The wonder that is VideoLan
Worthy of its own section is the VideoLAN Client (www.videolan. org), AKA VLC . It’s famous for its ability to play anything you throw at it, even if the file is corrupt or partially recovered. The reasons for its amazing abilities are many: Firstly, it’s open source, so it has been openly developed, and is available for free to all; secondly, it uses its own built-in codec systems, and it supports pretty much everything. VLC is based in France, which enables it to ignore most USA-based software patents that prevent other video player programs from including certain codecs.
Version 3.0, released at the start of 2018, introduced a host of innovations that brought VLC right up to date. These included default hardware decoding to support 4K and 8K playback, HDR 12-bit colour, the ability to Chromecast, HD audio passthrough, VR video support, 8+ audio channel support, cross-platform hardware acceleration, AV 1 codec, and Java Blu-ray menus, among many other changes.
Largely, VLC ‘just works™’, which means you can simply download it, then let it get on with playing your content. Our main issue is that it’s a little ugly; the preferences are borderline indecipherable, not helped by its Linux roots, sometimes making options more complex. Another minus point is that it tends to not take advantage of GPU hardware as well as MPC does, so unless you have a processor that directly supports h.265 acceleration, it struggles to play 4K material.
VideoLAN can handle 4K Ultra HD playback, but only on h.265 hardware.