In spite of a simple interface with no interactive features, VLC player has many useful features under the hood. Throw any type of media file on it, and it will impeccably play it. However, that is not all. VLC player has an impeccable built-in video streaming server to stream media files from one computer to another on a network.
Streaming allows you to distribute your video or audio content live – just like your TV and radio works.
One situation where VLC Video Streaming feature might come in handy is when you have downloaded a movie from your main computer, but you want to watch it on your laptop. You don’t need to transfer your movie and go through the pain of converting and burning the media on a CD. Instead, you can stream videos using your VLC player to your laptop while the original file remains on your main computer.
This is also useful when you want to share a video or audio with your colleagues at work – you just need to set up the streaming from your computer, and they could watch or listen to it live from their computers.
Here are the detailed steps to follow if you want to stream your videos to another computer or network:
Setting up the VLC server
- 1. Start VLC player. Navigate to
Mediaon the main menu and from the drop down menu, click
- 2.A new window will appear. Under the
Filetab, click on the
Addbutton to add the file you want to stream. You may select several files if you want VLC to build a playlist. When you are done adding files, click on
- 3. A Stream Output window will appear. In the Source field, make sure the file is the same, which you want to stream. Now after confirming this, click
- 4.Under Destinations tab, you will see a drop down menu containing a list of protocols that VLC supports when streaming a video or audio file. Select
HTTPfrom the menu.
Check the option
Display locallyif you want the video or audio file to play on the current computer as well. Normally, you should leave it unchecked.
You will see a transcoding option underneath which is checked by default. Uncheck it. Then, click
Add. You may leave the default Port and Path settings.
Click Next, to open the
Optionstab. The miscellaneous configurations are optional. Thus, you may leave it as it is. Now click
If you haven’t missed anything, VLC player should be streaming by now.
- 5. If you don’t know the IP address, go to Start > Run, type
cmd, and press OK to open your Windows Command Prompt. Then type the command
ipconfigto get the local IP of your computer
- 6.Once you have the IP address, write it on a piece of paper and go to the other computer(s) you want to watch the video stream. Open VLC Player and navigate to
Open Network Stream.
- 7.Input the IP address,port number and the path to the virtual file in the following format: IP:PORT
Watching the stream on the client
Now, it is time to watch the video stream on the other computer on your network but first, you will have to get the IP address of the PC on which you are streaming your audio or video file from.
In my case, it is
http://126.96.36.199:8080 and click the
Play button. Your video or audio should now start streaming after a few seconds
Common problems while setting it up
To be honest, I’ve had a hard time configuring VLC to stream videos across my computers, but it was worth the time. Here’re a few issues I’ve come across when setting it up.
Problem 1: I got the error ‘VLC is unable to open the MRL ‘path-to-file’. Check the log for details.
Solution: The most common reason for this error is that VLC is not able to reach the URL due to a firewall restriction. To get around this issue, allow VLC Player through your firewall on the computer you are streaming to and from. Your antivirus might also have a built-in firewall, make sure you have allowed it there also.
Another reason is that the computer is not accessible on the network. To verify it, go to another computer, open Firefox and type the IP address and port of the computer you are streaming from and see if it’s accessible. In my case, it is
http://192.168.1.14:8080. If it is not accessible, you will receive the message ‘unable to connect’.
Problem 2: I have input the IP:PORT/PATH but still the video is not playing.
Solution: The video format is probably not supported by VLC. You might need to choose another protocol to stream your file or change your file format. Refer to this page to know which format is supported by which protocol during streaming. In my test, I’ve tried streaming songs (mp3 format) and movies (.vob format) which works perfectly but had no success with .avi files.
If you have any issues setting VLC to stream video or audio files, leave a comment below. I’ll try to help you to set it up.
That’s it! Enjoy watching the video stream without going through the hassle of transferring large files from one computer to another.