VLC Media Player Finally Available on Chrome OS

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Powerful VLC media player lands on Chromebooks.

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.The folks over at Video LAN have just announced the introduction of VLC, which is one of the most popular media players worldwide, on the Chrome OS platform. It can stream media files from local or Internet sources, and it supports subtitles, playlists, accelerated playback, and hardware-accelerated decoding.

Yet Chrome OS wasn’t an easy operating system to support, 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++. 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.

Features of VLC for Chrome OS will include the support for all video files like MKV and DVD ISOs, in addition to audio files such as FLAC and other kinds of audio formats. 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. 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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