Powerful VLC media player lands on Chromebooks

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Powerful VLC media player lands on Chromebooks.

VLC, one of the best free programs for local media playback, now runs on Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. So, the next time you need to play lossless music (FLAC) or mkv on a Chromebook, don’t bother converting, just download the VLC app and you’re good to play almost any format under the sky.Even though is has been possible to tweak the Android VLC release to work with Google’s Chrome OS previously, VideoLAN has today announced the availability of a new version that has been created specifically for Chrome OS and is now available, from the Chrome Web Store.

VLC is a popular media player solution that covers a wide range of different media types, and it works well, which are both prominent reasons why it has become a popular choice for those looking to play their movies or TV shows from their own personal digital library. The awesome VLC media players already existing for other operating systems including Windows, OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, OS/2, Haiku/BeOS, and ReactOS, however Chrome OS was not so easy to support says VLC’s developers. VLC has been available on Windows machines for years, and it’s also available on other platforms like Ubuntu and Mac OSX, as well as more recently launched Android and iOS apps so users can take their media on the go with their favorite player. As VLC is a native application on all platforms (it uses low-level APIs to output video, audio, and gain access to threads) built using mostly C and C++. It can stream media files from local or Internet sources, and it supports subtitles, playlists, accelerated playback, and hardware-accelerated decoding.

Why it’s taken this long to get VLC working on devices like Chromebooks and Chrome boxes is anyone’s guess, but the reasons of why likely aren’t going to mean much now to those who can finally take advantage of it. In a blog post, VideoLAN president Jean-Baptiste Kempf revealed that the program is essentially a port of VLC’s Android version, using the App Runtime for Chrome tools that Google released in beta earlier this year. As Kempf explains, building a native Chrome app in JavaScript would have been extremely time-consuming; the Android port allowed the group to reuse about 95 percent of its code.

This made it possible to easily port VLC for Android, which supports most phones and tablets and is currently being expanded to Android TV, to Chrome OS. With Chrome OS being primarily a cloud-driven platform and all of the available apps being web apps, this has likely played a significant role in why VLC has taken longer to get up and running on Google’s desktop computing OS than other platforms .

Officially, Google doesn’t offer a way to port these apps to Chrome for Windows or Mac, so most developers are better off writing native Chrome apps or sticking with desktop websites. (There are ways for users to port Android apps to all platforms on their own, but they’re a bit of a hassle.) VLC was actually demoed on Chrome OS way back in March, and it’s unclear why the app took another nine months to surface. In any case, VLC warns that there may be some bugs in this initial release, and that it has only tested the program on two laptops, and not on desktop devices like the new Asus Chromebit.

All audio files are also supported, and the media database is akin to Android so those who have used the Android app should be familiar with selecting the right media for resuming playback. Why this matters: With recent rumors of a Chrome OS-Android merger coming next year, perhaps Android Runtime will get a chance to play a more crucial role.

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