One of the best things about computing and the Internet is Free Software. There is lots of it, and many times the FREE option is better than the paid option.
The perfect example is VLC Media Player. VLC is an open source, cross platform FREE media player. VideoLAN Client is a French non-profit organization with developers from around the world. If Windows Media Player won’t play your file, chances are, you can play it with VLC. I found it years ago when looking for a way play various file formats with a single player.
The next great thing about VLC is the user interface. The player is intuitive to use and opens anything you throw at it. There is no fluff, but what the player lacks in beauty is more than made up for with function. VLC currently ranks as the 25th most popular free software title in our PC Pitstop Free Software list.
In addition to playing audio and video files you can use the player to subscribe to radio and podcasts. I’ve used VLC recently for playing videos that I put together using Camtasia Studio, but I never knew I could play radio with it. Open your VLC Player, click on View/Playlist/Internet/and make your selection.
Did I mention TV? Not a problem because in the same area as the Radio options you’ll find the TV options. Just click on Channels.com. Here you’ll find plenty to watch under the headings of News, Health, Politics and other titles.
VLC will become an even bigger deal once we see Windows 8 released. Microsft has confirmed that Wndows 8 will NOT support DVD playback and word is that, while Windows Media Center will be available in Windows 8, it will not be FREE. Windows Media Center will be a paid program. No more free ride with Windows, but a perfect opportunity to take advantage of a no cost, open source software like VLC…and not pay Microsoft anymore than necessary.
If there is one thing time has taught me, it’s that the cost of everything is going up. As soon as one thing goes down, there will be something to pick up the slack. Remember when TV was FREE, You just turned it on and the antenna pulled it out of the sky? Then 20 years later we thought we were getting a good deal because Cable delivered TV with no advertising for a small cost. Sounds so funny now. If we had only known. So now we pay to watch the advertisements that we used to complain about when they were free.
I expect big changes in the next couple of years. Technology is forming and reforming the shape of our computers and the operating systems are adjusting accordingly. Good Free Software will be harder and harder to find. Check out some of the best free items in our Free Software list.