We have much to thank the community for open source software, including Linux, GIMP, and VLC Media Player.
VideoLAN project started as a student at the Ecole Centrale Paris, in order to develop a versatile player capable of handling media audio, video and streaming content. The main result of this project to date is the VideoLAN Client (VLC) Media Player, now in version 0.8.6.
Think of something like Windows Media Player and you’re halfway VLC. It can play most common audio types such as OGG, MP3, WAV and WMA, and most types of videos such as AVI, MPEG and WMV, but it goes further than that. Key among its advantages is that you do not need a different codec such as WinDVD or PowerDVD to play DVD movies and there are versions of VLC media player for most common computing platforms.
The program in its default form looks pretty innocuous, like a mini skins for Windows Media Player, you do not get all the pop-ups say it needs a codec for MP4, FLAC, or raw DV . They are also covered by default in the VLC player and new formats are added all the time. The last update added WMV9 and Flash video.
VLC Media Player has a variety of skins of its own – all free to download, of course – so you can make it look like Windows Media Player, Vista or Mac OS X, or venture into something more hands. The controls are the most obvious for the transport of the media – play, pause, rewind, etc. – but there are others, including a graphic equalizer, video and color adjustment options to take a snapshot of the screen and shoot a video screen.
Play a DVD movie and you have full control of its menu system in the usual manner. You can run full screen without the player’s menu or state bands at the top or bottom. Video works well, even on a relatively low-power PC, we tested on an Athlon XP 2100 +.
Under the GNU General Public License, there are different versions for Windows, Mac, Linux, BeOS and BSD and all are released. VLC is totally free of cost and they do not cost you anything for personal use. You can also freely distribute the program (and help the development, if you want) as long as you respect the license terms.