There are many media players in addition to the ubiquitous Windows Media or
Quicktime players. I use and often recommend VLC Player as a one-stop tool to play just
about any format.
In this video for an Ask Leo!
webinar, I’ll show off a few of its features.
VLC player. VLC player is a replacement or an alternative to Windows Media Player to basically a dozen other different media players. You can see that it’s available here from videolan.org. It’s a free download; it’s once again ‘donation ware’ – if you feel like donating to the cause, you can.
VLC’s single biggest claim to fame is that it can view almost any format that you might have on your machine. I’ve not yet found something that it can’t play. I’ve ended up making it the default media player on almost all of my machines.
To show VLC, I’ll show two different things. I’m going to show you first, videos. This particular video is a .3gp video that was taken on my phone basically at the same beach we were at for an earlier trip. The video quality (I’m not really sure how well GoToWebinar is going to play with this), but you can see that it plays the video just fine.
There are two issues in the video quality that you are probably seeing live and that would be GoToWebinar’s not necessarily able to keep up with streaming video and second, coloration I’ve noticed here is just a little bit off and that’s because I’m actually doing this with a virtual machine and not on my desktop. You’ll have to trust me that when this actually plays on a real desktop, it actually looks really, really good. So that’s the video…as I’ve said, I’ve yet to find a video format that I’ve not been able to throw at this thing and just have it work. It’s been very useful for that.
And I’ll also end up using it as my MP3 player. So I’ll just go ahead and pause Pink there for a moment. As an MP3 player, it does fine; it will do playlists; it will do everything that most of your other MP3 players will do (you’ll see here that it’s building up the playlist and showing you exactly what it’s playing). Again, it’s a very simple program that handles a large number of file formats. Once again, I think it can play almost any audio file you can conceive and think of. It may or may not be able to play Reel; Reel tends to be kind of funny that way, but it is a very useful and ubiquitous media player.
It’s not the prettiest thing in the world; I’ll absolutely admit that. We’ll fire this thing back up again. You can skin it; I typically don’t (I believe you can skin it) preferring to stick with the basic interface, but by and large, everything that you might want to do with a media player is in VideoLan’s VLC player.
Can I answer any questions about VLC?
Does it contain all of the necessary codecs? To the best of my knowledge, yes, all of the statements I’ve just made about it playing everything that I’ve thrown at it, I’ve done with it just out of the box. I’ve not needed to download any additional codecs. The only caveat that I’ll throw out there is that it is possible that it relies on some of the codecs that may already installed on my system but I don’t believe that’s necessarily true. I’ll also point out that VLC is, in fact, multi-platform. VLC is available for the Mac and also on Linux.
What would happen if you added ‘k-lite pac’? Honestly, I’m not sure; a) I’m not sure that you need to, but b) I’m fairly certain that once again, it will just work.
Can you use it to record? I don’t believe so. It’s fundamentally a player so its focus is playing media, not necessarily recording it. Typically for recording audio, I recommend tools like Audacity if you’re trying to do audio or if you’re trying to do video, any of a number of different video applications, depending on the function that you’re attempting to perform.