A media player for every format
VLC media player is a versatile, robust software that plays almost every type of video, sound, and image file on your PC or stored in extractable devices. It can stream from webcams and Internet sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Gaia. It accepts live video from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Live.
Free for all platforms
Whereas most free media players are ad-supported, the free VLC media player is a project of the nonprofit organization VideoLAN. A donation would be well received, but you don't have to watch commercial ads for you to keep the software free.
Better features and security
Unlike some media players made for Windows computers, VLC is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, Unix, Solaris, iOS iPhone, and other platforms for all digital devices. The control panel and platform design are customizable for you to give the app your personal touch.
You can add ready-made skins, or you can create your own with the VLC skin editor. The app allows you to install different extensions for an even better viewing experience. It can load all your videos from your Photos app, and songs from Windows Media Player into the VLC platform, for you to have all your files in one place.
This media player doesn't have user tracking or spyware to read your browsing history, location, or email contacts. VideoLAN respects your privacy. If you get frustrated with the limited options of basic multimedia players, VLC Media Player is your best option for running all file formats in a safe platform.
Why do heavy videos get stuck?
AVI files are uncompressed. Although you get gorgeous video and audio quality, five seconds of video can be over 80MB in size, depending on the complexity of the image or animation. The heavier the file, the longer it takes for your PC to play it, and the more memory it uses up. VLC's smart decoding makes videos run faster.
Heavy videos need better buffering. If you don't have a 20MB/sec or faster Internet broadband connection, your video can slow down until it pauses the streaming. In some cases, you have to close the app, go back in, and restart the video. The VLC player can fallback on other software to fix buffering issues.
Basic media players have trouble with an unknown codec. Flash or Movie Maker format videos and animations into SWF, FLV, or WMV extensions heavier than MP4s or the smaller MPG format. Some players won't recognize these software extensions, whereas the VLC Video Player can read them all.
Original video quality vs. reproduction quality
Sometimes, a video that looks pixelated, plays too slowly, pauses every few seconds, doesn't display the right colors, or looks blurry is not a low-quality file. A video file can have good quality and still look bad in a basic media player. The problem is not the video; it's the app that plays it.
A small 3GP or WMV video file can appear pixelated or out of focus on a full-HD 1080 PC screen. That's because the file format is not a good fit for that screen. 3GPs play best in 3G phones, not even 4G or 5G phones. WMH files won't look great or won't open in Mac PCs because they are for Windows Media.
MP4 files are compressed, but their codec makes them look good in most multimedia players for PC and smartphones. The standard format for DVDs and Blu-ray movies is MPEG-4. This format gives you the best, clearest image and audio quality. Surround Sound and a full-HD screen enhance your viewing ten-fold.
The MPEG-4 format presents crisp colors, unbelievable contrast, lifelike graphics quality, and state-of-the-art sound. the VLC media player app with hardware decoding gives you the best movie experience because it takes advantage of all the powerful hardware features boosting your desktop or laptop.
Other good options for video lovers
The VLC free video player has everything you could want from an all-format media player. If you would like to compare other platforms to see which best fits your needs, you can also try these other multimedia players and their special features. Each excels at certain functions and has a different look.
Winamp for Windows is a classic, customizable media player that has been around for generations of Windows operating systems. It did so well that it is now available for Mac PCs and Android smartphones.
PotPlayer for Windows and Android has a sound equalizer and MP3 with lyrics subtitles for audio, and MPEG-4 movies with subtitle sync included. It can load all your videos and music in one master folder for you to find everything you need, fast.
Kodi is great for online video streaming and podcasts on your Windows PC, Mac, or Android smartphone. It has a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) for recording live television. Its remote interface connects to remote controls and Internet browsers.
MPlayer has a simple platform, which makes it easy to download and install even on older Windows and Mac computers. Since it doesn't take up a lot of memory or processing power, it loads videos fast, supports subtitles, and can take screenshots.
Play all file formats on all devices
The free VLC media player is versatile across all electronic devices with any operating system, and it can reproduce video and audio files in almost every format available. Different file formats display different levels of quality, but this multimedia player with hardware decoding will reproduce every video at its best.