VLC For Windows 8: Free Media Player App

VLC For Windows 8 is a free media player app for Windows 8 and 8.1 devices. You might have already heard of the massively popular VLC Player for Windows and other platforms like Android, and if you are like me, you may even be using the same as your default media player for most of the time! It came as a pleasant surprise when VLC was released as a Metro app, and I am absolutely euphoric about the same. The app is as smooth as the original VLC desktop app, supports the same number of formats as the original VLC, and being a Metro app, it has the advantage of being lightweight (10.4 MB, which is about half the size of the VLC desktop app) and consuming lesser battery.

VLC For Windows 8 has a very clean interface which is absolutely minimalistic and stunning, and opening Videos and Music files in the app becomes pretty much self explanatory. The app supports playback subtitle files like .srt, .ass, .sub etc., which play perfectly synced along with the multiple supported video formats like .flv, .3gp, .mov, .wmv, .mkv, .rmv, .vob – pretty much every video format that there exists. Apart from this as an icing on the cake, it also supports almost every kind of music format, and thus can serve as a viable replacement for your default music player app. It won’t be an understatement to say that VLC For Windows 8 can play back every media file format that there exists.

VLC For Windows 8 is available for free from the Windows App Store.

app icon`

Features of VLC For Windows 8…

Immediately upon launching the app, you will be blown away by how cool the app looks. The app looks awesome, and the combination of black and bright orange colors used in the app’s interface gives it a somewhat futuristic feel while still making it look absolutely native to Windows 8 ecosystem.

home screen

The above screenshot is what the main screen of the app looks like. The main screen of the app has five tabs –

1. home

This is the screen which opens by default every time you launch the VLC app. You can click on the home label at any time if you are inside some other tab to return to the home screen. The home screen is where your music and video files will appear once you have synced them to the app.

the home tab

The home screen lets you open your recently played video file, or allows you to play your music files. The content is presented in a neat tiled pattern.

2. videos

This will show you a thumbnail preview of the video files that you have played using the app. If you haven’t played any videos yet, this screen will be empty for you. Apart from showing you the recently played videos (which can be played back by clicking on them), you can also open a video file by clicking on the Open video file button next to the search button at the top right screen corner. This will take you to the file browser screen from where you can play the videos. The search button allows you to search through your recently played back videos and this is an extremely handy tool as you can quickly look up a video that you have previously played without going into the file manager screen. The videos tab looks like the below screenshot.

the videos tab

The video playback screen looks like the below screenshot. Suppose we choose a video by clicking on it, we will be taken to the video playback screen in which the video will be played back to us in a full screen view. The video playback controls are present at the bottom of the screen. In the below screenshot, you will be able to see the video playback in a full screen view. The subtitle file, if present will be played back automatically with the video file, and you can also choose to manually open a subtitle file. The playback toggles will be present at the bottom  of the screen, and you can select the subtitle file by clicking on the balloon annotation at the bottom right corner of the screen. Via the playback controls, you can also adjust the playback speed of the video.

video playback demo

3. music

Having a similar functionality as the videos tab, this will show you a thumbnail preview of the music files that you have played using the app. All the buttons inside this page perform the same function as they do in the videos tab, but only in this page, they perform the function for music file (like the open button will only let you open music files and not videos, search button will search only for music files). A neat feature in this tab is that the tracks get sorted according to ARTIST, TRACKS, or FAVORITE ALBUMS. The albums can be favorited in the playback screen of the album, but for this feature to work, you need to have a complete album of songs. The music tab looks like the below screenshot.

the music tab

The albums can be favorited easily in this screen by clicking on the Favorite button next to album art. You can also favorite individual tracks by clicking on heart buttons next to individual tracks. In the below screenshot, you can also see the music playback going on, and this is how the controls will appear at the bottom of the screen. The album art, artist name, and seek bar along with controls like play/pause, next and forward are present at the bottom of the screen. You can go back to the main screen at any time via the arrow button in the top left.

music playback screen

The music playback continues even if you go back to the main screen, and you can still see the playback controls.

Similarly, external storage and media servers will show you the media files stored on those devices respectively in a similar manner as the music and video tabs.

removable media device connected

When a removable device is connected, it will show you the contents of that device. You can then navigate and select the media file that you wish to play back. The above screen can also be accessed by clicking on the external storage tab in the main screen of the app.

As of now, the app does not support advanced settings like video de interlacing, aspect mode, or crop settings, but the developer plans to add these features in future. My overall impressions of the app are pretty fantastic to say the least!

Pros…

  • Clean and minimalist interface.
  • Tiled layout.
  • Looks native to metro environment.
  • No ads.

Cons…

  • Does not support some features available in the desktop app of VLC like crop, aspect mode, and video de-interlacing/interlacing.
  • You can not adjust the subtitle delay.

The Verdict…

VLC For Windows 8 is a great app to have on your Windows 8/8.1 device, as this is the best media player app out there on the Windows App Store, being able to play back pretty much every type of media file format thrown at it. Though it doesn’t have all the features of the desktop VLC player app, it still comes extremely close, and hence I absolutely love this app.

I rate this app a glowing 4.5 out of 5.

Get VLC for Windows 8.

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