VLC media player

by VideoLAN for Mac OS X

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Free cross-platform multimedia player

VLC Media Player is a free multimedia player that lets you play music and video content. You can download this handy program for Mac, Microsoft Windows PC, iOS, and Android devices. While the user interface is straightforward, the platform has dynamic benefits that let you customize your viewing experience.

As an open-source cross-platform multimedia player, it plays most multimedia files as well as various streaming protocols. Safe, powerful, and completely free, the app can play a range of media, including video and music files, in multiple formats directly on your device of choice.

What is VLC Media Player used for?

VLC Media Player can play video or music files in just about any format from MPEG to FLV, MKV, and RMBV files. VLC plays most codecs with no codec packs required, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4/Xvid, H.264, MKV, WebM, WMV, and MP3. It can also play audio CDs, DVDs, and BluRay discs, ignoring region codes.

Because the software plays almost anything, VLC is a great alternative to iTunes, RealPlayer, and Quicktime. Users can also use VLC to convert files and, in addition to all the formats and physical media it will play, many streaming protocols are supported.

Simple interface and easy basic functionality

The VLC interface for Mac is lightweight, fast, and simple with a single window for everything. Visually, the player is not very exciting, although a selection of audio visualizations — graphic shapes and signs that respond to the audio being played — can be used to add color and interest to the display. For those who prefer a more visually interesting interface, KMPlayer is fully customizable and allows users to open multiple windows for controls, playlists, or equalizers.

At a very basic level, VLC is an easy program to use for simple viewing of videos and listening to audio files. During software installation, a user can set VLC as the default media player, meaning that whenever they click on an audio or video file it will automatically open in VLC.

In playback mode, the play, pause, stop, full-screen and volume controls are easily accessible on-screen. There is also a timeline that shows the full length of the video with a slider to move through the video. It’s simple to watch and pause videos and control their volume using your mouse.

Furthermore, the app also has great hotkey support and, if you learn the shortcuts, it can be controlled without touching your mouse. Functions such as changing the video’s size, jumping to a specific time point in the video, and taking a quick screengrab are available using the hotkeys.

Enriched playback experience

For music, VLC plays more or less any audio file and features an equalizer and playlist creation. While it isn’t as intuitive as iTunes as a media manager, VLC is much more flexible in terms of file formats. VLC can also check online for album art and metadata to enrich the playback experience, such as providing track information when playing audio CDs.

Lots of advanced features

VLC media player is not just for simple video and audio playback, however. More ambitious users will want to take advantage of the host of advanced features the player offers.

The player can be used to record a user’s desktop or webcam via its built-in screen recorder. Users can select the frame rate and codec for their video as well as the destination folder for saving. This feature is useful for creating on-screen tutorials and screencasts or video presentations.

Converting video or audio files to a different format is one of VLC’s most handy features. Aside from being able to select a destination on their computer in which to save the newly converted file, users can also stream the file using a streaming method of their choice.

VLC media player makes it easy to add subtitles to video files too — simply add the SRT file to the folder where the video is kept and it will automatically play with subtitles. Also useful is the fact that users can use the media player to preview files that are downloading since it plays incomplete parts of video files.

Despite its basic-level simplicity, navigating VLC’s advanced workflows and functionality isn’t particularly user-friendly or intuitive. To access advanced features and discover VLC’s full potential, users may have to rely on online forums and tutorials. Some support from the developer is available via the Help menu within the app although online documentation is limited.

Is VLC download free and is it free to use?

VLC is free to download and install. Only a free download is available, although you can donate to the developers in case you want to support the development of the project by VideoLAN. The multimedia program delivers the entire suite of features for free.

Is VLC safe?

The VLC player is an open-source project, which enables you to look into the source code to make sure that the program is safe for you. The open-source nature allows you to modify the code to change the platform to your personal preferences. 

Bring your tunes on the road

Through the latest update on the app’s iOS version, it can now be used in cars through Apple CarPlay. Previously inaccessible via direct use, the new update integrates the VLC player with CarPlay, making it possible for users to bring their favorite media on the go. Now, the whole suite of features can be accessed through your car’s interface, allowing you to stream local or online music, create playlists, and more. However, do note that this update is only available for a specific platform version of the app.

Powerful, free multi-format media player

At its most basic level, VLC Media Player is a powerful multi-format media player that will play even the most unusual or stubborn files where other players fail. Where it falters, however, is the accessibility of its more advanced features. Many users will not have the technical knowledge — or patience — to navigate its overly complicated menu items and workflows, meaning they’ll likely miss out on its most impressive features.

Simple, fast and powerful media player.

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.


  • Simple, fast and powerful media player.
  • Plays everything: Files, Discs, Webcams, Devices and Streams.
  • Plays most codecs with no codec packs needed: MPEG-2, DivX, H.264, MKV, WebM, WMV, MP3…
  • Runs on all platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Unix…
  • Completely Free, no spyware, no ads and no user tracking.
  • Can do media conversion and streaming.