Download Subtitles Automatically With VLC Media Player In Ubuntu

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Download subtitles

VLC is my all time favourite video player. I consider it one of the best open source software. Apart from playing almost all kind of media files, it can also do several other things which you will hardly find in any other video player. For example you can use VLC media player to watch videos from internet with subtitles. You can also synchronize the subtitles manually in VLC. Talking of VLC and subtitles, I’ll show you how can we make VLC download subtitles automatically and save some effort in going to Google and searching for one.

We’ll be using a VLC plugin called vlsub to enable VLC to download subtitles automatically. The plugin searches for subtitles for the file it is playing on based on the name or hash of the file. I presume that you already have VLC installed.

Install and use vlsub to download subtitles automatically in VLC:

Step 1:

You can download the vlsub plugin from the Github. Its in a zip folder. Extract it and you will find the “vlsub.lua” file in it. All we need is this one file.

Download Subtitles Automatically With VLC in Ubuntu

Step 2:

We need to add this file to VLC extension. For that we need to create the extension directory first. Use the following command to create the desired directory for vlsub.

sudo mkdir /usr/lib/vlc/lua/extensions/

Step 3:

Now move or copy the vlsub.lua file in the above mentioned directory. In case you are absolute beginner, try the following command to go to the downloaded directory:

cd ~/Downloads/vlsub-master/

And then copy the file to the extension directory:

sudo cp vlsub.lua /usr/lib/vlc/lua/extensions/

Step 4:

Start VLC media player. If it is already running, restart it. From the top menu, select View->vlsub.

Download Subtitles Automatically With VLC in Ubuntu

As you see here, there are two option of searching the subtitles: Search by name and search by hash. Search by name searches by the name of the file you are playing while search by hash looks for the subtitles based on the hash of the video and look for the subtitle that matches the hash. The hash search won’t work if you have converted the video file from another format.

When you click on any of the search option, it gives you a list of results. You can download any of them by clicking on the Download selection button.

Download Subtitles Automatically With VLC in Ubuntu

Step 5:

Its not that you can search subtitles only in English. You have configuration option here that allows you to search in a language of your choice. No guarantees that you’ll find the subtitles in your language if there are none on Just click on the Subtitle language and you can choose the language of your choice from the drop down menu (see the previous picture). Alternatively, you can go to configuration option and set your preferences there.

Download Subtitles Automatically With VLC in Ubuntu

Over all this plugin is handy in use. You don’t need to go on web looking for a subtitle, download it, extract it and then add it to VLC. It saves some time for sure. Drawbacks include lack of sources for subtitles. It has just one: opensubtitle. This limits the search. Alos, there is a known bug. SUbtitle download will not work if the file name contains special characters. Apart from that, plugin is good to use. What say?

How do you use subtitles in media player (if you use it at all)? Do you have a better trick to share? Do let me know in the comment. Ciao :)