VLC media player

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VLC media player

VLC media player 3.0.10 on Windows 10 with a fractal video
Basic data

developer VideoLAN
Publishing year 1996
Current  version 3.0.11 for Windows , macOS and Linux
(June 16, 2020)

3.2.11 for Android
(April 28, 2020)

3.2.11 for iOS
(June 9, 2020)

operating system Windows , macOS ,
GNU / Linux , Unix , BSD ,
Android , iOS etc. a.
programming language C , C ++
category Media player
License GPLv 2 and LGPLv 2.1
German speaking Yes

The VLC media player (initially " V ideo L AT C lient " called) is a portable , free Media Player - software both for various audio, video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs , video CDs and supports multiple streaming protocols and interfaces for TV Cards (e.g. DirectShow and BDA ). It can also act as servers for streaming in Uni - or multicast in IPv4 - and IPv6 - networks or as transcoders are used for the supported video and audio formats.

History and creation

The VLC media player has been developed by the VideoLAN team since 1996 . This consists of students from the French engineering school École Centrale Paris in Châtenay-Malabry near Paris and developers from over 20 countries, including the USA , the Netherlands , Norway and Germany . The program has been under GPLv 2 since February 1, 2001 and can therefore be distributed free of charge and improved by anyone.

In 2007 the VLC project decided not to upgrade to the recently published GPLv3 for license compatibility reasons, but to stay with version 2.

The graphical user interface of the VLC media player for the Windows and Linux variants was based on wxWidgets up to version 0.8.6 , and the Qt library is used from version 0.9.2 .

Version 1.0.0 was published on July 7, 2009. Support for decoding the formats AES3 (SMPTE 302M), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), True HD / MLP, Blu-ray Linear-PCM , QCELP (Qualcomm PureVoice) and RealVideo (version 3.0 and 4.0), and for the free format Dirac of the BBC . In addition, the existing decoders have been improved again and errors have been eliminated.

Since the end of 2009, a new graphical user interface for the VLC media player under Mac OS X has been developed under the project name Lunettes . The basis for this is the VLCKit. The old Cocoa interface has not been maintained since then.

With version 1.1.0 from June 2010, hardware acceleration was added, especially for playing HD videos, as well as support for mobile devices (such as cell phones ). Work was also carried out on support for the VP8 format as well as on the translation and the elimination of various errors.

In 2011 the license for the engine was changed from GPLv2 to LGPLv 2.1, the player itself remained GPLv2.

Version 2.0 ( Twoflower ) was released on February 18, 2012 . Innovations are u. a. support for BluRay discs (experimental), HD and 10-bit codecs, improvements in subtitles, etc. v. m.

At the beginning of November 2012, the VideoLan project started an initiative on Kickstarter.com to finance the development of a new version of the VLC media player for the new Windows 8 user interface . In total, the developers raised 47,056 pounds . Two permanent programmers are working on the new interface. The finished version should appear three months later in the “Windows Store for Windows 8” and even later for Windows RT . The first beta version for Windows 8.1 was released in October 2014. A version for Windows Phone was supposed to be released in November 2014, but it could not be kept. A first beta version was released in December 2014 .

Version 3.0 ( Vetinari ) was released on February 9, 2018 . The following innovations include: a. Support of 360 ° , 4K , 8K videos , Chromecast , hardware decoding.

Logo and version name

Developer Antoine Cellerier only knows the history of the logo from hearsay : one day, students from one of the network clubs at the École Centrale Paris came home drunk with a traffic safety cone. The VideoLAN project later emerged from this club. When looking for a logo for the program, the choice fell on the cone, which by then had already grown into a considerable collection of cones.

VLC 2.1.5 on Windows 8.1 with
Santa hat

Every year at Christmas time, the VLC media player wears a Santa hat on the start screen and in the icon . The program is based on the system time.

Up to version 1.0.x ( Goldeneye ) all publications were designated with code names that come from characters of the film James Bond 007 - Goldeneye , because the developers tested the original version with this film. From version 1.1.x ( The Luggage ), those from the Discworld novels are used.



The VLC media player is part of a complete streaming solution of the VideoLAN team, so for example the supply of a University - Campus with TV , which was a single receiver can also be the occasion for the development of the programs. Another component of this solution is the VideoLAN server , which has been replaced by special functions of the VLC media player . More about this streaming solution can be found in the VideoLAN article.

The VideoLAN team does not develop any decoders or encoders ( codecs ) itself . The VLC media player is rather to be understood as a framework program that combines various - separately developed - codecs under one user interface. The best known are u. a. FFmpeg , libmpeg2, x264 and x265 . These are made using specially designed or libraries involved demultiplexers combined. This means that reading behavior and fault tolerance differ significantly from other playback programs that are based on the codecs mentioned. Output libraries such as SDL can also be integrated in VLC.

Various effects can be applied in real time via filters . For example, the video can be rotated or the brightness and contrast changed.

The VLC media player runs on Android , BeOS , chromeOS , eComStation (or OS / 2 ), iOS , Linux , macOS , Syllable , tvOS , watchOS , Windows . Some other operating systems, such as B. BSD , are also supported, but there are no precompiled binary packages for them. There is also a portable version for Windows (which can be run from a USB stick without installation). Extensive customization of the user interface is possible using skins .


  • In mid-2019, an apparent security hole in the VLC media player attracted media attention. However, this was only a problem with an unpatched program library of various Linux distributions that had not been updated . The fact that, among other things, the CERT Association publicly warned of this apparent security gap, caused criticism, especially from the VLC developers.

Web links

Commons : VLC  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. www.videolan.org .
  2. Official downloads of the VLC media player. In: videolan.org. Retrieved July 5, 2020 .
  3. News archive. In: videolan.org. Retrieved on August 19, 2019 .
  4. VLC for Android. In: videolan.org. Retrieved April 14, 2020 (English).
  5. VLC for iOS. In: videolan.org. Retrieved on August 25, 2020 .
  6. App Store. In: apps.apple.com. Accessed August 26, 2020 (English).
  7. a b VLC engine relicensed to LGPL. VideoLAN , December 21, 2011, accessed December 17, 2013 .
  8. VLC reaches 2.1.2. VideoLAN , December 10, 2013, accessed December 17, 2013 .
  9. Rémi Denis-Courmont: VLC media player to remain under GNU GPL version 2. videolan.org, accessed on November 21, 2015 : " In 2001, VLC was released under the OSI-approved GNU General Public version 2, with the commonly- offered option to use "any later version" thereof (though there was not any such later version at the time). Following the release by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) of the new version 3 of its GNU General Public License (GPL) on the 29th of June 2007, contributors to the VLC media player, and other software projects hosted at videolan.org, debated the possibility of updating the licensing terms for future version of the VLC media player and other hosted projects, to version 3 of the GPL. [...] There is strong concern that these new additional requirements might not match the industrial and economic reality of our time, especially in the market of consumer electronics. It is our belief that changing our licensing terms to GPL version 3 would currently not be in the best interest of our community as a whole. Consequently, we plan to keep distributing future versions of VLC media player under the terms of the GPL version 2. [...] we will continue to distribute the VLC media player source code under GPL "version 2 or any later version" until further notice. "
  10. VLC 1.0 published  - Article at Golem.de , July 7, 2009.
  11. VLC for Mac - everything is only half as bad  - Article at Golem.de. December 18, 2009.
  12. VLC Media Player 1.1 as Release Candidate  - Article at Golem.de. May 27, 2010.
  13. VLC for the new Windows 8 User Experience ("Metro") by VideoLAN. In: kickstarter.com. Retrieved June 19, 2013 .
  14. VLC for the new Windows 8 User Experience fundraiser , at VideoLAN.org, November 29, 2012 (English)
  15. Witold Pryjda: VLC for Windows Phone should appear this November. In: WinFuture.de. November 5, 2014, accessed November 6, 2014 .
  16. VLC Player for Windows Phone: Beta version finally available, but fraught with major problems - UPDATE , December 9, 2014.
  17. VLC 3.0.0 is the first version of "Vetinari" branch of our popular media player. In: videolan.org. February 9, 2018, accessed March 20, 2019 . (English)
  18. why the cone? (English) - Article in the VideoLAN forum. June 9, 2005; Antoine Cellerier's answer to the question why the cone was chosen as the logo.
  19. VLC CodeNames , accessed January 30, 2015.
  20. Some VLC facts ( Memento from March 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) at linuxers.org, accessed on January 30, 2015.
  21. Fabian A. Scherschel: Mud battle over security holes: VLC developers warn of fake news. In: Heise online . July 25, 2019 . Retrieved July 28, 2019.