Chapter 1.  Introduction to VLC

Table of Contents

Overview of the VideoLAN project
VLC media player
Getting some help

Overview of the VideoLAN project

VideoLAN is a complete software solution for video streaming and playback, developed by students of the Ecole Centrale Paris and developers from all over the world, under the GNU General Public License (GPL). VideoLAN is designed to stream MPEG videos on high bandwidth networks.

VideoLAN was originally designed for network streaming but VideoLAN's main software, VLC media player has evolved to become a full-featured cross-platform media player.

More details about the project can be found on the VideoLAN Web site.

VLC media player

Originally called VideoLAN Client, VLC media player is the main software of the VideoLAN solution.

VLC works on many platforms: Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, BeOS, *BSD, Solaris, Familiar Linux, Yopy/Linupy and QNX. It can play:

  • MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 / DivX files from a hard disk, a CD-ROM drive, ...

  • DVDs, VCDs, and Audio CDs

  • from satellite card (DVB-S),

  • Several types of network stream : RTP/UDP Unicast, RTP/UDP Multicast, HTTP, RTSP, MMS, etc .

  • From acquisition or encoding cards (on GNU/Linux and Windows only)

VLC can also be used as a streaming server. These aspects are detailed in the Streaming Howto

The present guide describes all the client (playback) aspects of VLC

Getting some help


The user documentation of VideoLAN is made up of 4 documents:

  • the Play-Howto. This document is the complete guide of VLC as a client.

  • the Streaming Howto. This document is the complete guide of VLC as a streaming server. It will give you practical examples to set up your streaming solution.

  • the VLS user guide. This document is the complete guide for VLS (VideoLAN's legacy streaming server)

  • The VideoLAN FAQ. This document contains Frequently Asked Questions about VideoLAN.

The latest version of these documents can be found on the documentation page.

User support

There are different methods to get support from The VideoLAN team. For more details, please visit our Support page.