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VLC media player is a free software media player written by the VideoLAN
VLC is a portable multimedia player, encoder, and streamer supporting many audio
and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming
protocols. It is able to stream over networks and to transcode multimedia files
and save them into various formats. VLC used to stand for VideoLAN Client, but
that meaning is now deprecated.
It is one of the most platform-independent players available, with versions for
BeOS, Syllable, BSD, Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, MorphOS and Solaris,
and is widely used with over 100 million downloads for version 0.8.6.
VLC includes a large number of free decoding and encoding libraries; on the
Windows platform, this greatly reduces the need for finding/calibrating
proprietary plugins. Many of VLC's codecs are provided by the libavcodec library
from the FFmpeg project, but it uses mainly its own muxer and demuxers. It also
gained distinction as the first player to support playback of encrypted DVDs on
Linux by using the libdvdcss DVD decryption library.
VLC is popular for its ability to play the video content of incomplete,
unfinished, or damaged video downloads before the files have been fully
downloaded. (For example, files still downloading via BitTorrent, eMule, or
Gnutella). It also plays m2t MPEG Transport Streams (.TS) files while they are
still being digitized from an HDV camera via a FireWire cable, making it
possible to monitor the video as it is being played. This is because it is a
The player also has the ability to use libcdio to access .iso files so that the
user can play files on a disk image, even if the user's operating system does
not have the capability of working directly with .iso images.
VLC supports all codecs and all file formats supported by FFmpeg. This means
that DVD Video and MPEG-4 playback as well as support for Ogg and Matroska (MKV)
file formats work "out of the box". However, this feature is not unique to VLC,
as any player using the FFmpeg libraries, including MPlayer and xine-lib-based
players, can play those formats without need for external codecs. VLC also
supports codecs that are not included in FFmpeg.
VLC media player has some filters that can distort, rotate, split, deinterlace,
mirror videos, create display walls, or add a logo overlay. It can also produce
video output as ASCII art.
VLC media player can play high definition recordings of D-VHS tapes duplicated
to a computer using CapDVHS.exe. This offers another way to archive all D-VHS
tapes with the DRM copy freely tag. An entire library of tapes (or about 50
D-VHS 2 hours long) can be placed on a single terabyte sized hard drive.
However, they must be imported by playing the tapes in real time, and can't
simply be copied as data files.
Using a FireWire connection from cable boxes to computers, VLC can stream live,
unencrypted content to a monitor or HDTV.
VLC media player can display the playing video as the desktop wallpaper, like
Windows DreamScene, but this feature is not currently available on Linux.
VLC media player can do screencasts and record the desktop.
On Microsoft Windows, VLC also supports the Direct Media Object (DMO) framework
and can therefore make use of some third-party DLLs.
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