplatform player is an absolute necessity. Sadly, it might not be around for much longer.

VLC’s OS X incarnation is in danger, according to VideoLAN, due to a lack of developers working on the project. Right now, the total number of active devs on the OS X port of the software is exactly zero, which is threatening official support of the software beyond version 1.1.0. VLC’s current version on the Mac is 1.0.3.

The dearth of willing developers has already led to the 64-bit version of VLC being put on hold, which is really unfortunate because thanks to Snow Leopard’s improvements, such an upgrade would improve the overall performance of the media player by a fair margin. All hope is not lost, though. VideoLAN is looking for qualified volunteers to help keep VLC for Mac alive. Anyone with knowledge of C, Cocoa and Xcode who’s inclined to help out should check out VideoLAN’s official wiki to see how to get involved.

The VideoLAN Foundation mentioned that “Apple doesn’t want [them] on the Mac platform and is blocking us a lot, and refuses to explain why,” according to PC World. At least part of that stonewalling involves the Mac maker’s refusal to list the player on the software downloads section of its official web site. It probably makes it much harder to garner support from the community without the Apple (s aapl) bump.

I, for one, will be very sad if VLC’s Mac support ceases, but unfortunately I am not a developer. If you are, and you have time, consider lending a hand.



One of the many reasons for Apple to (attempt to) kill VLC on Mac is that Handbrake now depends on the software to rip commercial DVDs, due to the dvd css decryption component no longer being included in the Handbrake software.

Since Handbrake was originally a Mac project, it’s in no danger of dying anytime soon; it’s just slow in development. However, the Handbrake people really should take an interest in VLC if they wish to continue their current path.


Wow. This would be a horrible thing. After trying multiple players over the years, I finally found a perfect fit with VLC (despite its bugs). I’ve even become one of its biggest cheerleaders…recommending it to friends and colleagues frustrated with the lack of multi-format playback of other players (on both the PC and Mac platforms).

Here’s hoping Lunettes will be a step forward. I’m really looking forward to it.


Well then that’s too bad, Scott, because you’ll never experience the joy of having things like WMV and FLV files open up and play instantly. Flip4Mac/Perian with Quicktime is pretty awful in comparison, despite being great overall extensions to have installed. You might want to try new things once and awhile, and not just accept your default choices, because despite what you may think, Apple’s built-in software is not always the best option.

But right now, I consider the best general purpose video player for OSX to be the shockingly obscure open-source “Movist” (http://maketecheasier.com/movist-soon-to-be-the-best-mac-movie-player/2009/05/10)

It combines the best features of both Quicktime Player and VLC, is much faster than QTplayer, and has a clean UI that doesn’t look like complete ass, like VLC. The ability to skip backwards or forwards in 10 second intervals alone was enough to sell me.


Movist is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing! Handles those pesky wmv files much better than QT with a plugin.


Honestly, I have perian and flip4mac installed, and I wouldn’t need VLC if it paid me. I don’t need it. I can view everything I need to right in Quicktime.

brian obrien

VLC is one of my most used and satisfying add-ons. Apple’s resistance to including VLC in it’s list makes me wonder if they care about the average user at all. Quick time is a joke comparatively


I actually use the command line mplayer with an automator front end. It is so much less buggy than vlc.

Unfortunately it has the same problem as vlc, there is no development for the mac OS version. So the GUI versions Mplayer OS X are horribly outdated. I don’t like the GUI on either of the two really, so i avoid them. It works… I guess.


Frankly, for once I do not mind. The best version VideoLAN ever put out on the Mac was 0.8.6x; every version since was either buggy, had features removed, started movie playback very slowly or a combination of the three. I have no intention to upgrade to a newer version of VLC ever, unless a future release of MacOSX breaks backward compatibility.

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