Have you ever tried to watch a video file only to find out your usual media player program can’t play it? QuickTime and Windows Media Player come preloaded on most computers, but they don’t play every file type.
VLC is a free, open-source media player that plays almost every audio and video file format in existence, plus CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray. It even handles webcams and streaming content, and it can convert media from one format to another.
Not only is it powerful, it’s lightweight. There isn’t an overabundance of flashy features and useless add-ons. That means it runs fast. Plus there are no ads!
If you use Windows, you can just click the big, orange “Download VLC” button on the homepage. If you use a Mac, click the “Other Systems” link just below that.
During installation, you’ll see a list of options in checkbox form. If you scroll down you’ll see an area called file associations. By default VLC will tweak your computer settings so it’s the default media player for every media file (every media program tries to do this).
If you prefer to use iTunes or another program for audio, uncheck the audio option. You can uncheck video as well if you’re just testing the program. You can also check or uncheck specific file types to associate with VLC, but most users won’t need to go that far.