VLC 3.0 arrives with HDR support, Chromecast streaming, and more

Major updates to VideoLAN's VLC media player don't happen every day. The player's development goes all the way back to 1996. Its 1.0 release came around in 2009, and version 2.0 was pushed out in 2012. All of that work has led to today's VLC 3.0 Vetinari release, named after a character from Terry Pratchett's Discworld book series

The newest release offers HDMI passthrough for audio codecs like DTS-HD and TrueHD, support for HDR and 10-bit playback, streaming to Chromecast and similar targets, 360° video playback, and support for 3D audio including Ambisonics. Those with lots of Blu-ray discs will be happy to know that VLC can now play Java menus. The team has also improved handling of container file formats like MKV, MP4, and TS, and added support for browsing network filesystems like SMB and NFS.

The software claims it can use available hardware acceleration on all platforms, including HEVC decoding on Windows and Android. The player's website has demos of 8K video playback at 60 FPS on a Windows 10 system and 48 FPS 8K video on a Samsung Galaxy S8.

We can't think of a media player application available on more platforms. VLC has full-featured releases on Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Apple TV, and every major Linux distribution. The Windows variant has a Windows Store release on top of the more popular desktop version that works on versions of the OS all the way back to XP. The Android version works on all Chrome OS devices that have access to the Google Play Store. The development team also ported VLC to some really fringe OSes like Solaris, QNX, and even OS/2.

VLC 3.0 will serve as the long-term support version of the software, so users on some of those more obscure platforms might want to get used to the interface. Future versions of the player are unlikely to work on Windows XP and Vista or macOS versions older than 10.10 Yosemite. On the mobile side, pre-Lollipop Android and iOS 7 and 8 won't get anything more than security fixes for the foreseeable future. Systems without gcc 5.0 and Clang 3.4 probably won't get any more attention, either.

Curious gerbils with some time on their paws can check out the lengthy changelog here. The more pragmatic can just head to their device's relevant app store or follow this link to the download page.

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