How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

The VLC media player is an open-source, free portable, cross-platform media player software and streaming media server developed by the VideoLAN project. VLC can play nearly all known multimedia files and DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols and can be extended and customized with multiple plugins.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install VLC Media Player on your Debian 11 Bullseye distribution.

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Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Debian 11 Bullseye
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.

Update Operating System

Update your Debian operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@debian~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on Adding a User to Sudoers on Debian.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su

The tutorial will utilize the terminal for the installation found in Activities > Show Applications > Terminal.

Example:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

Method 1. Install VLC with APT Manager

The first option is to use the default apt repository provided by Debian 11 Bullseye. This is a stable and secure version. However, it may be a little dated it will serve the purpose well if you are just after a player.

First, execute the following apt install command:

sudo apt install vlc

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Once installed, confirm the build version, verifying the installation was successful.

vlc --version

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

Updates are handled using the standard apt update & upgrade command.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

If you no longer wish to have VLC installed with APT, use the following command to remove the package.

sudo apt remove vlc --purge

This will automatically remove any unused dependencies initially installed with the main package.

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Method 2. Install VLC Media Player with Snap (Snapcraft)

The second option is to use the Snap package manager. Debian users may be familiar with Snap as it is created and maintained by Ubuntu; however, it is not natively installed on your system. However, this can be installed relatively quickly.

To install Snap, use the following command:

sudo apt install snapd

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Next, some packages come in classic, so you need to create a symlink to enable classic snap support.

sudo ln -s /var/lib/snapd/snap /snap

Next, you need to install the “snap core files” for everything to work correctly. Failure to do this may result in issues down the track.

sudo snap install core

Example output:

core 16-2.52.1 from Canonical✓ installed

Once Snap is installed, it is highly recommended to log out and back in again or restart your service to ensure snap’s paths are updated correctly.

sudo systemctl restart snapd

Next, install the VLC Media Player package using snap:

sudo snap install vlc

Example output:

vlc 3.0.16 from VideoLAN✓ installed

This informs you that the VLC Media Player was successfully installed and the version number.

YOU MUST RESTART YOUR DESKTOP SESSION IF THE ICON IS MISSING!

To view the VLC Media Player Icon, you can log in and out of your session or use the following terminal command.

sudo reboot

Ignore the above if the VLC Media Player icon is present. This bug can occur when installing new packages.

Snap packages are more significant in size than traditional repositories through the APT package manager. However, the trade-off is more straightforward maintained packages that are often updated to the latest version.

For the future, to update along with and any other packages installed by Snap, run the following command:

sudo snap refresh

If you no longer need to have VLC Media Player installed, remove it using the Snap remove command.

sudo snap remove vlc

Example output:

vlc removed
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Method 3. Install VLC Media Player with Flatpak

The third option is to use the Flatpak package manager. By default, Flatpak does not come natively installed on Debian distributions but is available to install in its repositories.

First, install Flatpak and its dependencies.

sudo apt install flatpak -y

Next, you need to enable Flatpack for Debian using the following command in your terminal:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Now install VLC Media Player using the following flatpak command:

flatpak install flathub org.videolan.VLC

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

A prompt will appear asking to install on (user) or system (root). Typically you will always pick option 2.

Type “Y” X2 times, then press the “ENTER KEY” X2 times to proceed with the installation.

YOU MUST RESTART YOUR DESKTOP SESSION IF THE ICON IS MISSING!

To view the VLC Media Player Icon, you can log in and out of your session or use the following terminal command.

sudo reboot

Ignore the above if the VLC Media Player icon is present. This bug can occur when installing new packages.

Updates are handled by Flatpack automatically every time you log into your system, generally within the first 10 minutes.

To manually update Flatpak packages, run the following command.

flatpak update

To remove the Flatpack version of VLC Media Player, run the following command:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data org.videolan.VLC

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with removing VLC using Flatpack.

How to Launch VLC Media Player Client

Now that you have the VLC player installed launching VLC can be done in two ways.

In your terminal type:

vlc

If you would like to launch VLC and use the terminal, send it to the background:

vlc &

Alternatively, Flatpak users will need to launch using the command below from a terminal instance:

flatpak run org.videolan.VLC

However, this isn’t practical, and you would use the following path on your desktop to open with the path: Activities > Show Applications > VLC media player.

If you cannot find it, use the search function in the Show Applications menu if you have many applications installed.

Example:

show applications vlc media player debian 11 bullseye | LinuxCapable

The first time you open the VLC media player, you will be greeted with the Privacy and Network Access Policy pop-up.

Example:

privacy and network access policy vlc media player for debian 11 bullseye | LinuxCapable

Congratulations, you have installed the VLC media player.

How to Install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned to install VLC Media Player on Debian 11 Bullseye using three methods.

Overall, VLC Media Player is a great program, one of the drawbacks is the cost. VLC Media Player charges by the user, so it quickly becomes a drawback if you get a few hundred to few thousand. Hence, you only find corporations that use it and pay for a license. Most small businesses and development teams could not afford to pay for the premium features. However, it can still be used for free with relative ease if you accept missing out on a few things.

You can investigate and further learn about VLC Media Player by visiting the documentation page for more information.

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Jose Luis Rodriguez
Guest
Friday, January 21, 2022 7:26 pm

Muybuen tuto felicitacion. Con esta nota empiezo a seguirle. Gracias

olph4rt
Guest
Saturday, January 22, 2022 5:43 am

Thank you! Running this on ARM64 Pinebook Pro, with no RTSP in Bullseye, and no Snap pack for ARM64, your Flatpak method works!

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