November 27, 2007

WHAT MAKES VLC SO GREAT?

VLC media player made my life a whole lot easier. Ever since I installed it on my system I never had a need to keep all those ad-bloated media players that sunk down my pc’s startup time with useless system tray icons.

Of course sometimes you do need those players but it’s rarely a case now, windows media player 11 + VLC is all I need. For average PC user, one that needs eye candy stuff on his desktop VLC may not appeal much but if you are seriously looking for a better player that does it all then VLC is a blessing for you.

In this post I am going to write about some of the marvelous features of VLC media player as well as give you a few useful tips about it. And did I mention it’s free?

Large Number of File Formats

This is one of the reasons why I don’t need a large number of players sitting on my system tray, VLC plays most of the multimedia file formats. It does that without needing a codec to be downloaded and installed, it has its own mechanism to play these files. It supports almost all the common files from QuickTime and Real audio, Hell! It even supports flv(flash video) files. Although most of the times it fails to FF or REW flv files.

For a complete list of features http://www.videolan.org/vlc/features.html

So Next time if you have any file format that you don’t even know try drag n dropping it into VLC’s window you might be surprised.

Plays Scratchy DVDs

It happens to me most of the times that a player like WinDVD fails to play a movie while VLC with some trick is able to play it. Most of the times the last titles seem to create problems. And WinDVD does a large post-processing probably because of the audio and video features built into it and thus caches the DVD content and as a result your Drive keeps on rotating the disc forever. On the other hand VLC sometimes is able to play the disc if you use file>open disc with title DVD option instead of DVD (menus) with added title field.

Magnify The Sound

If you drag volume slider with your mouse the maximum value it can go is 100, but if you use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + up arrow it can go up to 200.

That's not it! You can extend the interface by going to Settings>Extended GUI and in the Equalizer section moving the Preamp slider all the way to 20.0db. Still not enough? Move up all of the frequency sliders.

Plug in your microphone and headphones maximize the volume and you might hear voices you never heard before, it's like a hearing aidJ

Streaming Server

About a year ago me and a friend wanted to somehow setup a streaming server for video so that we can watch a movie simultaneously on our own PCs sitting at our separate homes. In an attempt we started searching for software that can accomplish the task. All of a sudden I remembered that VLC comes with streaming server option. Viola! All we needed was built into this compact player and all of sudden we and bunch of other fellas on our cablenet were watching movies together.

TV Tuner Card Support

If you have a capture device attached to your system or a TV Tuner card VLC is able to play through it. You might already have a utility that came with your TV Tuner card, but if you don't, VLC's file>Open Capture Device is your friend. Of course it's not a full fledged capture device utility but it's still quite useful.

Skin it up!

Just incase if you really want your VLC to look great there are a few skins available for you to download http://www.videolan.org/vlc/skins.php

To make the skin as the default look when VLC starts up go to settings>preferences, Find "Interface" section, it's the last entry on the left of the tree view. Expand it and go to "Main Interfaces" Check "Skinnable interface" on the right. Expand the "Main Interfaces" tree and select "Skins" section to define its properties check advanced options at lower right bottom and make sure in the "Skin to use" field the path of your desired skin is entered if not give it an absolute path to your skin and click Save. That's it.

I wanted my VLC to look like windows media player 11 so I tried Dalin Media Player and WMP11 Skin. But I like the control that VLC gives me with the default interface.

VLC Homepage: http://www.videolan.org/

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