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Media Software

VLC 3.0 Adds Chromecast Support and More as the Best Free Media Player Gets Even Better (pcworld.com) 131

Ian Paul, writing for PCWorld: The best free media player is getting even better. After three years of development, VLC 3.0 'Ventari' is rolling out to all platforms, and it's packed full of goodies such as Chromecast support. The latest version of VLC contains a lot of great additions, as well as a tweaked UI. Chromecast discovery tops the list. It's only available on Windows desktop and Android right now, but Videolan says the feature's coming to VLC's iOS and the Windows Store apps in the future. [...] VLC 3.0's refreshed UI isn't a fresh, new look from previous versions, but it is noticeably different. The icons at the bottom of the window are cleaner, and the small icons used within menu items are also new. Version 3.0 also adds support for 360-degree video and 3D audio, readying features for a VR version of VLC slated to roll out in mid-April. The new VLC also adds hardware decoding across all platforms for better performance and less CPU consumption, especially when dealing with more resource-intense video.
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VLC 3.0 Adds Chromecast Support and More as the Best Free Media Player Gets Even Better

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...and two and a half years trying to dumb it down to qualify to be hosted on the "Universal" Windows App Store. The final "App" version only has a Play button and is about as useful as the media player in Windows RG.

  • There are so many times that I have wanted to cast some things from my Android phone but couldn't easily do it. This should be a very welcome addition to the VLC android app.
    • Re:It's about time! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anderson Council ( 1096781 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @11:42AM (#56095227)

      Couldn't agree more.

      VLC has been my go-to solution for anything that wasn't trivially supported by other apps, and the absence of Chromecast support meant I didn't have easy access to my media server which I have set up to just share the content. Was toying with the idea of grabbing the code and trying to add it myself but they beat me to it (and I couldn't be more thrilled about it).

      Only issue will be that the Chromecast will only play what it understands how to play, which likely means no sound from anything in a MKV container if my experience trying to cast the screen to get around this previously is any indication, but that's not VLC's fault. Will be happy to be able to cast from it regardless.

      Kudos.
      ~AC

      • Why not use plex instead? That will transcode the audio to the chromecast.
      • Only issue will be that the Chromecast will only play what it understands how to play, which likely means no sound from anything in a MKV container if my experience trying to cast the screen to get around this previously is any indication, but that's not VLC's fault. Will be happy to be able to cast from it regardless.

        From the article:

        VideoLAN designed VLC’s Chromecast support as a workaround for any media formats Chromecast can’t natively support. VLC can re-encode video on the fly to make it work with Chromecast, including casting DVDs from your Windows machine.

        I gather from the article's statement that the greatest value of the Chromecast support is precisely that any video format VLC supports can be reencoded on the fly to play on the Chromecast. So VLC is ahead of you on this score.

        I am disappointed that VLC doesn't support receiving a Chromecast. It would be very nice to be able to Chromecast from my phone and other devices to a Window on one of my PC displays. This would also enable the assistant on my Google Home to audio and video to my PC

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 )

      There are so many times that I have wanted to cast some things from my Android phone but couldn't easily do it.

      What exactly is this "cast" thing you and the article mention?

      It take it, it has something to do with the chrome browser, but I've not really used chrome except for one try many years ago for a day or so....but what does it do and will other browsers work with it too besides chrome?

      • by b0bby ( 201198 )

        If you have a chromecast device plugged into your TV, you can then display video from your phone or whatever on the bigger screen.

        • If you have a chromecast device plugged into your TV, you can then display video from your phone or whatever on the bigger screen.

          Hmm...I'm trying to wonder what video from a tiny phone looks like on a nice 4K TV, or even a regular 1080p tv....?

          Interesting concept, but I'm trying to figure out why I'd want to do this..?

          I have AmazonFireTV boxes on each TV (since I cut the cord)...so, I can watch all the YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming videos I'd want in high quality....

          That and I'm no

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Hmm...I'm trying to wonder what video from a tiny phone looks like on a nice 4K TV, or even a regular 1080p tv....?

            Hmm...I'm trying to wonder what video from a tiny blu-ray looks like on a nice 4K TV, or even a regular 1080p tv....?

          • by jddj ( 1085169 )

            My HTC M10 has a full-HD 1080i (or maybe even p?) camera, and the videos look pretty sweet - there's optical image stabilization built in, and it looks for all the world like I'm walking around with a Steadicam. Audio could be better, but...

            Likewise, streaming Netflix, etc. looks fine, as expected - though keep in mind that the Chromecast is connecting directly to Netflix in that case - it's not getting it off the phone.

            The only reasons I don't use the Chromecast more are that 1. it's really difficult to us

          • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @03:06PM (#56096467) Homepage

            Hmm...I'm trying to wonder what video from a tiny phone looks like on a nice 4K TV, or even a regular 1080p tv....?

            It looks like standard 1080p video. The screen on most smart phones has at least 1080p resolution or higher. Just because the screen is smaller doesn't change the quality of the video. 1080p video on your phone is still 1080p video on your big ass tv.

      • by Phusion ( 58405 )
        It's an amazing functionality that I use to watch pretty much everything. I have a Plex (http://www.plex.tv) server set up, with the plex iOS app and a Chromecast device (Like the FireTV stick but not shitty) plugged into my TV, I can cast from my phone as a kind of remote to the TV. I can use Netflix or any other video streaming app and cast it to my TV as well-- I'm surprised you're just now hearing about this. Now VLC supports it you should be able to throw whatever from VLC to your TV.
        • can use Netflix or any other video streaming app and cast it to my TV as well-- I'm surprised you're just now hearing about this. Now VLC supports it you should be able to throw whatever from VLC to your TV.

          Well, I've pretty much always had either a Roku or Amazon FireTV box on my televisions, and stream through those...I thought that was what most people used.

          I'd never thought of using my cellphone to play stuff on the big screen, or use it as a remote like others here have described the casting thing a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The pinnacle of media playback; Even installing it was a joy, All been downhill since then.

  • It's "Vetinari" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @11:57AM (#56095273) Homepage

    Whoever wrote that summary is not a geek, otherwise they would know VLC versions are named after Terry Pratchet's Discworld characters. Version 3.0 is named after Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork.

  • Have they fixed the pixelization bug that's been present on Linux for years ? Until then, then can improve everything else they want, it'll remain mostly useless.
    • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

      No, they haven't. I wouldn't call it the "best free media player" just yet. I've wasted hours trying to fix video issues by re-encoding source material trying to get out pixelization and other errors that I see in VLC. Only to find out the issue is with VLC and not my encodes.

      My encodes play just fine in MPC, on Plex, and even windows built in media player just fine. It's only in VLC that I see issues. So, instead of just adding features, it would be nice if they would fix their core features first.

  • Availability (Score:5, Informative)

    by Translation Error ( 1176675 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @12:02PM (#56095301)
    It seems to be available for MacOS too.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @12:03PM (#56095311)

    As far as I can tell, the playback UI is missing obvious features like X second skip forward/back, slow motion, etc, and isn't at all touch screen friendly. I don't need much that is touch screen friendly, but a video player would be one place where it'd be nice.

    • by xxxLCxxx ( 5220173 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @12:12PM (#56095349)

      As far as I can tell, the playback UI is missing obvious features like X second skip forward/back, slow motion, etc, ...

      As far as I remember, it's customizable: Tools => Customize Interface

      ... and isn't at all touch screen friendly.

      You just won't believe this, but it has support for different skins too! Just use a search engine and look for something like: vlc touchscreen skin. ;-)

      • by mike449 ( 238450 )

        I used a search engine, and couldn't find how to enable "left click to pause" UI feature.
        All the touchscreen skin does is make UI buttons bigger, reducing the video area. You can not even pause with a touch!
        No "click to pause" is the only reason I stopped using this otherwise great media program.

        • You can not even pause with a touch!
          No "click to pause" is the only reason I stopped using this otherwise great media program.

          Works on my tablet. Pause whenever I feel like.

    • and isn't at all touch screen friendly.

      I use it on my tablet without issues so for my use it is touch screen friendly.

    • That is not the half of it; VLC is a fantastic thing in terms of playing anything you throw at it, but its user interface is still from the 90s and is abysmal. No support for doing anything but basic playback. Accessing even simple functions like zooming, brightening, rotating etc makes ctrl-alt-delete seem user-friendly. No support for obvious things like visual seek.

      And of course no support for tagging, searching or even basic media management features.

      I find myself using smplayer more and more these days

  • The Chromecast protocol is heavily obfuscated and has secret encryption keys. Have they cracked it, meaning I can look into VLC's source code to see how it works and port it to other things, or are they tacking on a closed-source blob to enable this?

    I actually lost interest in the things when I learned how they work. Chromecast isn't really a media streaming system, it's more of a URL sharing system.

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      For most online content, yes, it just tells the Chromecast what to play the the Chromecast pulls the stream on its own, independent (so you aren't killing your smartphone battery / data / whatever or tied to it being on to see your movie).

      But desktop / tab / screen sharing, no, that's a media-transmission method of its own.

      Sure, I imagine the protocol isn't as open as I'd like, but then same for all its rivals (AirServer / Amazon Fire / etc.).

  • Is it a chromecast receiver or can it only cast to a chromecast device? A receiver would be more interesting.

  • best "free" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by originalGMC ( 4046055 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @12:41PM (#56095539)
    Can anyone name a better paid media player? I certainly cannot.
  • Doesn't the last DVD patent expire in less than a week (Feb 14, I think)? http://www.osnews.com/story/24... [osnews.com] http://scratchpad.wikia.com/wi... [wikia.com] Or does VLC already ignore all those because it's based in France? Maybe VLC is already set, and it's just a Handbrake update to look forward to sometime after Wednesday.
  • Are they ever going to implement this feature? Showing an image of when hovering over a position in the time slider? Its one thing I really miss having when using this otherwise great media player.

  • is this a beta? website says 2.2.8 is the latest

  • The home page for VideoLAN at https://www.videolan.org/ [videolan.org] still indicates the current version is 2.2.8. The downloads page at http://download.videolan.org/v... [videolan.org] does show a version 3.0.0. For Windows, however, there is no x64 version yet. Since I usually use VLC for listening to streaming broadcasts of classical music, I will wait for an x64 Windows version.

  • I'm pretty sure there's some IP reason, but why they doesn't support Blu-ray disk yet?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      VLC is open source, Blue-ray is just about as closed source as you can get (one reason why I won't touch them) due to it being chock full of DRM and encryption.

  • Are the default settings appropriate for a computer made after the year 2006?

  • Hmmmmm, but is it fully Handbrake compatible?
  • No madVR support? And its the best? I am on slashdot right..

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