Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
VLC media player is the free and open-source solution to a variety of multimedia files, including DVD, CD, VCD and online streaming protocols. As an open-source media player, VLC runs on Windows, Linux, OSX, UNIX and other popular operating systems. While some media players offer an array of useful features for a specific price, VLC remains free under the General Public License. In addition, VLC is free of spyware, ads and user tracking. VLC works under both 32- and 64-bit operating systems, and its 21.6MB size takes up very little space on the hard drive.
As of VLC version 2, the media player boasts a new user interface that also offers support for additional skins. The player decodes media files even faster, and it now offers HD and Blu-ray playback. Because of its stability and functionality, VLC remains one of the most popular media players with over 500,000 downloads to date. Other than the new Blu-ray playback, VLC supports multithreading for H.264, MP4, Xvid and WebM files. In addition, it supports MPEG, FLV and RMBV files, including a list of audio formats from MP3 to WAV. VLC also provides subtitles for videos as long as the SRT file is within the same folder as the video.
In addition to its media file support, VLC also converts files and offers an advanced preferences menu to customize the media player in a variety of ways. While the preferences menu seems a bit daunting, VLC provides full documentation online for all of its features. While VLC doesn't have the most modern user interface, it offers countless media file support right out of the box. With advanced hotkey support, integrated web channel streaming and support for TV cards, VLC media player offers a faster, more compact alternative to other media players on the market.