Get Started--and Get Streaming--With VLC Media Player
We've made the point before that VLC Media Player, available for Windows, the Mac and Linux, is one of the best open source applications of any kind. The application is famous for handling nearly any kind of video file format for playback; you can use it as a video transcoder for converting video file formats; and you can listen to and manage podcasts with it.
A much improved version 2.0 of VLC Media Player arrived recently, and now a new version 2.03 is out, which primarily fixes some security holes. One thing that people routinely miss about VLC Media Player is that it's not just a player. You can use it to stream and broadcast video and other media content, and that includes streaming content to a smartphone, iPad or other mobile device. Here is our newly updated collection of getting started guides for VLC, including guides for streaming your content.
Broadcasting Basics. While the vast majority of VLC Media Player users use the application for watching video, it is also a fantastic video streaming server. There are many easy tutorials online that show how to do this if you're interested. CNet U.K. has a very visual, easy-to-follow tutorial on VLC streaming, available here. This tutorial is also a particularly simple, screenshot-driven guide, and video tutorials are available. You can find many more non-obvious uses for VLC Media Player in this post.
A Beginner's Guide. FLOSSManuals, which offers many free manuals on open source applications and platforms, has a good, concise, free online guide to installing and using VLC Media Player on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, found here. The instructions are good for introducing you to VLC Media Player's main functions. You'll find individual "chapters" on how to perform various functions along the left rail of the guide.
Tips and Tricks. ThinkDigit has a very good collection of tips and tricks on VLC Media Player, found here. You'll find tips on how to do non-obvious things like taking snapshots of video, streaming video across a network, overlaying logos and adding effects, and using VLC as a video transcoder.
Get the Portable Edition. VLC Media Player Portable is downloadable here. It's a lightweight version of the application that you can even carry on a pocket USB flash drive for playing and working with media anywhere, on any computer.
Ripping DVDs. Many people love VLC Media Player for ripping DVDs (you can also watch them with it--which I do on airplanes). The How-To Geek has done a nice visual tour showing how to rip DVDs with VLC. For many users of the application, this is a favorite capability.
Skin It. Not everyone realizes it, but you can skin VLC Media Player to look much more slick than it typically does. Check out this tutorial for step-by-step instructions on making the application look great.
Finally, don't forget that there is ample documentation and there are tutorials available from the VLC Media Player site.
Spend a little time getting to know aspects of VLC Media Player that you may not be used to. It will be worth your while.