QuickTime is free, works well, captures video straight from the Mac’s screen, and plays most of the video file formats that most Mac users probably need. Until you need to open a video file that QuickTime doesn’t know. Or, when you get bored with QuickTime’s limitations. What can you do when QuickTime does not?
As it turns out, there’s a Mac app for that and it’s free.
Will It Blend?
Mac users who know their OGG from their H.264 know about VLC the very popular, cross-platform, donationware, multimedia player made popular among Mac users with discriminating tastes in video files. What if you don’t know your Theora from your Cinepak? If you don’t, then VLC probably isn’t the droid you’re looking for.
If you want to learn about what else is out there and why so many Mac users speak highly of something that isn’t from Apple and not named QuickTime, then read on.
If chewing through all the more esoteric video and audio codecs is a time honored pastime on your Mac, then you’ll love VLC, and chances are good you already VLC.
Whatever QuickTime Player does not play is mostly what VLC does with ease. It speaks MPEG, DivX, H.whatever, plus a laundry list of somewhat more rare video and audio file formats. That includes Cienpak, Dirac, Sorenson, Indeo and Real, not to mention the increasingly difficult to find Windows Media Video (and audio) format.
QuickTime on your Mac doesn’t hold a candle to all the audio files that VLC can handle. Again, it does all the basics from various MPGs to Flac, ATRAC, various Dolby Digital formats, Vorbis, Real, MIDI, and many others, including a few older codecs that are known only to older ears. VLC includes plenty of input and output options, streaming, subtitles and tags, and here’s the kicker– it’s almost completely cross-platform. That means there’s a VLC for Windows, too, and Linux PCs, and even BeOS (and most audio and video file formats play nice-nice with Mac, Windows, and Linux).
VLC looks and works much like QuickTime Player on a Mac, but comes with more options, and not just the ability to play almost every video or audio file on earth. VLC is fully 64-bit so runs very well on newer Macs. It won’t cost you anything to try VLC, either. There’s no price tag, but I need to include it on the list of donationware, rather than a free app. Even though it’s, well, free to use.
Settings, configurations, and Preferences, Oh My!? Compare these with QuickTime.
Obviously, a lot of work goes into making VLC, keeping it running on multiple platforms, and giving it the capability to do so much more than QuickTime Player ever dreamed, even with multiple universes. Highly recommended if you run into a video or audio file that QuickTime doesn’t read.