VLC may the king of features, but is it the king of performance? Needing something light for my netbook I decided to take a quick unofficial gander as to how VLC stacked up against Ubuntu default ‘Totem’ Movie Player and Xubuntu default Parole.

Since all 3 play subtitles, support play-lists and have fullscreen controllers I’ve decided not to focus on features.

The test

I took an average .avi file of about 25 minutes in length and played it in each player 3 times, noting CPU and RAM usage when both played and paused at 3 minutes in and 10 minutes in respectively. I then calculated the average CPU and RAM score from these.

When Playing: CPU / RAM

  • VLC: 6% / 25.2MiB
  • Totem: 12% / 26.3 MiB
  • Parole: 12% / 56.3MiB

When Paused: CPU / RAM

  • VLC:  0% / 26.5 MiB
  • Totem: 0% / 27.7 MiB
  • Parole:  0% / 58.9MiB

Both Totem and Parole use Gstreamer multimedia framework so, in many ways, you’d expect their results to be similar and not see such a wide chasm.

I’m not sure if my results are flukes. Having used Parole on my netbook it seemed perfectly snappy. Totem has given me the most ‘issues’ – playing stutters for the first minute or so – so maybe these results are not indicative of how well an application performs but rather what it needs to use perform acceptably.

Either way, I’m sticking with VLC for now.

Reviews mediaplayers parole totem vlc