VLC Media Player vs. K-Lite Codec Pack: What’s the Difference?

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VLC Media Player and K-Lite Codec Pack are two different programs that can both be used to play multimedia files. They have many similarities, but there are also differences between them, as well as reasons why you might choose one over the other depending on your situation. Find out more about VLC Media Player and K-Lite Codec Pack in this article!

Introduction To VLC Media Player

This media player can play any media file, including those you download from third-party sources. It supports multiple audio tracks and subtitles in a wide variety of languages, and it has its own format converter so you can watch movies with various different file formats. The interface is a bit old school, but it’s free, open-source, and works well for basic media playback.

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Introduction To K-Lite Codec Pack

The codec pack is a package of programs and codecs designed to allow you to play any media file on your computer, whether it’s Flash video or FLAC audio. VLC Media Player is one of these many components, and in recent years has become so much more than just a player for basic video files.

While other players like Windows Media Player play some advanced formats, VLC allows you to play even obscure formats with low resources.

Difference Between VLC Media Player vs. K-Lite Codec Pack

  1. VLC Media Player is a free media player that supports almost any type of file format. It has been around since 2001 and is still going strong.
  2. K-Lite Codec pack is a proprietary codec pack from Microsoft that allows you to play videos and other files in Windows Media Player. It was released in 2002 and is still being used today.

Download Speed: VLC Media Player vs. K-Lite Codec Pack

It’s quite interesting to see how Download Speed varies between VLC and K-Lite. During most of my tests, I was downloading files from one of our media servers located in North Carolina (that has a BGP ASN). In my tests, VLC was able to download at 4.47 Mbps, while K-Lite had a Download Speed of 0.32 Mbps. So what gives? Why is there such a large disparity between these two programs when it comes to Download Speed? Well, according to Wikipedia, VideoLAN is based on libvlc which uses its own implementation of a demultiplexer and video decoder/encoder called libavcodec.

Playback Speed: VLC Media Player vs. K-Lite Codec Pack

Both VLC and K-Lite support adjusting playback speed. To do so, use your mouse to drag the slider beneath Speed in VLC or click Settings and select View under format list. In K-Lite, choose View from Tools. Right-click on the video and select your desired speed. Note that increasing playback speed can distort audio.

Also, note that VLC does not have a maximum playback rate; it will continue to play at faster speeds until you stop it manually. For example, if you increase speed beyond 1x, 2x, 3x…etc., then start playing another video with increased speed (2x) then play will continue at 4x until you stop it manually by pressing the space bar or ESC key.

Playability: VLC Media Player vs. K-Lite Codec Pack

It’s hard to compare VLC with any other media player because it plays more formats than any other player. The only media format that I’ve ever seen VLC struggle with is Sony’s ProRes 422 format. For all other formats, VLC runs like a champ. Don’t believe me? Watch an episode of House on your PS3 in HD and let me know how it goes.

Wide Platform Compatibility: VLC Media Player vs. K-Lite Codec Pack

VLC plays on all platforms. It can be played on mobile devices, desktop computers, and even smart TVs. Also, since it is compatible with any operating system, you do not have to worry about switching to a new OS in order to play your favorite videos!

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However, if you are looking for compatibility with other devices such as DVD players or gaming consoles, then VLC may not be right for you. Additionally, while VLC is great at playing most files, it cannot play every file type.

Cost: VLC Media Player vs. K-Lite Codec Pack

VLC is free and open-source while K-Lite is $10.00 to purchase. However, you can download and use both codec packs for free. VLC allows you to convert media while it’s playing, but it doesn’t have as many features as K-Lite or AviCodec.


VLC and K-Lite are both capable of playing back video files that aren’t supported by your operating system or media player, but they differ in other ways. The next time you need to play a file with oddball formatting or with missing components, download VLC; otherwise, stick with K-Lite.