Finding a program that will actually usual or non-standard video file formats (such as .FLV or .MKV) is no easy task for the average person. Whether your on a PC or Mac the traditional video players that come native to your computer will not play these files. Some people will tell you that files like these simply cannot be played unless converted or some people might tell you that you need to spend money on a special program to view them. In most cases (depending on how rare the file format is) they are both wrong. The truth is you can watch, play, or view a huge list of non-standard formats using a free open source program called VLC that is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
VLC stands for VideoLAN Client and is one of the most effective pieces of free software available for playing or watching media files. The software natively accepts dozens of filetypes such as MPEG, AVI, WMA, WMV, ASF, MP4, MOV, 3GP, OGG, OGM, MKV, WAV, AAC, AC3/A52, DTS, Raw DV, FLAC, FLV (Flash), MXF, Nut, MIDI, and SMF. VLC doesn't have support every single multimedia file type that you might run into, but it covers the vast majority without question. If you are looking for a free software to play your media files give VLC a try and chances are it will work out for you. It is my go to software for watching movies as well as raw HD video files and from my personal experience I have yet to find a program that does it better.
Photo Credit: FutUndBeidl