We all love our media. Whether it is movies, music, or other types of media all that we want is a player that just works and gives us the features that we need. I remember in past years trying several different players and either running into issues trying to play certain media types or finding that the player I am using lacks some feature or other. I have to admit that I was delighted when I ran across VLC Media Player. It gave me the features that I was looking for and was able to play almost anything that I threw at it without issue.
What is VLC Media Player?
VLC stands for VideoLAN Client. It is a free and open source media player. It has been my favorite for many years. It supports so many audio and video formats that it can play almost anything that you throw at it. It’s also cross-platform, which means that you can use it on more than one operating system. It will work in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS. It is easy to use and packed with features, some of which we will cover later on. Let’s install VLC, take a tour of it, and learn how to use it.
How to Get It
Head over to the VLC website and click the big “Download VLC” button.
When the installation program is done downloading run it, click “Yes” if Windows asks if you want to allow the app, and click “OK”.
After making your selections click “Next”.
Finish with “Continue”.
Tour of VLC Media Player
Let’s check out the basic interface of VLC to give you a road map to start with. In this tour we will do a quick overview of the menu and buttons. It wont be comprehensive but will highlight the features that most of you will use and will give you a quick start to knowing your way around VLC. For the most part VLC Media Player has a very similar interface to most other Windows programs. In the following section we will get into how to use it.
The Media menu gives you options to open, save, convert files, stream media, and exit the media player. From this menu you can open media files, multiple media files, folders, disks, network streams, capture devices, and a locations from your system clipboard. This will be the menu that you will probably most frequently use.
This is the menu from which you can play, stop, and navigate within the media that you are playing. You have options to navigate title, chapter, custom bookmarks, choose media renderer, and change media speed. You can also jump forward, backward, and to a specific time in the media that you are playing. You can also play, stop, skip back, skip forward, and record.
This is simply where you can control your audio. You can choose audio tracks, devices, modes, and visualizations. You can also change your volume and mute.
You can navigate video tracks, change screen size, set what is on the screen as your wallpaper, change aspect ratio, crop, deinterlace, and take snapshots. I will post a step by step guide on how to set a video as your desktop wallpaper in the next blog post.
You can add subtitles.
This is where you can work with effects, filters, and synchronization. You can also get into interface customization, preferences, and other configurations.
From here you can customize and change VLC’s View options.
Get help, check for updates, and see information about VLC.
On the bottom of your window you will find the buttons:
Play Button – Play and pause your media.
Stop and Skip Buttons – Skip back, skip forward, and stop playback.
Full Screen and Extended Settings Buttons – Enter and exit full screen mode and configure extended settings like audio effects, video effects, and synchronization.
Toggle Buttons – Toggle playlist, toggle looping, and randomize.
Volume Control – Increase, decrease, and mute volume.
How to Use VLC Media Player
Now that we have a sense of the layout let’s take a loot at how to do some basic tasks.
Play Music or a Video File From Your Computer
- Click “Media”.
- Click “Open File”.
- Navigate to the file that you want to play and double click it to open.
Play a CD, DVD, or Blu Ray
- Click “Media”.
- Click “Open Disk”.
- Choose the type of disk you want to play.
- Navigate to and select what you want to play.
- Click “Play”.
Stream from the Internet
- Click “Media”.
- Click “Stream”.
- Choose the “Network” tab.
- Enter the URL of what you want to stream.
- Click “Stream”.
This is only the very basics of what you can do. It is enough to get you started. If you want to get into more advanced options or creative endeavors with VLC let me know and I will release some guides to walk you through it.
VLC Media Player is a very powerful and feature rich player that supports so many media formats that you shouldn’t have any trouble playing your media with it. It is easy to use and doesn’t take much to learn. It is extremely portable so you can use it with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. I Highly recommend that you download and give it a try.
What media player do you prefer? Have you tried VLC? If so, what do you think about it? Let me know if you have any questions or would like further guides on this powerful open source player.