VLC is a media player software and streaming media server developed by VideoLAN, a non-profit organization and project. Known for its “free and open source cross-platform multimedia player” as well as its capability to play almost any multimedia file, VLC is beloved by many. The program can run on virtually all platforms, including Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, Android, iOS, and more.
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- Why do people love VLC?
- Alternatives to VLC?
- Windows Media Player
- MX Player
- MPV Player
- Best alternative for Windows
- Best alternative for Mac
- Best alternative for Android
Why Do People Love VLC?
Many free programs come with a catch: spyware, ads, user activity tracking, and whatnot. VLC possesses no such gimmicks, giving its users the peace of mind that they will not suffer any consequences from relying on an unpaid service. More than anything, VLC’s user-friendly interface allows even the least tech-savvy people to use the program without much confusion. VLC comes with the capabilities to play most codecs without any need to download extra packs, which may be an impossible task for those unfamiliar with computers, and the menu, video player controls, and audio controls are all also relatively simple.
Best Alternative Media Players
If you cannot use VLC for whatever reason, or simply dislike VLC’s operations, here are some VLC alternatives that you may prefer.
Potplayer is a relatively new multimedia software player. Developed by Kakao, a South Korean tech company, the player has rapidly gained popularity amongst Microsoft users. Potplayer is lightweight and easy on your computer despite possessing several streaming settings, as well as support for multiple types of files. Its clean, polished interface has been praised by many lovers of its aesthetics.
VLC vs Potplayer
Potplayer and VLC each have their upsides and downsides. Whilst VLC can work on virtually any platform, as of now, Potplayer is limited to Windows. This means Mac users, Android users, and so on will not be able to access this software player, eliminating it from their choices altogether. However, support for more platforms is in the works for Potplayer; it is only a matter of time before this issue is resolved.
When it comes to audio streaming, Potplayer does a much better job than VLC. While both software players possess a multitude of video streaming capabilities, only Potplayer has extensive support for various audio files. If you plan to use your media player for music, you may find that Potplayer is the better choice for you.
If system space is a large issue for you, Potplayer may be a good VLC alternative, as Potplayer is a whopping 13.5 megabytes smaller than VLC. The program does not need much space on your computer to operate, making it a wonderful option for those who struggle with their computer’s storage limitations.
Media Player Classic, or MPC for short, is another alternative to VLC. Like VLC, MPC promises that their free software will never be muddled with spyware or adware. MPC’s lightweight, multifaceted video player can even be used as a DVB player. Due to the simplicity of the software, it can be run even on computers that go decades back.
VLC vs MPC
Like Potplayer, MPC also only provides support for Microsoft devices. Individuals who use Apple, Android, and so on, will not be able to consider MPC as an option.
MPC’s menus are well organized, keeping everything in the right place for both full screen and small screen modes, while VLC’s are not as simplistic. The search function of VLC’s interface can also be quite difficult to navigate through, so for these reasons, people may prefer MPC’s interface design.
Streaming support varies per platform. It seems like VLC’s DVD and CD streaming runs smoother than MPC’s, especially when switching through tracks and scenes. However, MPC’s player is much more adaptable to subtitles. Whilst VLC’s player may struggle to produce coherent captioning, sometimes making the user drag the subtitles to the top of the screen before appearing clearly, MPC shows readable captions in all circumstances. MPC also trumps VLC when processing a corrupt file. VLC tends to freeze up or loop up entirely, forcing the user to shut down their program or computer in a violent manner to escape the problem. MPC’s window can be shut normally even when it runs into a broken file.
Nonetheless, the VideoLAN unique to VLC may make this program far more worth it than MPC. With a simple Youtube URL copied and pasted into VLC’s Open Streaming Dialogue Box, you will be able to watch videos from the internet on the program. MPC cannot handle such advanced mechanisms on its platform.
Windows Media Player
The default video player for Microsoft users, Windows Media Player is not everyone’s first choice. The program has not seen a major update since 2009, which discourages many from utilizing the software. The security scandal it had several years back, in which attackers utilized the software to hack into the user’s personal files, also discouraged people from using the program. This breach was successfully stopped in 2009, so people can rest assured now. Moreover, the program does a decent job of running most video and audio files.
VLC vs Windows Media Player
Surprisingly, Windows Media Player can also be used on Mac OS 7 and X, as well as Solaris. If you are a Mac user dissatisfied with Apple’s default video streaming program (Quicktime), you can give the Windows default player a whirl.
Windows Media Player is somewhat problematic because it only offers support for AVI and MPEG-4 video files. Unlike VLC where virtually all video streaming codecs are already installed, one would have to manually install each extra codec they need into Windows Media Player. This tedious and potentially perplexing task may discourage one from using Windows Media Player.
MX Player is a video player application for Android devices. There is also a Chrome application, giving users streaming support on their browsers as well. With features such as hardware acceleration and multi-core decoding, MX Player promises smooth playback on all supported video formats. Though MX Player’s developer, J2 Interactive, is based in Korea, the application’s largest userbase stems from India, where a whopping 350 million people use the app.
VLC vs MX Player
MX Player is on a whole different platform than VLC. While VLC is a simple media player, MX Player is like a video player and streaming service combined. The application offers original programs that subscribers can watch.
MX Player is one of the only video players offered for Android. Unfortunately, the unpaid version of MX Player may irritate many users as it is riddled with advertisements. Simply navigating from one page to another, closing and reopening the app, adjusting the settings, and so on, may trigger a series of ad breaks. These pesky ads get in the way, potentially turning a peaceful viewing session into a frustrating, stressful experience. VLC’s ad-free program is far more superior in this sense.
Whilst VLC player struggles to produce clear, coherent subtitles at times, MX Player has stellar subtitle support. If you enjoy watching foreign films, or simply need subtitles for your viewing experience, you may find MX Player better than VLC.
MPV Player is a new video player software, released to the public a mere six years ago, and the program is still being developed actively to this day. MPV player offers support for Mac, Windows, and Android. Like VLC, MPV is a free and open-source software. Powerful scripting capabilities, high-quality video output, hardware decoding, and simplistic interface are all examples of the unique qualities MPV Player possesses.
VLC vs MPV
MPV is the only program on this list to offer support for an extensive number of platforms, as VLC does. Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, even BSD users can utilize this powerful tool.
For those who prefer clean, minimalistic interfaces, MPV may be better than VLC. Whilst VLC shows several options on its video player and settings, MPV’s player only possesses very basic controls. This may benefit those who get confused or overwhelmed by an abundant amount of options in their technological devices.
MPV’s bar scrubbing is supposedly smoother than VLC’s. Additionally, its subtitle and MKV chapter support are much better than VLC’s. Though the program is relatively new and still in its developmental stages, it will not disappoint.
Best VLC Alternative For Windows
Potplayer may be the most popular alternative to VLC for Windows users. Its clean interface and powerful software capabilities make it a fan favorite, gaining new users every day. It may be worth giving this video player software a spin if you are dissatisfied with VLC: it’s free, after all. There’s nothing to lose.
Best VLC Alternative For Mac
MPV is most likely the best alternative to VLC for Mac users. The software practically mirrors VLC; it is essentially the simpler, more user-friendly and subtitle friendly version of VLC. Though MPV is still being developed, it is already quite satisfactory as it is, and it can only get better from now.
Best VLC Alternative For Android
Depending on your needs, MX Player or MPV are the best alternatives to VLC for Android users. If ads are something you do not want to see in your video streaming experience and you are not willing to pay for ad removal, MX Player is out of the question for you. As explained above, MPV has advantages over VLC and is unlikely to disappoint.