6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

intro2   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know AboutVideoLan’s VLC media player is a real box of tricks. We’ve already established that it pretty much plays everything, requires little in the way of system resources and is just as effective on a Windows operating system as it is on Mac or Linux.

If you’ve not used VLC in the past (and are desperate for a decent media solution) then I’d urge you to download it and give it a go. Those of you who are already using VLC might be surprised to know there’s a few features that don’t really get the recognition they deserve.

Here are a few VLC tips and tricks that will hopefully help you get more use and enjoyment from VLC.

Streaming Capabilities

One use for VLC that not many users are too familiar with is its capacity as a network streaming workhorse. As you can see from the diagram below, using VLC as a streaming solution for your media gives you one of the best cross-compatible media sharing setups around, especially useful if you have a variety of PCs and operating systems in your household.

vlc streaming   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

If you’re looking to stream video from your home PC whilst you’re away then you can also set VLC to stream to the Internet. Dont forget to sort out your DNS settings beforehand for a pain-free connection!

If you’re wondering how to get the most out of VLC’s streaming abilities, check out Angela’s detailed article.

Rip & Transcode Videos

Whilst there are a number of good, free video converters, why download even more software when you can already do it with VLC? Not only can VLC be used to convert video from one format to another, but it can also be used to rip disc-based media (video or music), live streams (television, cable, satellite) or network streams to file.

transcode1   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

To get started open VLC and click Media then Convert/Save. You’ll be presented with a dialogue which allows you to choose between converting, ripping and saving to file. Once you’ve added source media (to record from) click Convert/Save.

transcode2   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

The next window allows you to choose encoding settings such as codecs and output location. Don’t forget to have patience, transcoding video is resource-intensive and can take a while (regardless of how much the software costs).

Internet Radio & Podcast Management

Reaffirming its role as a multi-use media player, VLC also contains in-built Internet radio listings and a podcast aid to boot. Simply open your Playlist and select Internet on the left. You should then see a number of services pop up including Icecast Radio and Jamendo Selections. It’s all free, and there’s full albums available if that’s your thing.

podcast   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

If you’d like VLC to keep a track of podcasts then hover Podcasts in the Playlist and click on the plus symbol “+” that appears. Enter the podcast’s URL to add it to your database.

Video Effects

Partly useful, partly there for fun; there’s plenty you can do to your video files with VLC to spice things up a bit. Whilst playing a video (this works in real time) click Tools and then Effects and Filters to open the adjustments window.

videofx   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

Choose Video Effects from the first tab, and have a play around. You can adjust useful settings like gamma, brightness and hue should you have a poor-quality (too dark, bad white balance) video file. The other tabs are mostly reserved for fun, with crazy psychedelic and water effects to choose from as well as video rotation, text and logo overlay options.

Snapshots

If you’ve ever wanted, needed or tried to take a still image of a video then you may have had issues using the usual “print screen” methods. Luckily VLC features the ability to take a snapshot and save to .PNG format in a location of your choice.

snapshot   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

You can either pause, jog and find the exact scene you want or take your shot during playback. With a video open in VLC, choose Video then Snapshot (or right click on the video and use the context menu). VLC will then show a brief overlay of the snapshot in the top left, and the snapshot will be saved to the location defined in Preferences then Video under Snapshot.

Play Video as ASCII Output

Last on the list as it has absolutely no real use, but will probably bring a grin to your face nonetheless. In VLC choose Tools then Preferences and click on Video. Under Output choose ASCII -art video output and click Save.

ascii   6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

Now play a video and enjoy the amazing spectacle that is moving ASCII art. Useless, but fun!

Do you use VLC? Maybe you prefer SMPlayer or UMPlayer? Any of these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

22 Comments -

MW3 FORUM

Such a powerful tool VLC is, “Play Video as ASCII Output” seemed to be of amusement.

Kurtchristie

I love vlc, using it mainly for streaming radio stations. I did not know about the tricks, so thanks for them. Will check out a few of them

DeadlyDad

Same here. You can use its command line kung fu to schedule a task that records your favourite radio programs automatically.

Anonymous

I use KMPlayer now. I used VLC but the interface isnt nice and pretty

ShapeofLovw

there’s bunch “nice and pretty” VLC skins for download

Aibek

KMPLayer is good but I find it a bit heavy on resources. Also it used to hang for me when opening high def videos.

Yalol

VLC rocks. Been using MPC-HD lately, but it isn’t as much lighter as this little player.

Dan

I prefer MPC-HD too. But VLC is a great back-up player. BTW, in your 2nd tip, you forgot to mention that you can also capture audio/video from your webcam. It’s rudimentary but works in a pinch.

Tim Turner

Uninstalled for UM Player. There’s something I never liked about VLC but can’t put a finger on it.

Aibek

give it another try!

Oldgoat1957

Every time I read something about VLC, I find out something else it can do. It certainly is an impressive utility.

Wrigsster

I have used VLC for years – it basically saves the bacon everytime you come across a dodgy codec somewhere.

One feature of VLC not mentioned in this article is its ability to screen TV if you have a TV Card in your PC. All you need is to have a channels.conf file in your folder. Then it is simply File, Load and you load channels.conf and choose what channel you want to watch. If you are unsure on how to setup a channels.conf file just google it. i use Linux and used wscan to build the file – took all of about 2 minutes here in Perth Western Australia. it works a treat and is so darned fast.

Rdpmd2

Are these features available in the MAC version of VLC? I have VLC v 1.1.9 and most of these are not present!

Tina

The features list on the Video Lan homepage doesn’t reveal major difference between features supported on Windows and Mac, so I would think that these features are available.

Why don’t you try it and report back?

Sastier

Can play any region code!

Hfrankjr1

This isn’t a trick per se, but a feature that’s useful to students of foreign language. You can repeat a sentence over and over until it’s seared into your brain. And change its speed to boot. http://www.fanhow.com/knowhow:Loop_Video_and_Audio_on_VLC_Media_Player_35101734
I used to have to connect a tape end to end and loop it around to have it do this. Didn’t work too well.

Hfrankjr1

This isn’t a trick per se, but a feature that’s useful to students of foreign language. You can repeat a sentence over and over until it’s seared into your brain. And change its speed to boot. http://www.fanhow.com/knowhow:…
I used to have to connect a tape end to end and loop it around to have it do this. Didn’t work too well.

Nmmaa_nmmaa

yeah i use it…pretty good but i dont like it’s playlist

Martin

I love the skin of Tim, what is the name of the skin? Martin

Tim Brookes

The skin in question is not a VLC skin but a theme for the window manager I use in Ubuntu.

If you’re interested the theme is called “Neutronium Sexyness” for the Emerald Window Decorator.

Tim

Martin

Hi Tim, thanks. I use Windows so such a skin is not available I understand. Too bad that there are no pretty skins available (I also checked the VLC skins site)

Mixed2dmax

VLC is D bestestsys love that u can Play Video as ASCII Output…. Very Geeky “going to capture a picture of myself in ASCII… because i can and im a geek….