Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
VideoLAN is 20 years old today (videolan.org)
1337 points by jbk 29 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 316 comments



I don't have any questions directly, just wanna say that I love VLC, it's one of the first programs I install on any computer, and I will continue to use it as my primary media-viewer for the foreseeable future.

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!


I set up a Win10 box recently and was kind of stunned to find that the built-in Media Player is now b0rked to the extent that it can't play media. Practically any media. Even with codec packs installed it won't play any of my hundreds of h264 DVD rips, it won't play the few WMVs I still have kicking around, it won't even play bloody MP3s. I think I found one weird-codec MP4 and a couple of ancient AVIs it deigned to accept, but that was it.

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.


Software that lasts over 10 years should be celebrated. Software that is still just as relevant after 20 years is extraordinary. If VideoLAN were a startup, it'd be a unicorn.

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.).


>If VideoLAN were a startup, it'd be a unicorn.

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 VideoLAN were a startup, it'd be a unicorn.

If it were a startup it would have been run in to the ground by VCs in the name of growth-or-die.


I built a win7 HTPC about 6 or 7 years ago after not having used windows in AGES, and it blew my mind how awful it was finding codecs. Learning to avoid spyware and viruses really does require practice, and when you haven't spent the past decade visiting sketchy download sites, you really lose an eye for what's what.

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!)


Talking about codecs and splitters, LAV Filters covers pretty much everything. It packs libavcodec and libavformat as DirectShow filters.

https://github.com/Nevcairiel/LAVFilters

Before that, there was FFDShow. Things weren't as mature nor complete back then, though.


Huh. I find that interesting - for myself, Plex worked immediately, out of the box, was incredibly easy to use, and has held up like a tank. I’m watching a show off it right now at the moment; actually!

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.


It's similar to this:

https://forums.plex.tv/t/need-help-for-organizing-naming-aut...

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.


You can use "Fix Match" when Plex doesn't link up certain titles. I also find Plex incredibly easy and believe you have quite a big ask for identification in a free to use and very robust media management system. It's like complaining that self-checkout at the grocery store doesn't "just know" what groceries you are buying while refusing to scan any of the barcodes. Further, this is for an unlimited inventory of items and not limited by any boundary of supplier, shelf space, or category.

I've also added FileBot to my routine which improves organization of media, but Plex usually does well with unmodified naming.


So actually, my gripe is that Plex refuses to show the content at all. I'm looking at Fix Match and it looks it's for incorrect matches, not content it refuses to index.

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 :)


I'd tell you to check out Emby, but if ya can't figure out Plex...

Related: Sonarr, CouchPotato, etc


I would tell you both to check out Jellyfin, the Free Software continuation of Emby.

https://jellyfin.org/


Thanks for the insult.


I remember 'back in the day' anytime I would set up a friends PC I would go and download the latest version of "K-Lite Codec Pack Mega". And one day a friend told me about VLC and it changed my life (from a media-player standpoint).

Thank you VLC!!


But don't pick the latest Codec Mega Pack for there are bugs. Pick the version that you read on a forum works almost perfectly. It's the one prior to the one that's prior to the absolutely newest one. THAT one! Also download your preferred MKV codec, because it's not included in the mega pack. Because it's not a codec.

VLC, you saved most of my sanity. Whatever was left. Thank you.


Let's be honest here about our youths (or current lives): if we weren't consuming media compressed by hand tuned, artisanal release groups, things probably wouldn't be as hard.

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.


Have you tried playing a plain normal Blueray on windows without VLC?


VLC cannot play a majority of those because of DRM.


Though worth noting that VLC + AnyDVD HD just works there. Even if you don't have a Java installation you can still play the main feature, without menus. I was pleasantly surprised by that.


25 years ago, or so, Microsoft introduced the Windows Media Player, and it was impressive, because before that you needed a different player for every format. WMP went through a number of mutations, some better, some worse, but for the last 10 years or so, I've found it to be pretty useless. It fails on the most common formats, like you've described. Sometimes it's hard to find something it _will_ play.

VLC is my media player of choice. It. Just. Works.


I have not run Windows in any serious capacity in about 12 years, but I don't remember Windows Media Player being that bad, and I thought that Windows now had a license to H264 built in, so I'm actually a bit surprised that a rip wouldn't work. Any idea what the issue was?


No idea. I'd been using Win 7 before that where Media Player mostly managed fine (probably with codec packs). VLC had audio glitching issues on that box but doesn't on the new one, so I quickly lost patience with trying to debug MP. Diagostics and codec help links are utterly useless.


Are you sure you didn't tried Windows 10 N? It's a specific version for Europe, it comes without codecs.


Good question, but pretty sure. Settings > System > About > Windows Specifications just shows generic "Windows 10 Pro" as the edition.

Also, AFAICT the N edition doesn't have Media Player at all, it doesn't just gut the codecs.


Yeah, just found it weird because Windows does have x264 codec, and obviously mp3 since ages.


Went to play a mkv file and it wanted me to pay $1.99 for a codec. I had and prefer vlc but I'm also lazy. Unless given a reason I was not gonna switch my default program. That was reason enough.


I gave up using anything other than VLC long before you did. [I'm not trying to play a trump card here, I'm saying you had a lot more patience on this than I did].

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.


set up a Win10 box recently and was kind of stunned to find that the built-in Media Player is now b0rked to the extent that it can't play media.

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.


> Or I can spend 30 seconds installing VLC and be 100% confident that it'll handle anything I throw at it.

I have a bunch of video files that VLC used to play with no problems. But it can't anymore.

I use mpv now.


Really? What format were they in?


Awful story without that detail.


Why? What would knowing the format contribute?


Well, for one there may be VLC people on this thread who'd know whether this was an unintentional regression.


Knowing whether it's the format or your setup.

And the slew of obvious reasons.


Same -- it's one of the first programs I install.

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!


Yeah, admittedly typically when I do video conversion, I use ffmpeg nowadays, just because I am comfortable enough with the command line and it's easier to script.

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 :).


handbrake is also pretty great from a user-friendly point of view :)


Handbrake is great, though IIRC it doesn't encode into any weird formats. For reasons too annoying to go into here, we needed to convert some weird Intel Indeo file into a WMV/ASF, due to some weirdness of a program that he needed to use for work only supporting WMV stuff.


Handbreak is just a ffmpeg gui right?


not anymore, it also uses x264, x265, libdav1d, etc.. and it's probably one of the most used net5.0-windows wpf project. (the gui is written in wpf) (Full Lib List: https://github.com/HandBrake/HandBrake/tree/master/contrib)


Reminds my of a program called Super that did video transcoding back in the day. It worked decent but the download site was the worst I have ever used even to this day.


Oh man, i remember that. What a weird site. As if they didn't want you to download their program


I used to always use VirtualDub to convert video. It was my goto video editor. It was created and maintained by a solo dev. Whatever happened to them?


It doesn't seem to work with mp4 or mkv containers out of the box. I tried it recently to deshake a video and it was quite frustrating to use, although I managed to do it in the end.


VirtualDub was awesome, and I used it a _lot_, but it seems like it's been pretty dead for about 8 years or more.


If you do a lot of conversions - you might want to look up Handbrake - it has a more intuitive interface, but uses FFMpeg under the hood (another project managed by VLC folk that is world-changing by itself. It's almost impossible to find a video-related software system that doesn't have ffmpeg at its core, commercial or open source)


The FFmpeg repo is hosted by VLC but isn't managed by them.


I only found out fairly recently that it can stream youtube videos (mostly, it does fail sometimes for seemingly no reason), which is great for those of us who end up clicking too frequently (read, all the time) on the related videos tab.

It also mean that you don't see the ads, but there are extensions that can do that too.


Yes, it can play YouTube videos. And it can even show you the link to the video in ints info no, so you can download it. That's what I used before youtube-dl appeared on the scene.


I didn't know that! That's so awesome!

See, my point stands...there's still a ton of cool features that are available in there if you dig around.


There are extensions that add youtube ads to vlc?


I assume tomjen3 was referring to browser extensions that block ads on the YouTube website.


Will a pi-hole stop the YouTube ads?


No YouTubes video Ads comes from the same servers that delivers normal content so dns blocking can’t stop video ads.


This actually works for a number of popular websites. Twitch will work, for instance.


I found out it will work with karaoke files!


CDG files? yes :)


Same here, I have it literally everywhere, TV, mobile, laptop at home, at work... Thumbs-up guys


I learned vlc makes it really easy to get videos onto my ipad over wifi. Truly a lifesaver. Donated to them straight away. Extremely useful and effective.


I have never had the media server support in VLC work for me.


As usual, please don't hesitate to ask questions about VLC, VideoLAN or related projects (x264, dav1d, libbluray...)

Disclaimer: VideoLAN president


How was VideoLAN started? I remember "Media Player Classic" and "K-Lite Codec Pack" were popular back then and when I installed VideoLAN and it blew my mind. Extremely fast, no buffering and very lightweight. I am 26 but I have been using VideoLAN as long as I can remember. The best media player.


My memory is that early VLC was actually a bit slower than MPC, at least on my low-powered Windows 98 PC of the time (cobbled together for schoolwork from spare parts). There would be skipping or a loss of sync between audio and video on some heavier clips that didn't happen on MPC.

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.


The last bit 100 times over. The pain of trying to play AIV and DIVX files 15 years ago was generally miserable. To me VLC saved me from codec hell on, iirc Windows ME, and I've never looked back. Downloading and installing codec packs back then felt like it was a dice roll to getting a virus. It was also the only player I've used that could easily play FLV videos back then. Honestly, VLC is the only software I shove on friends computers if we're trying to play video.


I remember MPC did hardware acceleration better than VLC, which is why I used it. I had some old Athlon 64 CPU around 2010 (IIRC) that couldn't handle some videos without acceleration from the GPU.


Yeah. It was a game changer with respect to being very obviously lightweight + purely functional, and it was very cool to me that it was available on linux and windows. It may have been the first cross-platform app I ever used.

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.


The video at the end of the press release explains the story.

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.


2008 makes sense, about the time where k-lite codec pack and media player classic started to be eclipsed! Wow. Thank you for the best video player out there, for all those exciting, strange and exciting codecs!


Thank you so much for keeping VideoLAN not greedy!

Can you share any stories about offers to monetize thoroughly?


...so that's why it's called VideoLAN/VLC. I've always thought it was an odd name for a media player.


To clarify, the partner you went to was referring to paying for the costs to get the satellite feed onto the LAN, as opposed to footing the bill for upgrading the network?

Assuming the former, that is a very nice intersection of deploying the technically most ideal solution, and business management.


Heh, I remember VideoLan from early 2k research university days and using it to play multicast video streams out of places like JPL and other uni test things. The LOL let's do something to justify better network rings so, so true.


Ah I have fun memories of configuring Token Ring networks and playing with Novell NetWare to get my lab to connect properly. I can see why you'd want to upgrade from that though, 4Mbps was pretty pokey, even back then.


was "network 2000" multicast? how similar/different was it to xing streamworks (commercial multicast mpeg suite from that time)?


It was an ATM backbone, but the routers did not support mcast. So they cheated to do multicast on a non-multicast network.


Thank you guys for the great work! VLC is just great.


I just want to say thank you. VLC remains one of the best pieces of software I've ever used. It just works, and while I mostly use it as a simple player, any time I needed some more advanced features, they were also there. Most unusually, VLC doesn't get worse with time like so much modern software does. No bloat, no ads, no removal of settings, no inexplicable UI redesigns for the sake of redesigning. Truly the gold standard of software.


Do you "like" the IINA project, assuming you're familar with it, and is there anything you can "take" from it? What are your thoughts on it?

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! :)


IINA is an excellent piece of software. I would love to see a linux build.

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.


If it makes you feel any better, IINA ships with x264, dav1d, and libbluray ;) Speaking as someone who works on IINA, the team behind VLC is excellent and I'm very thankful for the work they do.


When will VideoLAN focus on color accuracy (colors are slightly off by default)? I suspect most users don't notice but e.g. Quicktime on supported formats adjusts colors according to monitor color profile and video color profile and it's visible for trained eyes. I can adjust manually my VLC too in colors but it's not exact science and just by comparing and personal feeling. I wished I could optimise videos as good as my TV is doing it in VLC (but this is also beyond colors).

Thanks VLC!


> When will VideoLAN focus on color accuracy

Next major release of VLC.


I get constant crashes with HDR10 video, is improving the support for HDR10 video also on the roadmap?



No it's not only this. I have to change Hue, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Gamma slightly. Quicktime on Mac does a better job in this. VLC is not color accurate by default or not optimized for subjective pleasing color results (unlike most TVs nowadays) but the manual sliders can compensate it. However it's annoying if you change monitors. Then the settings are off again.


First of all, thank you for VLC, for choosing the GPL, and for being one of the too few examples of French excellence in tech ! I can only sympathise with stories in Grandes Ecoles involving "found" cones :)

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 ?


Somehow, VLC is both one of the programs with the most useful features and the least bloat I've ever used.

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.


> What does your project management do right to find the right features without adding bloat?

3 answers:

- limited resources

- modules: adding features is often just a new module, which does not slow VLC.

- only devs :)


Was working with the x264 crowd fun or exasperating or ...? Video-encoding is such a polymath topic (compression, perception, optimisation) and that code was so smart. I clearly remember mb-tree coming out and x264 quality/bitrate performance changing from good to supergood, and reading Dark Shikari's check in note about taking the implicit dependency graph and using it to propagate the relative quality of the blocks and it was a 'wow' moment. Also the Loren Merritt quote page still holds up well http://www.x264.nl/developers/Dark_Shikari/loren.html . Thank you


> Was working with the x264 crowd fun or exasperating or ...?

Pretty fun, tbh.


I really wish Dark Shikari and Loren Merritt had continue to work on x265 or some other video encoder.

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.


The issues related to commercial licensing of x264 probably ensured that Dark Shikari would never want to work on video encoding things again even before she burned out and quit software development entirely a few years later.


what kind of person is Dark Shikari actually? Didnt know she is female. Where is she from? Is she employed somewhere or a freelancer????

I just wonder because she is such a legend but internet knows NOTHING.

Bit like Satoshi...


>But internet knows NOTHING.

She prefer to keep herself private. Those in the community would know. So it isn't exactly Internet knows nothing.


ok public internet then.


Why is it any of the public Internet's business?


VLC is the best program I have ever used.

Dumb joke: When it turns 21, what would be the drink that VLC would like?


> 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


Okay, I'm flying over there after COVID.


There is no minimum legal drinking age in France*, the limit is only for buying/selling.

* 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... )


Whatever it is, it should be consumed from this pitcher: https://barmagazine.co.uk/wkd-serves-up-traffic-cone-pitcher...


> Dumb joke: When it turns 21, what would be the drink that VLC would like?

VLC is French, so it's been drinking great wine since it was 18 ;-)


The legal drinking age in France is 18 :)


It's the buying/selling age. There is technically no legal drinking age in France, but rules about minors (parent responsability under rule of "common sense", parent must be present if under 16, illegal to have the minor drunk no matter what).

Eg your parents giving you a small glass of champagne at new year when you're 12 is legal.


It's not that dissimilar in the UK, or at least that was the case.


IIRC the drinking age on private property in the UK is 5 years. So there is a limit :P


What's the history behind using a traffic cone as a logo?


It was created by a group of students at an urban university in a country where the legal age to drink alcohol is 18. Such conditions often lead to collections of traffic cones.


So if it had been made 10 years earlier it might have featured a traffic cone AND a shopping trolley!


This story involves drinking students and internal jokes :)


Why not ask something that isn't in the Wikipedia article?


https://web.archive.org/web/20201125184135/http://nanocrew.n... for those who don't want to dig through wikipedia.


All I get is that it's an "in joke" of sorts that has just never changed. What I'm asking is: is there anything more than that? Such as: why hasn't it changed (not that it should)?


This might just be my own environment, but it seems like VLC's ability to stream from Youtube breaks very frequently.

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?


They change the layout of the pages often, to block VLC and youtube-dl


Doubt they care about that, it's just a sideeffect of redesigning for the sake of redesigning. You see this everywhere, not just youtube.


Thank you, the organization and of course the maintainers of all this wonderful software that you maintain! I recently tracked down and reported my first bug in one of the projects and the maintainers made the experience an absolute joy!

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 !


> But if this attitude is prevalent, do you feel you are having a harder time attracting talent than say 10-20 years ago?

A lot lot lot harder than in the past. You have no idea...


wow, I had no idea indeed. Interesting (and dispiriting) to know.

(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!" (>_<) )


Are you worried about the VideoLAN projects going forward? Should other foundational free software projects be worried too?


A bit, to be honest. Which is why we're doing some professional work to fund it.


What happened internally when you discovered that you were given a false severe grade CVE? I remember seeing many articles suggesting users uninstall VLC.

https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2019-13615


> What happened internally when you discovered that you were given a false severe grade CVE?

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.


Hey now, CVEs are fine; it's CVSS that is totally broken.


Woah, I didn't realize it was false! I remember hearing about that at the time. I had installed VLC at work (generic office, non-tech industry that just uses windows office software) and was worried I might get in trouble, so I uninstalled it.


Are there any plans for an UI refresh?

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.


> Are there any plans for an UI refresh?

yes, for 4.0


Will the old interface remain as an option? I'll be pretty disappointed if I wake up one day and the classic VLC interface is gone.


Are there plans to sandbox / harden VLC against security vulnerabilities? While my jolly roger days are long gone, and virtually all media I play are from trusted sources, VLC probably ranks top 5 by attack surface among the software I run regularly.


The problem could also be solved by putting vlc itself in a sandbox. There is no reason a media player should have direct access to all of your files anyway. I wonder if the flatpak for vlc is set up with strong sandbox rules.


> The problem could also be solved by putting vlc itself in a sandbox

It cannot, no. See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14409234


>Probably do a multi-process media player, like Chrome is doing, with parsers and demuxers in a different process, and different ones for decoders and renderers. Knowing that you probably need to IPC several Gb/s between them.

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":

https://developer.apple.com/documentation/iosurface

>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:

https://developer.android.com/reference/android/graphics/Sur...

>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.

https://source.android.com/devices/graphics/arch-st

>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:

http://syphon.v002.info

>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:

https://github.com/rsodre/VLCSyphon


The situation has changed a bit, though. There are practical and technological means to address most of these concerns, though it would require some work. Admittedly, I have a very Linux-focused perspective. So here we go, as the devil's advocate:

> - 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


> > - you need to be able to open files without user interactions (no file picker), in order to open playlist, MXF or MKV files;

> 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...)


You are right, I misread the quoted line.

For now, I think you could use a directory picker, but that's not exactly ideal either.


Yes, there is a big project on that those days :)


Thank you. In the link in your reply to a sibling thread, you asked for donations, and I'm happy to oblige. I know you're based in France, but is there a U.S. non-profit entity I could donate to (e.g. SPI)? The reason being that $WORK will match my donation, but sadly VideoLAN is not on the approved list.


The VLC player is incredibly popular. And a bunch of libraries that are part of the project are also pretty well-known (less so by end users I suppose). But - I have rarely, if ever, seen uses of:

* 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)?


> Can you describe what happened with them?

They are dead. VLS features are now done with DVBlast. The other are useless with modern networks.


Hey jbk just wanted to take this chance to say thanks! VLC has been year over year some of the most consitently good software I've ever used. Thank you for all the hard work I'm sure goes into making a killer product.


Curious whether there are/were plans for a VLC-lite that eschews the many more advanced features (transcoding, streaming, etc) and focuses purely on playback with as little overhead as possible?

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.


Technically, most of those features are only in modules, and you can remove most of those already and have a functioning VLC.

We don't remove them, because besides disk space, they don't take any CPU or RAM of the user.


Just here to say: After all these years, thanks for not falling into malware and adware temptations. Should I say mad props also to a fantastoc milestone of 20 years.


Why doesn't VLC have good support for casting? I mean LAN is in the name - I shouldn't have to use a half-baked Chromecast solution that's proprietary, can't be a server and can't display most subtitles.


Because Chromecast is not done for push, but for pull. And because noone cares enough to fix it, I would guess...


> Chromecast is not done for push, but for pull.

What does this mean?


Push = you at the computer pushing something to the TV.

Pull = you at the surfpad, pulling from the computer.


Casting is all about push


No, your chromecast downloads and runs a webapp, and you give instructions about what to play from your computer/phone. That's hlw you can play a webradio and turn off your phone for example


That's an implementation detail and doesn't say anything about casting in general.


The discussion is not about casting in general, it's about chromecast


I started it and I asked about casting in general. Chromecast is the only type of casting VLC supports; because of that I think its not living up to it's name.


Casting is generally hard; the protocols are undocumented and proprietary in general and are usually quite limited in the formats they support and function in ways that are not necessarily conducive to casting content that isn't hosted on the web.


In the 1990's there was a communication protocol named VideoLAN which was apparently intended to send video over ethernet faster than regular ethernet would do,

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.


It wouldn't be that hard to make an open casting protocol.


It wouldn't, but people want to cast to devices they already have. Getting manufacturers (and other software makers) on board is not easy…


Personally I would buy any device that offered a working casting solution for VLC.


I haven't tried Windows or Linux versions of VLC in a long time, but the "Renderer" option in macOS VLC seems to work well.

Unrelated: Have you tried catt? https://github.com/skorokithakis/catt


I have tried the renderer - it's buggy and doesn't support embedded subtitles which I almost always use.

Same thing with catt, which also suffers from having a poor UI.


Why was the VideoLan Movie Creator (VLMC) abandoned? Will it ever be revived? It would be nice to have an open source video editor.


Can you add to VLC a support for reading subtitles with the os screen reader? Currently only PodPlayer supports that after KMP turned into an adware.

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.


> Can you add to VLC a support for reading subtitles with the os screen reader?

it's already doable. But it does disable the display of subtitles.


Hi again. Just wanted to add that I found the feature but it is definitely bad. I'll move the improvement proposal to the dedicated places though.


Hi, if it is possible, I really can't find where and how.



Thanks for that one. DDG didn't show it and I don't remember finding it when I've searched with Google.


>Currently only PodPlayer supports that after KMP turned into an adware

Potplayer became adware too...


I like VLC but why is it so difficult to set the volume at exactly 100%? Or did I overlook an obvious way?


The easiest way that I found is using the up and down arrow keys: the set the volume to multiples of 5%.


The easiest way, I know of, is to to just under 100% using the sliding scale in the lower left corner and then go to the Audio menu and increase the volume. A click on Increase Volume goes up to the nearest number divisible by 5 (i.e. at 97%, clicking Increase Volume goes to 100%; at 92%, you need to do it twice).


Or just use the mousewheel, also does 5% increments


Thanks for continuing to produce a clean, pain-free, DRM headache free, lightweight, awesome product.


I always loved using VLC, but I watch a lot of tv shows and as far as I know there's never been a good way to remember playlist position (except from some plugin I never got to work). Has this ever been a feature you have considered adding?


> Has this ever been a feature you have considered adding?

Next major release


I wish the upload to iPhone UI in the browser looked better, the page that loads when navigating to http://iphone.local It's hard to know what has already been uploaded to avoid duplicate uploads. It works great on my local wifi though.

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.


Do you view videolan as a platform that should support an endless array of features and plugins and codecs, or do you view it more like a product that needs to keep cutting the fat as time moves on?


"Plays it all." but we're working so that new features don't slow down the player, at runtime.


Why the traffic cone?


How do you fund your work? Have you had to take a pay cut to work on VLC compared to working on similar commercial tech?


> How do you fund your work? Have you had to take a pay cut to work on VLC compared to working on similar commercial tech?

VideoLAN does not make any money outside of donations.

I have a startup, called Videolabs since 2013.


Simplement: merci!


What are the best settings/codecs for upscaling video to 4K in real-time?

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.


In VLC 4.0, we'll add RAVU, NNEDI3 and a few other to upscale.


I'm not sure open source really applies to an ML model, I suppose you can obfusticate it to "close it". Regardless, prior art here is open source (http://avisynth.nl/index.php/Nnedi3).


Will there be a way to turn off all of the extra library functionality? I just want a video player. Like QuickTime Player but with more format support.


> Will there be a way to turn off all of the extra library functionality?

yes.


Any word on AC-4 support? It was the first thing I threw at VLC that it couldn't play. :D


Under development


Want to thank you and your team for such an great piece of software!


What's the state of VLC's support for HDR on Linux?


Would you port VLC UI from Qt to something like Electron or some other web-based solution? I hope not, but checking in terms of UI toolkit trends and solutions...


> Would you port VLC UI from Qt to something like Electron or some other web-based solution?

No. We're moving some parts to QML, but that's C++ (and the part that are JS are moving to C++ in Qt6)


I love VLC! Thank you for your work.


x265 playback on Windows seems challenging; nearly impossible to seek in files using slider bar?


Congrats!


You guys rock and the entire Linux community owes you big time. Once you installed videolan you were ready for all media formats. It was so tiresome to tell the people you convinced to try Linux that no, by default they couldn't play their media, that they needed gstreamer this and that. You made the transition to Linux so much easier to lots of people by offering a simple to use very feature rich application everyone needs and uses.

Thank you!


Send them a few bucks HN. They deserve it!

https://www.videolan.org/contribute.html#money


VLC is certainly the program I always recommend to everyone, since it reads all formats and its GUI is perfectly serviceable for most people. But I never use VLC myself to watch video files, simply because VLC is, and have always been, for years, consistently slower when seeking in all the commonly used file formats which I encounter. It’s not exactly slow, it’s just… noticeably not as fast. It is especially bothersome when skipping through a video to skim it, which I often do. I currently use mpv (https://mpv.io/), which is much faster at skipping, even though mpv does not have a GUI to speak of.


By default, VLC tries to seek exactly to the timestamp you tell it to, which may requiring reading and decompressing a significant number of I-frames.

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.


> Try turning on "Fast seek" in VLC's Input/Codecs preferences tab.

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.


MPV does seem super fast in general. I had a 4K HDR video file recently that the default Windows player couldn't play (black screen with only audio), VLC played but playback was choppy and the colours were washed out, and MPV played perfectly smooth with correct colours.


Honestly quite like the lack of GUI on mpv. It's my quick viewer for media files and does that job very well. I have a few of the keyboard shortcuts memorised but if I need much more than the basics that's when I reach for VLC.


I've noticed the same thing! And now I'm curious why that is.

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?


There might be an accuracy/speed tradeoff. mpv encourages skipping with keyboard shortcuts rather than clicking in a timeline, but I don't think it actually guarantees those shortcuts will skip the same time ahead.

It also might be pre-decoding to enable trick play (rewinding etc).


No tricks, mpv just jumps to the nearest keyframe, which allows near instant skips. If you want to do time-exact skips, you need to skip to the keyframe previous to your target time and then decode normally from there, causing a delay. I presume VLC does the latter by default and can be configured to do the former.


If you only want to go forward it's not quite as bad - in a lot of files most frames are skippable (B frames) and you don't have to decode those unless the target frame is in that group (miniGOP).


There are a fair few MPV GUIs out there. I believe Celluloid is available in the main Debian repos.


I've used smplayer for ages and like it.


I used to be a huge MPC-HC[0] (Media Player Classic) fan. It's funny, but I liked it mostly because of the way subtitles were displayed. MPC-HC always seemed to get the job done perfectly, and when I had to use VLC at the time, I've always run into some problems.

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!

[0]https://mpc-hc.org/


I'm personally fond of mpv, mostly because it's "light" - it starts faster than VLC, and it (by default) pops up a single window per file (so I can easily have multiple things open, rather than VLC's default of opening everything in one instance), and I personally favor the minimal UI (okay, complete lack of UI).

However.

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.


mpv also is opengl ain't it? I remember it always lit up the fans on my Mac, and I figured that was the reason. Since Mac OGL compatibility can be shaky.


Looks like OpenGL and Vulkan, yeah


MPC-HC is continued here: https://github.com/clsid2/mpc-hc

I'd be very sad if it were to be abandoned.


There is a MPC-HD fork which is getting updated https://github.com/clsid2/mpc-hc


Toutes mes félicitations, merci d'avoir créé VLC et d'avoir utilisé la license GPL !


It is indeed not trivial at all that a large official organization decided to contribute a significant program/project under the GPL rather than a permissive license. Thanks goes to the Ecole Central Paris for that part.


Chapeau bas!


VLC is how I listen to music on Linux.

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.


Have you tried DeaDBeeF? https://deadbeef.sourceforge.io/


I stumbled on the name a few days ago and as a matter of fact I still have an `apt install deadbee` in my history but no packages in repositories. Don't remember why I didn't follow through. Ah, yes, the github page had no packaged releases and I missed the sourceforge link.

Thanks, I'll give it a try.


Did you have any negative experiences with Audacious? I have found it to be a nice, powerful yet easy to use audio player that is very fast and built with GTK (or Qt now?). Not very well known but excellent software. And as a bonus, it comes with optional old school Winamp skin :)


I agree. After having tried several other players (Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox...) I have settled on Audacious. It's quick to start, plays every format I need, and is not as invasive as other bigger programs.


Itried it but it didn't stick. Maybe I didn't like the defaults. I'll check it out again !


Yeah, vertical volume bar, that's why.


Amarok 1.x was the best music player I have used, subsequent versions lost the X-factor. Clementine is the spiritual successor and it captures most of what was special about Amarok.


VLC is a great software package for sure. However, if you are seeking a Linux focused music player, I have enjoyed Exaile, having tried many different alternatives.

https://exaile.org/


If your looking for a good music player on Linux I highly recommend Lollypop.

https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Lollypop#


And Elisa for the KDE alternative: https://apps.kde.org/en/elisa


No, it doesn't support enough format yet, the UI isn't practical and latest flat version crashes. I would have stick with it if I could have setup a default folder from which to start browsing files (~/médias/music rather than ~).


I am running awesome KDE these days but I'll give it a try on work's computer if it supports debian 9.


My two cents go to Cantata


No, it needs MPD.


VLC "just works" and has done so for at least the 11 years or so that I've used it. What an excellent piece of software. Never change, VLC!


Yea, it's solid and the android port is excellent and by far the best video player available there too.

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.


Interestingly, VLC is the only video player I have on my (Windows) computer that does not "just work". The default setting will have issues to convert TV range properly to PC range so the video is "washed out". I see no such issue with any other players like MPC-BE, MPC-CE, or MPV. If I remembered correctly I have to manually change the renderer mode or whatever it's called to make it work. To be fair, I didn't experiment much since I'm content with MPV.


I've been using it for years and will continue to do so for as long as I can.

Plus the Xmas hat and snow on the famous orange traffic cone icon always makes me smile each winter :-)

Thank you!


My young daughter has grown up with VLC playing our "home movies". We usually end up watching videos from the prior year around Christmastime. The "Christmas cone" (as she calls it) is something she associates with the season. This year she even asked if it was "Christmas cone time" yet.

The cone needs to be festooned as a conical "party hat" on February 1. If I had art skills I'd make this happen.


Congrats to the VideoLAN team! I'm 34, and I've been using VLC as long as I can remember :)


I've been on Linux since circa 2000. I was using mplayer2 to play most media. VLC was a big advance as it seemed to work better with videos with encoding issues in terms of recovering the stream and whatnot.


Pretty much all players are just libavcodec, so the only differences are coincidences or default options, not original research in the player app. This goes double for encoding apps.


Maybe it just had better exception handling then.


I remember the days of trying mplayer2, totem, and countless others. Everything just worked with VLC.


I find it deeply satisfying to find this article atop HN's feed, followed by

"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!


Seeing a bunch of people walking around with traffic cones on their heads at FOSDEM a while back really made me appreciate what a strong and vibrant contributor community VLC has. Thank you to everyone who contributes!


I've always worried about how high value a target VLC is. Many are using it to play files that were downloaded from who knows where - it wouldn't take much to find a bug in a decoder or some other component and then exploit it with a payload in a highly sought after movie.

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.


We're working on sandboxing VLC, for this very reason :)

Stay tuned about that.


I thought it was way older than that to be honest.

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.


I've had some sort of computer for over 26 years but as far as I can remember VLC is one of those few graphical desktop applications that I've relied on for the longest consecutive time.

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.


The #1 video player that always worked. Can you imagine a time before Youtube and cheap hosting for a college student? Well, that was a time for me involving FTP servers, hosting on some place with great bandwidth, a time of Emule, Limewire, sharebear?, I can't recall it all.

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!

Happy Birthday!


Applications are open for YC Summer 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: