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VLC adds last.fm, better codec support

There are several excellent freeware video playback programs out there, and VLC media player is one of the best. Made by "those VLC folks," or VideoLAN as they prefer to be called, the wildly popular open-source player now offers a slightly better experience than before for both Windows and Mac.

VLC will now cooperate with Last.fm, there's direct playback of video URLs, and, unexpectedly, a lot of attention has been given to how VLC interacts with the Internet. Users will find VLC to be more secure, with options for strictly regulating Internet usage through the player … Read more

World's greatest media player ported to the iPhone

VLC, arguably (or not) the world's greatest media player - and open source in the bargain - has been ported to the iPhone, according to Wired. If you've never used VLC, you clearly don't download enough video from the web. :-)

The currently beta port, by Zodttd, is a hefty binary by iPhone standards, at 24MB, but it's worth it: you can drag and drop any media file onto a jailbroken iPhone and it should just work. No more tedious conversion using the (quite excellent) Visual Hub.

When Quicktime or Windows Media Player don't open … Read more

Ripping audio from concert DVDs: Ask the Editors

Q: I have a collection of live concert performances on DVD that I would like to be able to listen to on my iPod. Is there an easy way to rip just the audio, but not the video, and export the soundtrack to my iPod? -Tom (via e-mail)

A: There are many roads to take on a project like this, but I'm going to show you two that are free and both Mac and PC compatible.… Read more

First Look video: VLC media player

Got a file that won't play in Quicktime? Maybe you have a short clip you found on the Web that Windows Media Player won't have anything to do with. Whatever your media-related issue is, VLC media player for both Windows and Mac usually has the solution. With support for several common (and not so common) media file types, it's no wonder this player remains a user favorite.

Still not sure? Then check out this First Look at VLC media player with CNET Download.com's Jason Parker to see if its the program you've been looking … Read more

Featured Freeware: VLC media player

When it comes to video files, nothing is ever as easy as it should be. Thankfully, VLC media player offers a one-stop solution to the file-format and codec problem for Windows, Mac, and thumbdrives with a portable version. The open-source program supports playback of OGG, MP2, MP3, MP4, DivX, DVD, and what seems like thousands of other file types. In addition, it also can function as a streaming media server.

Though the interface varies from platform to platform, the sparseness of the standard version leaves plenty to be desired. Some skins perks things up slightly, but the program seems to … Read more

Security hole in VLC Player

Torrent-watching Web site TorrentFreak is reporting a major security hole in the popular open-source media player VideoLAN, also known as the VLC Player (download for Windows and Mac. "The reported vulnerability makes it possible for a malicious user to run arbitrary code, potentially taking remote control of the host machine," according to TorrentFreak.

The hole gets exploited from a subtitle file buffer overflow, and it's platform independent--meaning it could strike users of Mac and Linux operating systems, as well as Windows fans. VLC users who avoid subtitle files won't face any problems. Another solution is to … Read more

Kick video butt with KMPlayer

The field of freeware media players that claim support for most or all playback formats out there is growing. GOM, VLC, and KMPlayer tend to top people's lists. KMPlayer is perhaps the least known of the three, but if you haven't toyed around with the level of customization that it offers, you're missing out.

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New Mac owners: Start here!

So, you were one of the lucky people to receive a shiny new Mac for the holidays. We're all jealous! But if you're reading this, you've probably already spent some time getting set up and checking out all the cool features and programs that come with your Mac--and now you want more! Out of the box, your Mac is loaded with cool apps to get you started on stuff like uploading and organizing your digital images, creating a music library, making your own movies, and surfing the Web. (You're here, so it must have worked!)

While … Read more

Grab screenshots from videos and DVDs

The response to my post last week about how to convert digital photo collections to DVD slide shows was a resounding, "Whatever. How can I grab a screenshot from a video or DVD?"

Who knew that the number of would-be "screencappers" was so legion? Regardless, I'm your humble servant, and your wish is generally my command.

First off, for image screen captures of digital video files, I highly recommend VLC Media Player. I know I mention the free media player quite a bit, but it's still the cream of the freeware video crop for me due to its light footprint and flexibility.… Read more

Giving thanks: Top 9 Windows utilities

Writing up a list of items for which I'm thankful is such a cliche at this time of year...that I can't pass up the opportunity to add my own contribution to the Thanksgiving fray. I have very little need for 3D turkey screensavers, but luckily, there are a few more valuable applications listed on CNET Download.com upon which I can bestow appropriate tribute.

In honor of Thanksgiving week, I've decided to serve up a heaping helpful of my nine "most useful" Windows utilities on the Download.com site. Now, notice that I didn'… Read more