VLC does not support hev1

20150806_vlc_h265

Problem

I tried to play a MP4 file using VLC and it threw up this error:

No suitable decoder module:
VLC does not support the audio or video format "hev1".
Unfortunately there is no way for you to fix this.

Solution

That surprisingly pessimistic error message is wrong. hev1 is the HEVC/H.265 standard, which is a new video compression standard that is getting popular for high DPI content. All VLC needs is a decoder plugin for it.

There is a PPA that provides this decoder, so installing it is easy:

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:strukturag/libde265
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt install vlc-plugin-libde265

These video files should play correctly after installing this decoder.

Tried with: VLC 2.1.6 Rincewind and Ubuntu 14.04

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How to use VLC as DLNA client

Viewing content of a MiniDLNA server in VLC
Viewing content of a MiniDLNA server in VLC

A UPnP/DLNA media server, like for example ReadyMedia, can be used to stream video and audio files to any UPnP/DLNA player or client on the home network. VLC can be used as a UPnP/DLNA client or player to play the video or audio content of any UPnP/DLNA server on the network.

  • In VLC, go to View -> Playlist. Click the Universal Plug n Play option in the left column.

  • VLC tries to locate all the UPnP/DLNA servers on your network and your UPnP/DLNA server should be displayed. Click on it. A dropdown arrow should appear to the left of the server (this can take a while, see note below). You can explore the hierarchy of content folders of the server from here on.

  • Whatever files you wish to play in VLC, right-click on them and choose Add to playlist. This is good for audio files. For video files, you might prefer to right-click and choose Play to view it immediately.

  • Note: VLC can take a lot of time (say 5-10 minutes) to display that dropdown arrow beside the server name. This is because it tries to pull the entire folder hierarchy of the server. This problem has been documented by the VLC developers, but will not be fixed anytime soon due to resource shortage.

Tried with: VLC 2.1.4 Rincewind, MiniDLNA 1.1.2 and Ubuntu 14.04

How to install the latest version of VLC on Ubuntu

The VLC team shares two PPAs which can be used to get a more recent version of the program on Ubuntu.

If you want the most recent stable release:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:videolan/stable-daily
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install vlc

If you want the bleeding edge release:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:videolan/master-daily
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install vlc

Tried with: Ubuntu 14.04

How to download subtitles in VLC using VLSub

One of the most convenient features of XBMC is that you can automatically download subtitles for any video right from inside it. It would be really nice to have this feature with VLC. And it can be done using the VLSub extension:

  1. Download the vlsub.lua file from its Github repository or VLC addon page.
  2. Create the directory ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/extensions/ and place the Lua file there. This is where VLC looks for its extensions.
  3. Play any video using VLC. Choose View > VLSub, this shows the VLSub dialog.
  4. Choose either Search by hash or Search by name. The extension searches in OpenSubtitles and displays the list of all matching subtitles. Select the subtitle you want and click Download. Once the download is done, click Close.
  5. The extension downloads the subtitle file, places it in the same directory as the video file, renames it to have the same name as the video file and applies it to the currently playing VLC. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Tried with: VLSub 0.9, VLC 2.0.5 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Stutter and freezing with VLC 2.0.1

Problem

VLC moved from 1.x to 2.x major version a while ago and I upgraded to VLC 2.0.1 Twoflower recently. But, with this version of VLC, I am experiencing stutter and freezing of both video and audio when I play any video file. When I look at the Messages console (Tools β†’ Messages), I see error messages of this form:

ES_OUT_SET_(GROUP_)PCR is called too late (pts_delay increased to 300 ms)

Solution

There seem to be lots of people experiencing this problem with the VLC 2.0 and 2.0.1 players. A lot of solutions are suggested on the VLC forums, but none of them solve this problem. A major feature that was added in VLC 2.x was multi-threaded decoding, which I suspect might be the culprit here.

Finding no solution, I downgraded back to the last 1.x version: VLC 1.1.9 The Luggage. Video and audio plays fine with this version. I am sticking to it until this problem is fixed.

Tried with: VLC 2.0.1 Twoflower

VLC: Subtitles Synchronization

Problem

Many videos come with a subtitles track, either embedded in the video container or as a separate file (typically a .srt file). Sometimes, these subtitles might be out of sync with the video.

Solution

Syncing up the subtitles to the video is easy in VLC. Use the keyboard shortcuts h and g to either delay or forward the subtitles over the video. Each keypress changes the delay by 50 milliseconds and VLC displays the current delay value as an overlay on the video.

There is another method, but surprisingly it does not work! Open the Tools β†’ Track Synchronization dialog. Here, go to Synchronization β†’ Advance of subtitles over video and set the delay to the amount you wish. This setting surprisingly has no effect! What works is only the keyboard shortcuts described above.

Tried with: VLC 1.1.3

VLC: Boosting Volume

Problem

When watching videos, sometimes you wish the volume were a bit higher than the maximum your computer can play. The problem is especially acute with videos whose audio is actually pretty low or with the underpowered speakers of most laptops. By default, VLC can already boost the volume upto 200%. But, what if you need your volume to be a big higher than that?

Solution

It is possible to squeeze out a bit more volume, at the expense of audio quality. In VLC, choose Tools β†’ Effects and Filters and in its Audio Effects tab you can see the Graphic Equalizer. Here you can get some volume boost by choosing to Enable it and dragging up the Preamp slider. You can get a further boost by dragging up all the individual sliders at the various frequencies.

If you want much more volume than this, you need some new speakers! πŸ™‚

Tried with: VLC 1.1.3

VLC: Audio-Video Synchronization

Sometimes the audio or video might lag behind the other during playback of a video file. Fixing this so that the audio and video are synchronized is pretty easy in VLC.

Play the video file in VLC. Choose Tools β†’ Track Synchronization. VLC pops up an Adjustments and Effects window with the Synchronization tab open. Increase or decrease the Advance of audio over video value until you feel the audio and video are in sync. It takes a couple of seconds for new settings to take effect.

This is a per-session setting, as it should rightly be. So, it is lost when VLC is closed and reopened and needs to be set again if needed.

 

Tried with: VLC 1.1.7

Real Media Files and Real Alternative

VLC is the awesome-est media player which plays almost all the video formats out there. It is my default media player. Sadly it cannot be my only media player, since it has partial support for Real Media files (.rm or .rmvb). This means that some Real media files play fine, some have seeking problems and some just do not play at all.

One solution for this problem is to install the Real Alternative codec pack. It ships in two forms:

  • Real Alternative Lite: Just the codec files.
  • Real Alternative: The codec plus an old version of Media Player Classic to play the files.

I like to have as few files around as possible. So, I prefer to install Real Alternative Lite and use Windows Media Player to play the files.

VLC: Speedup the Video Playback

Watching videos of talks, interviews and lectures often feels slow and long. You can speedup the video playback in VLC player by clicking the Faster button on the right side of the window. The speed of the video playback is displayed in the statusbar at the bottom of the window. Each press increases the playback speed by 0.5x. I find a speed of 1.5x the most comfortable to watch.

If you need more fine-grained control, use the Faster (fine) and Slower (fine) options from the Playback menu. These change the playback speed by 0.1x.

More: Peteris Krumins blogs about other ways to speedup video playback by using AviSynth and Mplayer. I find the VLC method the most simple and straightforward.