VLC is one of the most popular video players around, offering a robust, customizable alternative for those who don’t want to stick to the default option on their PC. One thing that prevents VLC from being the perfect movie-viewing experience, however, is the fact that you need to hunch over your PC to use it. Well, not with a remote control Android app you don’t!
In this tutorial we’ll show you how to turn your Android phone into a VLC remote using a wonderful little app.
Note: We’ll be demonstrating this on PC, but the app also works for Mac users.
Set Up VLC Mobile Remote App
First, download the VLC Mobile Remote app from the Play Store. The app isn’t made by VLC and isn’t official, but it works so well that it may as well be.
Next, make sure you have the latest version of VLC on your PC, then open it and go to Preferences.
Click “All” in the “Show settings” box at the bottom-left of the Preferences window, then click “Interface -> Main interfaces” in the pane on the left and tick the “Web” box.
Unstack the “Main interfaces” menu in the pane on the left, click “Lua”, then enter a password of your choice into the “Lua HTTP” box. Lua files are add-ons for VLC, and setting a password here lets you connect add-ons that connect remotely to VLC (e.g. over W-Fi), which is what VLC Mobile Remote will be doing.
Click Save, then close and reopen VLC. You’ll get a Windows Security Alert saying it’s blocked some VLC features, asking you if you want to allow VLC to communicate on Private or Public networks. Tick the “Private networks” box and click “Allow access.”
Next, open the Command Prompt and type
ipconfig. Make a note of the IPv4 address of your wireless connection.
Open the VLC Mobile Remote app, make sure it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer, and tap “Add Manually” at the bottom.
All you need to do here is enter your IPv4 address and the password you set earlier in VLC. You can leave the computer name and port number as they are. When you’re done, tap “Save.”
Back on the app’s main menu, you should now see your computer listed. Tap “Auto Connect” at the bottom to connect the app to your PC (make sure VLC is open on your PC), and you’re away! If you want to add more devices to connect the app to, just click the “+” icon from the app’s home screen.
How to Use VLC Mobile Remote App
Once the app’s connected, you can use your phone to browse the PC directory where you keep your videos. Just tap the video you want to open, and it will open on your PC.
You can pause and play the video using the icon at the bottom-right, or you can press the bar across the bottom of the screen displaying the video name to bring up basic options like fast-forward, rewind, volume and so on.
On this screen, you’ll see four icons at the bottom that allow further tweaking. The icon with the sliders, for example, lets you change audio output device and playback speed and aspect ratio, among other options.
If you’re playing a DVD/Blu-Ray, click the CD icon at the bottom-right, and you can access DVD menus, skip chapters, and all the usual bells and whistles of watching disc-based media.
That’s it pretty much. If you want to get rid of ads in the app (which can be a bit intrusive), you can buy the premium version for £2.99. The Premium version comes with bonus features such as gesture controls and – a personal favorite – the ability to control your VLC volume using your phone’s volume rocker.
But Premium version or not, this is one fine app that will make video-watching on your PC the lazy experience it’s meant to be.
This article was first published in August 2010 and was updated in July 2018.
iImage credit: Closeup on woman hand holding smartphone and use a app with remote control and surfing programs on television by manaemedia/Shutterstock