Under the Hood With VLC Media Player: 4 Resources

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 20, 2009

In July, we covered the much updated version 1.0 of VLC Media Player. You can download a new version 1.0.1 for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux here, and if you don't already use it, it's fantastic. I find that it consistently plays video file formats that other players have problems with, and there is much more under the hood in this open source media player than many people realize. For example, you can use it to broadcast your own video content, you can use it as a video transcoder for converting video file formats, and you can listen to and manage podcasts with it. VideoLAN, which makes VLC Media Player, reports that version 1.0 has already hit 14 million downloads.

VLC Media Player is so powerful, though, that it could use better documentation (As I write this, the wiki for VLC Media Player's documentation is down altogether). In this post, I'll round up four good tutorial resources that can introduce you to some of the many useful VLC Media Player features that may not be immediately apparent.

A Visual Guide. FLOSSManuals, which offers many free manuals on open source applications and platforms, has a good, concise, free online guide to installing VLC Media Player on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, found here. The instructions aren't specific to the brand new version 1.0, but they're perfectly 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 take 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 version 1.0 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 recently did a nice visual tour shoowing how to rip DVDs with VLC. You start by going to the Media menu, and choosing Convert/Save, then you're off to the races.

Spend a little time with the new version of VLC Media Player, and these resources. It's a very useful application, and fun too.