VLC just got its first major update in TWO YEARS. And it’s a big one, as it adds in support for Google’s Chromecast. VLC 3.0 is now available for download, and you can get it right here.
But it’s not just Chromecast that’s been added to the mix. No, VLC has also added support for HDR video and hardware decoding.
There is a catch, however: Chromecast support only works on Android and Chromebooks for the time being. It’s also in beta, so you should expect some performance issues and gremlins.
Here’s what VLC said about the update:
“Chromecast is not designed to play local video files: When you watch a Youtube video, your phone is just a remote controller, nothing more. Chromecast streams the video from youtube.com.
That’s where it becomes complicated, Chromecast only supports very few codecs number, let’s say h264. Google ensures that your video is encoded in h264 format on youtube.com, so streaming is simple. With VLC, you have media of any format. So VLC has to be a http server like youtube.com, and provide the video in a Chromecast compatible format. And of course in real time, which is challenging on Android because phones are less powerful than computers.”
VLC 3.0 is now based on the same code. It’s been refined, more or less from the ground up, to make it work better on all platforms. The nature of this refinement also means it is easier for developers to interact with and utilise. Both good things for future developments and applications.
Below is a breakdown of VLC 3.0’s new features:
- 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.