How Using the VLC Player Can Affect the Laptop Warranty

Jim Coates
6 Gallium

How Using the VLC Player Can Affect the Laptop Warranty

Original Question: WARNING, having VLC player VOIDS warranty!!! by jimco

The Issue: an undisclosed exclusion

In 2013, Dell laptop owners starting posting reports on the forum that they had been denied warranty service on their laptop speakers because the popular VLC Media Player was installed on the laptops, and in one case it was denied because the KMPlayer was installed. The warranty remained valid on the other parts of the laptop.

It was gradually learned that Dell's Tech Support was enforcing an undisclosed exclusion of the warranty. It is normal for a warranty to have exclusions, but this was an undisclosed exclusion and owners had no way of knowing that certain media players were forbidden.

Later Development

I was informed in March 2014 that the exclusion no longer applies to models that have Windows 8 or 8.1. The exclusion still applies to Windows 7 systems that do not have the latest audio driver and BIOS installed. This information was provided to me by a Dell liaison (forum moderator).

Bottom line: all of the information we have about this exclusion has come from reports posted on the forum and through backdoor channels. Without having anything official in writing to rely on, my advice is this. If you need to contact Tech Support about your internal laptop speakers, to be on the safe side REMOVE ALL MEDIA PLAYERS except Windows Media Player.

There is a full discussion of how the VLC Player could potentially cause damage to small laptop speakers in this thread: Need to Exercise Caution When Using VLC Media Player.

Regardless of warranty issues, I still advise all users of the VLC Player to not exceed 100% volume level for extended periods, when playing through a laptop's small internal speakers. It would also be a good idea to install the latest version of VLC Player (2.2.1). Its volume range now only goes up to 125% (the original player went up to 400%), so it looks like the developers of the player have made it much safer for laptops.

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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‎02-25-2014 09:23 PM
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