Who Made VLC?
VLC was created by VideoLAN.
What is VideoLAN?
VideoLAN is a group of volunteers that produce and distributes free and open source software for video and multimedia purpose, released under Open Source licenses.
It was started as a student project at the French École Centrale Paris but is now a worldwide project with developers from everywhere and dozens of millions of people using VideoLAN’s software.
What is the legal structure of VideoLAN?
VideoLAN is a French non-profit organization.
VideoLAN has its own bank account and is fully responsible of this website.
What are the differences between VLC, VLC media player, VideoLAN Client, VideoLAN Server and VideoLAN?
VLC is the official name of VideoLAN’s main product, often named VLC. VideoLAN Client is an ancient name of this product.
VideoLAN Server is another product of VideoLAN, but is discontinued since a long time.
VideoLAN is not a software, see 1.1 of this FAQ.
VLC media player
Does VLC support DVDs from all regions?
This mostly depends on your DVD drive. Testing it is usually the quickest way to find out. The problem is that a lot of newer drives are RPC2 drives these days. Some of these drives don’t allow raw access to the drive untill the drive firmware has done a regioncheck. VLC uses libdvdcss and it needs raw access to the DVD drive to crack the encryption key. So with those drives it is impossible to circumvent the region protection. (This goes for all software. You will need to flash your drives firmware, but sometimes there is no alternate firmware available for your drive). On other RPC2 drives that do allow raw access, it might take VLC a long time to crack the key. So just pop the disc in your drive and try it out, while you get a coffee. RPC1 drives should ‘always’ work regardless of the regioncode.
Where does VLC store its config file?
Currently, a config file is created on a per user basis (there is no global configuration file). If you modify the available options in VLC and save the new configuration, then a configuration file will be created in your user directory. The precise location of this file depends on the Operating System you are running:
- Linux / Unix: $(HOME)/.config/vlc/vlcrc (v0.9.0 and above), $(HOME)/.vlc/vlcrc (v0.8 and older)
- Mac OS X: HOME/Library/Preferences/VLC
- Windows 95/98/ME: C:\Windows\Application Data\vlc\vlcrc
- Windows XP/2000: C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\vlc\vlcrc
- BeOS: config/settings/vlcrc
What do I do if my copy of VLC has a strange behavior…
The first thing to do is to reset the VLC preferences in the preferences dialog of the application and restart VLC. If VLC doesn’t even start anymore, delete VLC’s configuration file (see the previous question to know about its location). Then restart VLC. If it does not get any better, read the following questions!
What do I do if the videos are too dark
Often this is caused by video hardware overlay problems:
- If it is only one video then use the "Settings" menu, option "Extended GUI" and try to increase the Gamma value in the "Video" tab.
- Check your video card settings and turn off hardware video overlay. If the videos now play with proper lighting, then deinstalling and reinstalling the video drivers might help.
What if my player can’t read DVDs!
Here are a few things to check:
- If you are on Linux/Unix, did you install the ””’libdvdcss””’ package?
- Do you have write access to your DVD device? For instance, from the console:
# chmod 666 /dev/dvd
where /dev/dvd is the device corresponding to your DVD drive.
The video runs but the picture is distorted
There is probably a problem with the output layer. There are several ways of troubleshooting it. First, try with another output plugin, for instance:
% vlc -V sdl
% vlc -V x11
Second, change your screen depth and/or definition. It quite often helps. Lastly, if running Unix, have a look at your X.Org video driver.
Video is choppy
Your system might be too slow to decode all pictures. It might be that your CPU basically is not fast enough. It can also be that the subsystem is misconfigured/misdriven, this happens for example under Redhat Linux. Here are some elements to improve speed:
- Turn on DMA on your DVD device, for instance:
- Under Linux:
# hdparm -d1 /dev/dvd
- Under Windows, go to the System section of the control panel, and go to the Hardware manager (it is sometimes in a separate tab, and sometimes, you have to go to the Advanced tab. Then, righ-click on your DVD player, and check the DMA checkbox.
- Upgrade to the latest driver for your video board.
If you are running Linux, you can additionnaly upgrade to the latest X.Org version. If supported, check that the xvideo plug-in is effectively used with:
% vlc -vv
- Stop other running applications…
- Try disabling framedropping. Framedropping allows VLC not to decode some pictures when the CPU is overloaded, but can result in choppier playback under certain conditions.
Framedropping behaviour can be configured in the Video preferences of VLC.
Audio and video are out of sync
Try using another audio output plugin and, under Unix, kill esd, artsd or pulseaudio if they are running. If the problem is due to the input file, have a look at the "Audio desynchronisation compensation" option.
Increase the verbosity level (either in the preferences or with a -vv command line option) and look at the debug messages (in the terminal or in the Messages window).
If you are convinced that it is a bug in VLC, have a look at the bug reporting page.
How can I take screenshots?
To take a snapshot of the video displayed by VLC, you just need to press the pre-defined snapshot hotkey:
- Windows / Linux / Unix: Ctrl+Alt+S
- Mac OS X: Command+Alt+s
To change it, go to Preferences -> Interface -> Hotkeys settings, check Advanced options, and set Take video snapshot.
You can also take a snaphot via the menu Video -> Snapshot.
To change the snapshot format or directory, go to Preferences -> Video.
Where are my screenshots?
If you haven’t changed the snapshot directory in your preferences, your screenshots should go to:
- Windows: My Documents\My Pictures\
- Linux / Unix: $(HOME)/.vlc/
- Mac OS X: Desktop/
To change it, go to Preferences -> Video -> Video snapshot directory.
My file doesn’t seem to work!
Are you sure VLC supports the file? Try checking the features page. If it supported and you compiled VLC yourself, check if you have downloaded and installed all the codecs correctly. If it is not supported, then you are out of luck for now.
Note: At present, especially WMV3, the most recent Real Player, and the most recent Indeo Video ("IV50", etc.) files are not supported by VLC and are not going to be in the near future.
VLC doesn’t display all subtitles
If VLC has autodetected your subtitles file, or if you opened it manually, but VLC only diplays some subtitles from time to time, you will need to change the subtitles file encoding.
Go to Preferences -> Input / Codecs -> Other codecs -> Subtitles, and set Subtitle text encoding to the right one.
See this reference: ISO Standard for various characters sets.
Why is my video purple? (a.k.a. the smurf effect)
Not sure. But many people have fixed this problem by changing their video output module.
Go to Preferences -> Video -> Output modules, and set Video output module to something different, like DirectX video output. Be sure you have advanced options enabled to be able to access this option. Also, you might need to disable the "YUV -> RGB" checkbox in DirectX section of Preferences -> Video -> Output modules.
VideoLAN streaming solution
Do I need a "streaming server"?
Well, there are in fact two kinds of streaming: passive streaming in which a movie is sent by a server and watched by one or several client, and Video On Demand (VOD) in which each client asks for its own stream.
- In passive streaming, the client has no control upon the server, and must subscribe for instance to a multicast group to receive the stream. This kind of streaming needs a server able to send data on a network with a protocol such as UDP multicast or RTP, for instance VLS or VLC stream output. The client side needs a player supporting such protocols, as VLC does.
- In Video On Demand, no specific "streaming server" is required, but the client must be able to read the stream in real time, instead of just dowloading the whole video before one can start viewing it. A simple protocol such as HTTP is sufficient for Video On Demand, so you just have to put your movie on a web server, and use a clever player to view it in real time, VLC for instance However of course you will not be able to view movies in real time if your network is too slow, so you MUST check that the average bandwith of your network link is higher than the average bandwith of your movie (size / duration). If it is not the case, VLC will try to keep in real time as much as possible, so you will probably get only the audio track and no video.
VLC vs. VLS
Technically, there is an important difference:
- VLC opens all the system layers of the input stream, regenerate them all and then stream the result on the network or write it to a file. So VLC is good at streaming untrusted video and/or audio sources, like the video files found on the Internet and/or produced by non-professionnal software. VLC implements many muxers/demuxers (ps, ts, avi, ogg, mp4, …) and many codecs, which allows to convert encapsulation formats and/or transcode an input stream on-the-fly ! VLC also has nice graphical interfaces.
- VLS only opens the highest system layers of the input stream and only has PS and TS demuxers. So VLS is good at streaming from trusted video and/or audio sources in PS or TS format produced by professional software or hardware like DVDs and DVB channels (satellite or digital terrestial TV) because it only regenerate the system layers that need to be regenerated, and no more. VLS is specially well designed to stream multiplexed TS streams, for instance a whole DVB transponder. VLS only has a TS muxer, doesn’t do transcoding and doesn’t have graphical interfaces.
Does VLC track and record the causes of bug reports?
No. VLC does not track or know what file you were watching when/if a file crashes and a Bug report is sent out.
Can VLC play zip files?
Yes. The latest versions of VLC allow you to drag zip files right into the player. VLC will identify any media files in the file and will automatically play them.
Are there any files that VLC can’t play?
Yes. Here are some known unplayable files;
Codecs: Some VC-1, G2M3, some Indeo, MSS*, some WMV, H264/MVC Formats: BWF, STL, MXF extensions, HD-DVD, Blu-Rays and 3D files .
Can VLC play Blu Ray?
Not currently but that is part of the long term plan as stated by VLC.