Fixing encoding problems with Korean subtitles

So, you've managed to get a legal, paid-for copy of your favorite film, and want to share the moment with your Korean-speaking friend. You dim the lights, turn up the speakers, and hit play, only to have the mood ruined by this:

Ah yes, the random characters that ruin any 미드 (~미국 드라마, American drama) viewing. Your face now looks like Hotch here. What can you do about this?

Here are three options:

1. Use GOM Player

Seriously. I know you love VLC but for me, fighting with my video player to make it accept my subtitle file is more frustration than it's worth. 

Just download GOM Player: it's free, it's fast, and it handles subtitles files better than anything I've used lately. Continue to watch your porn educational content on VLC; but use GOM for anything with subtitles. 

2. Change VLC's encoding setting

If you really want to keep using VLC, try changing the font used for displaying subtitles to a specifically Korean font, or changing the default encoding that VLC assumes when the file doesn't specify an encoding option.

Both of these methods are well documented online.

Click on "Tools," "Preferences," then click the "Subtitles & OSD" button. In the font box, under display settings, click on "Batang" font or "Gulim" font from the list of fonts. These are the default Korean fonts which VLC media player will use to encode the Korean subtitles properly. Click "Save," then restart VLC media player.
How to Make Korean Subtitles Work on a VLC Player? - DVD Cutter Q&A


1. Open Preferences and enable the Advanced mode (lower left).
2. Video > Subtitles/OSD > Text renderer | Font : /System/Library/Fonts/AppleGothic.dfont
3. Input/Codecs | Subtitles track : 0 (don't confuse with Subtitles track ID)
4. Input/Codecs > Other Codecs > Subtitles | Subtitles text encoding : EUC-KR
Help Please! Korean subtitles (.smi) not working - The VideoLAN Forums

3. Change the encoding or format of the subtitle file 

This might sound like a hassle, but it's not. I highly recommend Batch Subtitles Converter. This app rocks because

  1. It's self-executable, i.e. you don't have to install it; just double-click it
  2. It's super lightweight and clean
  3. It does multiple / batch conversions
  4. It can convert both the file type and the encoding type.

For example, I had an old cable set-top box from LG U+ with a USB stick port. I'd copy movies onto a USB stick, but that damn set-top box was so picky. The subtitle files had to be named identical to the video file, and they had to be in EUC-KR encoding, and they had to be in SAMI (.smi) format. Loads of subtitle files I downloaded were UTF-8 and SubRip (.srt) format (these were Eng subs for Eng movies so I can eat chips and watch at the same time). This app took did it all no sweat.

Good luck. And if you're looking for where to get subtitle files from, check out this post.