The VLC Media Player is an open source, free, platform-independent software media player. The portable multimedia player developed by the VideoLAN project was originally called VideoLan Client but is now known as VLC. It works with many different audio and video formats such as MPEG-2, MP3, MPEG-4, DivX, OGG, AVI, FLV, AAC, and WMV just to name a few. It can also play DVDs, VCDs, Audio-CD, and other streaming protocols. It will run on various operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, BeOS, MacOS, and Solaris. Because of the open source nature of the VLC Media Player, it has become a widely downloaded player.
The modular nature of the VLC Media Player and its open source design makes it very convenient to include different modules or plug-ins such as new file formats, codecs, and other controls. It can launch different interfaces and GUI’s depending on the operating system. Its four main interfaces are the Qt interface and skins2 Interface which works with Linux and Windows and the Mac OS X interface for the Mac and the BeOS Interface for BeOS. There are several others including the Mouse Gestures interface which allows control of VLC by moving the mouse. The VLC Media Player audio controls include a graphic equalizer and a spatializer that allow greater adjustment of the audio. The video controls include basic image adjustments as well as special effects.
One of the great features of the VLC Media Player is its ability to play incomplete and unfinished videos. It can also play the video as it is being downloaded such as files found on peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as BitTorrent or Gnutella.
The VLC Media Player also can convert and save files in different formats. The player allows users to create playlists that can be saved for later retrieval. When the playlist window is open, media files can be dragged and dropped into the window to create a playlist. The VLC Media Player offers a video capture feature. It can do screencasts and record the desktop. This makes it a versatile player for creating instructional and How-to videos.
When playing a DVD on the VLC Media Player, the user is provided with a full menu that gives controls of the DVD menu with access to the chapters, special features, and other controls typically found in DVD player software. Audio disc playback has similar controls common to the audio player software.
With a wealth of features, an open source and platform-independent development, the free VLC Media Player is destined to become one of the most versatile and popular media players.