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Complete Guide to Master VLC Media Player

Updated on March 29, 2017

VLC media player is a cross-platform and completely free multimedia playback solution. In multimedia playback software space, it is certainly a popular title and is more like a Swiss Army Knife of video players, thanks to its wonderful playback support for almost all major media file formats, including AVI, WMV, MKV, and MP4; as well as media discs and network streams.

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That was just the tip of the iceberg! The multimedia player can stream files from the web, stream file to the web, capture webcam videos, manage podcast and, of course, play Blu-rays and DVDs too. It comes with numerous powerful options which some users, especially novices, may find a bit challenging at first glance.

The following tips will, for sure, prove handy to help you better understand VLC media player and all its features.

Multimedia Playback

VLC is able to play all common audio and video file formats without external codecs. With it, you can play a wide range of audio and video files and you’ll receive no annoying notifications asking for a separate codec.

Easily use VLC with other programs

Software that provides flexibility can be a bit heavy on your system resources. By using such powerful players, you cannot initiate multitasking. That is, for sure, not the case with this multimedia application. Whether you are using the tool on your Windows machine or on a Mac or Linux, it works seamlessly without hampering your system performance. You can easily perform multiple tasks even if the program is running.

VLC is more than just a DVD player

VideoLAN’s VLC not only reads DVDs but is also capable of playing CDs, VCDs, and SVCDs without a hitch. As for opening files, FLAC and OGG fans will be happy to know that it can play a wide range of media files you toss at it, including ISO disc images.

Besides, it is also efficient at playing music and movies from the web or over your local network. The software is able to handle numerous media file format to provide you a pleasant user experience.

Convert media files

Are you aware of the fact that VLC can also be used to convert media files to different formats? Yes, you read it right, the program allows you to choose exactly how you want to convert your media files or you can simply use a given preset.

To get started, simply navigate to Media > Convert/Save. Now add a media file you want to convert and then hit Convert/Save. A list will appear asking you to select the codec you want to convert your media file into.

Change VLC appearance with customizable skins

VLC, in the context of looks, always seems a dull or droopy media player, though you can easily customize it the way you prefer. If you want to make the utility more fancy and colorful, you can do so by following 2 simple ways as given below.

  • Customize the player at interface
  • Or install skins

To install appealing skins just make your way to the official VLC website. After installing a skin, head back to the program on your system and then go to Tools > Preferences > Interface. Now select the Use custom skin option under the Look and Feel portion and then point it toward your saved options. You can find a gamut of different skins at the official website; some of the available skins are very appealing.

Capture screenshots from videos

With this multimedia player, one can easily capture screenshots of videos, even during DVD playback. To capture a screenshot from a video simply navigate to Menubar > Video > Snapshot. The program, by default, saves captured screenshots to your Pictures folder as ‘VLC – date and time’. In case you want your captured snapshots to be stored somewhere else, you can adjust the settings by navigating to Preferences > Video > Snapshot.

Remotely control VLC

You can remotely control the multimedia player from a computer that even doesn’t have a VLC program installed on it. The program comes with an option that helps you remotely control it. To enable this feature, all you need to do is go to Tools > Preferences and then click the ‘All’ named radio button under Show Settings. Now set the Lua HTTP password under the Interface > Main and Lua option.

Subscribe to Podcasts

If you are in quest of a simple yet effective podcast subscription program, VLC may well suffice your needs. It allows you to subscribe to your favorite audio and video podcasts and then use all of them right within the application.

To enable the feature, go to the Playlist sidebar > Podcast and hover your mouse over it. A ‘+’ option will appear on your screen - just click on it and add the address of a podcast you want to stream into the box. That’s it! You can now stream any episode of the podcast from within the utility.

Slow down or double the playback speed

This feature of VLC is quite handy when you want to watch a media file mainly for the content, such as audiobooks, podcasts, recorded lectures, etc. To get started, press the ‘]’ key, this will fast forward your playback speed by 0.1x for each press. If you want to make it slow then press ‘[’ key instead. For Macs, you can use the slider in Playback to slow down or double the playback speed.

Watch YouTube videos

Are you among those who want to play YouTube videos outside a web browser? If yes, VLC can help you out. Enable the feature by selecting a YouTube video and then copying its URL. Now go to the program and click the Media Menu > Open Network Stream. A box will appear, just paste the copied URL into that. The media player will then load the selected video from YouTube and will play it in a VLC window on your machine.

Apply audio and video effects

VLC is good enough to apply audio and video effects. To get started, just click the Tool menu and choose Effects and Filters option. From here you can apply a wide range of video effects such as rotating, cropping, colorizing or overlaying. On the audio side, you can use the usual equalizers to tune up your music.

Add watermarks on video

Using this multimedia tool, you can even add watermarks on a video, bypassing the need for such an application to do so. To save your video with watermark, you’ll have to make use of the program’s recording feature, though.

You can add a watermark on a video by going to Tools > Effect and Filters. Clicking on the Video Effects option under Overlay allows you to add either a logo or simple text to the video.

ASCII Playback

This feature of VLC is not very popular but is definitely an amusing one. With the use of ASCII playback, your media files will be displayed as ASCII characters rather than normal display. Though the feature is totally impractical, you can use it just to amuse or surprise someone.

To enable ASCII playback feature simply click on the Tools option > Preferences and then click Video icon. Click the Outbox box and then select Color ASCII art video output. After doing so, save your settings and give the program a restart. Now you can enjoy ASCII playback each time you play a video. The feature works best with the simple videos.

Once you are done and want to get back to the normal mode, just click the Output box and select Automatic.


You can install VLC player on your device from a flash or any other external drive. The audio/video player is small in size and enormously powerful to fulfill all your multimedia needs. The multimedia player is available on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can run the application even on your Android or iOS supported smartphones.


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    • HeenaGupta profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Ambala City

      Sure shopia. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Nice article on complete guide of VLC media player. Good Job Heena. Keep it up

      Could you plz write some tips & tricks on VLC?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Great Article !!!


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