Friday, May 20, 2011

5 Lesser Known Tips for VLC Media Player

Almost everyone I know have started using VLC Media Player as their default application to play videos and music. In this post, I’m listing 5 tricks that’ll help you do more with VLC.

Control VLC Media Player with a Remote (without buying one):

VLC Media Player

Using your computer to watch media doesn’t mean that you have to get up and move near the keyboard to adjust the volume or fast-forward to a part of the video you are looking for. All you need is a smart-phone with Wi-Fi on which you can install the VLC Remote app. The application works when you control VLC using the ‘Web Interface’ and have a Wi-Fi Router set up. VLC Remote works with Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Windows Mobile devices. If you are confused about setting up VLC Remote, this guide may help.

Use Custom Skins on VLC Media Player:

One excuse which people tell me for not trying VLC is that the interface is “boring”.  If you didn’t know earlier, VLC supports custom skins and there’s a gallery full of great stuff. You can change the skins by going to preferences (Ctrl+P).

Stream YouTube & Other Online Videos:

If you’ve got trouble viewing videos on YouTube, fear not! VLC Media Player is the best way to stream videos from the web as well as from your home network.

VLC Stream

  • Copy the URL of the YouTube or any service’s video you are looking to watch.
  • Open VLC Media Player and navigate to Media > Open Network Stream (or simply Ctrl+N).
  • Paste the URL in the appropriate field and hit play to start streaming. This works for most online video hosting services.

Take Screenshots of Videos:

Okay, this one’s relatively simpler. If you’ve got a favourite scene coming up, you can capture a PNG of the same and use it as a wallpaper or anything you wish. All you have to do is keep hitting Shift+S (+/-) 3 seconds prior to the frame you are looking for and choose the best shot from your My Pictures folder.

VLC Screencap

You can change preferences from Tools > Preferences > Video. Under this module you will be able to change the directory where the images are saved, change the format in which the files are saved png/jpg and change the format of the filename.

Force a Particular Aspect Ratio:

If you have a widescreen monitor that supports 16:9 aspect ratio, you’ll find it irritating if videos start playing in SD leaving both sides of your screen blank and you end up changing the ratio to 16:9/16:10 based on your monitor every single time. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you can force every video to play on a pre-set ratio? You can read our detailed post on this for step-by-step instructions.

That’s all I’ve got right now. Know about a tip that’ll help you achieve something new with VLC Media Player? Leave a comment below and enlighten us!