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 Tech21 Evo Xplorer iPhone case review
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Latest News Articles
- What Microsoft is taking away from Windows 10 in the Anniversary Update
- PowerDVD 16 gains 360-degree video playback: Here's how it works
- Microsoft will miss its one billion Windows 10 device target
- Google is working to make every website viewable in VR
- Twitter's new stickers are more useful than Snapchat
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCJava DeveloperACT
- CCData Analyst - multiples roles - EAM experience requiredNSW
- CCICT Security Design & Implementation - NV1ACT
- CCSenior Process Analyst - WealthVIC
- CCProject AnalystVIC
- FTTM1 Solution DesignerNSW
- CCChange Manager/ Advisor- operational environmentNSW
- CCActive Directory Consultant/ArchitectWA
- CCOpen_2pm_29/8_Teradata Database AdministratorACT
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/Oracle) 160902/AP/625Asia
- FTMicrosoft Solution ArchitectACT
- CCContract Systems Analyst (Infrastructure/JAVA) 160901/SA/486Asia
- CCUNIX/ LINUX SERVER ENGINEERVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/J2EE) 160901/AP/781Asia
- CCSystem Analyst - NetIQNSW
- CCFinance Analyst (Junior)VIC
- CCTest Environment ManagerNSW
- CCProject Manager- Radio CommunicationsVIC
- CCTest Analyst - Data MigrationACT
- CCContract Systems Analyst (JAVA/J2EE/SQL) 160902/SA/812Asia
- CCStorage / Server EngineerNSW
- CCBI-Business Intelligence Technical LeadNSW
- CCSenior Change Analyst, WealthNSW
- CCCustomer Service SpecialistVIC
- CCCustomer Service RepresentativeQLD