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Open Source Software

Ask VideoLAN President and Lead VLC Developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf Your Questions 204

VLC remains one of the most popular applications. First released over 15 years ago, VLC is open-source, and is available across multiple platforms including Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, ChromeOS, iOS, and it's coming to the Xbox One later this year. We thought it would be great to have Jean-Baptiste Kempf, President of VideoLAN non-profit organization (the maker of VLC media player). In addition, he is also a lead developer of VLC.

Leave your questions in the comments section below. Let's get this going.
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Ask VideoLAN President and Lead VLC Developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf Your Questions

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  • by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:45AM (#52670911) Homepage Journal

    I recently installed the VLC app for FireTV stick and figured out how to stream from VLC on my PC. But I found that the VLC app couldn't work with a stream; it could only play files from network accessible storage like an SMB shared drive.

    I'm not necessarily asking the developers here - can anyone tell me how to stream to my three FireTV sticks across the house? Do I need to replace the FireTV sticks with some other more capable device? Will the FireTV VLC app ever support streaming?

    • Emby supports this

    • When will the bug regarding VLC no longer even seeing UPnP streams be fixed? It started with rincewind, and I'm stuck with a very old version for the time being until you fix this...
      Debian Linux (Sid)
      Mint Linux

      I have 22 TB of MKV films I've ripped from DVD's and Blu-Rays, I've Used VLC for ten years now to watch movies which is being sent via Mediatomb, now two of my machines no longer even see the mediatomb UPnP stream. Only my old Debian Stable machines vlc still do.

    • by MercTech ( 46455 )

      Apples and oranges. VLC is a client for playing video and audio files. What you want is a DLNA server and DLNA client software.
      Many "Smart Televisions" have DLNA clients built in to play streaming video but the DLNA standards are not implemented in a standard manner and it still takes experimentation to find compatible software with the hardware you have.
      Is FireTV set up to be a generic DLNA streaming client? I don't know. Probably not. Manufacturers want things proprietary so you have

      • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

        VLC is a client for playing video and audio files

        There's a VLC client app for FireTV. The description page says it plays network streams, but if that's true, there's no visible way to use this functionality in the app.

        Meanwhile, the VLC on my PCs can stream and be received by VLC on other PCs. I'd like to do similarly with the VLC app on the FireTV stick.

  • Greetings and many thanks for making such a great program, available on all my platforms!

    Besides Christmas/winter holiday time, are there other special VLC Cone icons I've not seen yet?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Although VLC is excellent in many areas the subtitle system I believe needs a lot of improvement. Why does the end user have to select the decoding of a particular subtitle, can it not be autodeteted?

    Is it possible to make these requests to the VLC developer community and is it likely anyone would develop these specific feature enhancement?

    • There are other problems, For example that you can't have a black background bar around each line of the subtitles, just around the complete subtitle, which makes it way too large. My guess is that most developers don't care about subtitles much or come from countries where TV doesn't care about doing them right, either.
      • by rdac ( 4672899 )
        It's a shame. Support for embedded 708 captions in MXF is non-existent, and it's a broadcast media standard.
  • by msmash ( 4491995 ) Works for Slashdot <> on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:51AM (#52670943)
    I would want to know how they keep VLC media player sustainable. As far as I know, there are no ads in the program, and they certainly don't bundle stupid programs with VLC.
    • I know, right? Pushing malware laden advertisements is the only way to make money.
      • by chihowa ( 366380 )

        No kidding. This idea that every hobby needs to generate teh profitz that seems to permeate nearly ever corner of the internet is so obnoxious. Especially since it always seems to play out in the form of ever more advertising.

        The hosting costs are minimal, even for a big project like VLC. They can easily be paid for by the involved devs or covered through a few unsolicited donations. My hobbies cost more than that and I'm not constantly seeking to monetize them.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      On a related note, where is the closest VLC developer? How do I buy him/her a beer? Where do we send the pizza?

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:52AM (#52670945) Homepage Journal

    I hate to ask for this because overall I'm anti-Microsoft, but I'm a systems administrator at a company and I can't seem to teach my users much of anything, any time I do they have turnover and it's lost. It would be great if there were some way to make VLC the player that worked with Power Point. For some gawd-aweful reason Microsoft thinks you need an Apple product to playback h.264 video in a Power Point presentation and we don't allow that anymore since it's pwned.

    I just want to thank you for an awesome product. I use it as a baby monitor with an IP cam at home (no MS products there). I use it on my phone to play podcasts in my car, I love the ability to increase playback speed (that's a little "non-sticky" of a setting). I

    • I don't know if it can but IrfanView (with plugins) might work.

    • by NotAPK ( 4529127 )

      That's a really good idea!

      I remember putting together a PowerPoint presentation on Windows with video used a standalone VLC executable with media files and a launching batch file to bring it up full screen, play it through, and throw you back to PP. It was ugly but it worked. My latest presentation did not need sound, so I just converted the AVI to an animated GIF and put that directly in the PP. Worked a treat.

      • I've pulled this on a users behalf before. They both loved and hated it, and in reality it was an I.T. guy doing a work-around for what a user should do on their own. I've also converted videos to WMV. Same story, and THOSE videos won't work if they send the Power Point to a Mac user.

        I just want some sort of plugin I can deploy with the KBOX that will launch it as though it were native, or better yet have VLC automatically report itself as the opener of those files like Quicktime did. (I looked it up, ap

  • Other projects (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:52AM (#52670947)
    Apart from VLC -- and I can't thank you enough for this media player, it has made lives of millions easy -- what other projects you guys at VideoLAN are working on currently?
  • Acquisition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:53AM (#52670953)
    Did any company ever approach you guys for buying VLC?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why does VLC take so damn long to start up? When will you fix that?

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:55AM (#52670965)

    I use VLC on my laptop for playing movies on planes. It'd be kind of nice to have a touchscreen-friendly UI for those situations. It's kind of a nuisance to remember keybindings or use the touchpad.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With Chrome dropping support for the NPAPI plugin interface, it's effective no longer supporting VLC in chrome. Mozilla has also started the process of deprecating the NPAPI interface as well.

    Is there a plan to migrate the VLC plugin to work in Chrome and other browsers sans NPAPI? Or will I need to find a new favorite video plugin to use with RTSP video streams?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When will VLC be able to read 708 captions embedded in MXF wrappers, or other embedded pro-level broadcast formats?

  • UI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:56AM (#52670975)
    Why is the UI so poor and counter-intuitive? Are there any UI specialists working on the project?
    • Re:UI (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fnj ( 64210 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:59AM (#52671001)

      I would like to know this too. The shortcut keys in mplayer are excellent. Just copy them. I am always pressing right arrow in vlc and nothing happens.

      • Mplayer has a much smaller user base than vlc, perhaps mplayer ought to copy vlc's shortcuts
        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          How about NO. mplayer's shortcuts are marvelously efficient, vlc's are pointlessly cumbersome.

          Jump forward and back 10 seconds: mplayer, right and left arrow. vlc, alt right and left arrow. Absolutely pointlessly cumbersome.
          Jump forward and back 1 minute: mplayer, up and down arrow. vlc, control right and left arrow. Absolutely pointlessly cumbersome.
          Jump forward and back 5 or 10 minutes: mplayer, page up and page down. vlc, supposed to be control-alt right and left arrow, but these switch my workspace to a

      • by teccy ( 4624417 )
        So why not simply use the default hotkeys CTRL-right arrow ALT-right arrow SHIFT-right arrow which do jumps of different lengths in the video?
        • So why not simply use the default hotkeys CTRL-right arrow ALT-right arrow SHIFT-right arrow which do jumps of different lengths in the video?

          Because pressing two keys takes just a bit more effort than pressing one. And because I'm just that lazy.

    • In my eyes, its only of the few players that has a straightforward and well designed UI. Kubuntu ships with amarok per default, but I don't like it mostly because of its UI. Similar for windows media player (at least the versions of it I know, from the days I was still using windows).

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      The only thing I dislike about VLC is that instead of just opening up a file and play it, it adds the file to an unwanted playlist and playlist window. If I then open another file, it gets added to the list instead of opening up another player window.

      In short, I'd like to see VLC work the same way as other media player, i.e. one player window per file. VLC is for video, not an iTunes replacement.

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        On Windows I believe it always opens a new window if you're opening the file from explorer. Maybe its the desktop environment configured to open with the current application?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There are settings to make VLC behave exactly as you ask. They're already available, and have been for many years now. Meanwhile, your request seems to ask the developer to cripple functionality that comes in very handy for tasks you don't seem to need it for.

        For live video presentations, that detachable playlist is a must-have. You can put the display window on one screen and keep the playlist on another (that you don't project to the audience). Unfortunately, VLC's UI is not very consistent. The detachabl

      • The only thing I dislike about VLC is that instead of just opening up a file and play it, it adds the file to an unwanted playlist and playlist window. If I then open another file, it gets added to the list instead of opening up another player window.

        You can fix that yourself. Under the View menu, choose Playlist (or Ctrl-L). Close VLC and open it again. Did the playlist show?

      • by teccy ( 4624417 )
        So maybe you shouldn't have fiddled with the default settings then. After a clean install, clicking a file simply plays the file without adding it to any playlist. I'm sure that's not only the case on Windows.
    • Re:UI (Score:4, Interesting)

      by andrewbaldwin ( 442273 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @11:54AM (#52671395)

      I'm not sure what your perspective of the problem is but for me the UI is fine. It's clean, simple and does what is expected; I can live wthout fancy colour schemes, gradients, customised icons...

      I'd like to thank the developers for providing and supporting an excellent product (tried others but keep coming back to VLC on all platforms).

      The only question I have (and it is trivial I know) is what is the significance of the traffic cone as the icon?

      • I think you're confusing the UI with the GUI. They're more referring to the hotkeys (how the user interfaces with the software), not the bland appearance.
  • by msmash ( 4491995 ) Works for Slashdot <> on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:57AM (#52670983)
    I have an Xbox One, and its built-in media player just sucks. And there's no alternative! I know you guys have promised that VLC will be available later this year on Microsoft's gaming platform, but can you share exactly how long we have to wait. Also will VLC support HEVC files?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since you already provide supportfor CSS encryption, in violation of the DMCA and similar laws, do you plan to provide support for playing files with DTCP encryption?

  • by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:57AM (#52670993)

    Currently, we live in an era where media players have become quite a bit more sophisticated. For example, Windows Media Player or iTunes offer some pretty advanced features for managing large libraries, integrate heavily within their ecosystems, and some even come with complete stores, where you can buy songs with a single click. On the other end, there's players such as Audacious that focus on playing music, and only on that - and the result is that you get a very speedy and lightweight player, and the support of winamp skins makes it possible to heavily personalize. What role do you think VLC plays in the ecosystem, and more specifically, where do you think you want to take the project in the future?

  • Chromecast Support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @10:59AM (#52671003)
    I heard a very long time ago there was development effort to support Chromecast, any idea on the time frame before it's released?
    • A few seconds away from asking the same question.
    • There's already an alpha version and it was stated late last year that 3.0 would be released around christmas 2016.

    • Considering that more recently Google has gone out of their way to lock down the Chromecast protocol with obfuscation and secret keys, probably never.

  • Are there plans to support streaming to Chromecast? the nightly builds for v3 contained at some point an experimental implementation but now it has disappeared. Is this something on the roadmap?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    VLC would be a great program if the playlist worked.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why are you so hostile towards organisations? I run I.T. for a school and everytime I see the question of MSIs being brought up you take an "anti-enterprise" approach and reject it. Everything about VLC for Windows (configuration, installation, upgrading) seems hostile towards organisations and industry standard practices.
  • Seamless Playing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SemperOSS ( 3963705 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @11:07AM (#52671071)
    Thank you for the my favourite player. Are there any plans for seamless playing in VLC. I have some playlists with continuous tracks and it would be nice to not have the break.
    • by ThePyro ( 645161 )

      Ditto! This is literally the only thing about VLC that bugs me on a regular basis. I grew accustomed to seamless playlists when I used Winamp more than a decade ago, and now many of my mixes are separated into tracks but there's not supposed to be an audible gap between them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A video player can evolve only so much. You can add new codecs, but after a while, you really can't just keep adding new features, and I have noticed that VLC hasn't changed in years. What do you see as the future of VLC player? Is it in mostly maintenance mode from now on? Not that that is a bad thing.

  • DLNA/UPnP? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mister Transistor ( 259842 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @11:07AM (#52671075) Journal

    Hi, great program! Thank you - longtime user here. Any plans to support streaming to ("fling to") players using DLNA or UPnP?

    Many devices like WDTV, FireStick/Kodi, etc. support this protocol, and I can control them very easily from a media "player" PC. I prefer the PC's user interface over the crummy remote control UI's of the playing device(s).

  • Hello and TYVM for VLC.

    Would you consider implementing:
    1) Step back one frame (useful when paired with step forward one frame).
    2) Rewind (especially variable speed rewind, and with audio).
    3) Manually seek to location even if media doesn't support seeking (by simply playing the file up to that point).
    4) Finish at set time (automatically adjust play rate so that media will end at requested time) - I saw this on a DVD player once.

    #1 and #3 I find myself wanting on a fairly regular basis.

  • Love the program, by the way... but like so many open source programs, there is a certain aesthetic panache that is lacking... the "community" should look into getting some real designers to finish off the UIs to their products in general, and for VLC in particular.
    • by lhowaf ( 3348065 )
      Be careful for what you wish - VLC could end up an unusable POS like Unity.
    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      I'm going to assume this was meant as a sarcastic joke.

    • VLC is clean and simple. If you want to get the interface all fucked up and douchey, there's already a skinning system, apparently.

      see also my signature

  • With operating systems becoming more and more secure, hackers are increasingly focusing on end user programs, such as VLC. Do you think the project needs work in this regard? If so, may I ask what your plans and ideas for improving it would be?

    By the way, thank you for all of your hard work! VLC isn't my day to day player, but nonetheless it has come in handy many, many times, and my life is much easier because of it. I heavily appreciate your taking time out of your day to answer our questions! :)

  • by spaceman375 ( 780812 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @11:38AM (#52671285)

    I use VLC to listen to audio streams every day (Thanx!). Sometimes I hear a new song and want to rewind to the beginning and save it locally. Is this something you might implement? Saving a video stream would be a nice benefit, but I find myself wishing to rewind (and optionally save) audio frequently.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do VLC has any particular approach to handling obsolescence? For example is a particular encoding is supported today, how likely is it to be supported in future versions? Are encodings deemed obsolete or historical removed? Or under what cases is support dropped?

  • by msmash ( 4491995 ) Works for Slashdot <> on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @11:50AM (#52671365)
    Jean-Baptiste Kempf told me that he has been reading Slashdot pretty much every day since 2003!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When will VideoLan Movie Creator be released as beta?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will there be an "official" way of playing blu-ray any day ?
    What does he think about the answers of Hadopi (French content right management agency) ?

  • Any plans to implement support for MPEG-4 Part 25?
  • Bearing in mind how often we receive VLC updates, what is your opinion of Google's decision to "carve in stone" the StageFright media libraries into the /system read-only mount point on Android?

    Stagefright patch breakdowns [] were of surprising number and duration: "...over the course of the last year of Android updates, Google has issued patches for 115 media server-related CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) flaws. Of those, 49 were found directly in libstagefright, with 35 in libmedia and 31 in libra

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @01:24PM (#52672311)

    If VLC were being redesigned from scratch today, what would you do differently? Are there any technical decisions or design choices in VLC's past that you now feel are mistakes?

  • Any intention to move VLC to a media centre/media server type application?

    With windows 10 nixing the WMC, many users have had to find alternatives, it might be a prime opportunity. While WMC was terrible in many respects it was pretty widely used. You really had to work your codecs in magical ways to make it play most formats. I've since moved to Plex, which is great, but has some of its own issues with some formats. VLC however plays everything and the kitchen sink I've found, if nothing else will play it,

  • Just about every site that has a VLC video link or a VLC video file or program has been excruciatingly difficult to use, at least for me. Either nothing happens or have to download all kinds of extensions I don't recognize, etc. It seems one has to be a Linux/Scripting/Network guru to make it work. I pretty much don't even bother to view anything that is VLC, I consider it not available and look to alternate means.
    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      Sorry, you misunderstand how HTTP works. There is no "VLC video link". Those are links to video files or streams, and all they specify is a Content-Type. It is the configuration of your client that controls how various Content-Types get mapped to handlers locally.

  • How do you manage your code development? With so many proliferating codecs to manage out there, and so many different hardware products to Just Work on, how do you keep everything straight? on a shoestring budget?
  • I'd like to know if there are any plans for improvement to DLNA/uPnP media server playback in the future. I have at least 2-3 different media servers running on my FreeNAS for various media types, and I think the only time I see a uPnP server on VLC that works well is when I use the Microsoft Windows media sharing feature on another computer instead. Occasionally the program will pick up the presence of another server, but getting folder listing or playing back media doesn't work. These servers work find on

  • How on earth did you find the spec's and actually code for the huge variety of codec's VLC supports.
    Where did you start your research and figure out these things?
  • Add ability to cast to chromecastt!! :) Currently can only cast with a chrome extension, and tell it to cast whole desktop, and vlc plays verry choppy that way. Please add this ability and if its already there, please advise where is the 'How To', lol. Thx in advance, *User of VLC since VLC came out. Never have, nor never will use another video player. I even install it on client PC's and set as default to override media player, lol*
  • by speedplane ( 552872 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @06:30PM (#52674601) Homepage
    I have heard that the newest video code, H.265 (or HEVC), is extremely complex, while only offering minor performance gains. What is your opinion on this? Do you think it will catch on or go the way of JPEG2000?
    • You're wrong about H.265. It offers massive compression improvements but also requires massively greater processing power to play back.

      • You're wrong about H.265. It offers massive compression improvements but also requires massively greater processing power to play back.

        I've heard that on real-world cases, you typically see a 20-30% improvement. That's laudable and will certainly reduce YouTube's bandwidth bill, but hardly groundbreaking. It doesn't seem to be significant enough to enable new use-cases. And given the increased playback requirements, it may actually be a step backwards on mobile devices.

  • I know there are some 3rd party ones but why not make an official one?
  • When will VLC support Dolby TrueHD Atmos 7.1 streams without stuttering like MPC-HC does? I'd be fine with getting only the core played back. Thx!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I used to watch video streams from network websites like CBS, NBC, Discovery and the like. I would look for the .m3u8 file and copy/paste that to VideoLAN. Worked great for years.

    Now most free content on network websites require a semi login before serving up .ts files. Do you have any plans to do the semi login and save the cookie in VideoLAN so I can go back to playing the free content especially from the Discovery channel?

  • Are there any plans to fix the DLNA / uPNP client in VLC? It's been broken for as long as I can remember. As far as I can tell there are no decent DLNA renderers on the desktop.
  • ok check this idea, i use VLC to monitor some IP security cams i have set up around the house, would it be possible to view up to 4 cams within one instance of VLC and have it utilize the motion detection feature to grab a screen shot, so when i get home i can see what triggered the motion detector, i did have a screen shot app included in a script that would launch with VLC but it would leave thousands of screenshots in my ~/ directory, and if VLC could trigger any generic screenshot app like scrot by the

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