looking for easy ways to interface with VLC,
came across Phonon project, which Qt uses, and therefore PySide can also use:
http://srinikom.github.io/pyside-docs/PySide/phonon/Phonon.VideoPlayer.html

this is a good example of its usage (only required minor tweaks to work)
http://qt.gitorious.org/pyside/pyside-examples/blobs/7cc317c53cccfc9126d1d1ae3c4a98b179fd8c43/examples/phonon/pyqplayer/pysideqplayer.py

https://www.google.com/search?q=embed+VLC&oq=embed+VLC&aqs=chrome.0.57.2469j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3120027/embed-vlc-player-in-html
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12157210/cross-browser-embed-vlc-plugin
http://www.autohotkey.com/
https://www.google.com/search?q=PySide+play+video&oq=PySide+play+video&aqs=chrome.0.57j62l2.4116j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
http://srinikom.github.io/pyside-docs/PySide/phonon/Phonon.VideoPlayer.html
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12192684/pyside-phonon-and-media-formats-such-as-mp4-flv-mkv-eg
http://doc-snapshot.qt-project.org/4.8/phonon-capabilities.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=phonon&oq=phonon&aqs=chrome.0.57.1549j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
http://techbase.kde.org/Development/Tutorials/Phonon/Introduction
http://techbase.kde.org/Development/Tutorials/Phonon/Introduction/Python
https://www.google.com/search?q=pyside+phonon&oq=pyside+phonon&aqs=chrome.0.57.2434j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
http://qt.gitorious.org/pyside/pyside-examples/blobs/7cc317c53cccfc9126d1d1ae3c4a98b179fd8c43/examples/phonon/pyqplayer/pysideqplayer.py
https://www.google.com/search?q=pyside&oq=pyside&aqs=chrome.0.57j59l2j62l3.2092j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
http://qt-project.org/wiki/PySide
http://qt-project.org/wiki/PySide_Binaries_MacOSX
https://pypi.python.org/pypi/PySide


/c/technical/python/media-playback.txt
/c/technical/python/gstreamer.txt
/c/technical/python/audio.txt

main notes for working with audio video data with python

http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=en&source=hp&biw=989&bih=547&q=miro+python+bindings&btnG=Google+Search#sclient=psy&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&biw=989&bih=547&q=miro+api&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=46d4fac9fac222e1
miro api - Google Search
http://www.getmiro.com/blog/2008/10/diy-media-center-with-miro/
DIY Media Center with Miro « Miro – Internet TV Blog
http://www.getmiro.com/using-miro/
Miro Video Player | Using Miro
http://www.getmiro.com/using-miro/faq/
Miro Video Player | FAQ
http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=en&source=hp&biw=989&bih=547&q=xbmc&btnG=Google+Search#sclient=psy&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&biw=989&bih=547&q=xbmc+python+api&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=46d4fac9fac222e1
xbmc python api - Google Search
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Python_Development
Python Development - XBMC
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO_write_Python_Scripts
HOW-TO write Python Scripts - XBMC
http://xbmc.org/
XBMC
http://xbmc.org/download/
Downloads | XBMC
http://www.google.com/search?q=open+source+media+player&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
open source media player - Google Search
http://www.google.com/search?q=open+source+media+player&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=DIu&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=ivns&ei=uKx_TeinCvKL0QH3_pn5CA&start=10&sa=N
open source media player - Google Search
http://www.webappers.com/2010/04/30/open-source-media-player-in-jquery-html5/
Open Source Media Player in jQuery & HTML5 | Web Resources | WebAppers
http://www.google.com/search?q=open+source+media+player&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=DIu&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=ivns&ei=uKx_TeinCvKL0QH3_pn5CA&start=10&sa=N
open source media player - Google Search
http://lifehacker.com/#!5333275/five-best-video-players
Five Best Video Players
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
VideoLAN - Official page for VLC media player, the Open Source video framework!
http://getsongbird.com/developers/
Songbird - Developer Center
http://wiki.songbirdnest.com/Developer/Developer_Intro/Webpage_API
Webpage API - Songbird Wiki
http://wiki.songbirdnest.com/Developer/Articles/Getting_Started
Getting Started - Songbird Wiki
http://wiki.songbirdnest.com/Developer/Articles/Getting_Started/Building_Media_Views
Building Media Views - Songbird Wiki
http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/news.html
MPlayer - The Movie Player
http://www.google.com/search?q=mplayer+python+api&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
mplayer python api - Google Search
http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/projects.html
MPlayer - The Movie Player
http://code.activestate.com/recipes/542195-access-mplayer-slave-mode-from-python/
Access mplayer (slave mode) from python « Python recipes « ActiveState Code
http://code.google.com/p/python-mplayer/
python-mplayer - Lightweight Python wrapper for MPlayer - Google Project Hosting
http://code.google.com/p/python-mplayer/wiki/Player
Player - python-mplayer - Lightweight Python wrapper for MPlayer - Google Project Hosting

http://www.google.com/search?q=niftyplayer&btnG=Search&hl=en&sa=2
niftyplayer - Google Search
http://www.varal.org/media/niftyplayer/
NiftyPlayer - a small and simple Flash MP3 player!
http://www.varal.org/media/niftyplayer/flashmp3alizer.html
FlashMP3alizer: Simple example
http://microformats.org/code-tools/
Microformats | Code & Tools
http://www.gmpg.org/xfn/intro
XFN: Introduction and Examples
http://musicplayer.sourceforge.net/
XSPF Web Music Player (Flash) - Plays MP3 on your website
http://forevergeek.com/articles/xspf_a_better_way_to_play_mp3s_on_your_site.php
XSPF A Better Way to Play MP3s on your site
http://xspf.org/quickstart/
XSPF: XML Shareable Playlist Format: Quick Start
http://www.google.com/search?q=python+xspf&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
python xspf - Google Search
http://www.xspf.org/applications/
XSPF: XML Shareable Playlist Format: Applications
http://www.xiph.org/
Xiph.org

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=open+source+flash+media+player&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=
open source flash media player - Google Search
http://flowplayer.org/download.html
Flowplayer / Downloads
http://musicplayer.sourceforge.net/
XSPF Web Music Player (Flash) - Plays MP3 on your website
http://forevergeek.com/articles/xspf_a_better_way_to_play_mp3s_on_your_site.php
XSPF A Better Way to Play MP3s on your site
http://webjay.org/
Where is Webjay? - Music


ultimately, for media playback, probably just want to focus on generating playlists that can be used in any player (m3u) and the mechanisms to send/synchronize data.

this way it shouldn't matter what the user has installed.