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Last reply by 09-03-2016 Solved
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VLC Media Player WARNING

Note that this is a Legacy FAQ and contains information that is no longer current. See the Update below for current status.

Dell Tech Support is denying warranty service for speaker damage if the popular VLC Media Player is installed on a Dell laptop. Also we got a report that service was denied because a KMPlayer was installed on a laptop. The warranty remains valid on the other parts of the laptop.

VLC has a feature that can make the audio seem louder than other players. VLC achieves this by using a process that creates hard clipping (see below in this thread for explanation) which can damage small speakers. Dell has tested VLC and verified that the speakers can be damaged after several hours of using VLC. I believe that HP (Hewlett Packard) also says that VLC damage is not covered under its warranty.

If you choose to use the VLC player, it is suggested that you do not set the volume higher than 100% in order to avoid potential damage to the speakers. If you contact Tech Support about a speaker problem, it is suggested that you do not have the player installed.

If you have already been denied warranty service for a speaker problem only because you have the VLC player, please see the next post which is marked "Verified Answer". Send DELL - Terry B a private message. The way to do that is to click on his link, which is his name in blue letters. That will take you to his profile page where you can click on "send a private message" or "add as friend".

UPDATE 1-27-2016

As of 3-3-2014 the exclusion no longer applied to models that have Windows 8 or 8.1. The exclusion still applied to Windows 7 systems that did not have the latest audio driver and BIOS installed.

The current version of the VLC Media Player boosts audio to only 125%, not the 200-400% of earlier versions, so the issue might be moot now anyway. (Note that there might still be a risk if you use software to boost the volume over 100%. Dell recommends to not go over 90%.)

UPDATE 6-16-2017

Within the last year we have received a couple of reports of owners being denied service again. My guess is there are a few service reps out there who didn't get the word that the exclusion no longer is supposed to be enforced. Best advice is to remove all media players except Windows Media Player before seeking warranty service for speakers.

Jim Coates -- 18 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

Replies (67)
2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1686

merci pour le  conseille

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1686

The VLC player has a

capacity to boost the volume upto 200-400%. The speakers installed on HP

notebooks are of 4 Ohms speakers and can take volume only upto 100%. In

case there is any rise in volume above 100%, the brass caps on the speakers

are burnt which in turn damages the speakers. Hence, it is not covered

under warranty

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1686

i wonder how warranty void if you install any software ? :O please some one explain it 

7 Plutonium
1688

i wonder how warranty void if you install any software ?

Good question.  Looking at the Dell Limited Hardware Warranty it says that the warranty "covers defects in materials and workmanship". So if Dell sells a customer a laptop with non-defective speakers and the customer ruins the speakers by using software that pushes them beyond their parameters, I can see how that would not be covered under the warranty, because the failure is not caused by a defect but by the software.

-- BUT --

On the other hand we have received reports that tech support has been denying service for speakers if they do a scan and find the VLC player on the laptop, I don't see in the warranty where such a denial of service is explained. The warranty has a section entitled "What is not covered by this limited hardware warranty?". That section does not say that installing any software can cause partial loss of warranty. It is like there is both an official written warranty and a secret unwritten one that they only disclose to folks who call for service.

[Note: if you were refused service by tech support when the only troubleshooting performed was finding VLC player installed, please go back through this thread and read the post from Terry_B that is marked "Verified Answer".]


Edited by jimco  3-17-13

Jim Coates -- 18 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

3 Zinc
1690

Is the same thing to say MSI Afterburner broken the video card? Everybody knows that this software used incorrect form can break the video card.

Oh wait!! The warranty take of care this.

Dell Vostro 3550 - i5 - 2410M - AMD Radeon HD 7650M - 8GB DD3 RAM - 500GB 7200 RPM - Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit

I can fly with this model.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1690

Is nothing new.

Installing any overclocking utility for example void many warranty - at CPU and GPU products.

Installing a NOS system in your brand-new car will void also the warranty.

Breaking nuts with a microscope will probably void the warranty.

The manufactures don't have to cover any defects resulted by misuse of their products.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1691

Cheers Jimco

You have to wonder though when do people take heed of warnings such as volume capable of being set at over 100% and the orange to red indicator as a visual warning.  Speakers are always a hard thing to dispute when it comes down to what is covered under warranty.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1691

Hi  all

Has anybody told VLC of this problem ?

Thank you Dennis Friedman

7 Plutonium
1673

Has anybody told VLC of this problem ?

Dennis, they know all about it. There are some discussions on the VideoLan forum on this topic. Here  is one.

Jim Coates -- 18 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1673

HI ,

I am also having the same problem with speakers. But representatives said it is because of VLC. They are not replacing the speakers under warranty.

Kindly help

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