February 1, 2010 · News · Email This Post

Starting with version 1.1, users will be able to write their own plugins for VLC, codenamed Extensions. The difference with other VLC modules consists in the language used to write these Extensions: Lua, a simple a lightweight scripting language, embbeded inside VLC media player.
Why extensions?

The success of Firefox over the past few years can be explained quite easily when you have a look at its main features. The major differences between Firefox and IE reside in the Open Source model, and the possibility for community users to write their own plugins. Some of these plugins, like AdBlockPlus, really change the way you enjoy the Web. As a consequence, you can't use any other browser, as long as you need your favorite Firefox plugins.

The same idea can apply to media players. With the constant progress of web technologies, you get more and more access to a lot of free content from your home computer. Why not binding this content with the software you love and the medias you watch or listen to? In less abstract terms, what if you could get the subtitles of the movie you are watching in less that one click, read the lyrics of the current track, learn about the artist's biography and discography right inside VLC?

Well, the answer is that you actual can. Just try VLC Extensions now and you'll see you can forget about your browser when it comes to multimedia-related content.

what are extensions exactly?

Extensions are scripts running inside VLC, that will popup windows and fetch information on the web for you. To use an extension, all you need is to activate it from the View menu (if you are a Windows or Linux user). Then, it should be all self-explanatory.

Examples of possible (or actual) extensions include:

* Wikipedia: get information about the artist, the album or the movie from Wikipedia.
* IMDb: read the plot summary, learn about the cast of a movie and get a direct link to the Internet Movie Database.
* Last.fm: Read useful information fetched from the artist's page on Last.fm.
* Lyrics: Automatically get the lyrics of the current song.
* Subtitles: Find and insert subtitles on top of the video in two clicks.
* Concerts: Learn about the next concerts of this artist.

Where do I start?

At the moment of writing, VLC 1.1 is yet under heavy development. Thus, in order to try these Extensions, you'll have to install a nightly build of VLC from http://nightlies.videolan.org.

Once this is done, you can find extensions here on the page Extensions for VLC. Download the Lua scripts and copy them to your VLC scripts folder:

* Linux: ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/extensions/
* Windows: %APPDATA%\VLC\lua\extensions

Launch VLC or open the Plugins & Extensions dialog to reload the list of extensions.

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