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VLC Goes 1.0

Free open source QuickTime Player alternative, around for most of the decade, is finally out of beta.

By Mark Christiansen | July 08, 2009

VLC, possibly the most versatile desktop video player in the world, was announced as version 1.0.0 (aka "GoldenEye" if you prefer Ian Fleming style nicknames). Its features are widespread, but among the most significant is that it is the only major alternative to QuickTime Player that allows you to step frame by frame through a video file, a limitation which has frankly stymied professional use of Windows Media, Real and other closed-source players.

But that's not all. With VLC 1.0.0 you can also:

• record live video
• play dozens of file formats on Mac, Windows or Linux, many of them otherwise unsupported (including QuickTime on Linux, apparently)
• play DVDs from any region
• play damaged or partially downloaded files otherwise considered "unplayable"
• view full screen (and even pipe audio out to AirTunes)
• since some readers are already using VLC 1.0.0, I encourage you to add other favorites in the comments!

The feature list is quite long and - due to the intense rush to download VLC - the forum and wiki, major sources of information, are disabled today and perhaps for some time.

If there were one feature I would hope they would add for version 1.5, it would be playback of image sequences. A nerd can dream.

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Spiffy McGoo: | July, 08, 2009

As far as I know, it’s the only way to playback 4:2:2 MPEG2 files encoded for DG Fast Channel on a desktop/Mac.  It is a low res proxy, but at least you can see and hear the file without special hardware decoders.

albion: | July, 08, 2009

1.0 is 10.5.X only.

.9.9a plays on 10.4.11 as well.

Eugenia: | July, 12, 2009

>1.0 is 10.5.X only.
>.9.9a plays on 10.4.11 as well.

That sucks. :(
My Powerbook still runs 10.4 and I have no plans to upgrade.

BTW, a VLC tip:
You can use VLC to decode h.264 HD files real fast, with a small trick. Load the latest version of VLC, go to its Tools/Preferences, select the “All settings” radio button on the bottom/left of that window, click “Input/Codecs”, “Other Codecs”, “FFmpeg”, and change the “Skip the loop filter for h.264 decoding” from “None” to “All”. Save the preferences.

Guy Forget: | July, 14, 2009

It’s great. But why are the videos so dark (WinXP) ?

Dylan Pank: | July, 26, 2009

>> 1.0 is 10.5.X only.

I believe it’s also Intel only.

VLC is great for playback and streaming but I think for transcoding, trimming, batch processing and frame by frame stepping, the (free but not open source) MPEG Streamclip knocks it into a cocked hat, though Streamclip is limited in that it requires MPEG playback component for MPEG2 and HDV.

Dylan Pank: | July, 26, 2009

>> I believe it’s also Intel only.

Oops, no scratch that. It was the release candidates that were Intel only - 1.0 for PPC is there.

Guy Forget: | July, 26, 2009

>> It’s great. But why are the videos so dark (WinXP) ?

I found the answer. If your video is too dark in VLC, switch off the accelerated video output (overlay) and hardware YUV to RGB conversions in the preferences. It seems to be related to the display card in your PC.

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