If you like to watch movies and listen to music on your computer, there’s a high chance you want a multimedia player that can play just about anything you feed it, right? Well, some of the best to do it in the business are right here.
However, even though you probably want a media player that can just play all your favorite audio and video content on your computer, there are a lot more things some of the great media player products out there can do.
VLC and IINA are two open-source multimedia players that offer you more than just being able to play a wide variety of file formats. Both of them do that task incredibly well, but they also have their own unique individual qualities.
Truth be told, IINA is basically a really great VLC alternative for people in the macOS ecosystem. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own against VLC. Although, the fact that VLC can work seamlessly on both Windows and Mac machines shows how slightly more pronounced it is.
With that said, this article will take a close look at both products, compare their strengths and weaknesses, and find out which multimedia player is better.
The VLC media player is a free-to-use and open-source software that allows you to play nearly all video file formats, and you can use the same interface to easily convert the rest to supported ones. When IINA fails you, don’t hesitate to try out this option.
Besides being absolutely free, another huge reason why this application is so popular is that you don’t have to download additional codecs to support troublesome video file formats. Furthermore, you can use this media player to optimize audio and video playback for your preferred device, stream, and extend the software almost infinitely using downloadable plugins.
These plugins add extra features and tools to the media player and also allows it to integrate with other streaming services and programs.
IINA is a media player application for macOS that constantly updates its interface so that it can support all modern Mac applications. Besides that, the platform also supports Mac’s post-Yosemite design language that maintains its place in the modern tech space.
Furthermore, as far as the interface is concerned, it has a Mojave dark color scheme that offers editing solutions where users can choose and customize the themes they want. Most importantly, however, this media player, like VLC, can play nearly all types of media file formats with the help of certain browser extensions.
Since it’s designed specifically for the Mac operating system, unfortunately, you can only use it on Mac machines, and this is where VLC one-ups this product big time. However, you can use BlueStacks to run it on a Windows machine.
Setting up VLC is a very straightforward process and won’t take much of your time. You’ll be playing your favorite video in no time, and all you have to do is;
- Go to the VLC website
- Click the ‘Download VLC’ tab. It is an orange button function on the right of the web page
- Select your download location. Doing this will allow the app’s setup file to install on your machine
- Double-click the downloaded setup file. It will be in the downloads location on your web browser
- Click ‘Yes’ when prompted
- Select your preferred language
- Click ‘Next’ thrice. This will bring up the installation page
- Click ‘Install’. Doing this will install the media player on your machine
- Run the Media Player. Once you install VLC, run the app by checking the ‘Run VLC Media Player’ tab and clicking ‘Finish’.
The process of setting up IINA is easier and more straightforward compared to what you’ll need to do to get VLC. With IINA, all you need to do is go to their proprietary website and download the latest stable release, which is currently the 1.3.0 version.
For those of you who already have the IINA media player app installed, go to Preferences and press the ‘Receive beta updates’ tab to change to the beta channel.
Once you install the player, you can open certain online media platforms in the application directly from your browser extension. The IINA app bundle has the Safari App Extension by default and you might only need to go to Safari Preferences to enable it.
VLC is not just your ordinary media player application. It is more like a lifesaver.
If you’ve been trying to open videos in formats your Mac or Windows device does not support, then VLC media player is what you need in your life. VLC will allow you to even listen to audio content in long-forgotten formats like AAC and MP3.
You can even use it as a DVD player on your machine. It does everything. Hopefully, now you get some idea of where this is going.
Over the years, there’s been a great evolution of the different mechanisms that help deliver video and music content, ranging from CDs to downloading the content to streaming it. VLC has been there through all of this, and that is why for many people it is the go-to application for almost all types of media playbacks.
The platform has great tools and features for tweaking audio and video playback, as well as running file formats people had stopped using a long time ago. It is incredibly fast and doesn’t have ads, spyware, or any of those other unnecessary things.
In addition to all this, it has a huge library of add-ons and a wide array of interface skins, making it a digital media Swiss Army Knife.
Okay, its user interface is pretty standard and is not as stylish as IINA’s, or many of its other competitors, and tagging is not as simple as most people would like, but the app is generally pretty great to use. It can easily be your primary media player app for both your video and audio content.
Okay, when it comes to sheer size, IINA is almost twice as big as VLC, although the size difference will not matter much in practice. Another downside, compared to VLC, is that you can’t use this application to edit videos.
However, while IINA may not allow you to split and trim clips, the manufacturers of this media player made sure to consider everything else the end user might need while watching videos. It can handle almost all types of file formats you throw at it, from MPEGs to MOVs and MKVs to M4Vs.
Videos play almost immediately, and users can scroll them responsively and quickly, even if they’re loading remote files from somewhere else on their networks.
It has a browser extension called ‘watch in IINA’ that installs by default on Safari, and is available for Firefox and Chrome as an easy-to-use add-on, which is incredibly adept when it comes to helping it play online video content. Selections from Vimeo and YouTube will load in just a couple of seconds and will look exceptional on full screen or at normal resolution.
IINA will blessedly skip the adverts that show up before you watch videos on YouTube, and will include subtitles in the videos that have them.
The application has a simple and excellently laid out user interface. Additionally, the interface’s theme has a Mojave dark color scheme that allows the user to edit and customize textures, icons, and colors, which means you can create unified looks on the platform.
However, that’s not all. You can also make and select your own themes depending on what you like, which helps you make the app more personal and pleasing to the eyes.
Not only does this media player application support DivX and MPEG streaming, but it can also play videos as they download, meaning you can watch the start of a movie and decide whether it is worth downloading.
You can also use the app to play files in ZIP format without having to individually unpack them. If the video you’re watching has low volume, the platform lets you manually enhance the video’s sound up to about 200% after you finish downloading.
Another interesting thing about this media player is that you can use it to search for album covers. It has a playlist feature that allows users to play multiple films or videos one after the other.
This especially comes in handy when you’ve downloaded several parts of a film or when you just want to view many short videos.
Additionally, the VLC media player allows its users to make bookmarks for their playlists. Furthermore, you can also use it to store certain local media files, internet radio stations, and podcast subscription details.
The platform’s organizational facilities stand out and are a lot better than what you’ll get with IINA and many other media play apps out there, including iTunes and Windows Media Player. You’ll have access to many interesting and professional settings including a video scrubber and fast forward.
You can also take screenshots while you play videos on the platform and the images you capture will be saved in the documents folder with an MPG extension.
Besides being able to take screenshots, VLC also has a great screen recorder that can collect video content straight from the computer while acting as your screen recorder feature. If you want to use the desktop recording application on this media player, all you need to do is go to ‘Convert/Save’, which is found in the Media option.
Once you’ve gone to ‘Convert/Save’, push the capture device function and pick Capture mode. A drop-down menu will appear where you’ll need to select the desktop for recording.
You can adjust your video’s frame rate, make codec selections, and identify the output folder where you want to save your modified content. Press the stop button on your screen when you don’t want to record anymore.
In addition to all this, VLC also allows its users to create video and audio effects. You can synchronize the video and audio on your media files if you feel they haven’t been well done. This option is under the Synchronization tab, and you can accomplish this action in a matter of seconds.
Before looking at some of the most interesting features of this app, it’s essential to know what file formats it can support. Henceforth, IINA plays almost all of the most common file formats, including MP3, MOV, M4V, FLV, MP4, MPV, MPEG, and WAV.
Anyway, besides the fact that users can play almost anything using this media player, they can play their videos and IINA will provide them with different subtitle formats from either the internet or their local files.
Another interesting feature of this media player is the Airplay mode that allows you to play audio and video file formats on your Apple Television without needing a mirror screen. Additionally, you can also use the program to play AAC or H.264 MP4 file formats because Airplay supports them.
When it comes to the Playback Support you can expect from IINA, some of the options available include advanced Touch Bar support, Force Touch, and Picture-in-Picture. Picture-in-Picture, for instance, allows users to view the main screen of their machines while they watch their movies and play their favorite music.
When users are watching a video, they can access the app’s absurdly accommodative solutions for audio, video, and subtitles via its Quick Settings Panel.
Sure, the media player supports many different audio and video files, and allows users to switch between these files on the fly, but did you know you can get even more luxurious?
Some of the other fancy features on this media player include sound for up to around five seconds in either direction or slide functions to shift subtitle timings, a full sound equalizer system, and picture adjustment settings that include gamma, contrast, and brightness.
In addition to all this, it has a Playlist panel that automatically searches for audio and video files in whichever folder the current video or audio being played resides.
Assuming you have an excellent file structure in place for your multimedia library, then you’ll just be a click away from whatever you’d like to watch next.
Lastly, IINA also has very many amusing video filters, and you can turn your picture negative, invert it, or rotate it. However, many of these filters are a bit unnecessary.
VLC is an open-source, cross-platform media player that’s absolutely free. You don’t have to pay anything to enjoy the benefits of this fantastic multimedia player. All you need to do to start using the application today is visit its proprietary website, download the app, and install it.
IINA, like VLC, is also an open-source multimedia player that’s absolutely free. The only difference is that it’s specifically designed for Mac devices.
With that said, if you’re using MacOS, all you need to do is go to their website, download the application, and install it onto your device.
- It has a simple and straightforward user interface
- It has almost all the features and tools one will ever need when it comes to playing audio and video content
- The features and tools are also easy to use
- You can use keyboard shortcuts to control the media
- You can use VLC to connect to and create video streams
- You can adjust some of the settings according to what you prefer
- You can read most video and audio files without having to install any codec
- It supports a wide array of formats and you can use it to play file formats like .avi, .mov and Blu-ray
- It has a built-in equalizer feature that allows you to improve audio without distorting sound quality
- If you want to play audio or video files, you need to go to their respective folders and open them directly
- You can’t use tags
- It can sometimes be hard looking for songs in your library
- You can’t customize the app’s interface
- It doesn’t have Blu-ray playback capabilities
- Has an incredibly user-friendly GUI and gives the user access to more settings via its UI
- Supports very many different video codecs, including MKV, MP4, etc, and sound codecs, like Opus
- When you go full-screen on your computer, IINA does not black out the other displays you have up. If you want you can black them out though, but by default, it leaves them alone
- It is scriptable because it runs on MPV and MPV script
- It’s an open-source tool
- Fully customizable trackpad, mouse, keyboard, and gesture controls
- Intelligent local subtitle matching and online subtitle searching
- Offers video conversion
- Has picture-in-picture
- Provides different in-built themes
- Only works on Mac computers
- It’s relatively unstable and can crash unexpectedly
|In-built subtitle search||Yes||No|
|Google Drive integration||Yes||No|
|Automatic subtitles download||Yes||Yes|
|In-built media converter||Yes||Yes|
|Apps with Chromecast support||Yes||No|
|In-built audio/video codecs||Yes||No|
Honestly speaking, these are two great open-source media players and it’s not easy picking which is the better of the two.
The fact that VLC has so many interesting features besides just being able to play almost any file format makes it incredibly appealing and being able to work on both Windows and Mac helps make it even more mouth-watering.
With that said, that doesn’t mean IINA doesn’t have its own catalog of interesting features to offer Mac users. For starters, it has a much more straightforward setup process compared to VLC and an innovative picture-in-picture function that allows you to avoid having to black out other things when on full-screen.
All in all, they are both excellent media players and if you can get them both, do it. However, if you’re here that’s probably not the advice you want.
So, if you have to pick one then go with the VLC media player. The main reason for this, besides having way more features, is that you can use it on both Windows and Mac machines seamlessly.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.