Controlling the playback speed of your videos can save a great deal of frustration, especially for sports fans or movie buffs trying to discern the fine details of a scene. Unfortunately each program is different, and controlling playback speed isn't always easy. You can simplify your life dramatically by using one program, such as the open-source VLC media player, to play back all of your video formats. In VLC, you can control playback speed easily, either from the menus or with a keystroke.
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The VLC media player is available from the developer's site and many other sources as a free download for Windows, Mac or Linux. Once you've downloaded and installed the program, select a video file, Internet stream or DVD disc to experiment with. On the program's "Playback" menu, you'll see an option called Speed about halfway down the list. When a video is playing, you can use that menu option to speed up, slow down, or return to normal speed. For a more convenient way to slow the video, simply press the "[" key -- the left "square-bracket" key, without quotes -- until the video is running at the speed you wish. Press the opposite square-bracket key to speed it up again, or the "=" key -- again, without quotes -- to return to normal speed.