VLC should be your media player of choice. The cross-platform tool has a bag full of secret features you can use right now.
VLC Media Player, also known as the VideoLan Client Media Player, has come a long way from its humble beginnings. The app now boasts things like Chromecast support and 360-degree video views. This versatile little open-source player can handle any media file that you throw at it.
VLC Media Player has been downloaded 3.5 billion times. Perhaps the secret to its longevity is its modular design, allowing it to play catch-up with media players du jour, adding new features as required to stay relevant. There are a few "secret" features under the hood that we're going to explore in this article.
1. Use VLC as a Video Downloader for YouTube
There are several capable free downloaders available for YouTube. Few know this, but VLC actually has this feature built-in. It's not a one-click downloader, but it works.
Click on Media > Open Network stream.
2. Convert Videos to Any Format
Converting a video to another format is another of our favorite VLC hidden features.
From the toolbar, click on Media > Convert / Save.
3. VLC as a Graphic Equalizer for Your Music
You may be using VLC as a video player exclusively, but VLC is actually a cross-platform, standalone media player, boasting fully-fledged audio effects and playlist support. VLC not only displays cover art; it also offers a pretty good graphic equalizer to boot.
You can call it up with the shortcut keystrokes Ctrl + E (Or go to Tools > Effects and Filters > Audio Effects). Adjust the sound quality of your media file with the available presets, or fine-tune it with the Equalizer, Compressor, and Spatializer tabs.
4. Activate Audio Normalization to Protect Your Ears
Your general audio settings are located under Preferences. One of the best features in VLC is called Audio Normalization. This setting helps you adjust the volume of any media by a fixed amount and improve the sound quality.
Go to Tools > Preferences > Audio and enable Normalize Volume To. The value you set here adjusts the decibel levels of dialogue, music, explosions, gunshots, and any other loud noise in the file. Restart VLC after enabling the setting to lock it in.
5. Play Internet Radio and Podcasts in VLC
One of VLC's most underrated features is definitely its ability to find and play internet radio stations. The VLC Player can fill all your audio needs: it's able not only to stream radio, but also to play podcasts as well.
- Launch VLC and open the Playlist sidebar with Ctrl + L. Make sure that the Playlist view mode is set to List (go to View > Playlist View Mode > List).
- Under Internet, you can browse through the two radio servers—Jamendo and Icecast—and choose a station by clicking on it. Reggae fusion, anybody?
You can manage your favorite podcasts via the same Playlist interface. To play podcasts in VLC:
- Go to Playlist, and, under the Internet section, select Podcasts.
- As soon as your cursor is hovering over the Podcasts section, click the plus sign.
- Copy and paste the RSS feed URL of the podcast that you want to listen to and click on OK. The podcast will be added to the sidebar and you can pick any episode that you like.
6. Loop a Section of a Video or Audio File
Most media players can loop an entire video or a soundtrack. With VLC, you can loop a specific section of a media file, too.
- Open the video or audio file with VLC. Go to View > Advanced Controls.
- Now, a few more buttons will be displayed above the normal play and stop controls.
7. Add Features With VLC Add-Ons and VLC Extensions
For everyday use, VLC's default suite of features just might be enough. If you're looking for enhanced functionality, though, there's an entire catalog of add-ons that you can install alongside the program. Remember, VLC has a huge open-source community behind it. They've created extensions, skins, playlist parsers, and other tools for users everywhere.
These extensions are more "secret" features that can be added to the player, such as tools that will help you search for subtitles, for example.
- Visit the VLC add-ons page and browse through what's available.
- Click the Download button on each add-on page and download the ZIP file. Extract the file. (VLC add-ons use the LUA extension.)
- Place the LUA files in this Windows directory:
- Restart VLC. You can access all of your installed extensions from the View menu.
Some of the best VLC extensions include:
- Resume Media
- Moments' Tracker
- Intro and Credits Skipper
- TuneIn Radio
- Info Crawler
VLC Is Full of Cool Features to Try
There's no question that VLC Media Player is one of the best tools out there. It can handle nearly every video file you might imagine and it's chock-full of great features to boot.
Customizing your VLC experience has never been easier or more exciting. No matter what you have to do on VLC Player, wherever there's a will, you'll certainly find a way.