libVLC Tutorial

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This page contains example code.

libVLC C Tutorial

Installing the SDK

This code is written for libVLC version 1.1.0 or later. It cannot be compiled with older versions.

Older versions are found at libVLC Tutorial 0.9 and libVLC Tutorial 086c respectively for historical interest only.


VLC binary installers for Windows do not include the libVLC SDK. It would be a waste of bandwidth and space for most users.

You can find the SDK files, i.e. development headers and import libraries, from the plain 7-ZIP packages in the sdk directory. Alternatively, you can build VLC from source.

See libVLC Tutorial 086c for some more instructions on getting the build working.


You should find the necessary files (, libvlc.pc, header files...) in a binary package called libvlc-dev (Debian, Ubuntu...), libvlc-devel (RPM distros) or similar. Make sure that the version is recent enough before going forward.

Linking against libVLC

cc example.c -lvlc -o example

On Linux/BSD, you may prefer to use pkg-config:

pkg-config --print-errors 'libvlc >= 1.1.0'
cc -c example.c -o example.o $(pkg-config --cflags libvlc)
cc example.o -o example $(pkg-config --libs libvlc)

Sample libVLC code

This sample code will (try to) play back an URL. There is also an example using SDL for video output.

 #include <stdio.h>
 #include <stdlib.h>
 #include <vlc/vlc.h>
 int main(int argc, char* argv[])
     libvlc_instance_t * inst;
     libvlc_media_player_t *mp;
     libvlc_media_t *m;
     /* Load the VLC engine */
     inst = libvlc_new (0, NULL);
     /* Create a new item */
     m = libvlc_media_new_location (inst, "");
     //m = libvlc_media_new_path (inst, "/path/to/");
     /* Create a media player playing environement */
     mp = libvlc_media_player_new_from_media (m);
     /* No need to keep the media now */
     libvlc_media_release (m);
 #if 0
     /* This is a non working code that show how to hooks into a window,
      * if we have a window around */
      libvlc_media_player_set_xwindow (mp, xid);
     /* or on windows */
      libvlc_media_player_set_hwnd (mp, hwnd);
     /* or on mac os */
      libvlc_media_player_set_nsobject (mp, view);
     /* play the media_player */
     libvlc_media_player_play (mp);
     sleep (10); /* Let it play a bit */
     /* Stop playing */
     libvlc_media_player_stop (mp);
     /* Free the media_player */
     libvlc_media_player_release (mp);
     libvlc_release (inst);
     return 0;