The won­der that is VideoLan

Windows Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 PERFECT VIDEO PLAYBACK -

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.

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