VLC adds Retina support, Android beta

Too cool for Windows media player? Don’t want to mess with codec packs for all those, ahem, Linux ISOs you’ve been downloading from BitTorrent? Good news: an update to the popular VLC media player has been released. This 2.0.2 revision is labeled as a major update, and it’s supposed to improve video playback on older PCs running Windows XP. Video issues have also been resolved on older Macs, including PowerPC models and iMacs saddled with Intel’s GMA950 integrated graphics processor.

Speaking of Macs, VLC’s OS X interface has been reworked to more closely resemble the app’s classic UI. Support for high-PPI Retina displays has been added, as well. Start downloading those 4K videos now; they’re going to take a while.

VLC is no longer available on the iOS App Store, but it has popped up on Google Play. The Android app is labeled as a beta that "might kill your kitten, destroy your house and start the mayan apocalypse." Still, it has a 4.3-star rating based on 350 user reviews, so it’s probably not too toxic. The official VLC for Android page has details on the beta build, which appears to target phones rather than tablets.

Not too long ago, VLC passed one billion downloads. The latest 2.x releases, which have been around since February, have been snagged nearly 90 million times. Macs have been responsible for about 10% of that total, but there’s no data on iOS downloads. (VLC offers source code for iOS devices, even though the app isn’t available through Apple’s store). I’ll be curious to see how many folks have downloaded the iOS and Android versions a year from now.

Comments closed
    • Cannonaire
    • 7 years ago

    VLC tends to have a lot of problems. I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

    As an alternative, I would suggest using Media Player Classic Home Cinema in conjunction with ONLY Combined Community Codec pack (by “ONLY”, I mean don’t install any other codec packs or it won’t work right). No playback solution is perfect, but this should work for most things and I never have trouble with it.

    I do have a good use for VLC though – I use it to test my encodes before I submit my videos to contests. My observation is that if something is going to have playback problems in anything, it is going to be in VLC.

      • entropy13
      • 7 years ago

      Oh, someone mentioned it already. I concur, MPC-HC with CCCP is quite simply [b<]the best[/b<] out there.

    • RtFusion
    • 7 years ago

    Heh, love the video still in that.

    I think I’ll give this version a whirl. VLC was my first video player after WMP but then moved onto MPC HC + K-Lite MegaCodec Pack combo and that has been doing fine for my uses for a few years now (720p/1080p Hi10P anime with subs, HD documentaries, films, and of course, MLP).

    Thanks for the tip.

    • indeego
    • 7 years ago

    Anyone else thing MLP is a result of our species self-preserving itself by subconscious lack of reproduction?

      • Washer
      • 7 years ago

      Sometimes… sometimes…

    • WaltC
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]and it's supposed to improve video playback on older PCs running Windows XP[/quote<] This means it does nothing for Vista & Windows 7 boxes, or is incompatible with them, or...? [quote<]Support for high-PPI Retina displays has been added, as well.[/quote<] In what way does the software remotely care about pixel density? Resolution support cares only about the number of pixels to be supported in a given resolution. The pixel density is irrelevant to the software. [quote<]Start downloading those 4K videos now; they're going to take a while.[/quote<] Please explain what a "4k video" is--obviously, you don't mean "a video file consisting in size of 4k bytes"...as that wouldn't make for much of a video...;) And, you cannot mean a 4,000 x 4,000 pixel display video, since Apple doesn't make a monitor capable of that resolution (a 16,000,000-pixel display.) "4k Video"...? I will say that inside my Lightwave software for rendering 3d frames in my Amiga Toasters (where Lightwave began) back in the late 1980's & early 1990's, I had support for rendering 4kx4k frames--which I never used since I had nowhere to put them and no way to see them...;) They were meant for use in professional movie studios. I advise in the future that you steer clear of advertising, PR slogans like "Retina display" as the pixel density in all of the products Apple currently calls "Retina" varies widely, or haven't you noticed? (Mac book pixel density of its 2880x1800 "Retina" display is ~220 ppi, for instance, which doesn't qualify as "Retina" by Steve Jobs' own definition of the marketing term--300ppi + is "Retina". But Apple is using it as a marketing term--it is not an industry term, for instance, or a scientific term, etc.) It would be nice if TR could recall that "Retina Display" is 100% marketing--and therefore quit using the term since it is devoid of meaning.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      4k is the common term for the next supported HD resolution, it’s named so because the horizontal dimension is 4096 pixels.

        • demani
        • 7 years ago

        And the next crop of consumer facing 4k displays will be Quad Full HD-basically doing the quad display thing that Apple is doing with their displays (resolution wise) for a 3840×2160 display, which “close enough” for it to be called that. And a fair number of cameras can record in 4k formats without spending 6 figures these. So yeah, WaltC, it’s a real thing.

        And yes, there can be work done for Retina Display compatibility: namely, upsizing the interface elements while not necessarily doing the same with the actual video displayed (a la FCP or iMovie).

      • Farting Bob
      • 7 years ago

      VLC’s release notes only talk about “support for retina display”, TR isn’t the one substituting technical information for marketing terms, VLC is.

      As for your comment about “retina” having wildly different PPI on devices, i believe apple gets around that issue by saying it should scale to how far away you would normally be from the screen. The closer you are the higher the PPI. So phones and pads have a higher PPI as you are usually closer to the screen, while macbooks can achieve the same visual clarity with a lower PPI, and Apple say that “retina” displays are the point where your eyes cant make out the individual pixels or something along those lines.

      I dislike apple more than many, but high resolution displays is something the industry has needed to be pushed towards for YEARS and im glad we are finally getting there. The last stand is Desktop monitors and TV’s, its sad how an ipad can have more pixels than my 27″ monitor does, or any consumer grade 27″ monitor for that matter.

      • demani
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] This means it does nothing for Vista & Windows 7 boxes, or is incompatible with them, or…? [/quote<] Or makes no significant changes whatsoever? Is that really a hard idea to concieve of, or does absolutely everything need to be explicitly mentioned. Generally, changelogs only focus on what was [i<]changed[/i<] and since compatibility with Vista and 7 didn't change it wasn't mentioned. SOP for longer than I've been alive.

    • Farting Bob
    • 7 years ago

    What is “retina display support”? VLC has always supported any high resolution you throw at it. You can quite happily play something fullscreen on a 6 monitor eyefinity setup with VLC. I take it they mean “we included a higher resolution traffic cone so we can tick that “feature” off our list”.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Full hardware video decode acceleration up to 4k on devices that can handle it like the new MacBook Pro thanks to the video decoding abilities of the GT650M’s decoding engine.

      • esterhasz
      • 7 years ago

      The HiDPI modes on Mac OS make this a little bit more complicated than that, I think. If you do not adapt the program, the video content will simply be pixel doubled. If adapted, the interface can be pixel doubled (or interpolated), while video pixels are mapped onto physical pixels. Extreme sharpness ensues.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve never once criticized what has been shown here in video players in the back ground, but if you are actually watching my little poines, god save your mortal soul Geoff.

      • Majiir Paktu
      • 7 years ago

      Aw, no need to hate! I’m sure you’re into some odd things too.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        ‘Tis not hate, it’s a warning. 4chan powered My Little Ponies will suck your soul dry.

          • Majiir Paktu
          • 7 years ago

          Maybe 4chan will. I’m not a 4channer myself. I just like ponies, and my metaphorical soul is doing fine.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            The ponies have been perpetuated by 4chan. They wouldn’t exist without them. I’m sure you’ll be complaining when a succubus steals your soul too.

            • Majiir Paktu
            • 7 years ago

            Hmm… nope! Happily enjoying ponies here without any 4chan influence!

            • entropy13
            • 7 years ago

            But the spread of MLP in the internets is spread from 4chan. Just like almost every other meme in existence. And no, reddit rarely creates a meme. They just make it more…”mainstream.” LOL

            • Majiir Paktu
            • 7 years ago

            We wouldn’t have rockets without Nazi scientists, but you wouldn’t say that someone who enjoys rockets is susceptible to Nazi influence. Same goes for MLP and 4chan.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Uh… America had it’s own rocket program. Just because the US didn’t implement theirs first doesn’t mean they originated from Nazi Germany (Russia had a rocket program as well). A lot of the research from Nazi Germany was completely destroyed after the war too, due to human testing (such as the effects of pressurization on humans).

            That aside, MLP isn’t science. It isn’t pure logic or fact. It has all the nuances of being human and everything that entails embedded within the series. So, in this case, yes people who watch MLP are susceptible to social influences from 4chan, as this is one of the shows that is most accepted by their social enclave. In other words it most closely coincides with their likes/dislikes/beliefs/mindset.

            Sociology, anthropology, and psychology are soft sciences. You can’t straight up compare them with hard science like physics or use a true/false approach to them.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Uh... America had it's own rocket program. Just because the US didn't implement theirs first doesn't mean they originated from Nazi Germany (Russia had a rocket program as well).[/quote<] Both US and Russian programs were effectively continuations of the Nazi efforts and most of their research came from either defected Nazi scientists or reverse engineering captured Nazi technology.

            • JohnC
            • 7 years ago

            …Is this yet another one “4chan made everything popular” failed joke attempt or do you truly believe in that???

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I haven’t seen popular ‘jokes’ like that, so no… Visit the 4chan forums and see for yourself.

            4chan has a lot of power… The sheer amount of people that visit it and buy into their culture is ridiculous.

            • entropy13
            • 7 years ago

            It’s not a joke because it’s actually true though, according to some studies on “internet memes”.

            • Mithent
            • 7 years ago

            I believe it is true in this case, yes. This is actually one of VLC’s screenshots from their release page, though.

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 7 years ago

            A huge amount of internet culture can be accredited to 4chan or similar entities. And seeing as how I’m hearing/seeing clips of “memes” on late night shows, car commercials, magazine ads; I’d say mainstream culture as well.

      • no51
      • 7 years ago

      Weeabrony fight!

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      a bensam post i can +

        • Washer
        • 7 years ago

        Me too!

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    The VLC media engine is decent, but the UI design is kind of lame and not very functional.
    Specially around media management and playlist.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    so how pixelated does HD video look on Rentina? I am sure 720p is noticeable at least.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Not really any more noticeable then on a regular display considering that the screen’s physical size stayed the same. If anything it is a bit crisper.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Apple: “VLC plays content we can’t control. Quick, pull it from the store!”

      • Yeats
      • 7 years ago

      Kinda makes one appreciate the the 1984 commercial, doesn’t it?

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Entirely wrong. It was pulled by request of one of the VLC developers (one that just happens to work for nokia). It was not Apple that pulled it, it was ONE of the devs.

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. It wasn’t Apple that pulled VLC from the AppStore but rather some GPL Infatuated geek that hates Apple and it’s success. The GPL states that ALL the source code that was compiled to make the app needs to be released. Some argued that since Apple keeps the encryption keys for the app a secret, the application source code is NOT complete and thus, it violates the GPL. That person made a complaint to Apple about this and apple removed the app from the AppStore since it violated the GPL license of the source code behind it. It’s really sad that this happened as it was a very usefull app for those who don’t have access to a jailbroken iDevice.

      Don’t blame Apple for this one. Blame the GPL and the overly hatefully person who complained about it to Apple and runed it for everybody.

      Adi

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Namely this guy,

        [url<]http://fi.linkedin.com/in/remidenis[/url<] BTW VLC is actively removing his code and re-licensing the iOS version a LGPL that allows such distribution.

          • JohnC
          • 7 years ago

          A French person, working for a Nokia… Not sure which one of these was most deciding factor, but not really surprising he was against Apple πŸ˜‰

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        In other words Apple created a Term of Service that doesn’t allow GPL software on iOS.
        And GPL predate iOS, so Apple was aware of the impact of putting in place this term of service.

        Apple is kicking out any GPL code, its not just VLC. VLC just wanted to have GPL legitimized on iOS, Apple answer was “No, and your not welcome here”

          • jdaven
          • 7 years ago

          Yes, Apple based its entire Terms of service from 4 years ago when it started the App store on the iPhone to prevent a single software app from being in the store today. Nice try buddy. Try again sometime.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        Dont spin this around, its Apple Term of Service, written by Apple, enforced by Apple that prohibit GPL software.

        And GPL was here long before Apple wrote their Term of Service.
        (Apple prohibiting GPL affect allot more software then VLC)

        What the GPL community is pissed about is that Apple is telling them “You need to renounce GPL for all your development license, if you dont, we will block users from accessing your software”

        Reality, the ‘hatefull’ person wanted for Apple to support GPL license. Instead he got the finger.

        So no, their is only blame Apple in this case.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          The reality is that the VLC team realized how hog tied they were by using the GPL and how one persons contribution can completely dictate what can be done. It was never even a case of not being able to have the source code available as it is readily available on the vlc website. It had everything to do however with being able to install it on a DRM’d digitally signed device. Thus the reason for them going to lgpl which allows such clauses. Again, it was not Apple that prevented the carrying of the application on the iOS devices but the GPL, under which vlc was licensed, prevented it from being distributed in such a manner.

          The same issue is going to occur with WinRT devices and is also causing all kinds of headaches with bootloaders like GRUB2 and future trusted boot devices.

          Again, it is the provision in the GPL that is blocking it and Apple simply clarified the terms to flag any projects that would be in violation of the GPL. If anything Apple is the one now enforcing the GPL terms.

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            Exactly. VLC was under GPL, and Apple terms does not allow GPL.

            Its not a Nokia or French apple hating conspiracy, many other GPL app been kicked off the app store.

            Solution
            A) Make Apple support GPL software development (we know how that turned out)
            B) Be a good little doggy and terminate GPL development and move to a more Apple friendly license

            The issue in entirely rooted in Apple TOS legal requirements, that is all.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            No, it is the terms of the GPL that forbids it. It is the GPL that blocks it from being used on a system with DRM. The issue is not with Apple’s legal terms, it is with the GPL’s terms solely. Other free licenses are fully accepted just fine such as BSD, LGPL, Apache, public domain, etc. It is the terms of the GPL that forbids it and nothing else.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Eh… seems like it’s clearly a combination. Apple could certainly make a device or policy change that would allow GPL licensed applications on the App Store. It wouldn’t make much sense from their perspective to make those changes, but they certainly could be changed.

            • demani
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah- this is one of those classic standoffs where there are two conflicting parties. Neither is right or wrong-they just simply don’t agree. So VLC can go LGPL and be fine, that seems pretty reasonable-different licenses for different uses (and that’s the whole point of having different licenses). Nothing says that all software and OSes must be fine with GPL, even the FSF (otherwise there wouldn’t have been a creation of LGPL).

      • entropy13
      • 7 years ago

      One of the very few things that Apple actually did right, sparing its believers of an average video player.

    • Meadows
    • 7 years ago

    Awesome screenshot, I love you.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      oh you bronies. i just don’t understand.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 7 years ago

        It burns usss. Take it off!

      • drfish
      • 7 years ago

      [url=http://www.bronycon.org/<]Appropriate timing too.[/url<] I have to pick my nephew up at the airport tomorrow after he gets back.

        • no51
        • 7 years ago

        Oh my… it’s a real thing!

      • Majiir Paktu
      • 7 years ago

      Respect for Geoff: restored.

      Been seeing MLP used as “stock” material a lot lately. Makes me happy.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      My 3-year-old approved as well.

      • Cannonaire
      • 7 years ago

      Speaking of MLP and Videos…
      Ponies the Anthology II was released yesterday and it premiered at Bronycon. Its time slot had to be moved back though due to a light fixture in the main room catching on fire.

      Here’s the Youtube link (I couldn’t resist a plug, even though I only made a few clips in the thing.)
      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay_1IZGxMaA[/url<] (I hope links like this are allowed in comments; I didn't see anything against it in the forum rules.)

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    I’m glad it now supports my retinas…seems like a pretty key feature for a video player so I’m surprised it took this long.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    The best video media player ever.

      • Firestarter
      • 7 years ago

      What about XBMC?

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        Not sure why the Plauge of Downvotes has descended upon your land, but XBMC isn’t so much a media player as a platform device that includes a media player. VLC can be used like an application program, XBMC has to be used like an appliance.

          • Firestarter
          • 7 years ago

          It all depends on what you need I guess, and what you consider to be added value. VLC Just Works[super<]tm[/super<], while XBMC is more of an experience, once setup.

      • PenGun
      • 7 years ago

      No Mplayer owns that spot.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        mplayer2 perhaps.

        [url<]http://www.mplayer2.org/differences/[/url<]

          • PenGun
          • 7 years ago

          1.1 will do just fine, thanks.

      • entropy13
      • 7 years ago

      No, that’s Media Player Classic. Just make sure you get it with the CCCP though.

    • Pan Skrzetuski
    • 7 years ago

    I might have to try out the Android app. MX Player has been working well on the GNex, but VLC has been a great product for years.

    • continuum
    • 7 years ago

    But it won’t club any baby seals, so it [i<]must[/i<] be safe to use!! πŸ˜‰ I may have to download VLC on iOS and try it...

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      good luck. hope you’re jailbroken if you want vlc on iOS.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Not really, there are plenty of rebrands of vlc on the store as it is right now. They just usually do some UI tweaks and post it.

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