Editors’ Note: VLC is an open source product developed by VideoLAN Project licensed under GNU GPL v2. The VLC Media Player source code is also available for download from Download.com. This logo or a modified version may be used or modified by anyone to refer to the VideoLAN project or any product developed by the VideoLAN team, but does not indicate endorsement by the project.
VLC Media Player is an open-source application that gives you the ability to play media from your computer or a disk, or to stream it from the Web.
Wiki help: For just about any process you want to carry out with this software, you’ll find a detailed Wiki with step-by-step instructions. All of these documents have been created and edited by other users, so they’re surprisingly detailed and complete.
Intuitive controls: For all basic functions, this medial player is accessible to users of all skill and experience levels. The controls are intuitive, and playback works smoothly regardless of the source of the media being displayed.
Advanced knowledge: This app can do a lot more than just play media, but to access any of those more advanced features, you need to have some technical knowledge. Although there are thorough instructions on how to do just about anything, only users with some experience using this technology will be able to follow them accurately.
Inconsistent interface: This app is available for various systems, and its interface looks a little different on each one. That means that Wikis containing instructions for completing various processes aren’t necessarily describing the same interface you’re seeing. If you know what you’re doing, though, you can still accomplish what you set out to do, and then add your experience to the document to help make it more complete for future users.
As with any open-source software, there are benefits and drawbacks to using VLC Media Player. But if you just want to be able to stream and play video on your computer without hassle, this program is a good choice. Likewise, users with some technical know-how can have fun exploring the more advanced capabilities of this free program.