VLC Media Player is a free a cross-platform application that will play most multimedia files and DVDs, CDs and various streaming protocols. With a simplified media player style interface, the VLC Media Player has many advanced features such as a skin editor and a VideoLAN Movie Creator that allows YouTube upload integration.
By now, many users have cozied up to VLC, the media player powered by VideoLan's open-source multimedia framework that boasts that it can play anything and everything. But how much of everything is relevant to the average tube warrior sitting at their desk with a large bag of Doritos and a case of RC Cola at their feet? You've got all of the average files that most everyone encounters such as AVIs and MP3s, but most every player out there can take care of those. VLC also supports other video and audio files to fill the needs of other niches. Here are just a few examples:
• Subtitles - VLC supports the somewhat obscure Matroska Multimedia Container, a file format that can contain multiple videos, audio tracks, and subtitle tracks within a single file. Most notable, it is popular among online communities dedicated to sharing and distributing foreign language films and television shows. The MKV (Matroska Video) format is very handy for videos with multiple subtitle or audio tracks, allowing users to share the same video with swappable sub and dub tracks for different languages. MKV files allow fans of foreign dramas, import films, and anime cartoons to enjoy new material in their first language. Unofficial. Community-driven subtitling allows your fellow School Rumble fans all over the world share in the fun, as we all wait for Harima to realize how much Yakumo cares about him.
• Proprietary formats – Formats such and Microsoft's WMA/WMV and RealPlayer's RA/RV are native to certain media players, such as Windows Media Player, Realplayer, and Apple Quicktime. They also tend to be the default format when you create or copy your own files using their respective media players. VLC plays all of these and more, allowing you to have a single, lightweight, and convenient solution for all your needs. This keeps your computer clutter free and gives you a familiar set of controls for everything, rather than forcing you to keep many different apps and fumbling through them all.
• Streaming media - VLC also handles live streaming, such as multicasts used by universities for online lessons through IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) as well as online television shows, live stock exchange tickers, videoconferencing, and on-demand videos and movies. It also supports unicast, which is used professionally to broadcast private information to single parties with permission from the host.
• Shoutcast Network: Though falling under streaming media to some extent, VLC's built-in Shoutcast Network is one of VLC's features that are commonly overlooked by even its longtime users. These people are missing out! Free TV and radio stations that play any kind of music you might be interested in? No, it's not too good to be true, and yes, it's all above the table, legally speaking. Shoutcast allows anyone to host their own content, video or audio, for any other VLC user to access. No one's getting ripped off here, these people are hosting their very own free television channels and radio stations! It's extremely easy to access, and it's available within VLC without any additional downloads or tools required. In other words, it's typical of what makes VLC so good to begin with. All you have to do is enable them by going into Media > Services Discovery, and click on “Shoutcast radio listings” and “Shoutcast TV listings.” Once you see that the checkboxes next to those options are marked, simply go to View > Playlist. In the sidebar on the right, you'll see 2 new tabs for Shoutcast radio listings and TV listings. When you click on a tab, the playlist box fills up with stations to pick from, listed with a name and short description.
• Broken Files - This is something that bothers everyone at least once. The server with your download fizzles out, leaving you with an incomplete file that won't play because “such-and-such is corrupted or incomplete.” You don't get these kinds of errors with VLC. If you want to play an incomplete file, VLC will alert you that pieces are missing, but it will still go on and proceed to play whatever is still there. Obviously, depending on how far you went in downloading it, large chunks can be missing, the audio may be distorted, and the picture will flicker, but it's better than nothing, and certainly better than other media players can do. It has its uses as well, like playing incomplete files that are still downloading. This can be handy to make sure that big video you're downloading from that forum you found isn't just pornography with a misleading file name.
The list of features goes on, but you can find that out for yourself at VLC-Download.com.