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Starting with version 1.1, VideoLan Media Player (VLC) will get extensions support, and anyone will be able to write their own - like it is with Firefox extensions:

vlc extensions

Jean-Philippe André, one of the VLC developers explains on it's blog:

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.

I must say this is great news but a somewhat expected move since VLC has all the features a media player needs so it's time to give power to the users. Also, just like it is with Firefox extensions: if you would incorporate all the extensions in the default installation, VLC would be bloated, but if you allow users to use extensions, everyone will have the features he wants, without bloating this great app.

There are already some VLC extensions you can try (you will need VLC 1.1 but if you use Ubuntu, fear not: the latest VLC 1.1 from GIT is available in the Web Upd8 PPA, build as of today - read on for installation instructions):

  • 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.

Here are a few screenshots with some of these extensions:

vlc last.fm info extensionvlc lyrics extensionvlc subtitle extension

vlc imdb extension

And two concept extensions (or they might already exist, but I couldn't find a link to download):
  • Wikipedia: get information about the artist, the album or the movie from Wikipedia.
  • Concerts: Learn about the next concerts of this artist.

Installing and using the VLC extensions

1. Install VLC 1.1

The first thing you need is to use the latest VLC 1.1. See: How To Install VLC 1.1.0 (Final) In Ubuntu From A PPA (deb)

If you want to compile VLC 1.1 from GIT yourself, see How To Compile VLC and VLMC (From GIT) In Ubuntu

If you are not using Ubuntu, download VLC nightlies from here: http://nightlies.videolan.org/

2. Download the VLC extensions

Download the extensions from HERE.

3. Installing and using the VLC extensions

Copy each of the .lua files downloaded in step 2, to the following location:

Linux: ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/extensions/ (you can enter: sudo nautilus ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/extensions/ in a terminal to open Nautilus with root permissions to the location where you must copy the .lua files).

Windows: %APPDATA%\VLC\lua\extensions

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. Then, it should be all self-explanatory:

vlc extensions

What do you think of this new feature coming with VLC 1.1? Is is something you've always wanted? Just a nice addition? Let us know your oppinions in the comments!