If you’ve downloaded a movie or video that includes one or more SRT subtitle files, you might be wondering what is the best way to watch the video?
You may be using Windows Media Player or Media Player Classic on Windows, or QuickTime Player on Mac. If you do a Google search, you will find all sorts of guides on how to download subtitles in these programs, but you run into tons of problems.
First, programs such as Windows Media Player and QuickTime only support subtitles for certain types of video files. In WMP, you can’t even load subtitles for MP4 files, even if you install codecs, name the SRT file the same as the movie file, etc. It just won’t work.
After hours of testing all kinds of media players, I realized that the easiest way to watch any video with a separate SRT file is to use VLC Media Player. This is great because by default it can play almost any video file, it can play corrupted or damaged video files, and it can even fix those annoying inverted videos you sometimes get from your smartphone.
In addition to all this, it almost always displays subtitles for a video flawlessly when the SRT file is in the same folder and has the same name as the video file. It will work with AVI, MP4 and even MKV files with SUB and IDX files.
Download subtitles using VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is so good that all you usually have to do is just download the video file and let it download the subtitle file automatically. VLC will usually even find a subtitle file if it’s in a subfolder like SUBS or SUBTITLES.
Plus, it will automatically search for all SRT files, which means you don’t have to actually name the SRT file exactly like the video file. Also, if there are multiple SRT files available, it will select them all and give you a choice.
If for some reason VLC doesn’t load your subtitle file automatically, you can simply right-click the video, select Subtitle and click Add Subtitle File. The only time I had to do this was when I had an MKV file and the subtitle files consisted of .SUB and .IDX files. I added a .SUB file and the subtitles loaded fine.
That’s literally everything. It’s so simple that it only takes three paragraphs to explain how to use it. The only question is, what if you don’t have subtitle files for your video? You may have downloaded a movie, but there are no additional SRT files by default.
Find and download subtitles
Fortunately, almost every TV show and movie has a subtitle file created for it by some kind soul. All you have to do is find it. The easiest way is to visit the subtitle website, find your TV show or movie, and download the SRT file.
If you don’t remember the flags of different countries, it doesn’t matter. Just click on the little white box above the flags column and you can choose your language by name!
Install VLSub for VLC
Another cool way to get movie subtitles is to add a plugin to VLC so you can download movie subtitles right inside VLC. The plugin is called VLSub and you can download it here:
Click the Download ZIP button on the right. The main file we’re interested in is vlsub.lua.
After you unzip the file, you need to copy the .lua file to the following directory depending on your operating system. Note that you may have to create the extensions folder yourself.
- Windows (all users):% ProgramFiles% VideoLAN VLC lua extensions
- Windows (current user):% APPDATA% vlc lua extensions
- Linux (all users): / usr / lib / vlc / lua / extensions /
- Linux (current user): ~ / .local / share / vlc / lua / extensions /
- Mac OS X (all users): /Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/share/lua/extensions/
- Mac OS X (current user): / Users /% your_name% / Library / Application Support / org.videolan.vlc / lua / extensions /
If you are using the no installation version of VLC where you can run it from a USB stick, you need to go to the plugins lua folder and create an extensions folder. After copying the file there, open VLC and click the “View” menu.
There you will see a new option called “Download Subtitles”. After you upload the video you want to watch, click on the new option. Another window will appear with the title of your file already loaded in the search box.
Go ahead and hit Search by Name and you should get a good amount of results in the bottom window. Find the one that best suits your movie, especially in terms of resolution (480, 720, 1080), and then hit the download select button.
Once downloaded, it will automatically download the subtitles and they should appear in your video as soon as you start playing it.
Overall, VLC’s support for so many formats and ease of use make it the best media player I’ve ever used. For those who need to use subtitles regularly, VLC is the best choice. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!