VLC is one of the most popular free media players that is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and more platforms. It supports most of the video and audio compression methods available right now making it the preferred media player by most consumers. One of the VLC tips is to play YouTube and other online videos directly with VLC. This could help you watch online videos with subtitles.

However, things might not always go smooth as expected. This happens to VLC media player as well. At times you’ll encounter this error when trying to open YouTube video with VLC:

Your input can’t be opened:
VLC is unable to open the MRL ‘https://youtubeurl.com’. Check the log for details.”

This happens mainly because Google doesn’t want you to use any third party application for watching YouTube because then they cannot collect data properly. If you happen to come across this error message, here are the solutions. We would like to show you how to fix “VLC is unable to open the MRL” issue.

Part 1: Solutions to "VLC is Unable to Open the MRL"

If you’re seeing the “VLC is unable to open the MRL” error when you try to play a video or a stream, the below solutions might help you get things solved. We have collected and listed some practical methods that other users have testified to work on fixing this error.

Solution 1: Make sure the source media file is working

Before you do anything else, it’s important to make sure that that the source you’re trying to access is actually working.

It’s quite simple to check whether the source media file is working normally or not. You could follow the below steps:

  1. Go to File and click Open Network Stream.
  2. Then copy the URL that you’re trying to access from the stream.
  3. Paste the URL into another video player or your browser and see if it starts playing or not.
  4. If the URL source doesn’t work in other applications, it’s very certain that the issue doesn’t lie with your VLC media player but with the source instead.

If the source media files work smoothly on your browser or other video players, you could then move on to the below solutions.

Solution 2: Turn off the firewall

To eliminate the possibility that the firewall is preventing the access of the media file you will have to turn it off.

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open up Settings.
  2. Search for “Windows Defender Firewall” and then select “Windows Defender Firewall”.
  3. On the left-hand side, click on “Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off”.
  4. Check the “Turn off Windows Defender Firewall” boxes under both the settings.

Check if the VLC is unable to open MRL file issue still occurs. If it doesn’t then turn on the firewall and add VLC to its exception list.

  1. Type Firewall in the search bar then click on the Firewall app that appears.
  2. In the resulting Windows Firewall window, click Allow an App through Windows Firewall.
  3. In the Allowed Apps window that appears, click the Change Settings button, and then select the check box for apps on your computer that you want to allow to communicate over the Internet without being stopped by Firewall.
  4. Click the Private and Public check box to narrow down whether you want just networks that are secure to allow this communication, or also public and non-secure networks to do so.
  5. Click OK and then click the Close button to close the Windows Firewall window.

Solution 3: Turn off the antivirus software

There’s a possibility that the antivirus software of your computer is blocking the source media file from being accessed. To check if this is what’s causing the problem you should try to temporarily disable the antivirus software.

The operations of turning off antivirus software would vary according to the software you are using. You have to check for the settings according to the antivirus software you are using.

Solution 4: Uninstall VLC and install the latest version

The “VLC is unable to open the MRL” error might also be caused by an internal application error or glitch. Some users have managed to get the issue resolved after uninstalling VLC and installing the latest available build from the official website.

Here’s a quick guide on how to uninstall VLC media player and reinstall it on your Windows computer:

  1. Open a new Run box by pressing Windows key + R. Next, type “appwiz.cpl” and hit Enter to open the Programs and Features window.
  2. In Programs and Features, scroll through the application list and locate VLC media player. Next, right-click on VLC media player and choose Uninstall/change.
  3. Follow the on-screen prompt to remove VCL media player from your system and restart your computer if prompted to do so.
  4. Download the latest version of VLC Media Player from its official website. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the newest version on your system and restart if needed.

Once the application is installed, see if you are now able to stream content without the “VLC is unable to open the MRL” error. If the same error remains, continue down with the next method below.

Solution 5: Claim ownership of files

Some users have been able to fix the error by simply claiming file ownership that was opened with the VLC is unable to open the MRL error.

Follow the below guide to learn how to Claim File Ownership:

  1. Right-click on the file that shows the problem and choose Properties.
  2. In the Properties menu, click on the Security tab and then click the Advanced button.
  3. Click the Change button at the top.
  4. Next, type "Administrator" in the box associated with Enter the object name. Select and hit OK.
  5. Next, mark the box that says Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object and click Apply.

With the changed permissions, see if you are able to open the files without seeing the VLC is unable to open the MRL error.

Try all the above solutions to see if the error of VLC is unable to open MRL has been successfully solved or not. If not, you may have to turn to VLC media player alternatives, or try to download videos you are going to play with VLC media player with online video downloader tools.

Part 2: Ultimate Solution to Fix "VLC is Unable to Open the MRL" - Leawo Prof. Media

As mentioned above, if you have tried all solutions above but still the error “VLC is unable to open MRL”, you could try the ultimate solution. That’s to download online videos with a professional online video downloader tool. Leawo Prof. Media has everything you need for online video downloading.


Leawo Prof. Media

☉ Decrypt, rip and convert Blu-ray/DVD to video/audio files.

☉ Convert and burn videos files to Blu-ray/DVD content.

☉ Download videos from YouTube, Facebook, VEVO, and 1000+ other video sites.

☉ Edit Blu-ray/DVD/video files to trim, crop, adjust effect, apply 3D effect, etc.

☉ Remove Cinavia protection upon Blu-ray discs

☉ Play back various media files including Blu-ray, DVD, video, audio files.

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Leawo Prof. Media is the best online video downloader suite that enables you to download online videos from 1000+ video sharing sites with its built-in video downloader. With Leawo Prof. Media, you could:

Therefore, if your VLC media player keeps showing you “VLC is unable to open MRL”, you could try to download online videos and then play back downloaded online videos with VLC media player.

Follow the below guide to learn how to download online videos with Leawo Prof. Media for iPod. Download and install Leawo Prof. Media on your computer. Here we would like to take YouTube video for example to show you the detailed steps.

Step 1: Set output directory

On Leawo Prof. Media, click the wheel icon on the top-right corner and then navigate to the “Download” tab. Set download directory in the “Save videos to” box.

Step 2: Locate target video

Open the “Download” tab, and then copy and paste the video URL to locate target YouTube video. Or you could search target video via the internal browser.

Step 3: Choose video to download

Once you have located the target YouTube video, the Download module will analyze the target video and then offer multiple download options in different formats, quality and resolutions on the right sidebar. Choose the desired one and then click the download icon to start downloading target video from YouTube.

Step 4: Manage downloaded videos

All downloaded videos could be viewed under the “Downloaded” tab. You could then open the folder and get downloaded online videos into VLC media player for unlimited and smooth playback.

Part 3: Try VLC alternative to playing Blu-ray/DVD - Leawo Blu-ray Player

We know that VLC media player could play back nearly all media files, like HD video, DVD and even Blu-ray. However, when playing back commercial Blu-ray/DVD movies, VLC media player has very poor performance due to the disc protection and region restrictions. Therefore, we would like to recommend you a VLC media player alternative for playing Blu-ray/DVD – Leawo Blu-ray Player, a totally free Blu-ray player that could play back nearly all media files on your computer.

Why is Leawo Blu-ray Player considered as the best VLC alternative for playing Blu-ray/DVD movies? With Leawo Blu-ray Player, you could:

  1. Play back Blu-ray/DVD discs for totally free, regardless of disc protection and region restrictions.
  2. Play back up to 4K videos in various formats like MP4, AVI, MKV, MOV, FLV, WMV, etc. without quality loss.
  3. Directly play back Blu-ray/DVD ISO image files, no matter your Blu-ray/DVD ISO image files are commercial or homemade.
  4. Play back Blu-ray/DVD movie files like you are using a hardware Blu-ray/DVD player, with support of disc menu and titles selection for playback.
  5. Freely select subtitles and audio tracks from source Blu-ray/DVD and other media files, or even add external subtitles as you like.
  6. Convert Blu-ray to MKV files without quality loss.

However, it should be noted that different from VLC media player, Leawo Free Blu-ray Player currently doesn’t support video streaming and online video playback and downloading. It’s the best VLC media player alternative in media file playback.