VLC (VideoLAN) is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE media player, and I have been using it for over five (5) years as a replacement for the memory/power-hungry Windows Media Player. But what’s the best thing about a lightweight, open-source and FREE media player? It’s that the program is no one-trick pony; under the surface, there’s a wide variety of features VLC has that you likely didn’t know it could do.
1) Download YouTube Videos
VLC lets you easily download YouTube videos straight from the desktop interface WITHOUT needing to install a separate program to your computer. This includes being able to record clips from YouTube videos as they’re streaming in VLC by pressing the red Record button in the player. While not as direct of a rip, it’s very handy if you only needed to grab a certain clip from a long video.
2) Record Desktop
You can purchase desktop recording software that ranges from being free with poor video quality to expensive yet visually powerful. VLC steps in to provide a balance between both, and while it’s not powerful enough to screen record a movie, it’s perfect for showing someone a problem you’re having on a computer or providing quick instructions on how to perform any particular task.
3) Convert Videos
VLC’s built-in video converter is no Handbrake (which I LOVE), but it’s pretty good. This is useful is you just have a file that needs to be converted in a different format for uploading or playing somewhere. The converted video file will be deposited in the target location, so for simple jobs, VLC’s video converter is probably the only video converter most people will already have on their machines.
4) Record Videos and Video Messages
Whether or not your webcam came with software to take pictures and record videos, VLC will likely have some advantages over both. You can select from several different types of formats to record to, and even tweak some fine grain settings if that’s your type of thing. If you just wanted to make YouTube videos or record video messages to send to friends or relatives, this is your jam!
5) Manage Your Podcasts
With all of this video talk, you probably never thought that VLC could work as a podcast manager, huh? If you use VLC regularly, it’s actually pretty handy; just add the podcast with its RSS feed, and your podcast of choice will appear in the Podcasts sidebar section. After that, just click on the name of a show, scroll through a list of available episodes, and double-click on any one of them to start streaming that episode.