The team that powers VLC (2019)

The team that powers VLC (2019)


·December 4, 2021


A funny story (among many other) related to the traffic cone chosen as the VLC icon.

When some student was spotted consuming most of the bandwidth by downloading 'Linux distros' on P2P networks, such traffic cone would be placed in front of his room door, to designate the culprit. It might be one of the reason of the VLC icon choice.

Told by my brother in law, who was president of the VIA[0] student association of the Ecole Centrale de Paris.



I had never heard this story but this could definitely have happened at some point.

My personal memory that this happened because the people there were collecting cones at a high rate to play in the corridor of the floor (the 2H) of the student residence most of the VideoLAN / Via people were occupying at that time. This trend was certainly started by someone who became Debian Project Leader at some point and who was also enjoying eating regularly at a fast food restaurant in town. On their way back, these young and stupid boys were stealing the cones from a nearby gas station and bringing them back.

This lead to various uses such as the creation of an unofficial acrobatic cone launch federation (« la federation internationale de cone ball » I tried to find a picture of a now prominent Google SRE in action but my google-fu escaped me) and various costumes[1].

The cone used as an icon was also illustrating the fact that most of the code was heavily in progress at that time and so definitely not usable.

We were young!



The story I heard is that the association has a collection of traffic cones that were stolen under the influence of alcohol [0].





VLC is by far the best media player in existence, and I'm extremely thankful for the team behind it. Gives me hope that this whole Foss thing is actually very good for the world.


I very much prefer mpv.


I also greatly prefer mpv, but I wouldn't recommend it to most people for the same reason I wouldn't recommend emacs to most people. To get the most out of it, you need to be able and inclined towards extending it. But if you are, it really kicks ass.


Like how? What can it do that vlc can't?


Why? The GUI is simple, MPV needs learning CLI to play videos. and has drama like this.

I just want to play videos, what is the benefit of MPV? I used it for a while, because it was "better" but now I wonder "better how"?


> MPV needs learning CLI to play videos.

It certainly does not. You can launch mpv by clicking/doubleclicking on any media file in your file manager, the same as any other. You can also drag media files to your mpv icon, or drag media files to a running mpv instance.

Edit: Also I don't know where you found that "migaku" guide, but it's crap. Why is guide written in english telling people to download a config file that sets Japanese as the default audio and subtitle language? Why the hell is it turning hardware decoding off by default? Also, sudo to curl into usr/local/bin/youtube-dl when you could just put yt-dlp/youtube-dl in the regular mpv configuration directory? Fucking... why?

Do yourself a favor and read the official documentation if you really want to give mpv a try.


> “There are some [silly] features in VLC—some filters that everyone finds weird and asks [us], ‘Why do you have that?’ The answer is someone sent a good patch, so there was no reason to refuse it,” says Kempf.


A "not so silly" option is that you can just cast any video to a Chromecast.

Which is quite handy for videos that don't belong in eg. Plex.


Fun for VLC, a series of sharp edges for openssl


> While anyone can submit new ideas, whether they’re accepted or not largely depends on the quality of the code, rather than the utility of the feature. “We have a very difficult process,” Kempf admits. “People don’t understand why we do that. But the reason is we need good code, because I’m the one that’s going to maintain it. If I don’t understand it now, this is going to be a problem.”

That's the difference to OpenSSL!


After several false starts, I finally figured out how to configure the DLNA server in my router to serve files from USB-attached storage to the smart TVs on my LAN. Then I installed the VLC app on my iPhone and it discovered the DLNA server immediately as a UPnP File Server in the Network tab. It works pretty well, except it doesn't show the cover art for music files. The MacOS app also discovers the server, but the interface is completely different. Overall, I'm impressed, though I did have to do some online searching to figure out how to do some basic things like random play (you have to start playing a song to access the shuffle icon).


Any particular links that were helpful for this?


Honestly, no. The whole process felt like a scavenger hunt. In theory, it should be simple: 1) Connect a drive containing media to a USB port. 2) Enable DLNA server. 3) Select the server in a DLNA client and play the media. It sounds like something that should be a standard feature in any smart TV or networked media device. It's surprising how many bugs and bad interfaces I encountered along the way.

Once I got it working, I liked the built-in DLNA media server in my particular ASUS router enough that I retired my Jellyfin server.


VLC hasn't fixed the many-years-old bug where seeking causes pitch to randomly shift (, previously And IIRC when VLC plays network streams (eg. Youtube) and they get disconnected, VLC often aborts playback instead of reconnecting (don't know if this bug is tracked or not, or fixed, since I use mpv for Youtube now).


TIL: before you click on 'View>Minimal interface', be sure to note the shortcut you need to restore it. Because minimal means minimal.


You can right-click anywhere in the VLC window to bring up the context menu, which has a 'View' tab which let's you toggle it back.


Anyone know if it’s possible to run shaders in VLC like you can with mpv? e.g.


Discussed at the time:

The team that powers VLC - - Nov 2019 (49 comments)




There is also IINA that somehow seems more snappy/better-integrated on macOS.


IINA is basically a front-end for mpv. I use it. It's got nice features like force-touch support, but in my experience it's a memory hog—way worse than base mpv somehow.


I always wonder why people go gaga googoo over VLC, when there's Media Player Classic with K-lite which does a lot of the same things better.

I remember watching 1080p blurry rips in MPC without any problems in 2008 while VLC would spend 1 year doing some sort of buffering upon opening then struggling to play the video correctly.


It might come down to difference of experiences. As soon as software bites you once, I think most people feel differently towards it. I think the reason VLC gets (and in my opinion, deserves) a lot of praise is that a large part of the user base has never felt bitten.

Personally, I have never once had trouble getting VLC to run a media file, and I can't say that for any other media player. Granted, I don't know any other media players, and I don't know if it's hard to make a good one -- but that's kind of the point. I want a limited range of features from a media player: ability to make sound really loud, adjust timing of subtitles, speed up / slow down. All of those "just work" for VLC and have very basic navigation (that's good). VLC has allowed me to be comfortably oblivious to all the codec crap I remember dealing with over a decade ago.


You're arguing that MPC is better than VLC because of an issue you encountered 13 - almost 14 - years ago?


No, I'm pointing out that a better player already existed since the inception of VLC.


MPC is better? Maybe if you run windows. But if you don't then MPC isn't only not better, it's completely irrelevant. VLC on the other hand supports pretty much everything under the sun, so you can safely recommend it without playing the "what kind of computer do you have?" game.


Lots of better players existed at the inception of VLC. Most existing players that worked at all were probably better. That's how most projects start off.


Well, I've personally always wondered why people advocate MPC. During like 15+ years of use I can't recall having a single issue with VLC. And that's from consuming basically everything from the VCD era and onwards. In my experience VLC has been as close to flawless software as one can get.


It is[1] popular to recommend MPC over VLC in the anime fansub community, especially on /a/. When H. 264/10bit was newish and had just started to come into regular use in the scene[2], I distinctly remember a lot of people shitting on VLC because at the time it didn't handle it very well right out of the box, and there were tons of guides floating around on how to download/setup MPC-HC with CCCP or k-lite and haali media splitter for a supposedly better viewing experience.

[1] Or at least was, my recollections regarding this are nearly 10-15 years old at this point.

[2] There was one specific person, Daiz from the Underwater/UTW fansub group, that was one of the first people to start encoding his releases in H.264/10bit, and he would get a lot of hate because they tended not to play very well on improper setups, vanilla VLC being among those. "Dammit Daiz", they would say. He eventually bruteforced a tripcode to have H.264 in it just to mess back at them for all the hate. Fun memories.

edit: here we go, a contemporary HN rant from the man himself regarding MPC vs VLC. Looks like summoning Daiz works here too


VLC had no styled subtitle support at the time, and often didn't seek to keyframes so clicking around would corrupt the video. It was also pretty inefficient on macOS.


I dont think VLC is bad by any means or that anyone shouldn't use it, I just don't understand the comments I often see on HN acting like it's some unprecedented software that's unlike anything else.


VLC is unique in its support for every codec under the sun. If it refuses to play a video file, it's probably because it's damaged beyond recovery, or not a video file at all. The default Windows and smartphone video players choke on all kinds of files, so you can't really expect that any given file is supported.


It plays any media file you throw at it out of the box and doesn't require any codec packs installed. On top of that, it has a ton of other features including network support. Simple as that.


Used to do the same with klite codec pack and a patch to play HD videos on windows. It wasn't "better" though, it was just what tutorials suggested you installed to play more videos.

VLC just works now, its on every platform, and I used it to run any video that MPC couldn't play. Then I just used it to play everything, and I can do that on every platform I use, they all have VLC.


Can you tell me why MPC + K-Lite is better?

I've been gone from the Internet for 8 years. Before I left I used VLC for everything. When I just got a laptop I was convinced to install PotPlayer as "being better". Having been gone for such a long time I assumed there was a tectonic shift in the media player space. Perhaps I was wrong?


MPC-HC is just as good as VLC and maybe a little less cluttered. It's Windows only of course, but if that isn't a limiting factor, then it's a very good alternative to VLC in my opinion.


From the home page:

"MPC-HC is not under development since 2017. Please switch to something else."


I never like vlc approach. It did everything but there was always 7 fingercuts in the process. Or it was slower, less ergonomic. MPC, MPV were more my daily drivers.


VLC is an excellent media player. It is actively developed and runs on many platforms.


In my case, because VLC opens and plays flawlessly any video file you throw at it and that other players struggle with. That and it's FOSS and available in every OS I ever used.

What else is there to think about?


VLC works on other operating systems for a start.