25 things you can do with VLC Media player!

VLC is beyond doubts the most popular open source, cross-platform media player and multi-media framework written by VideoLAN projects. VLC player is small in size, just about 17 Mb and immensely powerful! In this post we will explore the player and list 25+ things you can do with VLC player.

1- Run/Install VLC from flash drives
VLC can be installed or run directly from a flash or other external drive. It is light weight and small in size.

2- Portability: Play any DVD on the go, ignoring region coding
For the new bees, I will throw some light on DVD regions. According to Wikipedia there are six different official regions and two informal variations. Any DVD discs may use one code, a combination of codes (Multi-Region), most codes (Region 0) or every code/no codes (Region All). Any commercial DVD player specification requires that a player to be sold in a given place not plays discs encoded for a different region. Put it simply;

DVDs manufactured for one region will not play in players made for a different region. Usually to play dvds from other region you often require illegal DVD region spoofing programs. However VLC player is so powerful that it can play DVD’s encoded for any region .i.e. it ignores region coding. This feature is so helpful if you are an international traveler and require playing DVD outside the country.

3- Play anything, audio or video!
VLC player can play any common audio formats (OGG, MP3, WAV ,WMA….) and almost all kinds of video file formats, including rare file formats, without installing external codecs.  VLC player is an ideal replacement for even ITunes . That is to say you would never get the annoying notifications saying it ”your player needs a codec for MP4, FLAC or Raw DV…”! play anything you want!

4- AirTune  Streaming
AirTunes is functionality for Apple’s Airport Express. This functionalities allows one to play media files on your home stereo speakers. This feature was initially developed to work with iTunes, but now VLC has officially added the support for AirTunes streaming as well.


5- Effortlessly use VLC player with other programs

Its my personal experience that powerful players that offer flexibility are very heavy on system resources. You can only play the player and your multi-tasking is literally paralyzed.  That is just not the case with VLC. Whether you are playing ti on Mac, Windows or Linux, you will feel VLC is light and enables you to extensively multitask.

6- Minimize VLC player to system try!


7- Convert your files using VLC
VLC is amazing!! You can convert your media files using VLC player. VLC  can also convert videos to formats it supports and one can also specify whether or not to use system codecs. I have loaded  an mp3 file that I can convert to acc, mp4, OGG,ASF TF etc!
Another interesting consequence:
Usually pdf files cannot be read with multimedia files in mobiles. You can convert your pdf files to to MP3 or MP4. This way they can be read on any multimedia plaer and also will consume much less space. To convert simply Menubar->Media->Convert/Save.


8- Screenshot your video!
With VLC  one can also take screenshots of videos, even during DVD playback. This is indeed a very attractive feature. To capture a snapshot go to Menubar->Video->Snapshot


9- Play subtitles

When playing a movie you might not always have the option of playing subtitles. In such a case you can download subtitles from website like moviesubtitles.org. You can either rename the subtitle file to match the name of your movie or you can browser the file to enable it. In the previous case (renaming the file) play the file and simply right-click on the screen and go to subtitles, you will be surprised! The subtitles are already enabled! In the later case, you can manually browse the subtitles file and enable it by File->File Open->Check the Use Subtitles checkbox ->browse the file->play.


10- Add Logo to your video like a TV!
You can add logos to your video by following the following simple steps:

  • First install vlc-nox and mono-devel:
sudo apt-get install vlc-nox mono-devel
  • Go to the folder where you have your video + logo.png (make sure to place the logo and the video int he same directory)
  • In local type the following command :   vlc –sub-filter logo –logo-file logo.png video.avi 
  • In streaming: vlc –logo-file logo.png video.avi –sout “#transcode{vcodec=…,vb=…,sfilter=logo}:std{…}”
  • Note: Do not specify –sub-filter logo, and that you specify a vcodec= value in the transcode part
  • Save the video locally with the logo:
vlc --logo-file logo.png video.avi --sout "#transcode{vcodec=...,vb=...,sfilter=logo}:std{access=file,dst=new_video.avi }

11- Control and customize VLC
One can easily control the VLC player with keyboard/joy sick using Hotkeys and perform various fucntions like switch to full-screen, begin playback, pause playing, speedup or slow playback or skip to next section. bbb You can refer to the list of hotkeys here. The most exciting things is that you can completely customize the hotlkeys to suit your use. In later post we will let you know how you can customize the hotkeys.


12- View fullscreen videos and simultaneously control the player with hotkeys. Hotkey: Ctrl+H
13- View videos with minimal interface. i.e watch vidoes in fullscreennd keep watch on other applications in the taskbar as well. Hotkey: F11


14- Customize interface of VLC

VLC player gives the user the freedom to customize its interface. You may want to make the player look more colorful and fancy as by default the interface is fairly plain. You can accomplish it in 2 ways:

  • Either customize the VLC player qt interface.
  • Install skins

In the upcoming post we have introduced you to VLC players interface in detail.



The above figure is interface of VLC that is skinned.

15- Control VLC remotely!
You can control VLC player remotely from a computer that does not even have VLC. all you need to do it to enable access in the .hosts file (from 0.9.6 onwards) and follow as below:

  • Add the files to be streamed to the playlist like /home/file.mpg (unless you use the UI to select the file in the next step)
  • Add streaming destination to the server in the sout field udp://:1234, using these steps in the UI:
  • Go to File -> Open File
  • Click Browse to select the file you want to play
  • Select Stream/Save and click Settings
  • Optional: Select Play Locally to make sure everything is working correctly
  • Select UDP and fill in the client IP address and port number (default: 1234)
  • Click OK, OK, and press play
  • At the terminal, with vlc udp://@:1234
  • Start up VLC normally Go to File -> Open network stream, leave the default options (Radio button UDP selected, port set to 1234) then press OK ( See bellow)

The technique was already illustrated here.

16- Automatically Quit VLC after playing your video!

To quit the vlc after you have played your movie you can simply add vlc://quit to the play list. You can also shutdown the computer, however this is not a feature of vlc. Follow these steps to do so:

  • Create a .sh file
  • # !  /bin/sh
  •  vlc  && shutdown -h now

17- Play damaged and unfinished videos!

Because VLC is a packet-based media player, it can play the video content of some damaged, incomplete or unfinished videos. This is my favorite feature as I often end up with broken video files due to internet connection issues.

18- Play RAR files!
With VLC you can play videos zipped inside RAR files. VLC has the ability to play series of RAR files all you need to do it to load the very first part like (.part001.rar ). It will automatically take the rest of the parts and play the whole file. You can also use the seek bar!

19- Play ISO files
VLC player also has the ability to use libcdio to access .iso files so that the user can play files on a disk image, even if the user’s operating system does not have the capability of working directly with .iso images.

20- Rip DVDs
VLC player includes a basic DVD ripper. This might not be a very attractive feature today nevertheless it seeks to improve with the later versions.

21- Record videos!
With VLC, you can record videos during playback. To do so click on View>Advanced Control to show off the hidden record button. As the button appears you can record video while playing and click the button again to finish recording.

22- Record Live TV!
VLC can also record live TV from a decoder card and act as a sort of mini-DVR in that respect; provided you have TV decoder card.

23-Listen to online radio!
VLC comes with countless shortcuts to radio stations, browse any of your favorite and enjoy it!
Else you can of course always simply find a link to a radio stream and then open it as you would any other network stream in VLC. Enable the shortcuts throughMedia>Services Discovery>Shoutcast radio listings.

24- Play in ASCII mode!

You can playback any video in ascii mode. To enable ASCII mode, open VLC media player and click on Tools>Preferences. Open the section “Video” section and under “Output” select “Color ASCII art video output” from the drop down menu. Save it. Now play any video file to enjoy the ASCII art.

25- Drag and drop files to play in VLC!


VLC is an acronym of VideoLAN Client, however, today VLC is far more than a simple client. VLC can act as streaming server and client . You can set up VLC to stream media from a file or from a DVD as a server, and then another client can stream that media, without having to encode the file first. VLC is the indeed the king of video and audio players and a pride fro opensource community! If you havent yet installed vlc then dont waste time anymore, download it here.

  • http://yogieza.wordpress.com yogieza

    I agree,i’m always using vlc for play video in debian 6

  • Rob

    Can VLC remember last played positions of videos yet? This basic function is long over due.

  • Simon


    Use VLC with any system user that you damn well please.

  • http://www.egrovesys.com eGrove System

    this is good news for the VLC Media user like me, am always using VLC only even if i have more medias. cause this only be as comfortable to use. and its rarely gives problem. good products and thanks for the products and for this post.

  • Podsgrove

    Two things I don’t know how to do with VLC:
    1. Make it my default player in Ubuntu, which otherwise defaults to Mplayer.
    2. Make it default to random play when I right click on a folder of music tracks and choose ‘open with VLC’.
    Can anybody put me wise?

  • Zinovsky

    Podsgrove, please follow the instructions in this post to change the default program in Ubuntu [url=http://www.unixmen.com/linux-tutorials/670-quick-tips-change-the-default-program-on-ubuntu]click here[/url]

  • http://enteryoursiteURL... bk

    Yawn. A lot of those features are redundant and boring. Skinning? Lol — big deal.


  • marco

    Can you explain how vlc is supposed to convert pdf to mp3/mp4? (point 7)

  • Innocent Bystander

    Just curious, what is the reason VLC is not the default player in Ubuntu or LinuxMint?

  • Podsgrove

    Thank you, Zinovsky

  • sc

    You can also use it for karaoke. I open an mp3 and vlc will automatically load the cdg file providing that you have it in the same folder. Very nice program.

  • ginjabunny

    also, record live internet radio stream to mp3, I do this on my Ubuntu server so I can listen to programs on my mp3 player, took a bit of figuring out

    vlc -I "dummy" –quiet –no-video –sout "#transcode{aenc=ffmpeg,acodec=mp3,ab=128,channels=2,samplerate=44100}:std{access=file,mux=ffmpeg,dst=output.mp3}" playlist.pls

  • AC

    Is/will VLC be available for the ARM architecture (Cortex A8/A9) in Ubuntu 11.04? I am thinking if buying an ARM based mini laptop, but if I can’t get VLC for it, I’ll get something else.

  • biq

    play dvb-t … for example with usb dvb-t dongle.

  • jack

    Wow… I really didnt know about 10 of them.

    Converting video files?


    First post of this kind that ive ever forwarded to others.

  • http://enteryoursiteURL... louigi

    VLC is a great tool, however

    1. It will not ignore all the region coding – latest DRM VLC cannot beat and I have several cds which can only be read with the help of special cracking software.

    2. A lot of the features are difficult to use. For instance, conversion tool for most of the time delivers empty files, because you either happened to input some parameters it did not like or who knows what. Most of the time I would not be able to convert files using vlc – it just doesn;t work.

    3. on a more general note, vlc features require good technical knowledge, lots of things you have to write in the command line or else know PRECISELY what combination of parameters to enter to make it all work.

  • http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/ drew Roberts

    I am trying to figure a way to get it to play a series of videos under program control while not "blinking" between videos. Do you know of a way to do this?

  • http://aqfl.net Ant

    System TRY?

  • http://enteryoursiteURL... gnuzer

    26 – Be put in jail for using a FLOSS which is able to play DRM-protected content.

  • http://www.egrovestaffing.com eGrove System

    this is my pleasure to say about VLC player, it has wonder options to use in manually

  • astenorh

    The script given doesn’t shut down vlc after playing, but the whole operating system.

  • kacy

    I see on youtube people getting shoutcast tv and movies on the older VLC’s but there does’nt seem to be a way on the newer VLC. Anyone know how or steps to get these?

  • SubgeniusD

    Conversion doesn’t work in Win 7 x64 either. At least audio to mp3 and video from flv.

    When those 2 common format conversions failed I just dismissed this VLC functions as irrelevant.

    So many other free, effective conversion pgms available for Windows and Linux.

  • alejandro

    Some more tips:
    * View videos at faster or slower speeds. Really saves you some time when watching talks… your brain really can process information much quicker than how [some] people talk =)

    * You can also use this script (on Linux) to use VLC to view the currently-downloading video from your browser (for instance, from YouTube, Vimeo and others). http://www.explodingpenguin.tv/2011/03/20/play-flash-video-in-vlc-and-save-after-flash-10-2-update-in-linux/ For me VLC provides a MUCH better full-screen viewing experience; plus, the fact that I can slow down/speed up the video really makes it worthwhile =)

  • http://tarakilishihub.com Duncan Murimi

    Wish VLC could resume last position i played on a file and resume from there. would totally make it total king of players.

  • Gagarin

    Rar and iso playback is great feature thanks for the tip.

    One BIG minus of VLC is the tiny tainy seekbar in full screen. I know it is already a ticket #3120, but could somebody please look into it? I sometimes want to go back like a minute for instant replay but it is not precise enough :-(

  • gouchout

    Its my favourite media player – I use it on my Debian wheezy box & if I have to use Windows I can still use VLC. The Firefox plugin is pretty good too. Its nice to read some cheerful advocacy for Free software – not everyone is a uber-geek & this is a "How-To" site after all.It’s this kind of app that beats the pants off Windows – I’m always amazed that MS software is supposed to be easy to use. Yeah, sure, if you buy a Dell, say, & never ever change anything. But as soon as you need a driver or have a problem, off you go into a maze of dodgy driver sites & even dodgier codec sites, etc etc. It takes real IT knowledge to get anywhere at all & not get trojaned on the way.
    Compared to that, Linux & Debian based distros in particular are a massive beath of fresh air. If you can’t get the software you want with a quick apt-get, there’ll be a wealth of safe,friendly forums & sites like this one to sort you out quickly. I have to use Windows & a lot of closed software at work as an App Dev – I’d go mad if I couldn’t come home to Debian. :-)

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  • john

    NEVER. EVER. USE _GREY_ font on white background! EVER! Are you trying to _destroy_ peoples eyesight????
    Are you sadists???

  • joe G

    Hi VLC is a brilliant box of audio and video tools.
    Please kindly advise … can VLC be customised so special settings can be saved to a preset menu for one button select ?
    yours faithfully.
    Joseph G.

  • joe G

    Can VLC keep personal settings for future video playback ?

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  • http://enteryoursiteURL... speedymac

    can anyone direct me to a site with a step by step insructions on how to record live streams that work as hav e tried several & not one of them work im useing the most recent vlc player 1.1 not 1.0 it would be a great help.Thank You

  • Anon


  • speedymac

    i don’t get it

  • http://tutorialstips.blogspot.com Azib Yaqoob

    This is really helpful article. I want to know if there is a way to add Logo in video just using VLC no other tools

  • Yoda

    I cannot get VLC to play blue ray dvds

  • pradeep belagal

    vlc much better than other media players, however i am unable to play second dat file format. (first is recognized played automatically (using Ubuntu 10.04)

  • mohammed wasim

    what about streaming video…..can it pick up streams through wifi

  • Shane

    A lot of these points are redundant and are not due to VLC’s capabilities.

  • Ubu

    Silly question but can VLC serve files (audio and video) to the outside Internet if I give someone the link to some sort of online media player I build into a web page? I currently already have many web pages online that I can access. I am hoping to easily share quick little audio or video files via the web with friends I provide the link.
    I post a link in a private forum I belong to. (http://foo.com/mymedia)
    They click on that and it brings up a GUI media player which allows them to chose files I am allowing to be seen by the media GUI player. They click on what they want and hit play. Done. I have been googling for awhile but can find anything. I run Ubuntu 10.04 on my web server. Apache2, MySQL, etc etc. thanks for any info u could point me to!

  • richard

    No bookmarks ? You have got to be kidding me, there is no functioning bookmark feature in this program, close the file and loose any bookmarks you have created.
    You have to use a stupid workaround using the save playlist, It is frustrating and counter productive.
    It renders this otherwise brilliant piece of software totally unusable for a lot of people.
    What’s worse is the developers actually defend the fact there is no decent save bookmarks feature, apparently the function is "in use" by another feature of the software.

    Ironically the worst person with ideas about a softwares UI is the developer.

  • Drey

    ascii mode is cool! Thanks!
    pity that You can’t play ascii fulscreen.

  • http://www.downloadaresfree.org/ Open Office

    Thanks i got this but never even realized you could do all that thanks for the heads up.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty cool.  Thanks.  Love VLC.

  • Dhirajsaxenarjit

    Could you please give more details about –  
    AirTune  Streaming & 
    Add Logo to your video like a TV ?

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    can i record as mp3 of video file

  • Chris Mac

    what about inputing audio from say, my dj mixer, and playing over air tunes around the house? a serato plugin would be awesome! lol

  • Anonymous

    How about 3D video?

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  • Opponent

    Nice article.

  • Ralph Brubaker

    Can I play several files one after the other?
    I want to take a bath, and watch a few episodes of The Simpsons without leaving the tub.

  • http://twitter.com/AmirulAbu Amirul Abu

    use playlist

  • Gary Johnson

    Using the “slower” play function on an MP3 is it possible to save or record this file at the slower speed? IE playing a song at the “slower(fine) mode it would be great to save it at that playback speed.  Thanks, Gary

  • Fi

    One of my favorite features which I think should also be mentioned in this article:

    If you happen to have one of those video files in which the sound and the video are out of sync.
    You can use VLC to synchronize sound and video again.

  • http://sharppencilstudio.com/ SPS

    Is it possible to view tracks in the Shuffle mode at the top of the list or highlighted so I don’t have to scroll to see what album they belong to? Looking for a solution similar to iTunes shuffled lists, where the tracks are shuffled and shown in order they will be playing.

  • Roger

    CTRL + L = open playlist

    then drag and drop all the videos you want to read…order them, etc

  • Jaskaran singh

     how to  view total duration of videos in vlc player

  • J.Travolta Masseuse Lovr

    > #10 sudo apt-get install vlc-nox mono-devel

    I think not.

    just when you thought you get rid of a disease, the NET penis envy crowd reappears somwhere… mono/NET is really like an STD…

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  • http://twitter.com/MikeTGS Mike TGS

    Wow, lot’s of good stuff! One thing I do with VLC is capture any MS
    Window by bringing up VLC with an empty image, click on the window of
    interest, press ESC and PrtScntogether and Ctrl-v into the VLC window. It will automatically size the image, then you can save it anywhere you ‘d like.. I use AHK to assign scipts to my win +P and win+q to do this automatically.

  • dingle

    how do i have a VLC video opened and kept to the front while multitasking with other applications.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/FreedomRich Rich Wendel

    Great to find VLC goodies on unixmen, after 17 years of search. Excellent site.

  • user1012

    LOL IT CONVERTS VIDEOS? -> VLC EPIC FAIL AT VIDEO CONVERSION. BUT ITS GOOD FOR WATCHING VIDEOS AND LISTENING MUSIC THATS ABOUT IT. ffmpeg is more reliable via terminal for video conversion that this feature in VLC that hardly anyone know about you said. seriously. *face to plam* Another thing mono sucks, there are better alternatives to use than momo frame work, when developing software.

  • SuperAxel

    Hello! I’am searching a way to remember my position on a track so that I can create playlist with the best moment of everysong, Is it possible to do on VLC? Is there a mediaplayer that can do that?

  • Anders Jackson

    As I understand it so do VLC use same encoders as ffmpeg. And yes, there are less code that can break when you use command line instead of a graphical UI.

    And may I ask what mono has to do with VLC? *facepalm*

  • Richard

    I have been searching for a solution to that problem too but with videos. I can’t see anyway to make VLC do this. And nobody can tell me how.
    However, I did find a media player called Movist that does it. I will never understand why VLC, the best in my opinion, does not design this feature into their player.

  • vlc

    from menu bar, Video – Always on top

  • merdenoire

    VLC also plays mp3 karaoke (cdg) files.

  • Magalaan

    Yes I love it too for its quality.
    But I hardly use it

    Because it has one fatal flaw
    It does not remember last position played
    We have been asking that for four years now
    They do not see the need

    they only produced a buggy plugin

  • avs

    Easy to disprove the hypothetical B.S. that VLC is region code free. I just tried different DVDs with different region codes and if the region changed in the VLC player it would changed in the Media Player. Basically my computer has got two Media Player Files. One called VLC and the other called Media Player.

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