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This page is obsolete and kept only for historical interest. It may document features that are obsolete, superseded, or irrelevant. Do not rely on the information here being up-to-date.

Answers to some common problems people encounter with VLC. More help is available in the


Installing VLC

Compiling VLC

How do I compile VLC?

Mozilla Firefox Plugin

  • Debian: All you need is to download the vlc plugin package - mozilla-plugin-vlc (stable release)
  • All Linux: To make the firefox plugin with the vlc player, you will first need the Firefox Development package (from: ubuntu ...). Then, when you compile, run ./configure with --enable-mozilla, and if needed with --with-mozilla-sdk-path=/path_to_firefox_sdk

"Missing header file ffmpeg/avcodec.h" and "Missing header file postproc/postprocess.h" Errors

  • Make sure that you have all the libraries you need.
    • on ubuntu: "apt-get install libavcodec-dev libpostproc-dev" will install the needed files (worked on edgy).
  • When you run ./configure for ffmpeg, make sure that at least the following flags are set (descriptions of these avaliable from ./configure --help )
./configure --enable-shared --enable-shared-pp --enable-pp --enable-gpl
  • The path of ffmpeg is not set. Check if you can locate the file libavcodec.pc on your computer, and export PKG_CONFIG_PATH to where you found it before running ./configure. For example
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/home/you/ffmpeg/

With vlc-086f, FFmpeg SVN-r13060, on Slamd64 12.0.0, some other changes must be made. These are most likely due to changes in libpostproc.

The ./configure flags for ffmpeg become

 ./configure --enable-postproc --enable-shared --enable-gpl

Then you must set a symbolic link for postproc. This took me a long time to spot.

root @ svr (/usr/src/vlc-0.8.6f)locate postprocess.h
root @ svr (/usr/src/vlc-0.8.6f)cd /usr/local/include/
root @ svr (/usr/local/include)ln -s libpostproc postproc

"cc1: error: invalid option `tune=opteron'" Error on 64-bit systems

  • One user writes: "From what I can see, the -mtune flag is not available for this type of processor in man gcc. I had to change the configure options comment out all the lines where they set mcpu or mtune flags.) I don't know if this is the correct way to proceed but was the only way for me to get results fast."
  • This is not true on all versions of gcc. Try to compile on your platform before making the above changes.
root @ p01 (/usr/src/vlc-0.8.6f)gcc --version
gcc (GCC) 4.1.2
root @ p01 (/usr/src/vlc-0.8.6f)uname -a
Linux p01 #2 SMP Tue Apr 8 12:01:03 EDT 2008 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
root @ p01 (/usr/src/vlc-0.8.6f)grep tune= config.log
configure:37114: checking whether gcc accepts -mtune=athlon64
configure:37125: gcc -c -Wsign-compare -Wall  -pipe -mtune=athlon64  -DSYS_LINUX conftest.c >&5
root @ p01 (/usr/src/vlc-0.8.6f)grep cpu= config.log

"/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lX11" Error on 64-bit systems

  • In configure, there is an x_libraries variable there that is set to "/usr/X11R6/lib" (around line 16371). Because it is a 64 bit system, this variable needs to be /usr/X11R6/lib64. After changing that, it should continue compiling.

"syntax error before "pthread_spinlock_t"" on debian-Etch or CentOS

  • If you have errors about pthread_spin* in the file vlc_threads_funcs.h, try this fix :
sed -e 's/define\s*_POSIX_SPIN_LOCKS\s*/define _POSIX_SPIN_LOCKS -1 \/\/ wrong: /g' -i /usr/include/bits/posix_opt.h

source : this post from Rémi Denis-Courmont.

Installing Skins

  • Although all information is given on the VLC Download skin site, you may miss the note to change preferences to skinnable interface. There is an article on the forum which describes the how-to. In short: there is a drop-down option (interface module) in the settings dialog (Interface → General) which defaults to Standard. Change this and restart.

Problems Starting VLC

Error Messages

Error messages can be viewed by selecting Messages from the Tools menu.

main private error: no sout mux module matched "ts"

  • This can be an error if libdvbpsi was not installed when vlc was compiled. To fix this error, install libdvbpsi; then re-compile vlc. libdvbpsi

main dialogs provider error: no dialogs provider module matched "any"

Problems playing types of files

WMV files

  • Starting with VLC media player 0.8.6, the playback of WMV3-encoded videos is available on all platforms. Please note, that encrypted / DRM-protected video-clips still cannot be played. That is due to the nature of DRM and is not about to change, so please do not ask.

Real Media files

  • Realmedia files (.rm, .rpm, etc) are proprietary (ie, copyrighted) file formats, created by RealNetworks. Because of this, VLC can't support them at present.

QuickTime Files (.mov)

  • Mov file doesn't play, but plays ok in QuickTime
    • open the url in QuickTime player
    • let it decide which datarate is best for your connection
    • let it play for a few seconds, then pause it
    • open the stream info, copy the url
    • open & save that one in VLC

Flash Video Files (.flv)

  • Flash Video support has recently been added (provided through ffmpeg) - to view .flv files you will need version 0.8.4a. Download and install the latest version here.
  • VLC still has problems with a few .flv files. If you have problems playing a file in VLC you might be able to change it to an avi using ffmpeg. See Fixing .flv to .avi with Ffmpeg.
  • VLC 0.8.6 provided enhanced Flash Video support on all platforms, so it is probably worth to update if you experience problems with prior releases.

Other Files

The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • Make sure that the file isn't corrupted

VLC and Other Programs


  • To use AMR, you'll need to compile vlc and ffmpeg with amr support yourself. This is because the amr license is not compatible with the vlc license.


  • VLC does not support ratDVD and is not going to be, both for political and technical reasons.

Problems Playing DVDs

Unable to play any DVDs

The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • Linux: To play DVDs with VLC in linux, you need to install the libdvdcss package
  • Linux: Make sure you have access rigths to your DVD player. In linux, you can use chmod to edit access rights to your DVD block device:
    • # chmod 666 /dev/dvd
    • The videolan FAQ seems to suggest you need write access to this device - is this true? If you know, please edit this entry.
  • Linux: Make sure VLC knows where your DVD drive is located (/dev/dvd usually). Go to Settings | Preferences | Input/Codecs | General and under "Default devices" make sure your dvd drive path is entered in the "Default DVD" box. When you go to open a DVD, you should see something like "dvd:///dev/dvd" as the media resource locator in the "Open:" box near the top of the Open dialog.

Playing DVDs from other Region Codes

The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • The ability to play DVDs from all regions depends mostly on your DVD drive, and testing it is usually the quickest way to find out if your DVD drive can do it. Most newer DVD drives are RPC2 drives, which don't allow raw access to the drive untill the drive firmware has done a regioncheck. VLC uses libdvdcss and it needs raw access to the DVD drive to crack the encryption key. So with these drives it is impossible to circumvent the region protection. (This goes for all software. You will need to flash your drives firmware, but sometimes there is no alternate firmware available for your drive). On other RPC2 drives that DO allow raw access, it might take VLC a long time to crack the key. So just pop the disc in your drive and try it out, while you get a coffee. RPC1 drives should 'always' work regardless of the regioncode.

Poor Quality Video and Audio

The video runs but the picture is distorted

The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • Linux: There is probably a problem with the output layer. There are several ways of troubleshooting it.
    • First, try with another output plugin, for instance:
       % vlc -V sdl
       % vlc -V x11
    • Second, change your screen depth and/or definition. It quite often helps.
    • Lastly, if running Unix, have a look at your XFree86 video driver.

Video is choppy

The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • Your system may be too slow to decode all pictures. Sometimes, your CPU (computer) really isn't fast enough, but often the situation can be improved by changing your system configuration to be a bit kinder to VLC.
    • Quit other programs running in the background
    • Turn on DMA on your DVD device:
      • Linux:
        # hdparm -d1 /dev/dvd
      • Windows: go to the System section of the control panel, and go to the Hardware manager (it is sometimes in a separate tab, and sometimes, you have to go to the Advanced tab. Then, right-click on your DVD player, and check the DMA checkbox.
    • Upgrade to the latest driver for your video board.
    • Linux: you can additionally upgrade your drivers to the latest XFree86 version. If supported, check that the xvideo plug-in is effectively used with:
       % vlc -vvvv

Audio and video are out of sync

The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • If you are transcoding a file, use the audio-sync option.
  • You can manually set the audio offset while playing (so you can put the audio back in sync). The default keys to increase/decrease the offset are Ctrl+K and Ctrl+L in Windows, and f and g in Mac.
  • Linux/Unix: Try using another audio output plugin and, under Unix, kill esd or artsd if they are running. If the problem is due to the input file, have a look at the "Audio desynchronization compensation" option.

Audio is choppy

Problems with Streaming

"main input error: no suitable access module for `rtsp://...'"

vlc needs livemedia from live555.com to read rtsp stream this way.

You can check you have it by :

  vlc -l | grep live

It should read

 livedotcom            live.com (RTSP/RTP/SDP) demuxer
 livedotcom            RTSP/RTP access and demux

If not, you have to install livemedia and point your compilation to this lib directory :

  ./configure --enable-livedotcom --with-livedotcom-tree=/usr/local/lib/live/

Streaming playlist continuously between files (sout-keep not working)

add the gather module to the sout chain, for example

   vlc *mpeg --sout-keep --sout '#gather:transcode{plapla}:rtp{plapla}'

Streaming 1 playlist item continuously and change input without stream break

you can use this kind of a vlm.conf file with the --sout-keep option

 new output1 broadcast enabled loop
 setup output1 input "inputfile1.mpeg"
 setup output1 input "inputfile2.mpeg"
 setup output1 input "/path/to/inputfile3.mpeg"
 setup output1 option sout-keep
 setup output1 option input-repeat=-1
 setup output1 output #gather:transcode{etc...}:std{plapla}

 control output1 play 2

you then chan telnet into vlm and just command

 control output1 play <playlistnumber>

to change the streamed input.

Streaming to Windows Media Player

See Windows Media Player for details.

Problems converting between file formats (transcoding)

Missing Audio and/or Video

Streaming/Transcoding Wizard

Transcode / Save to file

VLC Crashes


The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • If VLC crashes, the following steps will help determine the cause.
    • Increase the verbosity level (either in the preferences or with a -vvvv command line option) and look at the debug messages (in the terminal or in the Messages window).
  • If you are convinced that it is a bug in VLC, have a look at the bug reporting page.

When using DirectShow (eg Webcam)

This has also been discussed in the forum

  • There was a bug a while back when you tried to stream using a directshow/webcam it would reboot the computer. The fix was to specify the resolution on the command line or in the "Advanced" section when opening the directshow.

Other Problems

I only want one VLC player!

  • To use the same VLC player for all the media files, go to Settings, Preferences, Advanced. The following options should give behavior similar to WMP: minimize # of threads, allow only one running instance, VLC is started from file association, allow only "on" running instance when started from file (typo in v0.8.5).

Licensing, legal issues and logo use

  • Information on this is avaliable on the main videolan website, videolan.org. Also read the Legal concerns section of the FAQ.
  • This is a wiki site: it is editable by all, so it is best to check to official website.

Fixing Strange Behaviour

The Official FAQ page also answers this question – the important points from there are mentioned below.

  • The first thing to do is to reset the VLC preferences in the preferences dialog of the application and restart VLC. If VLC doesn't even start anymore, delete VLC's configuration file (where is it?). Then restart VLC. If it does not get any better, read the rest of this page or FAQ page, or ask for help at the forum.

Subtitles Problem

  • In the File | Open File dialog, select "Use a subtitles file", and enter both the video's filename and the video's subtitle filename.
  • If you are having displaying the subtitles, the problem might be an encoding problem. Choose the right encoding for your language and it should fix your problem. You'll find the ISOs here: [1]. Once you find a text encoding method that works well for you enter it in Preferences, Input / Codecs, Other codecs, Subtitles then press Save and restart VLC. Uncheck the "Formatted Subtitles" may help if the subtitles only display as little squares. If you have a specialized language like Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese or Japanese changing the font to a Unicode font will be helpful. For Polish subtitles choose CP 1250 ISO code.

VLC hangs when opening Matroska (mkv) files

  • This might occur when using VLC to view an mkv file in a directory that has a large number of mkv files. (eg. in an Azureus download directory)

VLC will attempt to preload all the mkv files in the directory and will hang, especially if some mkv files are not fully downloaded yet (thus seem to be broken).

  • The solution is to set the mkv option: --mkv-preload-local-dir to false

Preferences -> Input / Codecs -> Demuxers -> Matroska -> Preload Directory (uncheck the checkbox) (See also Matroska)

Coarse volume control

Volume control, specially with Hotkeys, is too coarse.

  • To have a finer volume control, try the following option on the command line:
See also VLC command-line help