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Media Open Source Software

VLC Reaches 2.1 127

Posted by timothy
from the amazing-software-to-be-grateful-for dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With a new audio core, hardware decoding and encoding, port to mobile platforms, preparation for Ultra-HD video and a special care to support more formats, 2.1 is a major upgrade for VLC. The popular video player app also features support for 4K video as well as a partial Windows 8 and WinRT port for all those folks out there who don't know what else to do with their Surface RT."
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VLC Reaches 2.1

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    What's a "partial port"? Does it run in an emulator or something?

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      What's a "partial port"? Does it run in an emulator or something?

      A good question. I assumed that it meant that not all options, facilities, or codecs are ported yet - but it is not clear from the release notes.

      • What's a "partial port"? Does it run in an emulator or something?

        A good question. I assumed that it meant that not all options, facilities, or codecs are ported yet - but it is not clear from the release notes.

        I'd be more inclined to suspect that it hasn't been bodged into the...um...wonderful new Win8/RT UI-formerly-known-as-metro yet. VLC's codecs and whatnot have already been ported to just about anything with the power to support them and a compiler to suit; but their enthusiasm for artisinally crafted platform specific UIs is less significant.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Isn't Metro apps locked into the appstore? That may be what they mean by partial, if they have the metro look without being tied to the appstore.

          BTW is anybody else sick of the words apps and appstore yet? Because I'm REALLY fucking tired of hearing apps to app your app [youtube.com], especially when it comes to non mobile devices like Win 8. The second I hear apps now I think "buzzword hipster crap" and start tuning them out.

          As for VLC? Congrats guys, your player has been on my "must install" list for quite some time,

    • Re:Partial port? (Score:4, Informative)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:44AM (#44960085)

      I would assume not all features are up and running in the port.

  • First impressions (Score:5, Informative)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:35AM (#44959973)

    I installed it last night and really the only thing I can say about it so far is that it seems to work the same as I'm used to. That is high praise for a new release with many new features, I think. We'll see what happens when I try to play more exotic files with multiple languages and subtitles, but so far so good.

    What is really exciting to me is the claimed support for mobile platforms. That kind of support for video is something I've really missed on Android.

  • I'm still waiting for these to get to beyond V0.99!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      c-kermit [kermitproject.org], now fully open source, is at v9.0. ZTerm [dalverson.com] is at version 1.2. Both were last released in 2011.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It still doesn't hold a candle to a properly configured MPC-HC/Lav filters/madVR installation, still has the same banding and washed-out color problems as usual, Daiz agreed, don't bother him about it.

    • Re:Still no CCCP/KCP (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:06AM (#44960409)

      I hear this a lot-- VLC sucks, uses bad codecs, supposedly looks worse than XYZ player, etc. But every time I actually try to use MPC-HC, I find that the ability to Seek within a video file is lacking. It either takes a long time to Seek, or it doesn't go exactly to the place I wanted it to. VLC seeks perfectly every time, no matter what video codec/container format I am viewing. And I _never_ have to install any 3rd party codec packs. To me, that's way more important than a minor difference in quality that I have never noticed (or taken the time to _try_ to notice). Then again, I like to download 720p instead of 1080p because the files are smaller, so quality is obviously not 1st priority. I'll keep using VLC, thanks!

      • by fermion (181285)
        Everyone says that software like VLC can't succeed, but it can and has. And it has in the tradition of Kermit, that provided a good enough, even better, experience than anything else. Both reliability and resilience. Back in the day work would not have gotten done without Kermit. Now media would be useless, particularly on MS Windows machines, without VLC. Everything else is too worried about DRM to be functional. I have even seen corporate caving into the reality that they are going to have to depend o
      • You should try MPC-BE: http://sourceforge.net/projects/mpcbe/ [sourceforge.net]
        It's a fork of MPC-HC and it has thumbnail previews while seeking (like Youtube).

        Also: 'codec packs'?
        ffdshow-tryouts: http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffdshow-tryout/ [sourceforge.net]
        and/or LAV: https://code.google.com/p/lavfilters/ [google.com]
        There hasn't been the need for anything else for years.

        Finally: when it comes to 'quality', proper framerate matching is way more noticeable than spatial resolution of the video. Using CTRL+J in MPC-HC or MPC-BE (using the Custom EVR or

  • I mean ok, yes, it plays everything under the sun. But not very well.

    For something as widely popular and prolific as VLC, I simply don't understand why its not the pre-eminent media player that rivals anything on the market...without any compromise. The UI of VLC sucks, still, especially tablet incarnations of it, and while it might load a video, often the video craps out even though it plays perfectly fine on other dreaded "closed source" media players. Simply being able to load a video format is not "s

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by kekx (2828765)
      You do realize that the glitches that you complain about are due to VLC avoiding patented, closed source solutions? In this light they are actually doing awesome work!
      • by Ark42 (522144)

        I have the same issues he sees, and pretty much gave up on VLC. Why does MPC-HC work so much better, and feel so significantly less bloated? Isn't that all open source too?

    • Re:Still sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:22AM (#44960589)

      Show me a commercial media player with better support for video formats than VLC.

      • by Inda (580031)
        Just a quick note: It plays all audio files I chuck at it too.

        I know these are used within the AV containers, so there's no reason not to play them, but it's another tick in the box. I stopped using the excellent FooBar2000 a while back because VLC really does plays everything I chuck at it.

        That's not to say there aren't problems with it. There have been memory problems in the past, artifacts while seeking, overly complex streaming and converting options, but these are all minor.

        I would like more interface
    • I don't know why VLC developers hate frame-by-frame.
      If I want to read something on a piece of paper in a video let's say, I can't just advance one frame at a time.

      • by Ark42 (522144)

        Really? I have no problem with MPC-HC just using the keyboard arrows to do that in just about any video. Some videos don't like going backward one frame though.

        • Videos are meant to play forward, and codecs take advantage of this for compression. A common way to capitalize on this property of video is to use two different types of frames, usually named A and B frames.

          A frames contain the complete data for that frame.
          B frames refer to the previous frame and only have data on the changes that need to be made to the previous frame to make the current frame. (e.g. "move this section 2px to the right", "this little section has these completely new pixels...") **Note: B f

          • by Ark42 (522144)

            That's great and all, and actually it's typically called I, P, and B frames, with B in this case being a frame that requires both the previous and the future I-frame information to base changes off of. Even with-out B-frames (which I'm not sure are actually used in real-world MPEG-2 or H.264, etc much anyway), the issue is MPC-HC has no trouble frame stepping forward, and VLC does, on the same videos.

      • Re:Still sucks (Score:4, Informative)

        by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @12:39PM (#44961415)

        I don't know why VLC developers hate frame-by-frame.

        They don't.

        If I want to read something on a piece of paper in a video let's say, I can't just advance one frame at a time.

        You can. Try pressing "E"...

        • Thank you, it wasn't there a few years ago and not easy to find (you just made my life a lot easier). You can find discussion groups with people begging for the feature in 2005 and being told that it's against the very nature of VLC to have that. I guess I stopped waiting for it...

      • by akahige (622549)
        You CAN do frame by frame advance: just hit "e".
    • by sjames (1099)

      I have never had any problem with it, what in the world are you doing to cause it such a problem?

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I'm marking this one WORKSFORME.

    • Re:Still sucks (Score:4, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:58AM (#44960975)

      I mean ok, yes, it plays everything under the sun. But not very well.

      For something as widely popular and prolific as VLC, I simply don't understand why its not the pre-eminent media player that rivals anything on the market...without any compromise. The UI of VLC sucks, still, especially tablet incarnations of it, and while it might load a video, often the video craps out even though it plays perfectly fine on other dreaded "closed source" media players. Simply being able to load a video format is not "support" of that video format, it should play flawlessly and have all the capabilities to track throughout the movie with having it hang for several minutes. Its the 21st century, I shouldn't have to wait for video to load regardless of what format it is.

      VLC is the prime example debunking the myth that open source software is better because its community developed. If the community actually invested more effort into improving VLC code rather than just lauding its superiority then VLC would actually be the best media player on the market.

      The problem with VLC is endemic of a lot of open-source code. It's basically where the programmer is king and everyone else is a peon. Great if you're a developer, but it fails in that a modern non-trivial program needs much more than just a programmer (and that the project lead on most open source is a programmer doesn't help). Hell, programmers and engineers generally are the WORST people you want to develop certain aspects of your application - notably stuff related to UI, UX and documentation.

      The issue is that open-source generally "ranks" people in terms of LoC submitted (or commits, or whatever). Designers, technical writers and other stuff don't usually generate things considered "valuable" to the developer - how many times have you heard this refrain - "you have the source, there's your documentation".

      And the UI and UX is very important these days but also heavily discounted because they generally make life difficult because implementing a widget here instead of there seems like a pointless exercise. Especially when they want to re-do how things work (see all the pushback to how Apple decided to reinvent how people used computers by doing auto-save (and even allowing versioning and "going back In time" to see how a document looked at a prior point, even allowing one to manipulate a previous save).

      That said, VLC's UI is generally sufficient (especially compared to many other media players), though it could use a bit of tweaking (like disassociating the mousewheel from the volume control - Allowing one to reduce the range of the volume control (or peg it at 100% so you don't accidentally set it to 117% or having to live with it at 98 or 105% because you can't get it back to 100%).

      You do realize that the glitches that you complain about are due to VLC avoiding patented, closed source solutions? In this light they are actually doing awesome work!

      Sorry, I don't buy this, because VLC implements plenty of patented stuff - besides all the MPEG formats (heavily patented) and image formats (most of which are patented), and audio formats (also patented).

      If you created a player that was trying to avoid patented stuff, you'd be left with a player that does Vorbis, Theora, WebM and a few other formats. And be of little use because the formats people really use (h.264 currently, DivX/MPEG-4 ASP before) are all heavily patented.

      Of course, there's some things where it's understandable - like DVD and Blu-Ray playback where the copy protection on both generally interferes with straight playback as they should. VLC does not have much in the way of fixing issues related to copy protection - being that it's a full time job. (See how much an AnyDVD license is and that you have to subscribe because it changes so much).

      • Allowing one to reduce the range of the volume control (or peg it at 100% so you don't accidentally set it to 117% or having to live with it at 98 or 105% because you can't get it back to 100%)

        This was driving me nuts. I finally figured a way around it though. For me, each click of the scroll wheel moves it by 1/8, so 8 clicks from the highest or lowest value puts it back at 100%. Scroll wheel all the way to 0 (min) or 200% (max), then scroll wheel back to 100%. It will hit it on the nose.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't like it either. Clunky, wonky, slow, bloated. I prefer MPlayerX.

  • But I've always preferred smplayer.

    The client server architecture is generally unneeded for home use, and so is a kind of bloat.

    Mplayer supports all codecs and is a statically compiled exe...you can take it with you on a thumbdrive....dont need to install it....works perfectly.

    SMplayer is nice, lightweight...again supports all codecs...and has very nice features and is very configurable.

    I never got why VNC became as popular as it did.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      vnc is far better than remote desktop for windows. I've had vnc sessions last for 3 years (finally had to shut the host down after a planned move).

      oh wait, you meant vlc, didn't you?

      vlc is good, also. ;)

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > vnc is far better than remote desktop for windows

        VNC is a festering pile. It's not better than anything. It's not even better than X. Never mind RDP.

    • by ledow (319597) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:12AM (#44960461) Homepage

      You can take it with you on a thumbdrive, don't need to install it, it works perfectly.

      It supports virtually all codecs (I remember some problems with old .RM files in the early days, but they were obsolete even before then).

      It's a compiled .exe that has some interchangeable DLL's that sit in the same folder and can be swapped without waiting for a new binary release.

      It's nice, lightweight, very nice features, very configurable, free AND has all the client/server stuff too.

      Personally, SMPlayer (and MPlayer's) early history on Linux was horrible - there was no one GUI that was nice enough on it (I can remember a dozen "XPlayer" where X was just the GUI someone slapped onto MPlayer, and you often had to download the win32 codecs separately - the codec situation was a bit of a faff at times, and I managed to crash it quite a lot).

      By comparison, the VLC I use and install every day on hundreds of computers to be the default DVD and media player? I never really witness it crash. It plays everything I throw at it (including obscure CCTV formats). It's tiny and will even run from a network share. And it works the same on Linux, Windows and everything else.

      You can say a lot of the same for both MPlayer and VLC - the question really is which one you preferred when you first used it (and when that was), so it's hardly a surprise that some don't like one or the other.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Personally, SMPlayer (and MPlayer's) early history on Linux was horrible - there was no one GUI that was nice enough on it

        Why does a video player need a GUI anyway?

      • Replying to clear my karma rating. Put "flamebait" on the wrong reply by mistake.
      • by metrix007 (200091)

        All of those positive attributes apply to mplayer,e xcept mplayer doesn't need any additional dll's and is much easier to configure.

        And really, Linux doesn't matter here. VLC is popular because of windows users who use it...while Linux users use it to, that isn't why it's popular and famous among non techies...

        Basically Mplayer is smaller, easier to manage, more configurable and less buggy. Not sure why VLC holds the title in the peoples eye.

  • I have a video which is apparantly MJPEG (according to gSPOT). It plays fine on an older version of VLC on my old PC. On my new PC and new VLC, it plays but colours are all wrong and it's super grainy with interlacing showing. I thought the point of VLC was it used internal CODECs so not sure what's happening here. Even on the old PC, I've not found anything else that could play it so this is a bit of a worry.
    • by cellocgw (617879)

      I'd recommend you get ffmpeg or a similar converter and turn your old video into some newer filetype. Plus, assuming the conversion works, you'll know for sure exactly what codec the new file is using.

  • Yet still it does not support turning off the computer, despite being a feature requested for years. That's the ONLY missing feature which prevents it from being my default video player

  • by Tronster (25566) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:33AM (#44960737) Homepage

    VLC is a fantastic free program, but the attitude some/one of their devs have towards it's users is disheartening for the project as a whole.

    A friend recorded a video with her phone, and held it so the video was taken in "portrait mode" vs. "landscape mode". On a PC I was surprised when VLC was unable to correctly orient itself as I was use to my Mac's native application always orienting properly.

    I spent the time looking for solutions on their forum and the devs responses is nothing short of arrogant:
    https://trac.videolan.org/vlc/ticket/7766 [videolan.org]

    Essentially users are told this is not a bug in VLC because the videos use a non-standard way of marking the video as rotated. Further they go on to say if a user wants to look at it, as it was shot, they need to manually tweak the rotation on the transform for playback. After a 7 step menu navigation process, this has the side effect of having to change the transform back for the next video you wish to play if it was shot in landscape mode. Essentially this has to be done on a video-by-video basis.

    I'm hoping there are some Open Source projects that actually implement this correctly, but from the few I've tried so far, they all seem to have the same bug as VLC when it comes orientation. Standard or not, ignoring this rotation bit is rendering the program as crippled for 100,000's of people shooting videos this way. Coincidentally, I haven't found a commercial program that is subject to the bug, everyone I've tried (e.g., Quicktime, Adobe Premier, etc...) renders it properly.

    I can always hope that, eventually, someone on the team will see the value in implementing this fix.

    • by cdrnet (1582149)

      So, what was Apple's attitude when you asked them why they couldn't implement this the standard way? After all, its seems Apple is doing it wrong, not VLC.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blue Stone (582566)

        I thought that one of the points to VLC was that it got shit to work.

        That's always been my impression of it, when after exhausting all other players to try to get something to work, I used VLC and it just did.

        It's one of VLC's USPs (unique selling points) and I thought was why it was (among other things) held in high esteem and has such a good reputation.

      • Is there any kind of standard to adhere to?

        The real solution to this problem is to apply an electric shock to any phone user who tries to record a portrait mode video.

    • by caseih (160668)

      Maybe it's their wrong-headed way of addressing the scourge of vertical videos. Not sure if I blame the person making the video or the phones for not automatically cropping the video to make the aspect ratio sane (1:1 or 4:3 at the very least). Can't stand vertical videos. It's like looking through a crack in a door.

      Seriously until I saw this video, I always thought vertical videos resulted from a bad encoding job: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9zSfinwFA [youtube.com]

    • Don't fix what's not broken.
      VLC plays videos as it should, and respects standards. If you phone saves rotation in a non-standard way, it's your phone's recording app that needs fixing: why don't you go and complain to then instead? You've probably even paid them too, so they have more obligation to fix stuff.

  • On 2.0.8 Twoflower: Help -> Check for updates = You have the latest version of VLC media Player :-(
    • Maybe it's not on your distro's repos yet. Switch to testing, or wait for a day or two (it's already in the main repos for arch).

  • by Zurd3 (574979)
    One big missing feature : Playing 3D movie (side by side, top-down)
  • I use VLC to stream music to the office AirPort (I flat-out refuse to install iTunes to do so "properly"). There's a way to do so, using some weird streaming flags, and under 1.1 it mainly works, although you can't change volume on the fly. 2.0 broke this, although it also added Blu-Ray support so I ended up having to install both. Being able to go back to a single version would be nice - can anyone confirm whether AirPlay works again?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    VLC is great and just got better: it is portable!!! I love this app and have used it for years. It has played every video codec I have thrown at it, has never crashed, has great features (fix lip sync, slowmo, etc), great shortcut keys (f for fullscreen etc), I have been running it in a XP vbox VM dedicated to multimedia because of VLC's bad habit of taking over audio extensions (foobar's realm). Now, with this portable version that doesn't steal audio file extensions, I'll actually place it on the metal wi

  • Do (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Do they have a better icon, yet?

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