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VideoLAN today launched version 3.0 of its media player across all major desktop and mobile platforms: Windows (ARM, x86, x64), macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chrome OS. The world’s most used media player that plays everything just got even better. You can download the new version now: Android, iOS, and everything else.
Version 3.0 adds numerous new features, fixes more than 1,500 bugs, and spans more than 20,000 commits, Jean-Baptiste Kempf, lead developer and president of VideoLAN, told VentureBeat. It is “the result of more than three years of volunteer work” Kempf said, and indeed, the last such major update arrived in February 2015.
All VLC 3.0 releases share the same code, thanks to a massive change to the media player’s core, Kempf explained. Dubbed Vetinari after the fictional character Lord Vetinari, VLC 3.0 runs on every Windows version going back to XP, all macOS versions going back to 10.7, all iOS versions going back to iOS 7, all Android versions going back to Gingerbread 2.3, and all Chromebooks with the Google Play Store.
VLC 3.0 brings the following to the media player (full changelog):
- Supports hardware decoding on all platforms, for HD and UHD of H.264 & H.265 codecs, allowing 4K and 8K decoding with little CPU consumption.
- Supports 360-degree video and 3D audio, up to thid order Ambisonics, with customizable HRTF.
- Supports direct HDR (on Windows 10) and HDR tone-mapping (on other operating systems).
- Allows passthrough for HD Audio codecs so external HiFi decoders can provide the best sound.
- Allows users to browse local network drives like SMB, FTP, SFTP, NFS, and so on.
- Supports Chromecast discovery and streaming (including audio-only), even in formats not supported by Chromecast, such as DVDs.
- Adds a new subtitle rendering engine, supporting ComplexTextLayout and font fallback for multiple languages and fonts, including East-Asian languages.
- Updates the user interface to support HiDPI on Windows 10, new APIs for macOS, and so on.
- Adds support for numerous new formats and codecs, including WebVTT, TTML, HQX, CEA-708, Cineform, and many more.
- Prepares support for AV1, both decoding and encoding.
- Supports Bluray with Java menus (BD-J), although decryption needs to be performed outside of VLC.
- Prepares the experimental support for Wayland on Linux, and switches to OpenGL by default on Linux (Qt5 only for now).
- Supports Dex for Samsung’s Android devices and other keyboard-driven devices, in addition to complete Oreo support and playlists.
- Improves performance and battery life on iOS.
That’s not all. Kempf also claims that VLC 3.0 consumes less CPU and GPU than Media Player Classic Home Cinema and the Movies app on Windows.
While there is a VR version of VLC slated for release in mid-April, the VideoLAN team is already starting to think about VLC 4.0. So far, the plan is to drop older operating system versions (Windows XP, Windows Vista, macOS 10.7, macOS 10.8, Android 2.x, and Android 3.0 Honeycomb), which Kempf notes means that VLC 3.0 is a long-term support release.
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