So my grandma was having issues playing a Quicktime MOV file emailed to her from my little brother's iPhone with the Quicktime Player. Rather than try and figure out why Quicktime won't play a file it should know very well how to handle I suggested she download and use VLC instead. That solved her problem. Now the other day I get an email from her with the same title as this post.

It would seem she is a subscriber to Cloudeight InfoAve and she emailed in asking if they had heard of VLC. Apparently they hadn't because they put her question in their weekly issue.

Nancy asks us about a free media player
Do you know anything about the free media software program entitled VideoLan? I was having trouble with Quick Time and my grandson suggested VideoLan and it works great. Just wondering what your opinion of it is. is the address. Thanks for your help!

Our answer
Your grandson is very computer-smart! This is a great find. It replaces two programs we never like to install (and never do) - QuickTime and RealPlayer.

After we received your question, we immediately did some research on it and we're quite impressed. It's a free, all-in-one, media player which plays almost every kind of video and audio file you can imagine. It has been released by a non-profit organization as open source software. There's no spyware or adware and contributors to this program are all volunteers. There is no adware, spyware or other bundled software in the program. There are no advertisements on the site. The only visible means of support we see are a couple of "donate" buttons. As of the date we downloaded it there had been over 36 million downloads.

The program works great and plays a myriad of audio and video file types. It works better than advertised. Kudos to your grandson for a great freeware find!

Anyone looking to replace the obnoxious QuickTime and the questionable RealPlayer should be very interested in VideoLan. Those interested can read more about it and/or download VideoLan from here.

See that? I'm computer-smart. I feel special. In case you didn't notice the first two times...VLC contains no adware, spyware or crapware. Though I think Windows Media Player is just as questionable as RealPlayer myself. Rather curious on why they didn't mention WMP at all. :/

free -> The free version of the newsletter only has a teaser. The actual question and answer are for "premium" subscribers only. 2009 Archives - week 399
premium -> I'd post the link but they seem to have security through obscurity which is no security at all. So for premium subscribers you want "Issue #309 of InfoAve Premium"