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Upgrades Media

VLC Media Player 0.8.4 is out 199

mctk writes "This new release features many improvements including a new VLC cone, new Mac OS X wizard and extend controls dialogs, tree playlist skins2 support, HTTP interface CGI handling, linux binary codecs loader, UPnP and Bonjour service discovery, shoutcast stream forwarding, new languages... Have a look here for the full list of changes. Binary packages and the source code are available on the VLC download page." Always been one of my favorites on any platform.
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VLC Media Player 0.8.4 is out

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  • vlc - I like (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xiong.chiamiov ( 871823 ) <xiong,chiamiov&gmail,com> on Monday November 28, 2005 @12:48AM (#14126675)
    I really like VLC. For the longest time, I used Winamp to play all my media files, but it is painfully slow. iTunes is okay, but still lacking. And WMP is out of the question (I try to run Windows as non-Microsoft as possible). Then, when trying to find something to run .ogm (Ogg Vorbis video files), I came across VLC, and haven't used anything since. And the fact that it's released under GNU doesn't hurt at all.
    • Re:vlc - I like (Score:5, Informative)

      by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:05AM (#14126749) Homepage
      One of the greatest features of VLC is that it will let you save any media that it can read. So whether it is a movie file or a streaming movie, it will let you save it to a file (or broadcast it). That is pretty much how *most* applications in other areas work - if you can read a file, you can save it too, but no other mainstream media player will let you do this for media files.
      • Re:vlc - I like (Score:2, Insightful)

        mplayer [] does that just fine, thank you.
        • > mplayer does that just fine, thank you.

          And even better, mencoder supports encoding directly from such streams. So you can do something like:

          mencoder -ovc lavc -oac lavc -lavcopts mpeg4 -o standardformat.avi rtsp://path/to/proprietary/codec/stream

          (lavc = libavcodec, part of ffmpeg, supports encoding in standard formats like mpeg and mpeg4/divx)
          • Re:vlc - I like (Score:2, Insightful)

            by 6*7 ( 193752 )
            But this results in a 1 pass encoding, anyone that likes some quality would prefer to just dump the stream to disc and spend the extra time for a multipass encode.
            • True, but how often is your average real/wmv stream high quality anyway? Not very, in my experience. Of course, there are always exceptions.
    • VLC is my favorite player as well. I use it almost exclusively - with one exception: subtitles. Many of the media I've gradually aquired come with *.srt subtitle files. So far, the only tool I've found that will process these is the DirectVobSub plugin. Unfortunately VLC can't use these (last I checked) as it requires directshow (?directx? my sources are a bit confusing). I wonder if some more resourceful souls out there can show me how to use *.srt subtitles with VLC (if at all).
    • I'm using mplayer windows binaries with all the non-free DLL codecs, it plays everything I throw at it. It's fast, stable, and I can use same thing under windows I do use under linux.

      You should try it too. []

  • Mac OS X wizard? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pomo monster ( 873962 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @12:58AM (#14126722)
    I'll reserve judgment 'til I've used it a bit more, but nine times out of ten, wizards are a usability disaster that are only marginally better than the abomination of an interface that necessitated them to begin with. (Those nine times are usually in Microsoft products.) You shouldn't need a wizard to set things up, or to create things--the options should be right there in front of you, and not require elaborate explanation. Wizards are kind of alien to the whole OS X experience, even though there are a few examples of decent, helpful wizards in the OS.

    Also, I notice the new VLC still doesn't have a nice way to compensate for audio desynchronization. There should be a slider or something on the controller to scrub the audio sync back and forth in realtime. Add to that the totally awkward menu to select where to play fullscreen--why not just play it on whatever display the window's in right now?--and overall I'm disappointed in this update.

    That said, it's still the best "free" player out there for OS X I've seen yet. Congratulations to the developers. It could be a great product, if only they'd pay a little more attention to usability and elegance.
    • Try MPlayer instead. It has a problem where the menu bar changes (heaven forbid) depending on if you have the playing window selected or the controller window selected (the former menubar is mostly just blank I think), but overall it is less painful. I use it over VLC on OS X.
      • It's a personal preference, I'm sure, but MPlayer makes VLC look like the fucking Chrysler building in terms of design. All things considered, VLC's not too bad--it's just that it could be much better, without (seemingly) much effort.
      • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @02:16AM (#14127058)
        Are you joking?

        The GUI to mplayer on OS X is SO BAD it took me over a half hour to figure out how to quit the program. You click the movie window to bring it to the front, hit Command-Q, nothing happens. That's weird. You scrub the menus. No Quit option. Hmm. Let's try making the window bigger... Command-0, nothing. Command-1, nothing. (In pretty much every media player, Command-1 is half-size, Command-2 is normal-size, Command-3 is double-size, and Command-0 is full-screen. VLC is a bit different, but not so much that it's too confusing.)

        Of course since I don't keep my Dock open all the time, little did I know that mplayer isn't ONE program, it's TWO programs... and the program that actually plays the movie doesn't quit. At all. It can't quit. But if you quit the *other* program, then it automatically goes away. I guess the "designer" of the GUI didn't know you could hide the Dock. Of course, even if he didn't, there's no excuse for putting two icons on it, one of which doesn't (for all practical purposes) work when you could use one in the first place.

        Whoever "designed" this interface obviously had never used a Mac before or, possibly, even a GUI before. It's terrible. It's horrible. It violates almost every rule of good GUI design, and, as a result, it's a pain in the ass to use. I'm sorry. It's an F in my book.

        VLC might not have all the codecs or whatever, that mplayer has, but you know what? It has a GUI that wasn't designed by an alien from the planet Weebo who's never seen a computer before, so it gets my download every time.
        • If you the option key while right-clicking on the icon in the dock (or clicking with option and ctrl key) you can kill the programm instead of just quiting it. If they don't want to work with you shoot them ;)

        • I don't know which version of mplayer you tried, but maybe you should give it another chance. Apparently there's a new version for download at, and it conforms better to OS X standards: Command-Q quits the player window, Command-0 to Command-2 switches play window sizes from half to double size, Command-F toggles fullscreen. You can quit the player window by clicking on the standard "x" window button, and through the menu bar. Like most OS X apps it stays in memory even after you quit the last
          • Does it still use 2 Dock icons instead of one? That right there is enough for me to not use it.

            Like most OS X apps it stays in memory even after you quit the last app window.

            I don't think you understand how OS X works. You don't "quit" windows, you quit applications. That is, if you select Quit, *all* the windows close because the application unloads itself from memory and goes away. If you close the window, all you've done is close the window. (Most) OS X applications don't automatically quit when you
        • Of course the GUI sucks. The regular non gui OSD/keyboard interface is so beautiful that anything else is crap next to it. Why should they bother designing a good GUI (how oxymoronic) when they have the perfect user interface already?
      • I like VLC better, but on my Mac Mini I have to use MPlayer when playing movies over the wireless network. VLC handles the buffering better, but the controls are unresponsive. If you have a few megs of cache (to compensate for wireless wonkyness), it takes several seconds between pressing pause and the movie actually pausing. Seeking with the ffwd and rewind buttons is even more painful.

        I'd really like to switch to VLC though, as MPlayer stutters in high bitrate scenes, no matter how big I make the cache.
    • Re:Mac OS X wizard? (Score:2, Informative)

      by uiucmatse ( 855687 )
      Yeah, I agree wizards are usually awful. However, in VLC on OS X, it operates more like a "Save As..." command. There's no egregious handholding, it's just a far more Mac-like way to transcode video than digging through the standard method. Oh, and I don't like the new icon.
    • My main gripe with VLC right now is that if you set the DVD Autorun to start VLC instead of DVD Player, VLC starts but it won't automatically start playing the DVD. Apple's DVD Player steals focus about 5 times during the process of inserting a DVD, and it's a real pain in the ass... I'd prefer to avoid it entirely if at all possible, but starting up the DVD in VLC every time is a pain in the ass too. Right now, going with the 'stealing focus' pain in the ass beats out the 'choosing File-Open Disk, Ok' pa
      • Re:Mac OS X wizard? (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        Right now, going with the 'stealing focus' pain in the ass beats out the 'choosing File-Open Disk, Ok' pain in the ass.

        Somewhere near your mouse, you will find a device that looks a bit like it, but hat around 100 buttons and isn't designed to be moved. Familiarise yourself with this device - you will find it useful. To play a DVD with VLC, hit command-d, then hit enter.

        You will, however, still find that VLC plays the audio track with the number of the last one played, not the one with the same name.

        • Yeah, but that's not what I'm looking for. I want to slide my DVD in the drive while typing in Pages or doing some task in Excel and have the DVD start playing, automatically, in a window at the corner of my screen.

          Apple's DVD Player can't do this because it steals focus and interrupts my typing. VLC can't do this because I have to switch to it and select a menu option (whether I use the keyboard or not), and it interrupts my typing.

          I don't think it's an unreasonable request to have a computer that can ju
          • Have you tried using AppleScript? You can, I believe, instruct VLC to play a DVD from the command line. You can run a shell script from an AppleScript. You can have OS X run an AppleScript when a DVD is inserted. So, you write an AppleScript that calls a shell script that instructs VLC to play the DVD. I don't know if this would steal focus or not, but it might be worth trying. I would try it, but I'm still (after a month) waiting for Apple to fix my PowerBook.
    • Re:Mac OS X wizard? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Try hitting g and f for audio de-synchronization, it is not a new feature.
    • Fair points. UI criticism aside, we need VLC on OS X because Quicktime won't play everything.

      As long as Apple won't combine elegance with usability, I'm grateful to those offering us usability without the elegance.

  • That, to my mind, is the huge, gaping hole in VLC. And the latest version doesn't solve the problem, as WMV3 isn't supported on any now-Windows platform. [] I would think that somebody would have reversed engineered the codec by now. It's hard to be the Swiss Army CanOpener of video formats when it doesn't open half of all the cans coming off the line...

    • Just like any project, they have to prioritize. Besides the massive amount of codecs it already does, it has h.264 running very well, which I have seen a lot more than WMV, and I use it on windows... I suppose I just avoid Windows Media in general. THe simple point is, if you want this codec so badly, make a monetary donation and add a Note: please put this towards the WMV3 codec! Ask and ye shall receive, but a little motivation couldn't hurt.
    • by Teilo ( 91279 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:14AM (#14126810) Homepage
      Try WMV Player [] if you want an alternative to WMP on OS X. It lets Quicktime Player play any WMV file. It's not Open Source. It's not free. But it actually works better than WMP on a Mac.
      • Try WMV Player if you want an alternative to WMP on OS X. It lets Quicktime Player play any WMV file. It's not Open Source. It's not free. But it actually works better than WMP on a Mac.

        And yet it commits the same sin: requiring Administrator installation. There doesn't seem to be a single WMV option (other than the limited VLC support) that doesn't want root on my computer. When will these people learn that it's just supposed to be a bloody video codec, not a way to potentially compromise every mac

    • That, to my mind, is the huge, gaping hole in VLC. And the latest version doesn't solve the problem, as WMV3 isn't supported on any now-Windows platform. I would think that somebody would have reversed engineered the codec by now. It's hard to be the Swiss Army CanOpener of video formats when it doesn't open half of all the cans coming off the line...

      Same with Indeo codecs under *nix. I can't believe how long they've been out but haven't been reversed engineered.

    • by wesley96 ( 934306 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:24AM (#14126856) Homepage
      There are at least two solutions to decoding WMV3 video stream in OS X. But you know the first one is a horrible Microsoft implementation and the other one is a licensed codec package from Flip4Mac [] that you have to pay. Currently, neither can't do what everyone wants... WMV3 video + MP3 audio in AVI container, which is the biting deficiency, and compounded by the fact that some anime file releases use exactly THAT format thanks to the existence of WMV9 VCM in Windows. Ugh.

      As for VLC, it needs an OPEN-SOURCE decoder. Specifically, it'll be adapting something that ffmpeg [] guys are doing. That team has been tackling WMV3, a.k.a. VC-1 / VC-3 / WMV9 stuff for about a year now. They put preliminary support in, what, February? Apparently, peeps have so far gotten the key frame to decode, but it freezes there.

      So what I'm saying is, it's nice to donate to VLC guys, but help ffmpeg guys first.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I hate that codec. It's not like MPEG4 derivatives are multi-platform, why do people still insist on using WMV?
    • sung to the tune of YMCA:

      D. M. C. A.

      sing it now! D M C A

      Lay the blame at the feet of those who passed that arse wiping law. Reverse engineering is illegal.
    • This is not a problem. Anyone who uses WMV is an idiot, and therefore has nothing useful to say.
    • As others have said, only open source codecs are used, so it won't be supported until the ffmpeg guys are done. It can, however, be built in using the VC1 reference decoder as described by Jon Johansen []. Personally, though, I just use Flip4Mac; it works well, but I have a fairly high spec machine and it does slightly stress the processors, so I don't know how it would fare on something like a Mac Mini or iBook.
  • Am I doing something wrong? The last version of VLC was completely unusable on OS X. The new version doesn't seem much better. It's already hung hard once, and crashed two times on me.

    Actually, looks like it's crashing every time I open it now. Nice.

    • If you're doing something wrong then so am I - I had to downgrade to vlc 0.7.something to get OS X stability back. I don't see anything in the changelog about stability fixes.
    • I have no issue. osx 10.4.3, installed into my home directory under ~/Applications however. (I only install programs into my home directory, if they demand /Applications I politely refuse to use the app.

      Grab the crash report from ~/Library/Logs/${app_name}.log and either fix what might be the cause or send in a bug report to get it fixed in vlc.

    • Re:Very Buggy for Me (Score:5, Informative)

      by tholomyes ( 610627 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:37AM (#14126916) Homepage
      From the README.MacOSX.rtf:

      14. VLC does not start anymore or does strange things
      Delete your preferences and try again. You can use the script "Delete" on the disk-image to do that. If you want to do it by hand, delete "org.videolan.vlc.plist" and a folder called "VLC" in ~/Library/Preferences (your personal preferences-folder inside the library of your HOME). If this does not help, see 13.
    • Sorry, must be you. Follow the suggestions for deleting Prefs, and at last resort, Delete Prefs, do a search for any lingering caches, Delete the app and reinstall.
      I had already sneaked a couple of the developer releases of 0.8.4 and found them rock steady and pulling a few extra tricks over 0.8.1, and with OS 10.4.3 on my unsupported hardware.
    • Am I doing something wrong? The last version of VLC was completely unusable on OS X.

      I've had virtually the same experience; it loves to start skipping frames heavily and then grind to a complete stop- despite using only about 1/3rd of the available CPU power according to top. The only solution is to pause and wait a good 10-15 seconds. Also, doing things in other programs now seems to heavily influence VLC; I can load up a rather simple webpage in Firefox and VLC will drop video+audio frames all over the

  • by quadra23 ( 786171 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:10AM (#14126788) Journal
    Always been one of my favorites on any platform.

    I agree from my own experience. In fact, I find files (or discs) that either work strange or not at all on other media players (such as Windows Media Player or WinAMP) run just (or very close to) perfect on VLC. The capability to play VCD, SVCD, DVD, DVD (with menues) was a feature that I also found make the player even more flexible.

    Does anyone here have experience with VLC for running your own streaming server? Also, anyone know if they are going to add capability to play RealPlayer files? I find RealPlayer as a major bloatware and RealAlternative (no offense, just from my experience) looks too much like (and as featured limited as) the original media player in Windows 95/98. For a good reference here's a full table [] of all features available on all the various Operating Systems that VLC works with. Very good product and highly recommended!
  • Anime (Score:4, Informative)

    by Parham ( 892904 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:12AM (#14126797)
    A lot of people recommend this very player for anime playback. Anime tends to come in a lot of formats (avi, mpeg, mkv, ogm) with a lot of codec requirements, and this player seems to have become a favorite in the anime circles. This is one of my favorite players and it's completely replaced most of the other media players I used to use.
  • by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <> on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:18AM (#14126826) Homepage Journal
    One of the biggest perks for using VLC is it does *not* honor the 'thou shall not fast forward through the FBI warning and any damn previews/ads we applied the same flag to' setting. Skips right on by.
  • Yup, this is the big I'm interested in! I wonder if it will also work with OGG/Theora that way.

    Unfortunately I will have to compile this from source for Linux because the rpm and deb packages are so hopelessly lame. They only enable half the codecs (like Theora) or functions (like PVR support) for no good reason I know about. However, whoever looks after the Windows installer pays a lot more care and attention and the Windows version is more representative of what VLC can do. I even resort to running it und
  • Download from mirror at this location: 8&s=171 []
  • The VLC site was down earlier today when I tried downloading it. Has anyone made a torrent of this release? Mirrors?

    I figured out how to take a screen capture the other day in .82, you have to specificly set a directory to save the capture to, otherwise the option on the menu would say it was capturing but never gave an error to say it had no place to save it to.

    The volume control is also less accurate than other programs' I've used. But I've had better luck playing more files with VLC than Media Player
  • by McCarrum ( 446375 ) <(mark.limburg) (at) (> on Monday November 28, 2005 @02:05AM (#14127026)
    In the changelog ..

    Mac OS X port:
    * New script to delete the preferences automatically

    I see OSX is now getting standard Windows functionality ..
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @02:15AM (#14127056)
    For those of us whose lives are lived between two or more of the infamous DVD regions (in my case, Europe and the U.S.), VLC is an absolute godsend. Every Mac user should get it: Apple's DVD Player wants me do pick one or the other RC, while VLC just plays the damn thing. Quicktime gives me nag entries in the menus -- like, I pay a four-digit sum for a computer and they won't throw in the $40 fee for the full fuctionality? Really clever, Jobs -- and so if I want to play around with the size and other stuff, I just use VLC for QT instead. VLC is one of the coolest pieces of software out there, free or corporate, and anybody who is not using it on whatever platform should be treated with suspicion -- they probably work for the RIAA or eat babies. Or both.

    Thanks, guys, for all the great work. This and Firefox are some of the ones that make all the difference.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I pay a four-digit sum for a computer and they won't throw in the $40 fee for the full fuctionality? Really clever, Jobs

      The extra charge for QuickTime Pro predates The Return of The Steve.

      Among other things, the amount of money Apple has to pay organizations like the MPEG-LA [] for patent licence fees varies with whether Apple's customer is "Pro" or not. Moreover, for some formats Apple must pay the patent holders or their agents varying fees for reading and creating (or exporting) video and audio.

      For "Pro"

    • by myspys ( 204685 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @05:44AM (#14127486) Homepage
      It should be noted that the newer Powerbooks will ask you for a new region code and if you select Cancel it will automatically eject the DVD, thus rendering it impossible to even try with VLC :-/
    • Quicktime gives me nag entries in the menus -- like, I pay a four-digit sum for a computer and they won't throw in the $40 fee for the full fuctionality? Really clever, Jobs Agreed. Apple's cheapness on this issue is sad; nickle and diming your customers is especially silly when the system ships with extraneous iApps. Look, Apple, I'll trade you my useless iMovie just so Quicktime can do what *free* players everywhere do.
  • Media Player Classic is still my player of choice on windows. It has a nice interface, can step through videos, play fan subs, bookmark etc.

    VLC is nice but the ui isnt so hot and it seems to do odd things sometimes.
  • VLC and others... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I use many different players due to the hopeless muddle of codecs available. Basically, I can play any video file you throw at me if you give me enough time. This list shows just how bad it really is:

    VLC: For use when PowerDVD gets the shakes, media player classic doesn't work, windows media player doesn't work, the Zoom player doesn't work, Quicktime doesn't work, and for streaming over a network

    Media Player Classic: The awesomest player in the world due to its small size and ability to play RealMedia and
  • - New extended controls panel

    Does this mean pausing and frame controls are implemented? What am I doing here - I should be downloading this!

    oh I am.
  • by cardpuncher ( 713057 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @06:29AM (#14127565)
    VLC manages to embody the essential dichotomy of the OSS vs Proprietary Software debate.

    Get an installer for Windows or the Mac and you get a useful multi-purpose tool that has more flexibility and fewer restrictions than the equivalent commercial software.

    Try to install it on Linux and you realise the advantages of a commercial platform onto which you simply install binary application packages. There are *some* packages available for VLC, provided you happen to have the right version of the right Linux distribution, but most have some important features configured out. Try to compile it yourself and get ready for a nightmare of dependencies on specific (sometimes elderly) versions of obscure libraries, header files that your Linux distribution didn't think to provide and a number of other little glitches that have you tearing your hair out. Or, more likely, giving up.

    Now if only there were an open platform onto which you could simply copy an open application and just have it run...
    • "Try to install it on Linux and you realise the advantages of a commercial platform onto which you simply install binary application packages."

      "Linux" is a kernel. As you can see from [], it isn't hard to apt-get install vlc. The VLC home page [] even has packages for many distributions, along with pretty little colourful icons.

      • ... it isn't hard to apt-get install vlc.

        It isn't hard ... if you're running Debian "sid" (unstable). The vlc package is not currently available for the testing or stable distributions, due to an issue with the FreeType library. I dunno about most Debian users, but I have stable on my servers, testing on my workstations, and unstable on a couple of experimental boxes. Not ideal for using vlc.

        To be fair, the lib issue isn't really vlc's fault, and is also a problem for some other Debian packages. The

  • Which is a handy improvement, given that these are showing up a lot now.
  • Too bad, this new version still stutters when playing DVDs on my Windows 2000 box.
    1.7G Hz should be fast enough. Any suggestions.
  • In my efforts to avoid Windows Media Player and switch from Quinntessential (which is free but closed and I figured perhaps long-in-the-tooth), I recently tried VLC on my living room laptop. It did so poorly with media from network shares that I installed both WinAmp and Quinntessential to see if there was a networking problem I wasn't diagnosing. Nope. VLC simply couldn't play the files cleanly while the other two could.

    This wasn't a problem with files from the internet, but those tend to be downloaded

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead