VLC is the undisputed king of video playback on PC. There simply is no equal, which is helped by the fact that despite VLC almost never changing its interface, it’s constantly being updated in small and thoughtful ways. Integrated subtitle downloading is one example of this.
These instructions will show how to use the excellent Download Subtitle feature on VLC.
1. Open the VLC and load a video. Under the View menu you should now see a “VLSub” option. (In some versions of VLC this is called “Download Subtitles.”)
2. In the VLSub window you can select the subtitle language and add the title of the movie. Click the “Search by name” button to fetch all the related subtitles from OpenSubtitles.org.
If you prefer, you can use the “Search by hash” button where it will calculate the hash for the video and find the subtitle that matches this hash. If you have converted the video from one format to another or modified it, the hash method won’t work well.
3. When you find a match in the result list, highlight it and click “Download selection.” It will then show a blue “Download link” which you can click to open the “Save As” box. (If your PC asks how you want to open the link, just select your browser.)
In the “Save As” box choose the location where you want to download the subtitle file. (The default location is the location of the currently playing video.) Once that is done you will be able to load the subtitle file in VLC.
VLSub is a useful extension that makes VLC even better now that it’s fully integrated, letting you watch videos without wasting time searching the Web for the correct subtitle file. Try it out and let us know if it works for you.
This article was first published in July 2013 and was updated in May 2018.