VideoLAN association
A project and a non-profit organization, composed of volunteers, developing and promoting free, open-source multimedia solutions.


Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. The text of the license can be found on the GNU website.


What is VideoLAN? What is the VideoLAN Team?

VideoLAN is a group of people, that produces and distributes free and open source software for video and multimedia purpose, released under Open Source licenses.

It started as a student project at the French École Centrale Paris but is now a worldwide project with developers from everywhere and dozens of millions of people using VideoLAN's software.

What is the legal structure of VideoLAN?

VideoLAN is a French non-profit organization.
VideoLAN has its own bank account and is fully responsible of this website.

What are the differences between VLC, VLC media player, VideoLAN Client, VideoLAN Server and VideoLAN?

VLC is the official name of VideoLAN's main product, often named VLC. VideoLAN Client is an ancient name of this product.

VideoLAN Server is another product of VideoLAN, but is discontinued since a long time.

VideoLAN is not a software, see 1.1 of this FAQ.

How can I contribute to VideoLAN?

You might either contribute time, material, or money. You don't need to be a programmer to help us. We are also always needing some translators and designers.
You will find all information you need on the contribution page.

Why are your mailing-lists and your website in english?

VideoLAN's developers come from all around the world and english is the only language they can use to communicate together. Although great care is given to the translation of VLC in various languages, maintaining translations of our website costs too much more time than we can afford.

What to do if I can't find an answer to my question here?

Read the other section of the Support center

VLC media player

Does VLC support DVDs from all regions?

This mostly depends on your DVD drive. Testing it is usually the quickest way to find out. The problem is that a lot of newer drives are RPC2 drives these days. Some of these drives don't allow raw access to the drive untill the drive firmware has done a regioncheck. VLC uses libdvdcss and it needs raw access to the DVD drive to crack the encryption key. So with those drives it is impossible to circumvent the region protection. (This goes for all software. You will need to flash your drives firmware, but sometimes there is no alternate firmware available for your drive). On other RPC2 drives that do allow raw access, it might take VLC a long time to crack the key. So just pop the disc in your drive and try it out, while you get a coffee. RPC1 drives should 'always' work regardless of the regioncode.

Where does VLC store its config file?

Currently, a config file is created on a per user basis (there is no global configuration file). If you modify the available options in VLC and save the new configuration, then a configuration file will be created in your user directory. The precise location of this file depends on the Operating System you are running:

VLC has a strange behavior...

The first thing to do is to reset the VLC preferences in the preferences dialog of the application and restart VLC. If VLC doesn't even start anymore, delete VLC's configuration file (see the previous question to know about its location). Then restart VLC. If it does not get any better, read the following questions!

Videos are too dark

Often this is caused by video hardware overlay problems:

I cannot read DVDs!

Here are a few things to check:

The video runs but the picture is distorted

There is probably a problem with the output layer. There are several ways of troubleshooting it. First, try with another output plugin, for instance:

% vlc -V sdl
% vlc -V x11

Second, change your screen depth and/or definition. It quite often helps. Lastly, if running Unix, have a look at your X.Org video driver.

Video is choppy

Your system might be too slow to decode all pictures. It might be that your CPU basically is not fast enough. It can also be that the subsystem is misconfigured/misdriven, this happens for example under Redhat Linux. Here are some elements to improve speed:

Framedropping behaviour can be configured in the Video preferences of VLC.

Audio and video are out of sync

Try using another audio output plugin and, under Unix, kill esd, artsd or pulseaudio if they are running. If the problem is due to the input file, have a look at the "Audio desynchronisation compensation" option.

Oops, there is an information missing:

Audio desynchronisation compensation is limited by the cache size depending to the selected access module. This can be altered in the configuration panel.

Please, for the clueless people arguing that it doesn't work, include the information mentioned in the second post of this thread in The VideoLAN Forums exhaustingly, as by my nearly ever-lasting research on the same issue there are a lot of locations here and there where it isn't being mentioned unfortunately. Best if it was mentioned in the tooltip as well. Please do put this tag into the appropiate location or remove it once it is a documented feature inside the software, agreed?

VLC crashes.

Increase the verbosity level (either in the preferences or with a -vv command line option) and look at the debug messages (in the terminal or in the Messages window).

If you are convinced that it is a bug in VLC, have a look at the bug reporting page.

How can I take screenshots?

To take a snapshot of the video displayed by VLC, you just need to press the pre-defined snapshot hotkey:

To change it, go to Preferences -> Interface -> Hotkeys settings, check Advanced options, and set Take video snapshot.

You can also take a snaphot via the menu Video -> Snapshot.

To change the snapshot format or directory, go to Preferences -> Video.

Where are my screenshots?

If you haven't changed the snapshot directory in your preferences, your screenshots should go to:

To change it, go to Preferences -> Video -> Video snapshot directory.

My file doesn't seem to work!

Are you sure VLC supports the file? Try checking the features page. If it supported and you compiled VLC yourself, check if you have downloaded and installed all the codecs correctly. If it is not supported, then you are out of luck for now.

Note: At present, especially WMV3, the most recent Real Player, and the most recent Indeo Video ("IV50", etc.) files are not supported by VLC and are not going to be in the near future.

VLC doesn't display all subtitles

If VLC has autodetected your subtitles file, or if you opened it manually, but VLC only diplays some subtitles from time to time, you will need to change the subtitles file encoding.

Go to Preferences -> Input / Codecs -> Other codecs -> Subtitles, and set Subtitle text encoding to the right one.

See this reference: ISO Standard for various characters sets.

Why is my video purple? (a.k.a. the smurf effect)

Not sure. But many people have fixed this problem by changing their video output module.

Go to Preferences -> Video -> Output modules, and set Video output module to something different, like DirectX video output. Be sure you have advanced options enabled to be able to access this option. Also, you might need to disable the "YUV -> RGB" checkbox in DirectX section of Preferences -> Video -> Output modules.

VideoLAN streaming solution

Do I need a "streaming server"?

Well, there are in fact two kinds of streaming: passive streaming in which a movie is sent by a server and watched by one or several client, and Video On Demand (VOD) in which each client asks for its own stream.


Yes, both programs can be used to stream video, as explained in the VideoLAN HOWTO. The streaming features of each program are described on the streaming features page.

Technically, there is an important difference:

Is it not a waste of time to develop both?

To understand this situation, you must consider the history of VideoLAN. Before VLC's stream output, we had two very different programs:

But what is more important is that VLS and VLC developers were separate groups of people, and that they were free to write the software they prefer! That is how free software runs, and it has shown in the past that is was a good engine for innovation and enhancement.