VideoLan Client 1.0
VideoLAN Client is free, open-source video- and audio-playing software.
- Free, open source
- Hard to complain about much given that it's free
VideoLAN Client is an essential download for anyone that watches video or plays music on their PC. It’s a powerful tool that is now less intimidating to use, thanks to its steady refinement over several years, resulting in a less ‘techy’ preferences setup, for example.
Some of the finest software available is free and can offer facilities simply not available elsewhere. One of the best examples of the creed is VideoLAN Client, an open-source video and audio player, in development for over ten years now and, at time of press, still not even branded as far as Version 1. But it's getting extraordinarily close now, and more than worthy of investigation.
Don't be fooled by the sub-1.0 release candidate name. Where many commercial software producers routinely sell you software that is riddled with bugs, adding on new version numbers to give the verisimilitude of completeness, VideoLAN Client has been stable and fully featured for more than five years of its 10-year life.
VideoLAN Client started life as a French academic project to enable schools and colleges to play DVD films over a college network. Given the restrictions mandated by the controlling DVD Forum, which tries to dictate where and how you can watch a DVD film you owned, it was perhaps little surprise that there would appear a way to work around these binds.
Indeed, there is a theory that the rise in the popularity of the DVD discs was helped not simply by the improved picture quality and versatility of a CD-sized disc when compared to a VHS cassette, but by the capability of software like VideoLAN Client, who ensured that we could enjoy on our own terms the media ‘locked' into the discs. VLC is still one of the best ways to play DVD films on any computer without recourse to changing Region Code settings on the DVD drive itself.
The term Swiss Army knife may be over-used but it's entirely applicable to VideoLAN Client, able as it is to open and play just about any music or video file you throw at it. For music, it will play MP3, WMA and WAV of course, and also lossless FLAC, Dolby Digital (AC3), AAC, even high-grade DTS audio from DVD films. For video, it understands container formats such as VOB (for DVD films), QuickTime, AVI and more recent developments such as MTS (Matroshka).
Subtitles are recognised and available for overlaying when the necessary text file is in the same folder as the video, and font size colour and type can be readily adjusted to taste. If a video file has been rendered with the wrong aspect ratio, this can be easily adjusted between a number of common preset ratios. And for interlaced video it's possible to add on-the-fly deinterlacing using one of seven signal processors.
Post processing is another selectable option to clean up poor quality footage.
Recent additions to the software included overlaid graphics for video control when in full-screen mode (easily activated by double-clicking anywhere in the picture frame).
It's also very straightforward to create playlists, for both video and audio files, with random play as an option.
Another asset is VLC's streaming media capabilities, ideal for receiving internet radio and television stations.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- YouTube is bringing live broadcasting for all to its mobile apps
- New Google prompt vastly simplifies two-factor authentication
- Microsoft dials back Windows 10 upgrades to 2X a year
- First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music
- Use Feedback Hub to complain to Microsoft about Windows 10
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTPractice Lead - InsuranceNSW
- CCSAP PI/PO ConsultantVIC
- CCIntegration ArchitectNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCLevel 1 & 2 Helpdesk (Need SAP, ERP system experience)NSW
- CCIT Business AnalystNSW
- CCSalesforce Technical Business AnalystNSW
- CCTibco DeveloperWA
- FTIT Service Desk AnalystNSW
- CCTechnical Writer | Experimental military technology | NV1ACT
- CCScrum Master with Java development backgroundACT
- CCProject Scheduler - IT Security ProgramNSW
- CCSenior Project Delivery ManagerACT
- CCBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTTechnical Support - ImplementationsVIC
- CCSenior Performance & Automation EngineerNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- CCSolution Analyst - CloudVIC
- CCAEM Backend DeveloperVIC
- FTAppian Developer/ArchitectVIC
- CCProduct Solution DesignerVIC
- FTProject ManagerACT
- CCMedia AnalystNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (J2EE/Oracle) 160704/AP/601Asia