The number of features that the devs have packed into VLC is staggering; I've been using VLC for almost 15 years now, and I still find new things about it occasionally. Fun fact (though probably not as surprising to an HN crowd as it is to most people I tell this to), VLC can also be used to convert media to different formats, AND works as a quick ad-hoc media server if you want to display something on a TV. This can be really handy if you have a video file in a weird format and want a way to quickly watch it on a device that doesn't support weird formats.
I think I'm going to donate. Keep up the good work folks!
Or I can spend 30 seconds installing VLC and be 100% confident that it'll handle anything I throw at it. If I could fit a Lascaux cave wall into a USB port it'd play it.
Congrats to everyone involved in making this software. The world would be a sadder and more frustrating place without it.
VLC (and ffmpeg) are nearly singlehandedly keeping the world's media accessible. Otherwise, video would probably be a walled garden (subscribe to Adobe Cloud, share to Youtube, etc.).
Isn't VLC useful precisely because the interests of the devs and users are aligned? If it were a startup, they would have had to ruin it to continue
If it were a startup it would have been run in to the ground by VCs in the name of growth-or-die.
I still recoil at the thought of being told "no, that's a container, not a codec!"
TBH, I'm still surprised at how awful some video stuff is. I've actually had about 5 false starts trying to make Plex work, and I'm trying it again (yeah, I never learn). Now the codecs and transcoding and stuff works on modern hardware, but it simply refuses to index content that you don't rename to please the master. It's absolutely insane. Software designed to make your life harder, not easier. There's a reason I just point Kodi to a NAS share. (speaking of awful configs.... but at least it plays!)
Before that, there was FFDShow. Things weren't as mature nor complete back then, though.
I just installed the Server on my MacBook or Windows laptop, installed the Plex channel on my Roku stick, added two folders, one for films and one for TV Shows, and I have never looked back.
Not saying your experience couldn’t have been the exact opposite - I’m just wondering what particular issues you ran into? Plex is solid af for me.
And the characteristic response from a Plex user:
>Well that is going to be a problem. Plex has a proper Naming Convention 2 that it expects you to follow. As This particular set of videos is not part of TheTVDB.com's database, Id recommend you reformat it to something plex is going to recognise.
That just doesn't make me happy. I get that the Plex use case is "indexing downloaded TV shows and movies", but I find it annoyingly prescriptive.
I've also added FileBot to my routine which improves organization of media, but Plex usually does well with unmodified naming.
I recognize the perils of asking for the moon and stars from free software. The issue is, they chose to make it insanely featureful at the expense of Just Working :)
I'm not afraid of work; I've spent days across local and containerized solutions for downloading, proxying, and outputting. It's possible to rename files in my download software, I estimate it at about 1h additional effort. However, the content I most often download is not yet available, so I'm not investing the time in generating those rules. So far I've been just playing with content that doesn't justify the time investment in creating rules. For example, often this content is uploaded by different people in different file formats. There's no one renaming catchall until you know specifically which sets you want to use.
I never asked for automatic categorization or metadata retrieval or album art or IMDB links, but it's forced on you by Plex :)
Related: Sonarr, CouchPotato, etc
Thank you VLC!!
VLC, you saved most of my sanity. Whatever was left. Thank you.
To use a firearms metaphor -- when you're looking for the performance optimizations of wildcat rounds, don't expect to be able to buy at Walmart.
VLC is my media player of choice. It. Just. Works.
Also, AFAICT the N edition doesn't have Media Player at all, it doesn't just gut the codecs.
What did me in was realizing the insanity of installing the "Gordian Knot Codec Pack" (or whatever it was called back then) every time I refreshed my OS ... and hoping it would work. That did work for a little while until the traffic cone finally opened my eyes and I never looked back.
Weird. I've basically ended up only using the Win10 default media player since it handles basically everything I throw at it with at least as good performance as VLC, even on a pretty low power Surface Pro.
I have a bunch of video files that VLC used to play with no problems. But it can't anymore.
I use mpv now.
And the slew of obvious reasons.
I wish the video conversion was simpler, more intuitive, and provided better feedback. My impression is you have to "stream" to convert a file, and then it just sort of happens without you knowing when it's done. And the settings are...odd. Selecting a framerate/resolution is still old school - provide some common defaults, or % choices to match the video's ratio. Very clunky. --- I just tried it and it keeps repeating itself trying to overwrite a file, had to force close it, though it did convert!
That said, whenever my dad needs my help with any video stuff, trying to talk him through ffmpeg command line args is tricky, and while VLC's interface is a bit weird, I've managed to talk him through how to use it. It's not ideal, but considering that it's free, works, and supports basically every format imaginable, we forgive it...certainly better than when I was using AutoGordianKnot as a teenager :).
It also mean that you don't see the ads, but there are extensions that can do that too.
See, my point stands...there's still a ton of cool features that are available in there if you dig around.
Disclaimer: VideoLAN president
But what I primarily remember in making the switch was that VLC could play everything I threw at it, right out of the box, without installing a bunch of sketchy codec packs. And that also allowed me to basically just throw the VLC binary onto my flash-drive, and then be able to open any videos as needed from parents'/friends'/school computer by just plugging in the usb stick. It was definitely a game-changer.
I forgot about those K-Lite Codec packs and all that - even back then that stuff had bloatware with it, which was why vlc was so refreshing.
But in tl;dr: form:
Ecole Centrale Paris campus network was managed by students. In 1995, they wanted a faster network, to play video games, and upgrade from their Token Ring network.
The Univ did not want to pay so they went to see partners, and one said "put the satellite feed on your network to justify the need for a better network. We'll pay for it, instead of having 2000 dishes and decoders.". This PoC "Network 2000" was a success. Some students restarted the project in 1998 and called it VideoLAN.
In 2001, VideoLAN and all the software projects (Server, Client, network, libraries) became GPL. VideoLan Client became VLC. Community added Windows, macOS support.
In 2008, I created the VideoLAN non-profit to escape the university and make VLC grow.
Can you share any stories about offers to monetize thoroughly?
Assuming the former, that is a very nice intersection of deploying the technically most ideal solution, and business management.
I used to always install VLC in all my machines. One day, I found a file that had wonky audio -- it randomly sped up and slowed down, but in a somewhat bearable way (it was a 2h-movie,) like some weird flutter was going on. I didn't make much of it at the time. Later, I got another file that would randomly lose audio. As in, sometimes, the audio would cut for a while and then come back. Except I used to replay this file often and noticed it happen in different places every run -- this got me thinking it could have been a software issue.
At the time (this was roughly 4 years ago, I believe), I happened to see IINA mentioned somewhere, and I therefore gave it a go. It seemed to consume more CPU, but it didn't have the wonky audio in neither of these files. I became a fan and, while I keep VNC installed "just in case", I get this feeling that IINA has higher compatibility and a better interface. For example, IINA has what seems like a better algorithm for finding subtitles from a path, and it's just more well integrated with macOS.
I wish I could go back to VLC, but I keep feeling like it's going to fail me or that the UI isn't as polished/well-integrated into macOS. I hate that I feel this way because I honestly feel like I'm "betraying" this wonderful piece of software that is VLC.
I guess there isn't really another question. I'd like to say thanks, and here's to hoping that in the near future I'll go back to VLC. You have done a remarkable job and I think you should be extremely proud of yourself! VLC rocks! :)
VLC is still valuable for more technical edge cases, but I've had significant stability issues with VLC for many years and on all platforms.
IINA has never crashed on me. It also addresses so many of my minor annoyances with VLC.
Next major release of VLC.
What's coming for the next 20 years? Are there any challenges that the VideoLAN project has unique expertise on that it can bring out ?
What does your project management do right to find the right features without adding bloat? This is the kind of thing giant software companies struggle with, and they have the advantage of feature-tracking scripts on their programs.
- limited resources
- modules: adding features is often just a new module, which does not slow VLC.
- only devs :)
Pretty fun, tbh.
80%+ of all Video on the Internet are still on H.264 / AVC. And vast majority of them are encoded through x264.
Their contribution to Video Encoding can not be understated.
I just wonder because she is such a legend but internet knows NOTHING.
Bit like Satoshi...
She prefer to keep herself private. Those in the community would know. So it isn't exactly Internet knows nothing.
Dumb joke: When it turns 21, what would be the drink that VLC would like?
We're French, we don't wait the legal age to drink. :D
* illegal to get a minor drunk no matter the age, parents must be present if the minor is under 16, minor is under parent supervision and responsibility in any case (source : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%82ge_l%C3%A9gal_pour_la_co... )
VLC is French, so it's been drinking great wine since it was 18 ;-)
Eg your parents giving you a small glass of champagne at new year when you're 12 is legal.
Is that just a side-effect of Google constantly updating their YT infrastructure, or do you believe they are intentionally introducing changes to sabotage the ability for third-party programs such as VLC to render their streams?
To the question: I keep hearing from my younger peers that they don't see any value in out-of-browser software. To me, that's their loss. But if this attitude is prevalent, do you feel you are having a harder time attracting talent than say 10-20 years ago?
Merci encore une fois !
A lot lot lot harder than in the past. You have no idea...
(It is frustrating already that when you say that you program, a certain kind of youngster asks "frontend or backend?", and when you say neither, they say knowingly, "oh, fullstack!" (>_<) )
Nothing, but we knew it was going to be a shitstorm. Clickbait articles are very annoying.
As for the CVE system, it's utterly broken and idiotic.
I've seen people on macOS switch to IINA in droves because the interface looks very slick and modern (yet functional!). I understand VLC is not in the business in chasing the latest UI fad, but the first thing people who don't know VLC notice about it is how archaic it looks.
yes, for 4.0
It cannot, no. See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14409234
Chrome and other browsers and apps, and drivers like virtual webcams, and libraries like Syphon, can all pass "zero-copy" image buffers around between different processes by sharing buffers in GPU memory (or main memory too of course) and sending IPC messages pointing to the shared buffers.
That's how the browser's web renderer processes efficiently share the rendered images with the web browser user interface process, for example. And how virtual webcam drivers can work so efficiently, too.
Check out iOS/macOS's "IOSurface":
Share hardware-accelerated buffer data (framebuffers and textures) across multiple processes. Manage image memory more efficiently.
>Overview: The IOSurface framework provides a framebuffer object suitable for sharing across process boundaries. It is commonly used to allow applications to move complex image decompression and draw logic into a separate process to enhance security.
And Android's "SurfaceTexture" and GL_TEXTURE_EXTERNAL_OES:
>The image stream may come from either camera preview or video decode. A Surface created from a SurfaceTexture can be used as an output destination for the android.hardware.camera2, MediaCodec, MediaPlayer, and Allocation APIs. When updateTexImage() is called, the contents of the texture object specified when the SurfaceTexture was created are updated to contain the most recent image from the image stream. This may cause some frames of the stream to be skipped.
>The main benefit of external textures is their ability to render directly from BufferQueue data. SurfaceTexture instances set the consumer usage flags to GRALLOC_USAGE_HW_TEXTURE when it creates BufferQueue instances for external textures to ensure that the data in the buffer is recognizable by GLES.
And Syphon, which has a rich ecosystem of apps and tools and libraries:
>Syphon is an open source Mac OS X technology that allows applications to share frames - full frame rate video or stills - with one another in realtime. Now you can leverage the expressive power of a plethora of tools to mix, mash, edit, sample, texture-map, synthesize, and present your imagery using the best tool for each part of the job. Syphon gives you flexibility to break out of single-app solutions and mix creative applications to suit your needs.
Of course there's a VLC Syphon server:
> - you need to be able to open files without user interactions (no file picker), in order to open playlist, MXF or MKV files;
> - you need raw access to /dev/* to play DVD, CD and other optical disk (and the equivalent on Windows);
> - you need ioctl on such devices, to pass the MMC for DVD/Bluray;
That's what xdg portals are for: display a native file picker, pass the file descriptor. https://docs.flatpak.org/en/latest/desktop-integration.html?...
> - you need the same if ever you have a database of files (media center oriented);
Well, portals can also punch holes selectively to select a folder, I think. Plus, the database can sit inside the sandbox.
> - you need raw access to /dev/v4l* for your webcams and be able to control them;
Pipewire should sidestep that issue, though it
> - you need access to the GPU stack, which is running in kernel-mode, btw, to output video and get hw acceleration;
> - you need access to the audio stack, also in low-level mode;
> - you need access to the DSP acceleration (not always the GPU);
> - on linux, you have access to x11 for the 3 above features, which is almost root;
Wayland is here to stay. You just need access to DRI, which is a common use-case with flatpak/DRI. Admittedly, I know nothing about DSP interfaces. Not sure why you'd need low-level access to the audio stack, and not just pipewire or pulseaudio.
> - you need access to the system settings to disable screensavers, and adjust brightness;
> - you need to expose an IPC (think MPRIS on Linux);
All of this is handled via d-bus or portals (inhibitors, MPRIS), so fine for flatpaks.
> - you need to unzip, untar, decrypt, decipher and so on;
Usually provided as part of the Flatpak runtime.
> - you need access to mounts to be able to see the insertion of DVD/Bluray/USB/SD cards and such;
Well, desktop environments usually offer to open new devices with vlc. That could be a lost feature, but I didn't even know it was there.
> - many OpenGL client libraries need access to the /etc too;
Not sure about this one. Do they? What for? Couldn't a sandboxed /etc do?
> - you need access to the network, as input and output (think remote control);
Yes, you're right, that's one extra permission. I wish it was possible to ask for it at runtime with flatpak, on first use. I don't think even Android supports asking for this at run-time.
> - you need access to /etc/ (registry) for proxy informations, fonts configuration and accessibility;
> - you need access to the fonts and the fonts configuration (see fontconfig).
Proxy information is provided via a portal that should be automatically used by Qt: https://docs.flatpak.org/en/latest/portal-api-reference.html...
Theming is handled as runtime extensions, though I admit it's often broken (OK, most theming is broken for me under sway as I didn't bother setting it up: https://docs.flatpak.org/en/latest/desktop-integration.html?...
No idea about accessibility.
It looks like some progress is being made on flathub, though it still needs filesystem access, notably for subtitle files: https://github.com/flathub/org.videolan.VLC/issues/108
> That's what xdg portals are for: display a native file picker, pass the file descriptor. https://docs.flatpak.org/en/latest/desktop-integration.html?...
This doesn't fulfil the "without user interaction" bit, though, does it? The problem with those "let the user pick a file and the program just gets an opaque file handle"-style solutions is that they break down for any kind of file format that implicitly or explicitly consists of more than one single, atomic file that can stand for itself and doesn't require accessing data stored in other files.
E.g. playlists (letting the user pick the playlist through the OS-blessed file dialogue isn't enough, as you also need to access all media files referenced by that playlist), any kind of multi-part files (multi-part MKVs, multi-part RAR archives, whatever...), subtitles (the current expectation is that if you open a video, the video player is able to automatically find matching subtitle files stored in the same directory), locally stored HTML documents (your browser might need to load additional CSS/JS/images/... and you might also want to follow any links without having to go through a file picker each time...)
For now, I think you could use a directory picker, but that's not exactly ideal either.
* VideoLAN Server
* VideoLAN Bridge
* VideoLAN Channel Switcher
The press release doesn't focus on them much, either. I don't see them on the project page. Can you describe what happened with them?
Also - how you've chosen projects you've started more recently (like multicat or the VLMC editor)?
They are dead. VLS features are now done with DVBlast. The other are useless with modern networks.
Maybe I missed this discussion already but as much as I love VLC sometimes it feels like I'm using a semi truck to drive to the store and back.
We don't remove them, because besides disk space, they don't take any CPU or RAM of the user.
What does this mean?
Pull = you at the surfpad, pulling from the computer.
I found it used in professional print mastering where the large-format printer(s) which printed the masters were connected to an NT3.x server by VideoLAN using ethernet cable, then a second NIC having regular ethernet drivers connected the NT box to the artists' network who were using Apples.
With the amount of data they were sending in one direction once it got started, they were really streaming and apparently multicast was a click away when you wanted all the printers to print the same thing at the same time.
Naturally this was well over 20 years ago, but I imagine there was some nice wizardry to get old computers to perform so much better than they could as office machines.
Probably still have that driver somewhere, IIRC the driver would install in XP (but only to one of the few NICs in the INF file) but the pro printer app did not have an XP version and even the NT4 version would not install in W2k or Wxp.
Unrelated: Have you tried catt? https://github.com/skorokithakis/catt
Same thing with catt, which also suffers from having a poor UI.
Also, if you can offer native accessibility support would be much better for screen reader users. Currently, I need an extension for NVDA to use the VLC player.
it's already doable. But it does disable the display of subtitles.
First result on google.
Potplayer became adware too...
Next major release
Additionaly is there any plan to incorporate youtube-dl in VLC for iPhone? It would be super beneficial to be able to download an entire YT playlist for offline consumption with VLC instead of first downloading it on a computer and then transferring the files to VLC on a mobile device.
VideoLAN does not make any money outside of donations.
I have a startup, called Videolabs since 2013.
Or is there a post-processing solution to upscale video for VLC?
I've seen some impressive neural net solutions for upscaing, but they haven't been open source.
No. We're moving some parts to QML, but that's C++ (and the part that are JS are moving to C++ in Qt6)
Various other players, including mpv and MPC-HC, will instead just snap to the nearest keyframe and display that instead.
Try turning on "Fast seek" in VLC's Input/Codecs preferences tab. It's still not quite as fast as other players, in my experience, but it's significantly better.
That is a bit better, but still not close to what mpv does. That option also causes VLC to sometimes get “stuck” while skipping, i.e. when you skip many times in quick succession, sometimes the playback gets to a certain point, and any skips will then not skip past that point – you will have to wait a few seconds for normal playback to progress a bit, and then you can skip again. This interrupts your flow, makes you wait (and forces you to partially watch a section you expressly wanted to skip), and is, needless to say, very disruptive when skimming a video.
I would have thought video seeking would be the same in any player for any given specific codec/file.
What could explain why VLC really is noticeably slower?
It also might be pre-decoding to enable trick play (rewinding etc).
I kept using MPC-HC for about two years after the development was halted. When it was time to look for an alternative, I gave VLC another try and was pleasantly surprised. The problems I remembered running into were no more, and the project seemed more mature overall. I'm enjoying it ever since.
Thanks to everyone involved with the project!
VLC always works. Sometimes mpv randomly stops working on a machine, or gets undermined by codec support (OpenSUSE, I'm looking at you). So when that happens... I just open my media in VLC. Because VLC works everywhere, on every system (oh, that reminds me that it's the best Android media player), on every format.
I'd be very sad if it were to be abandoned.
For the longest time I have been a foobar/winamp user on Windows.
But on Linux, the music player situation is atrocious. I surrendered to VLC et voilà. It bugs me to no end that I use a video player to play music files but that's life.
It plays everything, it doesn't need an insane backend scanning framework, it doesn't randomly crashes, its controls have been consistent for years and I can easily select the output device. I hate using it to play music but I love that I can use it to play music.
Oh, and I can't wait for someone to release a VLCMedia distro with a keyboard/kiosk mode to get rid of XBMC/Kodi which has an insane amount of incoherent keybindings and defaults.
edit: I also use cvlc to create an RTSP stream from pi-0, those streams are read and converted by a pi4 to HLS files in ssh shared folder with a VPS that has an index.html file with a js player. Works flawlessly. Only downside is when wifi gets flaky. How cvlc is the easiest and fastest option to do that on a pi0 is beyond me but thank you.
Thanks, I'll give it a try.
Even on android the upnp client is very good.
The only issues I've had are when i first installed in one OnePLus7 a lot of my videos seemed to have some kind of timing issue playing (looked like 5 FPS). Suspect it was to do with the 90Hz screen and eventually was fixed.
Gestures to change volume and brightness are top QoL features.
Plus the Xmas hat and snow on the famous orange traffic cone icon always makes me smile each winter :-)
The cone needs to be festooned as a conical "party hat" on February 1. If I had art skills I'd make this happen.
"Google Stadia shuts down internal studios, changing business focus "
Good software that solves real user problems effectively and efficiently will live forever.
Thank you, VLC team!
It's the main reason I contribute $20 a year to VLC. I know it's open source and there are eyes on but between distribution, etc..., someone paid needs to be involved imho; please consider doing the same.
Stay tuned about that.
I must have been using VLC for around 16 years myself. When I was a teenager my friends and I would film our weekend bike rides around the city – sometimes uploading them to Google Videos back when that was a thing. I remember often struggling to get the video formats to play on Windows Media Player because back then there seemed to be a lot of competing formats and WMP didn't always support them. Just off the top of my head I remember, 3gp, mp4, avi, wmv, divx, mpg & m4v. I was having trouble getting a video to play one night and a friend told me to try VLC and I haven't looked back since.
VLC just works. It's also light weight – which was import when comparing to RealPlayer and Quicktime on an early 2000s PC. The UI is also extremely clean and simple when compared to other media players (especially those in the mid-2000s).
Now 15 years later I'm still using VLC almost every day. It's probably the second or third thing I'll install on a new system. Quicktime player is pretty decent on Mac, but it doesn't play everything and there are things it doesn't do that I use all the time on VLC like the 100%+ volume.
I can't imagine how much time and many headaches VLC has saved me over the years. It's easily one of the best pieces of open-source software ever made.
In so many situations where you want a video player, VLC is always there and it always works.
I wish I could donate to more projects but I try to focus on privacy organisations. If VLC started charging for a lifetime license tomorrow I would buy it.
There were so many video extensions like .avi, .mpeg, and my favorite was .dvix. When you use some reguar player, it was always say "codec not found". I always knew it would run in VideoLan. VideoLan you are my codec saver and many hours saved and enjoyed!