What can VLC do?

From VideoLAN Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Help VideoLAN by adding to this page!
Create an account to start editing, and then click here to add to this article.

This area of the wiki contains a list with the possibilities VLC media player gives you. It was made to help people better realize the potential VLC has. Some entries will simply mention the possibility, while others try to explain how to do it as well. Let me start by apologizing for my horrible spelling, but I hope you will be able to decipher the texts anyway.


Compact Disc (CD) Images

If you have a CD-DA (audio CD), SVCD, or VCD packaged inside a CD-image, in some cases VLC media player can play this without you having to mount it or extract it. You can simply choose "open file" and pick the CD-image. For CD-image support VLC has to be compiled using libcdio (--enable-libcdio) and the various plugins which use libcdio need to be selected (--enable-cddax, --enable-vcdx). Some of these enablements may not be the default for your OS.

The kinds of Compact Disc formats supported are CDRWIN's BIN/CUE format, cdrdao's TOC format, and a limited set of Nero (NRG) formats.

(libcdio also supports ISO-9660 image reading, but at present there is no VLC access plugin which uses it. DVD's images follow the UDF format and there is some UDF support in libcdio. It is possible that will get added in the future; volunteers are most welcome.)

How to enable/use subtitles

Before you try to enable subtitles make sure the subtitles you have are in a format that VLC can read! You can find the list of compatible subtitle formats here.
If VLC has detected any sort of subtitles available, you will be able to turn them on under the menu: Video->Subtitles track->Track 1

Autodetection of subtitle files uses a 'fuzzy' logic which you can specify. If this is wrongly specified you may end up with more subtitle file options than really exist or miss some that are provided. By default it allows any file in the right place which exactly matches the video name, and may have some extra characters. If you don't see the number of subtitle options you expect, you might want to allow more 'fuzziness' by changing the preference in video-->subtitles-->subtitle autodetection where help is available if you 'hover' over the field.

If you mainly use .srt subtitles or .sub, you can get them turned on automatically when they are detected, by setting the Input/Codecs->Advanced->Choose subtitle track to 0, it will automatically turn on the subtitle track. You can also experiment with the Choose subtitle language on the same page. But if you experiment a bit with the settings you should be able to get subtitles turned on automatically.

Notes: On Mac OS X, the "Video->Subtitles track" menu item is permanently disabled for some reason. You must manually specify the location of the subtitles file in the "Subpictures" pane of the preferences.

Unfortunately the default font for (srt-)subtitles doesn't include unicode characters (hexadecimal number) 2011 (non-breaking-hyphen), 2012 (figure dash) and 2a2f (cross-product) ...

Playing Windows Media files

VLC should be able to successfully play both audio and video in .wma and .wmv 1 and 2. For the newest version (wmv3) only the Windows version of VLC will be able to play it, since no open-source implementation of wmv3 has been made so far, so the Windows VLC plays it by using the Windows API. DRM-crippled files, however, cannot be played on any OS of VLC.

How to control the aspect ratio of the video

Using VLC, you can override the source aspect ratio. This is available both as a command line option and as an option in the Preference dialog in the graphical interface. The aspect ratio can be specified both in ratio format (16:9) or as a decimal number (1.33).

Command Line

When invoking VLC from the command line, use the option --aspect-ratio. For instance,

vlc --aspect-ratio 1:5

Graphical Interface

If using the graphical interface, the setting is In the Video section of the Preferences dialog. You may specify the aspect ratio in the field labeled "Source aspect ratio."

Here is a list of the more common aspect ratios.

  • Fullscreen: 1.33 or 4:3
  • Widescreen: 1.78 or 16:9
  • Typical DVD: 1.85
  • Cinemascope: 2.35

Be remotely controlled

VLC provides a series of interfaces which allow it to be controlled in various ways such as via telnet, a web browser, several iPhone apps, desktop widgets and more. Details are here.

Announce What's Playing to IRC

Announce the currently playing track to mirc (an irc client). This is often referred to as a "now playing" script.
One approach to get this functionality with VLC is with the HTTP interface.
Using it you can create a simple file which will display "Artist with the song Title from the album Album and the genre Genre" inside a page in your browser. You can then pull that page from mirc with standard sockets and thereby use the text in a script in mirc. Below I will provide some VERY simple and very ugly examples on how you could use this. The examples are tested with VLC 0.8.5 and mirc 6.12. I can't guarantee the code will work with any other versions (although it most likely will).
Ok so here we go.
You start by creating a test.html file in the http interface directory (C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\http).
Inside this file paste the following to ONE line or it will not work:

ANNOUNCE <vlc id="value" param1="'ARTIST' vlc_get_meta"/>
 with the song <vlc id="value" param1="'TITLE' vlc_get_meta"/>
 from the album <vlc id="value" param1="'ALBUM' vlc_get_meta"/>
, The genre is <vlc id="value" param1="'Genre' vlc_get_meta"/>

— or for streaming server info —

ANNOUNCE <vlc id="value" param1="'TITLE' vlc_get_meta"/>
 with the song <vlc id="value" param1="'NOW_PLAYING' vlc_get_meta"/> 

Remember to leave an empty line behind the actual line of code, vlc/mirc seems to want this.
Then you must create a script in mirc under remote (alt+r) and paste in the following:

alias now {
  sockopen vlc_meta_info 8082

on *:SOCKOPEN:vlc_meta_info: {
  sockwrite -n $sockname GET /test.html HTTP/1.1
  sockwrite -n $sockname Host: localhost
  ;sockwrite -n $sockname Connection: Keep-Alive
  sockwrite -n $sockname $crlf
  sockwrite -n $sockname $null

on *:sockread:vlc_meta_info: {
  if ($sockerr > 0) return
  sockread %temp
  if ($sockbr == 0) return
  if (%temp == $null) %temp = ---
  if (ANNOUNCE isin %temp) {
    %temp = $remove(%temp,ANNOUNCE )
    describe $active is listening to %temp
  goto nextread

  sockclose vlc_meta_info

A couple things you may want to change are the port number the http interface listens on (that's the first line and port 8082 in my case) and the text is listening to to whatever you like.

That's pretty much it. You should enable the http interface in VLC by default if you want to use this on a regular basis. This is done under preferences in "Interface->Main interfaces".

Then with all this done (and VLC restarted) you can type /now in mirc and it will display your currently playing track.

This was made for mp3 tracks, so if it doesn't work with other types of media let me know.
You can reach me at: jonas (at) vrt.dk
(I'm also regularly in the freenode videolan channel, nickname E-bola)

Now Playing Script for mIRC by Jckf

Script and help for Inf3rn0's Now Playing script here: NowPlaying

Based on E-Bola's Now Playing script.

Note: If anybody still uses this and wants to contact me, don't look for anyone named Inf3rn0. Look for Jckf ;)

Streaming - client

Listen to online radio

You can of course always simply find a link to a radiostream and then open it as you would any other network stream in VLC. But if you would like to browse a list of online radios, you can try the list of shoutcast radio stations VLC can download for you:

  • First you need to open the playlist window: View->Playlist.
  • Once you have the playlist window open choose: Manage->Service discovery->Shoutcast radio listings. After 10 seconds or so the playlist should have become populated by radio station entries. You obviously require an Internet connection for this to work!
  • If you want the stations sorted alphabetically, you can choose: Sort->Sort by title. Also note shoutcast have many thousands of streams available, per default in 0.8.2 250 stations are downloaded, this can be changed in the preferences under: Playlist->Service discovery->Shoutcast.
    Note that the more stations you want to add, the longer delay you will see when the station list is downloaded, parsed, and added to the playlist.
    Also note you should see 2 "Folder nodes" in the playlist under shoutcast called Genres and bitrate where the stations will be listed under their respective areas. Note that most stations claim to be multi-genre, so a station might be listed under both Top40, pop and rock.

For version 1.1.11 the following works fine:

  • If not already visible, open the playlist window through View->Playlist. On the left side you see the Media Browser on the right side the Playlist window which is probably empty.
  • In the Media Browser double-click the entry Internet which will unfold a few options, one them being the Icecast Directory. Of course, using any of these Internet options requires an active Internet connection.
  • Double-click the entry Icecast Directory and after a few seconds a list of radio stations will be displayed in the Playlist window, which now has been renamed to Icecast Directory.

The other Internet-related stream sources work similarly, except the Podcasts which require you to enter the URL of a podcast you wish to subscribe to.

Online Radio Addition

For VLC 1.0.2 "Goldeneye" under Linux, I got the Shoutcast listing by (from the VLC tools) Media/Services Discovery/Shoutcast Radio listings. After checking that option, the playlist was populated with the Shoutcast list.

Streaming - server


The VLM is the Video On Demand part of the VLC streaming server features. It lets you set up a bunch of entries, and then let users ask for those streams, and it then gives them to the users, it has A LOT of possibilities and I will try to cover them all here.

You can divide VLM entries into 2 general categories: VOD, and broadcast entries.

See also