VLC media player

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From the project home page:

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.


Install vlc from the official repositories.

Notable variants are:

Notable optional dependencies are:

  • qt4 - for the GUI
  • libcdio- for audio CD playback support


It seems VLC does not offer an option to change language in its Preferences menu. But you can use the LANGUAGE= prefix. For instance, modify the /usr/share/applications/vlc.desktop line:

Exec=/usr/bin/vlc %U


Exec=LANGUAGE=fr /usr/bin/vlc %U

to switch VLC interface to French.


VLC can be "skinned" for a different look and feel. You can obtain new skins for VLC from http://www.videolan.org/vlc/skins.php.

Installation of skins is simple just download the skin you wish to use and copy it to:


Open up VLC, click Tools > Preferences. When the preferences window opens up you should be in the "Interface" tab

Choose the "Use custom skin" radio button, and browse to the location of the downloaded skin.

Restart VLC for the change to take effect.

Web interface

Run VLC with the parameter --extraintf=http to use both the desktop and web interface. The --http-host parameter specifies the address to, which is localhost by default. To set a password, use --http-password, otherwise VLC will not allow you to log in.

# vlc --extraintf=http --http-host --http-password 'yourpasswordhere'

Or you can enable this feature in the UI by navigating to View > Add Interface > Web Interface.

VLC defaults to port 8080:

Edit /usr/share/vlc/lua/http/.hosts to allow remote connections. You will need to restart VLC in order for changes to take effect.

Tips and tricks

File association in GNOME

Copy the system desktop file to the local one (local .desktop files supersede the global ones):

$ cp /usr/share/applications/vlc.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

Define its mime types (known playback file type abilities) by doing:

sed -i 's|^Mimetype.*$|MimeType=video/dv;video/mpeg;video/x-mpeg;video/msvideo;video/quicktime;video/x-anim;video/x-avi;video/x-ms-asf;video/x-ms-wmv;video/x-msvideo;video/x-nsv;video/x-flc;video/x-fli;application/ogg;application/x-ogg;application/x-matroska;audio/x-mp3;audio/x-mpeg;audio/mpeg;audio/x-wav;audio/x-mpegurl;audio/x-scpls;audio/x-m4a;audio/x-ms-asf;audio/x-ms-asx;audio/x-ms-wax;application/vnd.rn-realmedia;audio/x-real-audio;audio/x-pn-realaudio;application/x-flac;audio/x-flac;application/x-shockwave-flash;misc/ultravox;audio/vnd.rn-realaudio;audio/x-pn-aiff;audio/x-pn-au;audio/x-pn-wav;audio/x-pn-windows-acm;image/vnd.rn-realpix;video/vnd.rn-realvideo;audio/x-pn-realaudio-plugin;application/x-extension-mp4;audio/mp4;video/mp4;video/mp4v-es;x-content/video-vcd;x-content/video-svcd;x-content/video-dvd;x-content/audio-cdda;x-content/audio-player;|' ~/.local/share/applications/vlc.desktop

Then in System Settings > Details > Default Applications and on the Video drop-down menu, select Open VLC media player.

Twitch.tv streaming over VLC

See Livestreamer#Twitch.

Playing streamed content from a local DLNA server

If you find that trying to play uPNP/DLNA content (by going to View > Playlist > Local Network > Universal Plug'n'Play), that vlc fails to see the DLNA server on the local network, then make sure that the firewall is not blocking port 1900 UDP. It is essential that this port is open in order to play local uPNP/DLNA content.

Control using hotkeys or cli

Install openbsd-netcat.

Get script at: http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?pid=112035%23p112035#p112035

Follow instructions in script to setup a socket for VLC.

Either run the script from the command line or register the script with keyboard shortcuts through your desktop.

Alternatively, you can use dbus-send as discussed here to interact with VLC:

$ dbus-send --print-reply --session --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.vlc /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.PlayPause

Preventing multiple instances

The default settings for VLC is to open a new instance of the program for each file that is opened. This can be annoying if you are using VLC for something like playing your music collection. You can disable this in Tools > Preferences > Interface > Instances > Allow only one instance. Optionally. tick Enqueue files when in one instance mode which keeps current file playing and adds any newly opened files to the current playlist.

Hardware acceleration support

See Hardware video acceleration.

VLC automatically tries to use an available API, but you can override it by going to Tools > Preferences > Input & Codecs and choosing the suitable option under Hardware-accelerated decoding, e.g. Video Acceleration (VA) API for VA-API or Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) for VDPAU.

systemd service

VLC's web interface can be started from systemd. First, we need to create a default user. We'll use UID 75 in this example since it's not in use according to DeveloperWiki:UID / GID Database.

# useradd -c "VLC daemon" -d / -G audio -M -p \! -r -s /bin/false -u 75 -U vlcd

Now we create the systemd service file:

Description=VideoOnLAN Service

ExecStart=/usr/bin/vlc --daemon --syslog -I http --http-port 8090 --http-password password 


Start and enable vlc.service. Log in to http://yourmachine:8090/ with no username and with the password you put in the service file.


Video broken or other issue after upgrade

Now and then VLC will have some issues with configuration even in minor releases. Before making bug reports, remove or rename your configuration located at ~/.config/vlc and confirm whether the issue is still there.

If using a ffmpeg variant from the AUR, be sure that you have upgraded it as well. Pacman will not upgrade it when necessary and a mismatch will break VLC.

Segmentation fault

When starting VLC you can get a segfault, and ruling out general factors such as Microcode, a possible workaround to this is running the following:

 # /usr/lib/vlc/vlc-cache-gen -f /usr/lib/vlc/plugins

Then reinstall VLC.

Another workaround can be reinstalling vlc within an LD_PRELOAD environment:

# LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libgobject-2.0.so.0 pacman -S vlc

Missing icons in dropdown menus

This can happen under XFCE, there will be no more icons in dropdown menus, like the or the PCI card icon.

Execute these commands to reactivate these icons:

$ gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /desktop/gnome/interface/buttons_have_icons true
$ gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons true

Failed to open VDPAU backend

See Hardware video acceleration#Failed to open VDPAU backend.

Since your system probably doesn't support VDPAU you should tell VLC to use VA-API instead, see #Hardware acceleration support.

Video output overlaps the desktop, does not scale nor position properly

This happens at least on Intel cards, and a fix that reportedly solves the problem is setting the output in the video settings to OpenGL GLX (XCB) and the Input/Codecs decoding to VA-API (any of them).

No playback via SFTP of media files names containing spaces

If vlc does not play any videos or audio files over SFTP first confirm you have sshfs installed.

If it refuses to play any media files containing spaces via SFTP and always asks for authentication change the line

Exec=/usr/bin/vlc --started-from-file %U


Exec=/usr/bin/vlc --started-from-file %F

in the vlc.desktop file. [1]

See also