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TwistedKestrel
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VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:28 pm

I'm very glad that VLC exists. It is untouchable when it comes to digesting any media format out there. Why ever bother messing around with codecs on any OS when pretty much any DRM-unencumbered format you can think of has a high quality implementation in VLC.

However.

The interface is atrocious for some reason. It is at best "functional". It's dated, does not have a consistent visual or organizational style once you start getting into the menus, and every now and then you will run into stuff that does not work. Not day to day stuff, but something you might think would be handy once you find it, try it, and are disappointed - stuff that could simply be excised if it doesn't do anything. And it's been like that for years.

There are skins available, but they have their own problems. All the skins on the site's main gallery are at least six years old... why? There are some on and off site that look nice and work better for simple things... but then you lose most of the menus in VLC and a metric ton of functionality.

What's the story here? I'd ask on their own forums but something seems a bit off... like they are very heavily moderated or something.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:52 pm

A lot of Open Source projects are like that. Unless a project has a strong (and clued-in) personality at the helm (e.g. Linus for the Linux kernel, Guido for the Python language), or an organization with strong corporate sponsorship from stakeholders (e.g. Open Virtualization Alliance, the maintainers of the KVM virtualization platform), the development process can be a case of "Two steps forward, one step back, a step sideways now and then, run around in circles for a few months... oh look a squirrel!"

Many of these projects are also run entirely by volunteers, who have a day job, families, etc...

For another example, look at GIMP. Extremely powerful, but the user interface is often baffling, and figuring out how to do something can be like solving a complex logic puzzle.

Sometimes, your best recourse is to just fix the damn thing yourself, provided there's a simple hack that'll get it to more or less do what you want.
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travbrad
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:54 pm

Have you tried MPC-HC?  It also seems to play just about everything (I have even run into a couple video files that would play in MPC-HC but not VLC) and maybe you'd like the UI options better?  You can still dig deep into some nerdy/advanced options with it, but most of the more common options can just be accessed with a right click menu.
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:26 pm

I use VLC as the default video player across Ubuntu/macOS/Windows 10.

Interface: Adapted to macOS. Looks decent under Ubuntu/Windows. Basic functionality which is fine by me.

For the most part I just double click on a video via the OS file browser and away we go. If need be I dip into the Audio/Video/Subtitles menus (where everything is laid out in a straightforward manner).

My use of VLC has steadily declined as I focus on Plex to manage/view my movies/TV shows. Plex via a browser is particularly handy.
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Voldenuit
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:06 pm

MPC-HC FTW. I can run it at 120 fps. I can even run it at variable refresh mode (if set to D3D renderer). I can select between filters and enable/disable hardware decoding, configure hotkeys, use plugins to change the UI, add jump and loop features etc.
MPC-HC is the PCMR of video players. If you're multiplatform, however, VLC is way ahead on convenience. I'm sure there are plenty of Linux alternatives, but I only use Linux in CLI, and only when I have to (thru work), so I can't tell you much about Linux alternatives.
 
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sophisticles
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:12 pm

I consider VLC to be pure garbage, trash, raw sewage, rubbish; I wouldn't violate my computer by installing and using it. SMPlayer or one of the other MPlayer based players or MPC or some variant on Windows.

But VLC? Don't make me laugh!
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:51 pm

sophisticles wrote:
I consider VLC to be pure garbage, trash, raw sewage, rubbish; I wouldn't violate my computer by installing and using it. SMPlayer or one of the other MPlayer based players or MPC or some variant on Windows.

But VLC? Don't make me laugh!

I am laughing. At you! That UI is absolutely disgusting and I'm not going to waste my time looking for a skin to fix such a glaring lack of taste.

Apart from the UI from hell, why should I install this app?
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Acidicheartburn
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:59 pm

I used to use VLC Media Player quite often until I moved my music library to the digital realm and bought JRiver Media Center.  I definitely found it useful but also pretty uninviting.  It's very functional but definitely not very pretty.  If you aren't opposed to buying a media player, JRiver is quite good.  It's got continued support and updates, forums, and it's own wiki.  It is also extremely powerful and versatile.  It has a LOT of features and I've really yet to find much of any kind of bug, though I suppose I'm not a true power user.  It's excellent for playing just about anything under the sun, can serve as a home media center like KBMC/Kodi, and pretty much anything else you might need it to.  JRiver's interface isn't super flashy or exciting but it is a lot better than VLC's.  It's also quite handy for file conversion to multiple different formats.  Doesn't give you as much control as something like a dedicated file converter such as Handbrake but it's also easier to use in that regard, and is excellent for tagging and organizing.  If you decide to buy JRiver you might try and wait until MC22 is out (21 is the current version).
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:14 pm

Acidicheartburn wrote:
I used to use VLC Media Player quite often until I moved my music library to the digital realm and bought JRiver Media Center. 

VLC, a media player, is a vastly different beast to something like JRiver or Plex (media centre).

VLC is great for playing an individual stream or file. Plex is my media centre.
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:06 pm

I use MPC-BE(switched from -HC some time ago) with madvr and LAV, the upscaling in madvr is far superior to VLC and I'm not sure if there is anything better. The interface isn't an abomination like WMP or Powerdvd, it's nice and minimal, reminds me of Foobar2000. MPC-BE (and HC) have some nice shaders too to improve quality too, I've been running the adaptive sharpen shader post resize for videos which aren't potato quality or have some sort of edge enhancement and with madvr you have smooth motion to reduce judder without the soap opera effect
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:14 pm

Mikael33 wrote:
MPC-BE (and HC) have some nice shaders too to improve quality too, I've been running the adaptive sharpen shader post resize for videos which aren't potato quality or have some sort of edge enhancement and with madvr you have smooth motion to reduce judder without the soap opera effect

How poor is the quality of the source that you have to worry about such things?
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:55 pm

I haven't used VLC in years. It was nice seveal years ago when it was THE alternative to paid software and windows media player.
I've since moved to zoomplayer.  It's a powerful player that I suggest people look into.
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:44 pm

I like the description as the "best worst media player". I use it as my default player on Windows and Linux, because it just always works when I want to open a media file.

Then I get the weird edge case where I need to take a streaming media file in some weird format, grab the entire thing, and then turn it into a file ready to burn for a playable DVD - and VLC does that, too, once I figure out where to sacrifice the chicken while turning thrice widdershins. The interface is a bit bonkers because it is absurdly capable - far more than anything else I've seen described as a "media player" application - and, well, all those functions, options and flags need to have a radio button or input field somewhere, right? (Somewhere, a UI designer is drinking heavily.)

I can't see it being replaced in my stable of go-to programs, though - it works fine for the most basic user ("double-click on the file and it will play") and gives options stretching far beyond.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:32 pm

End User wrote:
Mikael33 wrote:
MPC-BE (and HC) have some nice shaders too to improve quality too, I've been running the adaptive sharpen shader post resize for videos which aren't potato quality or have some sort of edge enhancement and with madvr you have smooth motion to reduce judder without the soap opera effect

How poor is the quality of the source that you have to worry about such things?

You mean why in the world would anyone want to make their videos look better when given the option?
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:05 am

I don't do much video consumption on the desktop these days (so perhaps I'm a bit out of the loop), but VLC has never given me any grief.  The interface isn't the greatest, but after the codec and media-player hell of the early-2000's, I'm still relieved in not really having to deal with that anymore.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:09 am

I've been using MPC-HC for years along with K-Lite Codec Pack and there is literally no file format, including in-game cutscenes in VP6 or BNK that it can't handle. With a little bit of tweaking around with filters, audio settings and hotkeys, it's the most convenient video player out there, at least for my needs. 
I've tried VLC in the past and it seems like a decent player but MPC-HC is better still. 
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:00 am

Another vote for MPC-HC from me if you're a little tech savvy. VLC is a great player that I will recommend to people who are not good with computers but MPC-HC offers a number of benefits.

One of the things I do like about VLC is the audio over-volume it has though.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:05 pm

The Egg wrote:
I don't do much video consumption on the desktop these days (so perhaps I'm a bit out of the loop), but VLC has never given me any grief.  The interface isn't the greatest, but after the codec and media-player hell of the early-2000's, I'm still relieved in not really having to deal with that anymore.

Well it's functional and will play just about anything, but if you're an A/V enthusiast/ elitist then there are better options if you play your blurays or whatever on your desktop (I don't own a TV) or use a PC to output A/V to your tv i.e HTPC.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:07 pm

VLC is a decent player. If you hate the interface then change it, it has a quick interface modification mode built in for adding, removing, and editing all the menus and toolbars and buttons. MPC-HC is alright but I only use it for the weird old relic formats that linger around on drives.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:32 pm

VLC works fine for videos and I use it all the time.
Definitely NOT missing the need to fiddle with codecs like back in the day. >.<

I prefer Foobar for anything audio though.
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:12 am

odizzido wrote:
Another vote for MPC-HC from me if you're a little tech savvy. VLC is a great player that I will recommend to people who are not good with computers but MPC-HC offers a number of benefits.

One of the things I do like about VLC is the audio over-volume it has though.

You can do "over-volume" in MPC-HC too although it's a bit less convenient (unless I am missing an easier way).  Right Click > Audio Track > Options and there is a boost option for audio.
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:18 am

Oh come on, VLC isn't that bad! I have grown up using VLC and Codec :P
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:11 am

VLC was once good.  Now, I think its too bloated.   It takes time to start playing especially over the network .. and the dreaded "rebuilding font cache" is just too much.

I'm also currently using MPC-HC.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:40 am

K-Lite is the answer to file compatibility, moreso than even VLC.

I agree that the interface for VLC is a total disaster. MPC-HC is far from perfect but it's definitely much better and since it comes with K-Lite these days that will do.

I'd love to find something better but as already mentioned, these are free projects run by volunteers. If they're good enough for you and you don't fancy improving the interface yourself, just learn the quirks of what you get given and be happy.
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:04 pm

I did forget that VLC still can't play ATMOS audio, that's been an issue for over a year and there's still no plan to fix it. I'll give some bonus points to MPC-HC for being able to handle it.
 
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Re: VLC - The best worst media player?

Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:21 am

I use it but I don't like it

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