The real VLC for Windows 8 has been released

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 13, 2014
Updated • Mar 13, 2014
Music and Video

Windows store is plagued by VLC Media player rip-offs and copies. If you search for VLC in store for example, you find several that use the official name and logo, but are not the real deal. To make matters worse, some of them are not free.

Videolan, the parent company of VLC Media Player, has been working on a port to Windows 8 for some time now after a Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded for that purpose.

Today, VLC for Windows 8 was launched to the store. Please note that the app may not be returned as the first hit when you search for VLC, or even for its full name, as other apps such as "Play from VLC", or "Video Player for VLC" are displayed first on the store.

You may even need to reset the cache of Windows Store before it is even displayed to you.

VLC for Windows 8 review

So how good is the media player for Windows 8, and who is it for?

VLC has been released as an application, which means that it can also be installed on Windows RT devices in the future. Windows 8 users, those who use desktop systems, always had the option to install VLC regularly on their system and use it.

Windows RT users are therefor the target audience of the app. That does not mean that Windows 8 users won't be using the app as well, especially if a touch-screen is being used, or if the full screen approach or the automatic recognition of new video and music files, make it more convenient to use.

The problem right now is that VLC is not available for ARM devices. It only supports x64 and x86 processors.

The media player

vlc for windows 8

The makers label VLC Media Player for Windows 8 beta right now. When you first start the app after installation, you will notice that it will scan your video and music folder automatically, and add any media files it finds in those folders to its library.

This looks either great or not so great depending on the state of your music and video collection. As you can see on the app screenshot above, the music that VLC discovered looks a bit of a mess in the interface due to missing album covers.

Thumbnails for some videos are created automatically, while this is not the case for other formats such as flv. That does not mean that VLC won't play those formats though.

According to the product description, VLC for Windows 8 players "every kind of video" including mkv and flv, and also audio which includes mp3, off and flac for example.

The interface displays a menu at the top which you can use to switch between the home screen, video and music pages, a page for external storage devices, and one for media servers.

As far as settings go, there are not any right now. This can be an issue, as you cannot add other paths on your system to VLC so that they are scanned for video files.

While you can configure the system to open VLC when you click on media files, it is inconvenient to only use the videos and music folders for the program's library feature.

I guess you can work around that issue using symbolic links, but to make things simpler, an option to add other paths to scan should be included in the final version.

Video player

vlc media player

As you would expect it, the video player launches any files you open in it in full screen mode.

A basic control panel is displayed to you on start but is hidden after a couple of seconds. You can bring it back up when you click with the left mouse button.

It offers basic controls: you can stop playback, jump back or forth using buttons or the timeline slider at the bottom, or increase or decrease the video speed. Here you can also open a subtitle file, or go back to the main interface.

It is a convenient system and works quite well actually. A couple of controls are missing though. There is no mute or volume change option for example, and I could not figure out how to switch audio tracks if a video supports more than one.

While full screen may be a good choice, depending on the video that you play and the screen resolution of your Windows device, it may not look as good depending on those factors. If you play a low res video in full screen, it may not be a pleasant experience.

You can snap the app to either side of the screen to improve this though, but it is far from ideal.

Music Player

The music player is basic. It plays music right on the main screen of VLC though, and does not switch to full screen. It only features a timeline and pause button, but no volume controls or other controls.

It is also interesting to note that I encountered a bug while using the player. Music was initially discovered by the player, but when I opened it again, all the music was not listed there anymore, and I could not figure out a way to repopulate it.


The release of VLC for Windows 8 is a good thing, do not get me wrong. Especially for Windows RT users provided that VLC will push out an update that introduces ARM support, and to a lesser extend for "regular" Windows 8 users as well.

The app has room for improvement though. What I would like to see is an option to add other folders on your computer to the media library, preferences to configure the player's behavior, and improvements to the media player itself.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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