VLC Media Player Lands 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.

Chrome OS was one of the last desktop operating systems for which VLC was not available (the media player exists for Windows, OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, OS/2, Haiku/BeOS, and ReactOS). VLC is overall the best media player for everyone as it can play all types of video and audio files present in users Chromebook, files like ISO, MKV, MP3, FLAC and many more, which every media player cannot play it, it also has many other features like multi-track audio and it also shows subtitles while playing movies, and also offers a special widget or icon for controlling the volume.

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. Keep in mind that Chrome and Chrome OS are not the same. “As ARC is only for Chrome OS, this will not work on the desktop versions of Chrome,” Jean-Baptiste Kempf, lead developer and president of VideoLAN, told VentureBeat. 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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