If you want a cross-platform application that’s capable of playing basically any video format ever created, then you want VLC. Today we VideoLan have released the next major full version release, VLC 3.0 for Windows (32/64-bit and ARM), as well as macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chrome OS.
The project to create this release has been in development since 2015 and in those 3 years, there have been fixes more than 20,000 commits which squashed more than 1,500 bugs. That means if you’ve used VLC before and had issues, its definitely time to give it another shot, as those issues are likely resolved. Its not just bug fixes in this release, there’s actually some performance optimisation on offer here, so if you’re on an older machine, then playback may be smoother now with this update.
Those fans of the lightweight client will be happy to see the UI remain largely the same.
Features of VLC 3.0 include:
- 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.