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VLC 0.9.9, The Best Media Player Just Got Better 488

Matt Asay points out a recent update to VLC as they narrow in on a 1.0 release. Already a favorite of many, the open source project has made great strides in recent history towards really solidifying the position as best-in-class. This update, 0.9.9, fixes several display bugs and sees some definite performance improvements. "If you've yet to try VLC, do so. Whether you just want to play media files or also want to convert them, VLC can handle just about anything you throw at it. When all other media players fail, whether on Windows, Linux, or the Mac, VLC will almost always deliver. You can download VLC media player 0.9.9 here. It's open source, but that's not why you'll want to keep using it. You'll use it because it's better than its proprietary peers — by a long stretch.
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VLC 0.9.9, The Best Media Player Just Got Better

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  • by Murpster ( 1274988 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:27PM (#27446717)
    Color me skeptical.
    • by Bashae ( 1250564 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:29PM (#27446759)

      I'm a Windows user. I prefer Media Player Classic to VLC. It just works better for me.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by whiledo ( 1515553 )

        Ditto. For those few times when MPC won't play something or has a problem playing it smoothly, I fire up SMPlayer.

      • by Etrias ( 1121031 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:43PM (#27447037)
        Not sure why this guy got modded Troll. Case in point, I got the most recent BSG DVDs and tried to play them on everything I had. VLC didn't work beyond the root screen. Windows Media Player failed. Intervideo DVD player crashed every time. It wasn't until I loaded the K lite codec full [] that I could get it to play...and only on the Media Player Classic frontend.

        Don't get me wrong, I use VLC for most all other things, but they don't include proprietary codecs with the program. You can get them, but they don't always work.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Not sure why this guy got modded Troll

          Probably ignorant knee-jerk Microsoft hatred (someone assuming Media Player Classic is a MS offering. It isn't.)

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Jurily ( 900488 )

          Not sure why this guy got modded Troll. Case in point, I got the most recent BSG DVDs and tried to play them on everything I had. VLC didn't work beyond the root screen. Windows Media Player failed. Intervideo DVD player crashed every time. It wasn't until I loaded the K lite codec full that I could get it to play...and only on the Media Player Classic frontend.

          I have an Ice Age 2 DVD that won't play on anything except my custom-compiled mplayer. Doesn't even work with the same version on Windows.

        • by eball ( 1315601 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:04PM (#27447439)
          Yes, VLC has a bad habit of only using its own codecs (even when "Use System Codecs" is selected), so if they don't cover what you need, or there are better ones out there, you're not taking advantage of that.

          My preference is for MPC, particularly the one bundled with the CCCP ( MPC works wonderfully for pretty much everything, and what it lacks in interface is more than made up for in features. And the CCCP version is customized to run as smoothly as possible with the codecs it comes with (plus, if there's anyone I trust with getting the most out of my videos, it's the geeks of the anime encoding community behind the CCCP).
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          I got the most recent BSG DVDs and tried to play them on everything I had. VLC didn't work beyond the root screen. Windows Media Player failed. Intervideo DVD player crashed every time. It wasn't until I loaded the K lite codec full [] that I could get it to play...and only on the Media Player Classic frontend.

          Sounds worse than DRM!

        • by UnrefinedLayman ( 185512 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:52PM (#27448261)
          I experienced this with BSG Razor on DVD; it would not play properly in VLC or Media Player Classic on Windows, or VLC on Mac OS X. It played fine on Apple's DVD player. This is because of the way deleted scenes are included in some DVDs: rather than having two full copies of a film on the disc, they have the original copy and the deleted scenes, and if you choose to play the DVD in the unedited/director's-cut/whatever mode, then those scenes get spliced into the playback of the original. It's that splicing that causes the trouble. Whoever invented it should eat a back of dicks for breaking something that everyone believed worked just fine.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Every install of vlc I've ever done on any OS immediately worked with nearly everything that was playable by at least one other program.
          1. DRMed Windows Media Audio/Video
          2. Some audio codec used in a 3gp file I have

          DVD video is so easy to play on so many things. I've never had a problem with it in vlc. It's CSS and MPEG-2, not some weird and exotic combination of brand new codecs.
        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @04:18PM (#27450685)

          Case in point, I got the most recent BSG DVDs and tried to play them on everything I had.

          That's why you should have just downloaded AVIs from BitTorrent. You get better resolution, too, since you can get 720p HD versions, at only about 1GB per episode.

          I have no problem playing AVIs from BitTorrent on mplayer or VLC.

      • by queequeg1 ( 180099 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:48PM (#27447115)

        +1. Media Player Classic has been so good on difficult files that if it fails, I generally just give up (on the assumption that figuring out how to play such a difficult file will be more trouble than it's worth).

        • by ACMENEWSLLC ( 940904 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:32PM (#27447957) Homepage

          Media Player Classic was great, but it's no longer updated and has several security flaws that are un patched. You can run a Secunia offline scan (download the scanner) and it will give you all the details about this.

          VLC is far superior to Media Player Classic. It can play almost anything. It has a problem with WMV's that are encrypted or require a codec download (usually a virus if p2p.) On Mac, it can play encrypted DVDs too. Add the playlists for Shoutcast and you have tens of thousands of audio and video channels.

          You can merge streams such as two axis video cameras into a single display. You can overlay things. You can record it to disk or re-stream it. You have many effects such as motion detection and motion blur which when set to max, is pretty nice for CCTV use.

          And with VLC, you don't have to hunt for CODECs like you do with WMPlayer.

          It's really worth trying out.

          • MPC Homecinema (Score:5, Informative)

            by Knara ( 9377 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:38PM (#27448051)

            Media Player Classic was great, but it's no longer updated and has several security flaws that are un patched.

            There's a current and very good fork called Media Player Classic Homecinema [], you just needed to do a very small amount of research.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ShakaUVM ( 157947 )

            >>VLC is far superior to Media Player Classic.

            VLC crashes and dies on corrupted files a lot more than media player classic, and if you are unfortunate enough to install the VLC plugin for firefox, it'll kill firefox with it. This is with an older version, but IMO it is just not worth the effort.

            Actually, the biggest issue with VLC is its shitty playlist support (awkward autorepeat options) and the fact that if you double click a video to go to fullscreen, it'll go back to windowed on the next item in

      • VLC crashes a lot (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheLink ( 130905 )

        Recently I tried to play a DVD, and vlc crashed on me after a few seconds.

        I thought maybe I needed the latest version, so I downloaded the latest at that time v0.9.8a, and while it seems they have finally made the subtitles look better, it crashed too.

        Media Player Classic and Windows Media Player had no probs playing it.

        I also never managed to get VLC to remember the deinterlace setting I pick (I tried the various filter and stupid obscure config stuff found on google and still it didn't work).

        Overall I hav

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Try Zoom Player. It comes with the CCCP pack and much easier to use than VLC, looks better, may not have some of the same functionality but for playback it's unbeatable. Also, the scroll-wheel zoom in/out feature rocks.

        VLC still has issues on my machine where I'll hit the spacebar to pause, then hit it again and the file will 6 out of 10 times start playback at half speed.

        MPC has issues with subtitles.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by EdZ ( 755139 )

          "MPC has issues with subtitles.

          Could you elaborate on this? The main reason I use MPC is that it has far and away better support for subs (via directvobsub) than VLC. Maybe you have something configured wrong?

          As for mplayer: it comes pretty close, but the lack of a user interface (When I have to google for an appreciable amount of time and dig out the build number just to find out how to change the volume in increments you've got user interface issues), the occasionally out-of-whack subtitile support, and lack of support for .mkv Order

        • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:32PM (#27447961) Homepage

          I used to be a bigger fan of VLC, but on a lot of videos, I've recently had problems where after I hit pause, video will continue for 5-10 seconds before it finally pauses. Also, with a lot of videos I would get audio but no video for the first 5-10 seconds of playback.

          It also gave some audio stuttering on some videos that played back fine in MPlayer.

          MPlayer's biggest drawback is the fact that without some sort of frontend, it's UI stinks. SMPlayer solves that problem though. I've started to really like SMPlayer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Smauler ( 915644 )

          Seconded for ZoomPlayer. VLC used to be my default player, but it kept occasionally crashing to desktop, and it had laggy controls sometimes. Mediaplayer classic used to be my default player until I started using Vista64, and I couldn't get it to run at all most of the time.

          ZoomPlayer [] just seems to run everything I throw at it, has a decent interface, and has no lag on controls etc.

    • by skinlayers ( 621258 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:38PM (#27446919)

      Sorry... though I appreciate VLC, I think its far from the best media player. My vote would go to the numerous incarnation of MPlayer []. From Xbox Media Center [] to SMPlayer on Linux [] and Windows [] to MPlayer OSX Extended [] on Mac OS X, MPlayer has always been able to play whatever weird codec or container I toss at it. Meanwhile, every time I've attempted to use VLC (mainly on OS X) I've become frustrated by hangs and crashes... Maybe I'll hate this version a little less?

      • by Mooga ( 789849 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:45PM (#27447063)
        I know I'm going to be hated, but VLC simply lacks a USABLE GUI. Give me Media Player Classic (MPC) with klite codec pack any day over VLC. I've tried to get used to VLC and I can't do it. I will give Mplayer a try though. I've use it in a Kubuntu VM and the experience is iffy at best...
        • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

          USABLE GUI

          THANK YOU. Somewhere along the line they borked up the GUI starting with anything after 0.8.6. The current GUI looks like it was designed by the MOSAIC team for compatibility with Win3.1

        • I don't really like the new interface either; it takes up too much space. I mostly use the keyboard shortcuts anyway.

          What really bugs me, though, is that they completely re-did the playlist and it's now virtually unusable. I haven't been able to figure out how to get the files to sort and play in the order I want them to. At least the old playlist, buggy as it was with its drag-and-drop, allowed me to set the order.

          One thing I do wish they'd do is make it capture snapshots at the scaled resolution instead o

      • VLC on my OSX system has only successfully played one DVD for me. Since then it steadfastly refuses to play anything. Not sure why... I've taken to running it on a Windows system, which has no problems.

        I use it because it lets me play movies without sitting through unskippable crap and accusations of being an international criminal, etc.

        I'll give this new VLC version a try. I'll also try the MPlayer version you mentioned. Thanks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TerranFury ( 726743 )

      Indeed. Does it rescale video decently now, or is it still a pixelated mess (see, this worked fine in old versions, and then, somewhere along the line, it got broken. "It was ffmpeg's fault," but somehow mplayer didn't have the same problem)? And when you use it to transcode, does it produce MPEG-2 output that is correct-enough to be played by... any other player? 'Cus it hasn't yet in any version I've tried previously. And how about subtitles; does it handle them correctly now?

      (VLC has an identity cri

    • I tried 0.9.9. I had to downgrade back to 0.8.6d to get H264 video streaming to work. So, if you use that feature - don't upgrade.
  • VLC is OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0l0 ( 826165 ) * on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:28PM (#27446747) Homepage
    VLC is an OK media playback application. I, for one, never understood why someone would prefer it over using mplayer []. It's got all the nice libavcodec improvements first, and is the perfect example of unintrusive UI design (note that I'm talking about the CLI-only `mplayer`, not `gmplayer` or any other graphical front-end).
    • Re:VLC is OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:36PM (#27446865) Journal

      Admittedly a command line is pretty much the only thing that could be more minimal than the VLC interface, but you're probably in a fairly niche market if you find a CLI media player to be the most intuitive. Each to their own and all that, though.

    • Re:VLC is OK. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:36PM (#27446885)

      why someone would prefer it over using mplayer

      On Mac machines. VLC is one of those rare applications that works best on Macintosh. My personal preference for it stems from the clean GUI, the working DVD support, and the fact that it will actually play full-screen on your second monitor while still letting you work on the first monitor in other applications.

      It's also a fine player on Windows and Linux - though not as compelling as those platforms have other very good choices.

    • Re:VLC is OK. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:37PM (#27446907) Journal
      mplayer plays almost everything I've thrown at it. It even handles corrupt files pretty well. VLC dies a horrible death if the file is corrupt, even with just a few bytes being messed up in a header.

      mplayer gets my vote for being the BEST player out there, not only because it supports most everything, and has an unintrusive UI as the parent post pointed out, but also because it doesn't hang and crash when it runs into data that isn't perfect.
      • VLC is the player on Mac and Windows which is least picky about mildly corrupted files, but any version crashes frequently for me.

        I've found a few ways to fairly consistently make it crash, on four different computers, with a mix of OS X, Windows XP, Vista 32/64 and Ubuntu 8.x+:
        1.Dragging a bunch of files into VLC and playing, then adding more will sometimes crash.
        2.Dragging a directory of MP3s will crash it most of the time.
        3.Adding files one at a time before even playing will sometimes crash it.

        It seems t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Microlith ( 54737 )

      the perfect example of unintrusive UI design (note that I'm talking about the CLI-only `mplayer`, not `gmplayer` or any other graphical front-end).

      That doesn't strike me as being an unintrusive UI, so much as the omission of a visible UI. That's intrusive in its own right, since it leaves you fumbling for controls until you read the manual and memorize the keys.

      Unintrusive UIs would probably be what VLC/Quicktime use on OS X, with a control set that fades in and out if you move the mouse, in addition to the

      • Re:VLC is OK. (Score:5, Informative)

        by YttriumOxide ( 837412 ) <yttriumox&gmail,com> on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:45PM (#27447065) Homepage Journal

        Unintrusive UIs would probably be what VLC/Quicktime use on OS X, with a control set that fades in and out if you move the mouse, in addition to the keyboard actions.

        Don't forget support for the apple remote... that's one thing (out of several) I really love about VLC actually - sitting back on my couch and watching movies/TV with the ability to control it from the apple remote (which regardless of ones thoughts on Apple products in general, is a very nice little remote just for the simplicity). It's actually pretty much all I ever use the remote for as well, since I'm not much of an audiophile and FrontRow is just useless to me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Be sure to grab some BASH completion scripts for MPlayer's startup command line parameters. Most distros have them maintained as packages.

      The CLI is fine, but I don't like reading its manpage *every* darn time...

    • by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:43PM (#27447043) Journal

      I'm sort of surprised at the arguments.

      Both VLC and mplayer are so insanely good, so much better than any alternatives, that it's kind of like arguing about whether you should drink belgian beer or german beer compared to drinking raw sewage.

    • Personally, I like the cross-platform streaming.

      I use it to stream video from my Ubuntu TV rig to VLC on my fiancee's WinXP box.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zakabog ( 603757 )

      VLC is an OK media playback application. I, for one, never understood why someone would prefer it over using mplayer [].

      I used mplayer for years, I tried a windows binary, didn't like it much. The command prompt is horrible in windows, and all of the GUIs I've found just didn't work all that well. VLC was a nice slim media player, worked well with any file I threw at it (like mplayer), it had a nice playlist I could drag and drop files onto, and it was easy to use. Same thing on my mac.

      In linux I use mplayer for everything, but linux is more command line based, I'm used to it. I know how to quickly navigate a linux system wi

  • by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:39PM (#27446959)

    VLC has been a non-starter for me because I can't use better performing codecs for high definition content. The internal codec doesn't approach the performance of several other codecs. I'm sticking with Media Player Classic for my XP system. It's a much better player.

    By the way, does anybody else feel like the story's headline looks like it came straight from Digg?

  • You'll use it because it's better than its proprietary peers

    It's also the only player I can't get to output properly to spdif on any computer I try it on. It's the _only_ player I can't get to output to spdif.

    It did work on the versions a few years back, but those are useless with current codecs and containers so that's no help. For the past umpteen versions it has output nothing but looping sound. If anybody knows the magic to fix that I'd be thrilled. But Mplayer Classic HC and ffdshow does the job pretty well so it's not a big deal.

    • by Mascot ( 120795 )

      That was supposed to be "Media Player Classic", not mplayer. But I'm sure nobody intentionally misunderstood that... For sure..

  • It's kind of annoying to have to keep a copy of VLC 0.9.x and 0.8.6i around - have they fixed the mp4 issues that were introduced with the 0.9 series yet?

  • Depends on my OS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by esocid ( 946821 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:40PM (#27446973) Journal
    in fedora I use mplayer. In vista/xp I use VLC. WMP and WMPC would crash occasionally no matter what, and never seemed to load all codecs properly. Arguing which one is better is like driving a car in reverse and just doesn't make sense.
  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:41PM (#27446987) Homepage Journal

    VLC peaked at version 0.8.6. This was the last version to use the "correct" user interface on windows. That version was a very easy to use interface that looked like it had been designed after 1995. The 0.9 and forward versions have a poorly designed interface that looks like they ripped off the Mosaic interface for Win 3.1
    VLC has an amazing GUI (Especially at full-screen mode) for OSX, and the linux version isn't far behind. I don't see why VLC for WIN32 has to be so awful, considering that Win32 is by far their largest audience.
    VLC hasnt added any significant functionality since 0.8.6 so while I'll check out recent releases, until they fix the awful interface that is on all the 0.9.x series, I'm sticking with that. Yes, I am aware that 0.9.x is skinnable, but there is no true "classic" skin for the 0.9.x series.

  • Eh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:47PM (#27447095)

    Eh, VLC is okay. I've found it to be more processor intensive when decoding MKV's than Media Player Classic - to the point where the old PC i repurposed as a media center can play 1080p movies just barely smoothly in media player classic, but it chokes if i need to use VLC (media player classic has options for choosing an audio stream but never actually shows more than one stream! grr).

    I also HATE that VLC doesn't let you click on the frame to pause. Nothing happens when you click on the frame, so why not pause! Having to navigate to the little pause button every time is lame.

    ALSO hate that even in full screen, the progress bar stays small, so I don't have much resolution when i want to skip back a little.

    So yeah, best player ever? meh. It's nice, and i love all the transcoding features etc. is has, but that's not media playing, that's something else. As a media player, VLC is just ok.


    • Re:Eh... (Score:4, Informative)

      by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:57PM (#27447281) Journal

      I also HATE that VLC doesn't let you click on the frame to pause. Nothing happens when you click on the frame, so why not pause! Having to navigate to the little pause button every time is lame.

      Spacebar pauses.

      • I also HATE that VLC doesn't let you click on the frame to pause. Nothing happens when you click on the frame, so why not pause! Having to navigate to the little pause button every time is lame.

        Spacebar pauses.

        Of course it does, but generally i keep my keyboard stowed when using my Media Center. The mouse is small so I keep it with the remotes, and I would be nice if I could just click on the frame, which I've grown accustomed to. And besides, nothing happened when you click the frame. *something* useful should happen there, it's a very simple UI point. Who thought *nothing* was a useful function? Maybe people who keep accidentally clicking the screen? I have no idea.

    • Have you considered using XBMC? It uses mplayer and ffdshow and has a nifty interface. It has mouse, keyboard, and remote support... And it's available for win, mac, lin, and xbox.

  • VLC OS X (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've always had bad experiences with VLC on Mac, no matter which version. Converting videos to mpg, mp4, or anything else I try results in unreadable files.

    While I donno if others are experiencing the same issues, it's disappointing that it's been consistently unreliable for me.

  • Have they fixed their long-standing issues with styled subtitles? Many, many, many anime release groups specifically warn not to use VLC because it has issues with external subtitles, and specifically, SSA/ASS subtitles.

    Which is another reason I use mplayer. (mencoder is the first reason)

  • by CAFED00D ( 1337179 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:59PM (#27447337)
    Did they make a better desktop icon yet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rrohbeck ( 944847 )

      Did they make a better desktop icon yet?

      Why? The orange cone icon on the task bar clearly says "Caution: Porn playing!"

  • by rongage ( 237813 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:10PM (#27447553)

    I will say that VLC did just recently play a DVD that none of the other DVD players I have (mplayer, xine, etc...) wouldn't even touch. Heck the other players would crash and burn badly - even lsdvd had troubles with this one DVD - the Dark Knight.

    What I don't like about VLC is how there is absolutely nothing intuitive about what combination of codecs will work on a transcode. With a recent example, I could get MPEG2 video to encode into a mpeg container or an avi container, but I couldn't get any audio to go into the same container at all. Using mpga would crash the program where using mp2a would go through the motions but you would end up with no audio in the output.

    If you find that you need "support" of any sort for VLC, good luck with that. I have found in many cases that the forums are unmonitored and the IRC channel folk ignores people with real questions.

    I just don't think that VLC deserves the title of "the best" in anything.

  • by Todrael ( 601100 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:13PM (#27447625) Homepage

    I'd love to use VLC legally in the US, but that doesn't seem like it'll happen any time soon.

    VLC FAQ []

  • I've finally settled on a Windows combination that has both significant geek appeal and even more significant wife-acceptance-factor (though really, that's not much of an issue since my fiance has a geek mindset, too):

    • Pre-built PC with a combo BR/HDDVD drive, HDMI out to plasma. great bluetooth keyboard and mouse came with it, along with a very nice windows media center remote.
    • Vista (no, really! It came with the PC and was fine once I got SuperFetch turned off)
    • SageTV Media Center + SageMC UI + SageTVLaunc
  • CCCP and Mplayer (Score:2, Informative)

    by jameskojiro ( 705701 )

    The only way to go Comrade!

  • by JakFrost ( 139885 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:23PM (#27447795)

    VLC (VideoLAN Client) media player [] was good up to the 0.8.6 releases and after that it took a bit of a tumble in design and lost popularity because of its tendency to crash or freeze at any minor error or corruption in the media files.

    Media Player Classic Homecinema [] stepped in and took the reigns after that. This player includes internal decoder filters for MPEG-2 (DVD), MPEG-4 (XviD, DivX), H.264 (Blu-ray), and VC1 (Blu-ray) along with audio decoders for AC3 (Dolby Digital), DTS (Digital Theater Systems), AAC (Advanced Audio Codec), etc. It also includes native support for MKV (Matroska) and AVI (Audio Video Interleave) file formats.

    The most important feature of MPC-HC is the hardware accelerated DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) [] decoder filters for the H.264 and VC1 Blu-ray codecs allowing this player to leverage ATI, nVidia, and Intel graphics cards to handle the work load with complex 720p and 1080p movies. The difference in CPU usage goes from 70-100% on software decoding with dropped frames to 5% on DXVA decoding and no dropped frames, of course this is relative to the CPU being used.

    DXVAChecker [] is the best tool to use to determine if your video card and latest drivers support hardware acceleration. It will list the list of video streams that are accelerated such as MPEG2, WMV9, VC1, H264 along with DXVA1 (XP DX9) or 2 (Vista DX10) for the version along with the resolution such as 720x480, 1280x720, 1920x1080 that is supported.

    FFDshow Tryouts [] is another codecs to look into is that is based on libavcodec and ffmpeg-mt (multi-threaded) and handles pretty much all audio and video codecs in software using CPU decoding and includes a lot of filters for audio 2.0->5.1 up-mixing, real-time AC3 encoding for surround sound, noise filtering, and video filters for noise, sharpening, and subtitle support.

    CoreAVC Pro [] codec is the most efficient software and hardware nVidia CUDA accelerated H.264 (Blu-ray) decoding. In hardware CUDA mode it users ~15% CPU to perform decoding and in software mode it users 50-70%, relative to the CPU being used of course. This codec a bit more efficient than FFDshow in software but a lot better in CUDA mode, nVidia video card required.

    Haali Media Splitter [] is the preferred splitter for MKV (Matroska), MP4, and AVI files. This is the recommended splitter for these file formats over the internal splitters that usually come with the players.

    MPlayer Media Player [] is also a complete alternative that now has hardware acceleration support for nVidia video cards with the latest SVN releases.

  • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:46PM (#27448173)

    Maybe it's resolved since then, but if VLC wasn't concerned about its users then I wasn't going to waste more time on their behalf either. Album art downloads tend to do Google searches and download the first image returned. For at least some releases of VLC, this gets triggered for videos as well as audio. The end result is, every time I watch a video that I have on my local network, VLC advertises the fact that I am watching it. To the largest data mining company ever, Google. Unencrypted for anyone to see.

    I posted a question to VLC forums, they seemed very unconcerned about this.

    Somehow I enabled album art download. I don't remember doing it, but I am told it is off by default in every release so I did it, as opposed to VLC doing it automatically, so it's not necessarily a big deal. but I don't remember turning it on and had no way to know it was on until I got "out of disk space" errors and went looking for things to delete.

    Anyway, more details here and read for yourselves. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:22PM (#27448797)

    It seems everyone misses the point of this player.

    Did you know you can stream VLC content to a) the screen obviously b) the network and c) to a file in another format? (and probably more)
    Did you know you can create custom GUI's for VLC?
    Control it via http?
    Plays DVDs,Capture Cards,Network streams and files? (and probably more)

    I always thought they used the mpc engine as the player and just added on the rest of the goodies.
    I figured if VLC couldn't play it, it wasn't worth looking for alternatives.

    Right now VLC (on XP) is streaming cable TV to my network. I'm currently watching that stream on my Linux box. I use an Ipod touch to control VLC from a (customized) http interface. I use Prism to display the same http interface for mouse control.
    Sure i could use MythTV, but I enjoy the tinkering. ooo I might just have to go make VLC to some DVRing.
    Thanks VLC

  • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Friday April 03, 2009 @03:14PM (#27449527)

    Instead of polishing your knob in an article about how good you are, why not just TELL US what features makes the product so innovative than say 0.9.8, or 0.9.7, etc..

    In terms of the poster's 'I'm the best' position, I'd say they fall flat in that regard as well.

    1. For windows nothing can beat Media Player Classic. Nothing. It has just enough GUI to do what it was designed for, to play videos. It has all the configuration you'll ever need in the background, and if you don't it generally works out of the box for 90% of the things you want.

    As for codecs, you have several options on how to get all the needed codecs, and you can bet that a large number of them support DxVA (where applicable) out of the box, which means you have a fast low overhead media player that plays pretty much everything you throw at it.

    For Linux, that's a different story. Linux's equivalent of DirectShow(The decoding pipeline for media content) is gstreamer, but it suffers from a serious lack of adoption. We have Totem, but lets admit that if there's anything you need outside of the totem defaults, you're screwed.

    The alternative is to use all-in-one-package media players. The obviously suffer in that if the codec / format / playback feature you're looking for isn't supported by the player, the whole stack becomes useless. But, this is sadly exactly what you're stuck with. Our options are: VLC/Xine/Mplayer and gui variants thereof.

    VLC is fine, but its never had specifically good support on my hardware, and there are -many- videos that fail to play where other players can.

    Xine is why software developers should never be put in charge of UI design. The UI stinks so badly, that the only time I ever open it is when all other players fail to play properly.

    Mplayer is probably the most codec compatible player out there, but then again, there's no GUI for people to interact with. Unless you're a keyboard/command line nazi, you'll most likely decide that there's no point in Mplayer without one of its many available front-ends. I've tried a few over the years, and the only one that (finally) met my happy path requirements for > 80% of the time was SMPlayer. It is a great frontend to Mplayer, and gets my thumbs up. It keeps the complexity of selecting appropriate devices within the preferences if I really care to tweak them, but the out of box experience is also pretty good.

    For anyone reading this post who is actually a contributor to these projects, PLEASE try to focus on supporting a pipelined system like gstreamer, or writing codecs that can be plugged in willy nilly instead of monolithic all-in.

    I think a real winner on linux would be:
    1. A user interface akin to SMPlayer, in terms of its toolbars, layouts, config (in general)
    2. A container/codec glue that is well understood and powerful enough to support codecs, overlays, user input, etc.. I think gstreamer is this tool, but maybe it needs work on the input side of things *shrugs*
    3. A set of simple codec/container implementations with simple APIs so that they can be plugged into any pipeline without gratuitous hacks. Ideally, these implementations could be interchangeable and upgradable without requiring recompilation of their glue layer

    Ack, that's about it.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.