Quick tip: new VLC versions are released quite frequently and even though some don't introduce any new features, there are important bug fixes in each release (you can find the VLC changelogs HERE). If you want to always have the latest stable VLC version in Ubuntu, here are some PPAs you can use.
Ubuntu 13.10, 12.10, 12.04: you can install the latest VLC media player (VLC 2.1.2 at the time I updated this article) by using THIS PPA which contains VLC backports. To add the PPA and install the latest VLC in Ubuntu, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:djcj/vlc-stable sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install vlc
Ubuntu 14.04, 13.10, 12.10 and 12.04: an alternative PPA you can use is the "VLC Daily build of stable branch" PPA. This PPA doesn't have the latest stable VLC version but it provides builds from the stable branch, so you may occasionally find some small bugs but if that happens, they should be fixed quickly. The advantage of this PPA over the other two mentioned above is that it has packages for more Ubuntu versions and also, it's updated more frequently since it doesn't depend on the packages being available in Debian before uploading them to the PPA. To add this PPA and install the latest VLC in Ubuntu, use the commands below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:videolan/stable-daily sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install vlc