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So, put everything else asside. Forget the interface, the extra functions, the speed, or whatnot.

Which of these two media players supports the largest number of video codecs right out of the box? In other words, which one plays the largest variety of video formats without the need to install extra stuff?

VLC or Mplayer?

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do you mean which player will playback media files WITHOUT additional codecs? or if they do support external codecs? and then, what does it matter if one supports more codecs than the other? for instance, both can be configured to support CoreAVC when installed, but SMPlayer (a MPlayer front/end) handles it much better. – Molly7244 Dec 11 '09 at 3:10
Without additional codecs, edited the question for clarity. I'm really just curious as to which one has the least chance of not playing some video I want. Whatever it may be. – Malabarba Dec 11 '09 at 5:11
up vote 4 down vote accepted

People can get very touchy about their media players, so I'm not gonna pick sides here.

I'll let you do the comparison :)

VLC's supported codecs - Check the left side for links, audio and video are on separate pages

MPlayer's supported codecs - all on one page

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chicken!!!!! :) – Molly7244 Dec 11 '09 at 3:13
Every time I favor one a user gets huffy about it so I don't even bother any more. I'm not on here to argue. ie:… – John T Dec 11 '09 at 3:18
and here i was thinking such cultural clashes were limited to operating systems, web browsers and anti-virus. :P – Molly7244 Dec 11 '09 at 3:30
apparently not! so, why aren't you posting an answer? :) – John T Dec 11 '09 at 3:40
Great impartial answer. ;-) – Malabarba Dec 11 '09 at 13:03

I'm not sure...

I wold use VLC personally, but a friend of mine told me that he found Mencoder bundled with Mplayer, although, he claims it's undocumented that it comes with the player.

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both projects use 'ffmpeg' to cover most codecs, 'mplayer' do support some more (until they are part of 'ffmpeg'). so, 'mplayer' supports more codecs, 'vlc' has the more idiot-proof ui.

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I hate to say it, but you're asking the wrong question. The right question is: which of these players can play the actual codec(s) that I need.

For instance, "Which can play RealVideo?" has a specific answer. (MPlayer with the win32 codecs, on Intel.)

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I don't really need any codecs right now. I've been using VLC for some time and it's never me down. I'm not looking to switch to Mplayer, I'm just asking out of curiosity, which one supports the most. – Malabarba Dec 11 '09 at 12:56

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