Simply the best free multi-format media player
- Supports a wide range of formats
- Good hotkey support
- Easy to use
- Very flexible and lightweight
- Integration with web channel streaming services
- Improved interface in version 3
- More format support in version 3
- Plays BluRay and HD
- Completely free!
- User interface is quite basic
- User interface slicker in Mac version
Media player and more
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.
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 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.
How does it work?
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.
Finally, the interface in VLC media player has been somewhat improved although it remains strictly functional. However, you can download skins to completely change VLC media player's appearance. The preferences menu is comprehensive without being overwhelming, and there is extensive documentation online.