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VLC Media Player: How Much do You Know about It?

VLC (also commonly known as VLC media player) is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework written by the VideoLAN project that supports most video and audio file formats as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

No matter what operating system you're using, VLC has versions for you, Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Linux, Android, BSD versions, etc., they are all a piece of cake to it. Meanwhile, the default distribution of VLC covers a bonanza of free decoding and encoding libraries, eliminating the need for other codec or plugins. And it's also widely regarded as the first player to support playback of encrypted DVDs on Windows, OS X and Linux by using the libdvdcss DVD decryption library such that playing DVDs copy-protected by region code, CSS is not a deal any more.

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Just as the former mentioned, VLC is capable to play almost everything including multimedia files (play 8K, 4K, 3D, Blu Ray, 360 degree virtual reality video), Webcams, DVDs, streams and so on. In consequence, let's now have a look at the detailed format VLC supports.

Input Formats VLC Supports:

Note: VLC can read several formats, depending on the operating system VLC is running on. Here we focus on VLC Media Player Windows and VLC Media Player Mac.

Input media

UDP/RTP Unicast

UDP/RTP Multicast


TCP/RTP Unicast

DCCP/RTP Unicast


DVD Video

Video CD / VCD


MPEG encoder

VLC Media Player Windows


VLC Media Player Mac



Input formats





OGG/OGM/ Annodex

Matroska (MKV)


Raw Audio: DTS, AAC, AC3/A52

FLV (Flash)


VLC Media Player Windows


VLC Media Player Mac


For your reference: Play WMV on Mac, play HEVC with VLC, play M4V in VLC

Output Formats VLC Supports:

VLC media player enables to transcode or stream audio and video into several formats, including:

Container formats

ASF, AVI, FLV, Fraps, MP4, Ogg, WAV, MPEG-2 (ES, PS, TS, PVA, MP3), MPJPEG, FLAC, QuickTime File Format, Matroska, WebM

Video formats

H.263, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, MJPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, VP5, VP6, VP8, VP9, Theora, DV, Dirac

Audio formats

AAC, AC-3, DV Audio, FLAC, MP3, Speex, Vorbis

Tips: In the event that you need to convert video to far more video formats such as MOV, WMV, TS, 3GP,RM, WebM and more, MacX Video Converter Pro is your cup of tea for your Mac OS X and MacX HD Video Converter Pro for Windows is what you are looking for Windows.

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As a free open source media player, VLC has met warm reception in the market, partly due to the above mentioned scads of formats VLC supports. Of course, it also has other benefits as well as drawbacks worth to mention. Hence, follow me to look at VLC other pros and cons.

Pros of VLC Media Player:

1. It's simple to use, powerful enough to ensure video playing smooth and fluent and comparatively fast to let you enjoy streams within.
2. Competent to play most codecs with no codec packs demanded: MPEG-2, DivX, H.264, H265, MKV, WebM, WMV, MP3 and more.
3. VLC can be used with other programs, e.g., VLC provides an NPAPI plugin to enable users to view QuickTime, Windows Media,MP3, and Ogg files embedded in websites without using additional products; And the famous HandBrake loads libdvdcss from VLC Media Player to rip copy-protected DVDs.
4. 100% free and clean, no adware, no spyware, safe to use.
5. In possession of intuitive controls to let users of all skill and experience levels accessible to it.
6. Detailed Wiki help guides users to carry out any process desired.

Cons of VLC Media Player:

1. VLC media player is available for various platforms, and its interface is a tad different from each one, which means that Wikis containing instructions for completing various processes aren't necessarily describing the same interface you're seeing. It’s seemingly a little bit hard for beginners to adjust to its inconsistent interface.
2. Though VLC can play back most of the encrypted DVDs, it doesn't mean all the copy-protected DVDs can be played back by VLC media player. It seems powerless sometimes.
3, To playback HD camcorder video like AVCHD, M2TS videos, VLC is willing to help but unable to do so. Only its solid alternative Video Converter can do that favor for you.
4, When it comes to play videos in VLC, there are some problems appearing, like VLC not playing MKV video; VLC video audio out of sync; VLC subtitles delay in video playback, etc.

Notes: VLC is an extraordinary media player for you to playback various video and audio files, but it's not the omnipotent one. You see, supposing you wanna playback M4V or M4A files on your Mac computer, VLC is willing but powerless to render assistance. At this time, VLC alternative-iTunes is the one you can count on, which is also a media player used for playing MP4, MOV, M4V, MP3, M4A and more digital files as well as downloading and organizing files on computer. In another case, providing you have failed to play your MOV files on VLC owing to some parameters settings, QuickTime player-the eminent VLC media player alternative can serve for you, since MOV is the default video format QuickTime media player supports and it's capable of handling any MOV files as well as masses of formats of other digital video, picture, sound, panoramic images, and interactivity. 

Summary: In short, VLC is an excellent media player for users to trouble-free stream and play videos on computer, which has wide compatibility with platforms and video formats. So if you are at the crossroads to pick out a reliable yet free application for playback videos, VLC media player is the second-to-none one. Certainly, to meet your even more needs like downloading and converting video from YouTube, the advanced software MacX Video Converter Pro for Mac and MacX HD Video Converter Pro for Windows are your wise preference.

Author: Candice Liu | Updated on May 23, 2020

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