Use VLC To Play Videos Inside RAR Files

If you download videos with BitTorrent, you've probably come across a few that are compressed inside an RAR file, which can be a bit of a pain. It turns out, however, that you can easily watch RAR-compressed videos in VLC without extracting them.

While you can always extract the RAR and just watch the original video file, this can be handy if you want to keep seeding the original file (and don't want to take up extra space extracting the video). It's also nice if your video doesn't quite fit on a flash drive, since RAR files do a pretty fantastic job at compressing them. To play an RAR-compressed video, just start up VLC, go to Open > File, and select the RAR file. It should open and play as if it were just a video. This also works with videos spread over multiple RAR files, but you'll need the first and last part of the file completely downloaded.

It's not an earth-shattering discovery, but if you're ever in a situation where you have a video in an RAR file and don't want to uncompress it, it's nice that you can just pop it into VLC. Hit the link to read more.

How to Play Movies from Inside RAR Archives Without Extracting Them [CometForums via Reddit]


    why do people insist on compressing everything with RAR. Its especially annoying when you have a zip of a movie/music compressed again with the rar format (i have seen this many times).

      The purpose of the RAR files is not to compress the video, but to split the file into multiple chunks.

        it was originally compression as well because this same method was used for applications and other file types where there was a definite size difference when compressed. the splitting used to be so that the individual pieces could fit onto floppy disks or whatever the media was in case it was larger than the media. rar also has error correction built into the format, and finally, and most relevant in the internet era, is that you dont have to download the entire thing again if there is a problem with just 1 of the parts (although less relevant these days than it was when you were on dialup)

    Feel free to correct me; I think one would get better performance after extracting the file.

      Performance (read: sustained disk read bandwidth) is a non issue for playing back video streams.

      Seeking may be another matter, however.

    Does not work for me?
    Clicking on Media -> File -> First rar file... has no impact.
    using windows 8

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