Getting Started With Media Players

At this point, chances are you have hopefully read our advice on Why to Change Media Players and checked out the variety of media players that we have to offer. Now that you’ve downloaded your media player of choice, chances are you’re excited to get started with your new and hopefully improved media player, but maybe you’re not sure exactly how to get started.

Since it will play the most file options, we’re going to use VLC Media Player as our example.


VLC is often talked about as primarily a video player, and it does indeed excel at that, but most people don’t realize it will also play all your music, and handle streaming media like YouTube videos and podcasts. To get started, the best thing to do is set up your digital library of files, so you can play music and videos with just a click or two.

Working in Windows, we assume that you’re going to keep your music and video files in the default Libraries > Music > My Music and Libraries > Videos > My Videos folders. To access these with VLC, first start the program, and under the View tab in the top bar, make sure “Docked Playlist” is checked. Then select View > Playlist, and this should automatically bring up your music in whatever folder structure you have them on your hard drive. This is also where you will see the option to play a DVD, under the Devices header in the left hand navigation bar.


If you want to play streaming media like podcasts or streaming video, the process is fairly simple as well.

  • For Podcasts: From that same left hand toolbar where you find all your locally hosted files for music and video, you can scroll down and add any podcast by URL. Simply enter the “subscribe” URL of your podcast into the box when prompted, and it should auto-populate the available podcast episodes you can play right in the VLC window.
  • For Streaming Audio/Video: If you want to create a selection of videos that are one click away via VLC, all you have to do is copy the URL of the video from your browser, go to VLC, and click Ctrl + N to open network streams. Then paste the URL into the provided window so that any time you want to listen to or watch, your streaming media is just a click away.