VLC media player supports many audio and video compression methods and file formats, including DVD-Video, video CD and streaming protocols. It is able to stream media over computer networks and to transcode multimedia files.
The default distribution of VLC includes a large number of free decoding and encoding libraries, avoiding the need for finding/calibrating proprietary plugins. The libavcodec library from the FFmpeg project provides many of VLC’s codecs, but the player mainly uses its own muxers, and demuxers. It also has its own protocol implementations. It also gained distinction as the first player to support playback of encrypted DVDs on Linux and macOS by using the libdvdcss DVD decryption library.
The VideoLan software originated as an academic project in 1996. VLC used to stand for “VideoLAN Client” when VLC was a client of the VideoLAN project. But since VLC is no longer merely a client, that initialism no longer applies.It was intended to consist of a client and server to stream videos from satellite dishes across a campus network. Originally developed by students at the École Centrale Paris, it is now developed by contributors worldwide and is coordinated by VideoLAN, a non-profit organization. Rewritten from scratch in 1998, it was released under GNU General Public License on 1 February 2001, with authorization from the headmaster of the École Centrale Paris. The functionality of the server program, VideoLan Server (VLS), has mostly been subsumed into VLC and has been deprecated.The project name has been changed to VLC media player because there is no longer a client/server infrastructure. The cone icon used in VLC is a reference to the traffic cones collected by École Centrale’s Networking Students’ Association. The cone icon design was changed from a hand drawn low resolution icon to a higher resolution CGI-rendered version in 2006, illustrated by Richard Øiestad.
In 2007 the VLC project decided for license compatibility reasons to not upgrade to the just released GPLv3.After 13 years of development, version 1.0.0 of VLC media player was released on 7 July 2009.Work began on VLC for Android in 2010 and it is available for Android devices on the Google Play store since 2011.In September 2010 a company named “Applidium” developed with endorsement of the VLC project for iOS a VLC port under GPLv2, which was accepted by Apple for their App store.In January 2011, after VLC developer Rémi Denis-Courmont’s complaint to Apple about the licensing conflict between the VLC’s GPLv2 and the App store’s policies,the VLC had been withdrawn from the Apple App Store by Apple.Following, the VLC authors began to relicense in October 2011 the engine parts of VLC from the GPLv2 to the LGPLv2 to achieve better license compatibility, for instance with the Apple App Store.In July 2013 the VLC application could then resubmitted to the iOS App Store under the Mozilla Public License.Version 2.0.0 of VLC media player was released on February 18, 2012.A version for the Windows Store was released on 13 March 2014. Support for Windows RT, Windows Phone and Xbox One were later added.As of 2016 VLC is third in the sourceforge.net overall download count;more than 2 billion downloads have occurred