How to Install a VLC Media Player Addon .lua

VLC Media Player, itself is a great one. If you are looking to play video and audio files along with other supported things like subtitles, VLC media player needs nothing else. But if you are one of those who require some unique features or who want to extend the functions of a software, then you probably heard about add-ons and plugins. VLC Media Player has a ton of those add-ons.

VLC Media Player allows you to add some new things to the player. You can do new tasks with the same player. Adding a skin to the player is kind of an extension but it is related to the user interface only. There are other types of add-ons which allows VLC to do something different like, load lyrics automatically for songs or load subtitles automatically for videos. Those are some of the possibilities of how VLC Media Player can be expanded to do much more.

First of all, it is necessary to understand a bit about VLC Media Player Addons. Here are a few things that you must know about them:

  1. When it comes to filetype, VLC Media Player add-ons is kind on unique. The files generally have a .lua extension. Although this extension is not unique to VLC, it still is quite a unique one for a normal PC user.
  2. VLC Media Player add-ons are developed by third-parties, who are interested in extending the possibilities of VLC’s usage. Generally those third-parties are promoting their own service(s) with VLC.
  3. VLC Addons are downloadable from the official VLC website. The url for it is: http://addons.videolan.org
  4. Addons or .lua files are downloaded and are copied to a location in the VLC’s program files directory to be installed. No fancy install wizard or anything of that nature.
  5. After copying the lua files, you will have to restart your VLC player or start a new instance of the player. Then depending upon the addon,you will find them on menu items. Click on those to activate them.

Where to copy lua files to?

VLC addon files are copied to VLC’s directory depending upon the OS. It also depends upon which users you are going to make available the add-ons for. The default ones are:

For All Users

In Windows: Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\lua\extensions\
In Mac OS X: /Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/share/lua/extensions/
In Linux: /usr/lib/vlc/lua/playlist/ or /usr/share/vlc/lua/extensions/

For Current User

In Windows: %APPDATA%\vlc\lua\extensions\
In Mac OS X: /Users/%your_name%/Library/Application Support/org.videolan.vlc/lua/extensions/
In Linux: ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/extensions/

Note: You have to create the directories if they don’t exist. The final directory /extension in this case might not be the same for all addons. Some addons go into other directories of the lua folder like “playlist”.

How an Addon is Installed?

So, to install a VLC addon, you select one from the official VLC addon website (http://addons.videolan.org) and download it. Then you copy the downloaded file to the location mentioned above, depending on your OS. Then you restart VLC and you’re done.

19 thoughts to “How to Install a VLC Media Player Addon .lua”

  1. Anyone know where to copy .lua files on Ansroid OS, and whether the device needs to be rooted (ie. Does it require SU privileges)?

  2. Hi all, I am trying to install Time V3.0 on a Mac. I was able to download the extension, but can’t find the directory I need to copy it into… the instructions say to copy to: /Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/share/lua/playlist/

    But I am stuck at VLC.app… I see the VLC app there, but that’s the actual application: not a file folder. I tried using CMD + SHIFT + . to reveal hidden files, but I still don’t see any hidden VLC file folder. What am I missing? And thanks!

    1. I was able to copy the file to the appropriate directory using the Terminal in OS X. The add-on seems to launch, but I don’t see the time code appearing anywhere…

    2. Go to your Applications folder and right-click on the VLC app. Select “Show Package Contents”.
      Once inside Package Contents, locate and open the “MacOS” folder.
      Locate and open the “share” folder, locate and open the “lua” folder.
      Locate and open the “extensions” and copy your “time_ext.lua” to it.
      Close the “extensions” folder.
      Locate and open the “intf” folder and copy your “looper_intf.lua” to it.
      Close everything.

      Quit and restart VLC. The Time extension should be available under “Extensions” on the VLC menu bar.

      1. Hi. I have followed LUIS’s instructions, but I am getting the same issue as KEN LESLIE. Any help to make this useful addon work would be greatly appreciated.

        1. In Mac OS, this extension only works on VLC 3 and one or two earlier versions (I don’t remember how many). Let’s say you are on VLC 3.
          After installing the extension (Time v2.0 ) as I explained above and restarting VLC, you should see it under “Extensions” on the VLC menu bar (Under “VLC”).
          Click on Time v2.0
          A small panel appears.
          On the first drop-down list from the top, choose where on the screen you want the counter. I use “top”.
          On the next drop-down list, choose the lettering style for your timecode. My favorite is the very first on the list, [E].
          Click on “USE pattern”. The chosen style will appear on the field just below on the small panel.
          Click on “START!”
          That’s it. If you are using a compatible version of VLC, you should see a timecode on your screen as you play a video.

          1. I just noticed there’s a new version of the time extension. It may solve problems in VLC 3.
            Go here:
            https://addons.videolan.org/p/1154032/
            Click on “Files” and then on “time.zip” to download the zip file with the three versions (1, 2 and 3). Don’t click on the “download” icon at the end of the row as it will download the old zip which only has Time v. 1 and 2.

  3. Most of the above problems in this situation and many others will be solved by using “Ctrl + Click”
    ie Hold down the “Control” key and “Click” the mouse.
    Much less trouble than getting upset.

  4. But use it where? I managed to download the files with ease, and copied where I was told. Also, restarted the vlc app. But Idk where to find the add-ons i’ve downloaded. Can someone help?

  5. This is a nightmare. Can’t install this stuff on a Mac and I’m a second year Computer Science student. Why not ad a damn “install extension” in the program it self. But copying files to folders half of the people can’t even get into without guidance from an IT-professional and then it not working as it should.

    1. The .lua-files are not being downloaded correctly in Mac OS. Safari just opens them as if it were a web-page and the source code is presented in the browser instead of downloading the file.

    2. Once you manage to somehow get the file on to your computer and save it as a .lua-file. You have to copy it to the VLC-folder. Now for me it’s not a problem opening it but I bet you 90% of the people are just going to get to that applications folder and start double-clicking the VLC icon trying to open the folder and end ut with starting VLC and get frustrated as they can’t find any folder.

    3. Once you open the folder and copy the files into those katalogs that are mentioned and restart VLC you get absolutely nothing. NADA!

    So to the VLC developers I have one thing to say. It’s something that I have been thought from the military and that is: “Do it again and do it right!”

    1. Sillen your ignorance is the problem here, not the program.

      VLC is not some ill-conceived amateur trash-ware for the inexperienced user to point and click their way to digital enlightenment. It is a complex and highly configurable, modular client/server interface with an emphasis on functionality with a moderate learning curve. Because of the modular design, usability can appear obfuscated and nonsensical to the uninitiated. Most commercial products (gratis or otherwise) restrict functionality by handicapping the user with licensing conditions, proprietary restrictions or design philosophies that appeal to the lowest common denominator.

      Consider why you couldn’t save the .lua file in Safari (did you try another browser or past the code into a text editor?) As a second year computer science student you should know this, or at the very least know how to use a search engine.

      VLC is not perfect but it is powerful, reliable and free of cost and is (mostly) GPL so stop giving the military a reach-around and change what you don’t like.

      1. Echoed my thoughts precisely. And there is *some* effort put into helping people use it as a media player (not even including its built-in codecs, sparing the intrepid noob the sometimes nightmarish process of tracking down, installing, keeping up to date…). The config, for instance, is a great way to catch a glimpse of how deep the rabbit hole goes: just put it in advanced mode and you realize how open ended and flexible the structure is.

        Certainly seemed pretty obvious to me that the server used the content headers (probably serving the Lua script as text/plain where application/octet-stream and preferably with a disposition field of “attach,” preferably with a filename) and created what a near associate’s in comp sci should have handily recognized by the monospace font and either just saved the file via the menu or, what @warefaresoda mentioned: copy and paste. Ctrl-{a,c}, Win+r, notepad, ctrl-{v,s}.

        I personally dropped out, got my GED, and co-owned an IT firm for the better part of a decade. And I may not have a piece of paper that says I’m good at what I do, but I’m slowly realizing the way formal education can handicap you, handing you answers to questions that will be irrelevant by the time that sheepskin is in hand and teaching people to conceptualize things in a way more oriented toward their own and likely unrealistic outside the classroom.

        I’d be hopelessly stupid if I never had to figure anything out on my own. And when I use the S word there, I’m indicating a situation having quite specific properties which has almost everything to do with attitude and behavior and little to do with intellect. Probably the most distinctive element is an attitude that someone else is wrong, owes you something, etc. Completely external locus of control, setting up the victim role as a knee jerk reaction when one encounters any situation demanding so much as a modicum of cognitive effort or even some distress.

        That’s what I love about IT, tho. The compiler will accept what it can and fail on invalid syntax. Interfaces do what they do whilst daemons and services frolic in the background. Bottom line… There is no one to blame but you, and you don’t have to keep at it, but especially a field like CS… Moore’s law has a 2 year student walking out of the school with roughly 1/8 of what they were taught surviving obsolescence.

        IT, CS, whatever… You have to have a knack, and you have to love it and embrace the opportunity to know without a doubt your mistakes are your own. Only then will you cultivate the right attitude and skill set and not be miserable and incompetent.

        And it’s also why I love F/OSS and the community. People DO take the source code and make it serve their purposes. If the UX isn’t what you’d like it to be, fix it and send in a patch. Flexible systems have an inherently high learning curve. IOW, nobody owes you anything and it comes off incredibly foolish sounding.

        TBH, VLC’s UI seems more like a test harness than a consumer application. Makes sense to me, anyway.

  6. shit I can’t manage to download the files on my mac. Trying to download the “time” extension, but whenever i click on download, a new tab open with only text in it.

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