VLC Media Player (also called VideoLAN) is an exceptional media player to say the least. It allows you to play all major formats of multimedia files, both video and audio, without the slightest problem and does not require the installation of external codecs. It also works on all major desktop operating systems: Windows, macOS, Linux and is extremely easy to use. There is even a mobile version available, which works on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone, but we'll talk about that later.
What I want to point out now is that with VLC you can do almost anything! You can play both local files and streaming content, you can watch DVD videos, you can record video streams being played and much more. No problem, then, with regard to playlists, videos with multi-track audio and high-definition content: VLC is able to read and create playlists, show subtitles, manage the audio tracks of videos with multi-track audio and play movies in HD, Full HD and even UltraHD / 4K resolution (as long as the computer has adequate hardware). You can even apply real-time effects to the videos you are watching! Each setting, then, can be customized down to the smallest detail in order to satisfy even the most demanding users.
In short: everything you could want from a VLC video player has it; has it and offers it totally free. The software is also open source and can count on a large user base that allows you to easily resolve any doubts related to its functions. I don't really know what else you are waiting for! If you haven't done so yet, take five minutes of free time and find out how to download and use VLC thanks to the information I'm about to give you. It will be very easy, you will see!
▶ ︎ How to download VLC on PC | How to download VLC on smartphones and tablets
How to Download VLC on PC
To download VLC Media Player on your PC, connected to the program's website and click on the button Download VLC. When the download is complete, double-click on it and open the file you just downloaded (vlc-xx-win32.exe) and, in the window that opens, first click on Yes and then OK. Click Quindi Sul Pulsating forward three times in a row and finish the setup by clicking on first Install and then end.
If you use a Poppy, download VLC on your computer as seen before for Windows and, when the download is complete, open the downloaded file (vlc-xx.dmg). Then drag the icon of VLC in the folder Applications macOS and that's it.
For Linux, many distros include VLC among the programs installed "by default" on the system or allow you to download it easily from their stores. Up Ubuntu, for example, you can easily install VLC just by opening Ubuntu Software (the orange shopping bag icon located in the left sidebar) by looking VLC within the latter and clicking on the button Install located next to the program icon in the search results.
Alternatively, if you prefer to act from terminal, you can install VLC by giving the command sudo apt-get install vlc, typing your user account password and responding S to the software installation request.
How to Use VLC
Once the program is installed, I would say that you are ready to start using it. So locate VLC on the Windows desktop, in the MacOS Launchpad or in the menu of your Linux distro and start it. At the first start, VLC Media Player will ask you for permission to download information on multimedia files and updates from the Internet: you can safely agree to both operations by clicking on the button Continue. If you are using macOS, you may need to authorize the first launch of the software by clicking on the button apri.
At this point, you can start using VideoLAN to play your favorite videos. Then go to the menu Media> Open File (o File> Open File if you are using a Mac) located at the top left and choose the video to watch. AVI, MP4, MKV, MPG, WMV and many other types of video files are supported. If you don't want to play a single movie but a playlist of videos in sequence, select the item Open multiple files and select the files to be displayed in the window that opens, while to play DVDs refer to the option Open disk.
To play streaming videos directly from the Internet (including YouTube videos), go to the menu Media> Open Network Stream (o File> Open Network if you are using a Mac), paste the address of the content to be displayed in the window that opens and click on the button Playwhich is located at the bottom right.
Thanks to its simple and intuitive user interface, VLC Media Player it is very simple to use even for those who are not an IT expert. For example, to control multimedia playback, just use the buttons Play / Pause, Stop, forward e Go back which are located at the bottom left; to jump from one point of the video to another just use the timeline which is located in the lower center, while to adjust the volume just use the appropriate adjustment bar located at the bottom right. To manage the audio and subtitle tracks, just go to the menus Audio> Audio track e Subtitles> Subtitle Track (o Add subtitle files to load an external subtitle file). To adjust the appearance of subtitles, go to the menu instead Pref Renze of VLC and select the tab Subtitles / OSD from the window that opens.
Maybe not everyone knows, but VLC also includes a number of audio and video filters that allow you to customize multimedia content while it is played on your computer. Just click on the button with the iconequalizer and you have immediate access to tools such asaudio equalizer, which allows you to finely adjust the audio parameters (you have to activate it by placing the check mark next to the item Enable), he video effects which, on the other hand, allow you to customize image properties, crop videos and add overlay text or logos. Via the card Synchronization, it is then possible to adjust the times of synchronization between audio and video anticipating or postponing the audio of a movie, and the display times of the subtitles. This way, you can easily correct any video-to-audio sync problems or incorrect subtitle timing.
On macOS, to access the menu with video effects and audio effects you need to go to the menu Window and select Video effects o Audio effects. For more information on how VLC's real-time filters work, check out my tutorial on how to rotate a video with VLC.
As mentioned above, VLC Media Player it also allows you to record the videos being played by saving them locally on the PC. To start a new recording, go to the menu Media program and select the item Convert / Save from the latter. In the window that opens, select the source from which to draw the video: Fillet locally, disc DVD, video streaming from network o acquisition device to capture video from external devices.
Successively click on your button Convert / Save, select the video / audio format in which you intend to record the movie from the drop-down menu Profile and choose the folder in which to save the file by clicking on the button Shop by Department. To finish, click starts and wait for the video playback to finish.
If you are using a Mac, you need to go to the menu to access the VLC recording function File> Send / Export Assistant. After that you have to put the check mark next to the item Transcode / Save to fileclick on your button Following and you have to use the field Select a stream to choose a network stream or file to record.
At this point, click on the button Following, activate the options Transcodifica video e Transcode audio, choose the video and audio formats you want to use for recording and click on Following. Then select the encapsulation format to use for the output video (ex. MPEG PS o MPEG TS), go ahead and click the button Shop by Department to select the folder in which to save the output file.
Finally, click on the buttons Following e end, wait for the playback of the source video to finish and you will find your recording in the output folder you just specified.
Another very useful feature of VLC is the one that allows you to take screenshots of the videos being played, that is to make snapshots of the videos by saving the frames on the PC. To take advantage of it, all you have to do is go to the menu Video (top) and select the item Screen capture (o Screenshot) from the latter.
The image captured by VLC, by default, is in PNG and is saved in the folder Images Of computer. To change these settings, open the Pref Renze of VLC and select the tab Video from the window that opens.
Please note: if you want to make VLC the default player for your videos, that is the program that is automatically launched when you double click on them, follow the instructions you find in my tutorial on how to set VLC as default.
How to Download VLC on Smartphones and Tablets
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, VLC is also available for smartphones and tablets, where it represents one of the best free solutions for watching videos hosted locally (on the device memory), in the local network (eg on NAS, network hard disk etc.), on cloud storage services (eg Dropbox) and streaming from the Internet.
For download VLC on smartphones and tablets, open the store of your device (Google Play if you use an Android device, App Store if you have an iPhone or an iPad or Windows Store if you have a Windows terminal), search VLC within the latter and proceed with the installation of the app by pressing first on its icon and then on the button Ottieni / Installa. If you have an Android device, be sure to download VLC for Android and not VLC for Android beta which is a preliminary version of the app, with a few more functions but potentially unstable.
Once installation is complete, start VLC and, if you are using an Android terminal or a Windows Phone, the list of videos that you have loaded on the device memory (or on the microSD inserted in it) should automatically appear. If you use an iPhone or iPad, however, you will only be able to access the videos that you copy directly into the app or that you will recall from external sources, such as NAS and network hard drives.
To copy a file in VLC for iPhone or iPad, you can connect the device to the computer and take advantage of the iTunes file sharing function (as I explained to you, for example, in my tutorial on how to transfer files to iPad), or, if you want a tip, you can do first and take advantage of the file sharing function via Wi-Fi. By connecting your iPhone or iPad to the same wireless network as your computer, you can activate a management panel through which you can pass video from your computer to VLC without physically connecting your smartphone or tablet to the latter. To take advantage of this function, press the icon of traffic cone located at the top left in VLC for iOS and activate the toggle Sharing via WiFi present in the menu that appears on the side.
At this point, open the browser on your computer, connected to the address indicated by VLC in its sidebar (e.g. http: //iPhone-di-nome.local) and use the Web panel that is proposed to you to transfer videos directly in the application.
If you have an Android terminal or a Windows Phone, you can copy the videos to the memory of your device and VLC will automatically read them. To transfer videos to the memory of your smartphone or tablet, all you have to do is connect the latter to your computer and use theFile Explorer Windows to copy the files of your interest. You can find everything explained in more detail in my guide on How to transfer Android files.
Alternatively, if you prefer, you can go to the menu ≡> Local network of VLC for Android or in the card KATEGORIEN of VLC for Windows Phone and play or download files from your computer using local network sharing. Obviously, for everything to work properly, the computer must be configured to share files and folders within the local network. If you don't know how, read my tutorial on how to share a folder on the network.
Local network sharing also works with files hosted by NAS, network hard drives, and other devices designed for sharing files across the local network.
After finding the videos of your interest, presses on their title and you can immediately start playing them. For the rest I don't think you need too many explanations: you can use i VLC commands to pause or resume playback, the timeline to move from one point of the video to another and i keys of your device to change the volume.
To choose audio tracks and subtitles, however, you have to press the icon of comic. The icon (...)finally, it allows access to functions such as Picture-in-Picture (on Android), screen rotation lock and more. If you want, you can also increase or decrease the brightness of the screen by swiping up or down e go back and forth in the video by swiping left or right.