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Media Open Source Software

VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features 121

jones_supa writes: Two weekends ago an update for VLC media player was shared during a presentation in Brussels at FOSDEM. Lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf covered VLC's continued vibrant development, as well as features that are coming for VLC 2.2 and VLC 3.0. VLC 2.2.0 will feature automatic, GPU-accelerated video rotation support, extension improvements, resume handling, support for new codecs/formats and rewrites to some of the existing formats, VDPAU GPU zero-copy support, x265 encoder support, etc. Further out is VLC 3.0.0, which is planned to have Wayland support, GPU zero-copy support for OpenMAX IL, ARIB subtitle support, HEVC / VP9 hardware decoding on Android, a rework of the MP4 and TS demuxers, and browsing improvements. The VLC FOSDEM 2015 presentation is available in PDF form. The VLC Git shortlog can be used to follow the development of the project.
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VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features

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  • GPU/HW accell :D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @04:09AM (#49027319)

    VLC has always performed pretty badly compared to other media players, but whatever file I throw at it, it Just Works

    Well maybe subtitle support could be better too.

    • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:21AM (#49027777)
      TFS

      VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features

      Fine. But the essential features we do need all the time, like acceleration, streaming: buffering during 'pause', random access to a position while keeping in memory the part that was loaded 30 seconds before [algo], general ergonomics and intuitiveness - are they finally working well? (On Linux at least, that's far from working well)

      • Well, should have added to my rant some fair positiveness: as it's been said on this page, whenever something is a bit exotic and other players cough to death, usually VLC manages to read the file and show something. That's ok. And thank you for that. But, seriously, the main features really need some improvement. Please :-)
    • I have found consistently that MPC "just works" slightly more often. Its interface and controls are completely crap compared to VLC, but its video playback is significantly better. As in, videos that will not play in VLC, will play in MPC.
  • Chromecast? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lillgud ( 951277 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @04:26AM (#49027363) Homepage

    No news about supporting Google Chromecast? The discussion on the forum[1] has been dead quite some time. I can see in the git repo that there actually *is* code present (cast.cpp) and I would guess that this would be a really appreciated feature.

    [1]: https://forum.videolan.org/vie... [videolan.org]

    • Re:Chromecast? (Score:5, Informative)

      by nonsequitor ( 893813 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @08:03AM (#49027885)

      You CAN use VLC with Chromecast already though. It's not supported in the desktop application yet, but the VLC plugin for the Chrome browser already meets this need. It's fairly easy to make work:
      1) Install VLC plugin for Chrome
      2) Enter URL for video on your filesystem file://path/media.file
      3) Hit the cast button on your browser

      I think official support is on hold until Google releases a Chromecast SDK for desktop applications, otherwise it'll be a hack and could break at any time if Google changes stuff. As far as I know, Google has only released an API for web based services.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Looking at Git changelog for 3.0.0 at http://git.videolan.org/?p=vlc.git;a=blob;f=NEWS;h=815cb5e60e3e6a8adbb8ae413fed59de5c2b8764;hb=815cb5e60e3e6a8adbb8ae413fed59de5c2b8764 shows that 3.0.0 is scheduled to have a "Chromecast output module"

  • ...fix the totally cluttered preferences please.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      ...fix the totally cluttered preferences please.

      Hey! If a product isn't popular enough, it's because it doesn't have enough features!

      The more features you have, the more likely someone will want to use the product for that feature. Look at Mozilla, for example.

      Were you asleep in your "marketing for engineers" class?

      (My personal foible: I stop and start videos a lot, and hunting with the slider to find out where I left off is a royal pain, so I googled "how to make VLC remember position". Big mistake.

      VLC doesn't implement this simple feature, but you can

      • (My personal foible: I stop and start videos a lot, and hunting with the slider to find out where I left off is a royal pain, so I googled "how to make VLC remember position". Big mistake. VLC doesn't implement this simple feature, but you can get a plugin that does.

        I encountered the same problem and VLC does seem to have some kind of built-in bookmark feature, but in my case the "go to bookmark" hotkeys did not work.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You should bitch and get your money back.

      • by kosmosik ( 654958 ) <kos@ k o s m o s i k . net> on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @06:44AM (#49027685) Homepage

        > My personal foible: I stop and start videos a lot, and hunting with the slider to find out where I left off is a royal pain

        In the PDF linked from this post there is a slide (on 20th page) showing just that functionality so I guess they wish to add it.

        • by Vastad ( 1299101 )

          Remembering where I last stopped is great. Would love to be able to specify hours and minutes into a given video as well.

      • by reikae ( 80981 )

        Woohoo! ...except that now VLC won't run at all, and you have to forcefully delete the plugins and reboot your system just to go back to the old version.

        Why would you need to reboot?

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Because rebooting Windows isn't really that much slower than logging out and logging back in. To close all open processes without fiddling in Task Manager, you need to log out. And if other users have VLC processes open, you need to log them out too. With all the work that has gone into optimizing the startup time of Windows, it ends up taking more time to close your applications and reopen them than to close the NT kernel and reopen it.

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )

        That's totally something the end user should be doing in a mature product!

        In a mature product? Have you ever looked at the icon VLC uses?

    • Re:VLC preferences (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) <hackertouristNO@SPAMxmsnet.nl> on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:06AM (#49027745)

      While I agree that the prefs interface could use improvement, please don't suggest they reduce the number of preferences. I use VLC because it's configurable to my tastes.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It is hard to design a really good preferences interface. Much easier to just rip everything out and pretend that's good enough for everyone.
        Kind of like it is hard to govern well, easier to just starve the beast [wikipedia.org] and pretend that's good enough for everyone. Initiate hackertarian cognitive dissonance in 3 ... 2 ... 1.

  • Have they fixed the issue where other software transitioning to fill screen mode sometimes causes VLC to crash? Pretty sure I've been reporting that crash for about 5 years now.

  • Good candidate for Zawinski's law. This thing needs email support.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry, when systemd assimilates VLC's functionality, it already has the email support it obtained from emacs.

  • DLNA Support? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This has not been working for ages on OSX and other platforms.

  • Frame-interpolation. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <{gaygirlie} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @05:53AM (#49027577) Homepage

    Personally, I would like to see them add frame-interpolation to VLC. There is Smooth Video Project that can be used with several other players and you could use it even with XBMC, though I don't know if it works with Kodi anymore, but SVP doesn't work with VLC. I really do enjoy watching videos in 60 fps, it's like a night and day compared to the usual 23.976 or 25 fps, even if it's just interpolated.

    • Thanks for the tip, I will see how the result is when I go back to home
      • You'll need a quite beefy computer for SVP and you need to have the SVP Manager running whenever you want to see videos in 60 fps, the website or the installer doesn't make it clear enough IMHO, so I thought to mention. The included MPC-HC works great for watching stuff and I can bet you'll see the difference, but oddly enough the installer doesn't create a shortcut for MPC-HC, you need to find it in the installation folder and create a shortcut for it manually. I hope this gets you going and hooked to high

    • though I don't know if it works with Kodi anymore

      Nope, not really. Only with a build over a year old.

      Thanks for putting me up on this though, I guess I'll use MPC-HC on Windows from now on. Might as well uninstall VLC.

      • Sadly, it doesn't fucking work

        I have a supported video card (nvidia 2xx) and errythang

        But when I try to play a video in MPC, I just get the audio. Works fine in VLC.

        Maybe when SVP works, VLC can worry about working with it.

    • How does frame-interpolation works out? It is playing at 60 fps but interpolating frames would surely reintroduce some motion blur.

      • I guess it'd do like smart TVs with their "motion flow" or "soap opera mode": guess the motion vector between successive frames and interpolate along it.

    • Just spent a good deal of time looking for solutions for Linux and I can't seem to find one, that's too bad. SVP is windows-only :(
    • Oh God, why? This is the first thing I turn off on new TVs :S

      • Oh God, why?

        Because to my eye movies and TV-shows looks a whole lot better and more enjoyable in high framerates, granting a much smoother movement to everything.

  • Just me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @06:33AM (#49027657) Homepage

    Is it just me?

    "VLC 2.2.0 will feature automatic, GPU-accelerated video rotation support, extension improvements, resume handling, support for new codecs/formats and rewrites to some of the existing formats, VDPAU GPU zero-copy support, x265 encoder support, etc."

    I have little interest in this. It seems to be performance improvements. As someone who just rolls out VLC in preference to WMP on all my domain-connected machines, some of them with only Intel-video, I don't actually have any performance problems. I have ten times more problems with just random crashes etc. but fortunately VLC is small enough to just load up again. But performance? What I throw at it, gets rendered to the screen.

    So what's new in VLC 3?

    "Further out is VLC 3.0.0, which is planned to have Wayland support, GPU zero-copy support for OpenMAX IL, ARIB subtitle support, HEVC / VP9 hardware decoding on Android, a rework of the MP4 and TS demuxers, and browsing improvements."

    Again, mostly "performance improvements". The support for other formats is unlikely to ever be used by any of my users but that's the reason I use VLC - just throw stuff at it and without needing codec packs, it just plays what it can.

    I'm sure there's someone out there doing 4K on multi-screens and needs a beefy setup and a top-notch bunch of hardware accelerated features. But, to me, I'd rather we didn't have that and instead fixed the crashes in VLC which seem common enough that someone on a VLC team just loading in random web videos all day would hit several a day at least, that they could then start down to road to debug,

    If anything, all this passing off to hardware is probably MORE likely to cause me problems than anything else - no doubt the support won't be perfect and it'll put the onus of rendering properly on the graphics driver rather than the VLC software itself.

    • If anything, all this passing off to hardware is probably MORE likely to cause me problems than anything else - no doubt the support won't be perfect and it'll put the onus of rendering properly on the graphics driver rather than the VLC software itself.

      No, no it probably won't. VLC already lets you configure out the hardware acceleration.

    • by Narishma ( 822073 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @11:13AM (#49028951)

      Anything with a battery (which is the vast majority of things nowadays) will benefit hugely from hardware acceleration.

  • mplayer and plain commandline ?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Commandline in 2015 ? Yeah no. No no no no.
      Especially for a fucking media player.

      • Take your Mac, your stupid baggy trousers, your fixie and sod off to Starbucks with all the other hipsters, you raving Nancy-boy.

        • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

          Take your Mac, your stupid baggy trousers, your fixie and sod off to Starbucks with all the other hipsters, you raving Nancy-boy.

          So wait, you're trying to claim that the hipster position is the one where you use a GUI for your media player instead of the command line?

      • Try finding all videos in your collection containing the word "startrek" , sorting them randomly and playing them with VLC .... some of us still need the commandline in 2015 ;)

        find . -iname "startrek" " | sort -R | xargs -d '\n' mplayer -af volnorm
    • Yep.

      That's my favourite way of playing videos.

      Except Ubuntu 14.04 installed a fux0red version of MPlayer which can't properly seek on DVDs which is really sodding annoying. Compiling the latest version from source worked just fine, of course.

      I also rather like the -ap volnorm because these days it seems to be the fashion to master films with such extreme dynamic range that if you can hear the quiet dialog clearly you'll get deafened, or at least seriously piss off the neighbours on a loud bit.

  • Bug fixes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    More time spent on more features? How about fixing long standing bugs eg browsing uPnP on Win 7 64bit crashes VLC. Everytime.

    https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?t=117206

    Been at least 12 months

  • by SkunkPussy ( 85271 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @09:29AM (#49028139) Journal

    ...but its been missing some basic features for years (in the windows and android versions):

    1) preserve playlist between invocations of the programme (playlist resets every time you close vlc)
    2) preserve state of music library as soon as you make changes to it (add music to vlc library, don't close vlc, library never gets saved)

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      1) save your goddamned playlist. Two keystrokes.
      2) see 1)
      3) Just use AIMP with the appropriate plugins.

      • Manually saving an application's state doesn't make sense

        But in summary your advice is not to use the application :)

    • Would be nice if Bookmarks worked at all. I'd like using VLC for audiobooks, but without a decent bookmarking system it's not really possible.

      DAUM Potplayer is my main media player. It's closed source, but it has better options than anything else out there including a great bookmark/playlist system.

  • UPnP/DLNA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @09:32AM (#49028151) Homepage

    I wish they would implement the ability to stream to UPnP devices like a TV over ethernet/wireless. I can't watch movies without the audio compressor plugin. The music and movie sound engineers need to trade places. Going from whispers to ear blasting volumes does not make movies any better. And before you ask no I don't have a surround setup, only left and right Infinity Qe speakers. Surround sound is a cheap gimmick.

  • Still no word on gapless playback for audio files? It would be a great music player, but lack of gapless playback is a showstopper. No one can listen to side 2 of Abbey Road with gaps and stay sane.
  • x264 video (on Windows, at least, but I'm not sure why it would be any different on another OS) stutters on playback unless you disable one of the postprocessing options, and it's been that way for ages, so I ditched it and went with MPC-HC.

    It's subtle, and I think most people just don't notice it.

  • I wonder if/when they might get blu-ray support? DVD support has tended to be a gray area for a lot of things, but VLC happily supported it. No such luck for Blu-Ray BD+ yet (I thought it had been cracked, but perhaps not).

  • There's a lot of hidden stuff in VLC, but these hot keys come from it's beginnings, it started as a music player something I hadn't known.

    I'm coming close to claiming there isn't much you can't do with VLC, the problem is the program changes so much it doesn't keep up with the Wiki or other sources of how to's.

    Can't rip that movie, heck VLC will copy it for you, not capture it but copy it to your specs. It is mentioned it's not a good choice and references a couple of programs that would serve you better.

    VL

  • I use VLC when I have to, because even with all the tweaking and technical magic I do, I cannot get Windows MP to reliably play all video formats, and/or reliably display all subs. I have gotten to the point that I can get MP to handle 90% of things, but there are still 10% of things that I have to boot up VLC.

    Why use MP? Only one reason: Media Center uses MP. That's it. If I had a media center, and here's the important part, that I could use with a standard windows remote, that wasn't Windows and was't MP,

  • I use VLC for anything video and it always works fine. A few weekends ago I tried its streaming feature. Not only is it needlessly complicated to configure, there appears to be no way to save the settings and after a few hours streaming it just dies. Currently settling on Plex, which is great when it works, but it often takes many tries to make it work.

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