08
Jun
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Aside from Windows Media Player, there is probably no single video player more widely installed on computers than VLC. It may not have the prettiest interface (or icon), but everybody eventually turns to that huge orange traffic cone, especially for file types that simply can't play in anything else. While VLC provides a mostly full compliment of features, there is one request that has gone unanswered for a while: Chromecast support. It looks like we finally have confirmation, it's happening!

2014-06-08_10h32_43

Last week, VideoLan developer Felix Paul Kühne confirmed that Chromecast development had begun, at least for the iOS version of VLC. He subsequently added that the feature was also in progress for the Windows, Linux, and Mac desktop versions. Android appeared to be left out of the list, but Gigaom reports that Kühne later confirmed via email that the Android version would receive Chromecast support after the iOS version ships.

No concrete dates have been given, but an email response to Gigaom indicates that the iOS version will come first, possibly as early as mid-July. The desktop and Android versions have no estimates, but a slower release for the desktop versions can surely be attributed to the lack of official SDKs from Google.

Unfortunately, the Android version is still in beta and has been playing catch-up for a very long time, which probably explains why it has been given a lower priority. It's worth noting that the VLC for Android Play Store page was recently updated to suggest that the next major release would finally drop the beta tag. Along with Chromecast support, this will hopefully end the geographical exclusion of users in the United States (you can still get the apk for manual installation). There are already quite a few apps for Android with the ability to cast local files, but it will be good to see such a prolific open-source app added to the roster.

Best of luck to the VideoLan team, we're all excited to see native Chromecast streaming in action!

Source: Gigaom, VideoLan Forums

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Laurence

    I hope the developers of MX Player are taking note. I love MX Player, it's my go-to video player on Android. But it really, really needs CC support.

    • mauric

      Don't worry. They are working on it at the moment!

    • Ahmad Nadeem

      MX for phones, VLC for computers. The only combination required for videos

      • josuearisty

        I prefer Media Player Classic for desktop.

        •   

          Me too, except that I only use Media Player Classic for videos.

        • Steven

          Same here

        • enomele

          I used to use MPC as my go to player but got sick of installing the codecs to use it with. The convience and features of VLC just made it so that I never looked back. Not having native codec support for the XVID and x264 formats killed it for me andhaving to install the codec packs seemed unnecessary. Has my memory forsaken me or do you still need to install codecs to use it?

          • Christoffer Hulthén

            MPC-HC is the go to player if you want it preloaded with most codecs(not all). Sure you might still need 1or2 codecs on the side for certain audio and video files but a pack should never be used if you care about quality.
            Then again most people would install VLC over above due to it being so simplistic and "never" require any extra codecs installed.

          • josuearisty

            I always used to install K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, I dont mind about that. A year ago my pc broke.

    • David Li

      Use BubbleUPnP, it costs a few dollars but it is amazing and works on more devices than just the Chromecast

    • Phragmeister

      Try PotPlayer, it's the successor of MX Player, same dev.

  • my95z34

    It's showing up as not available in my country (US)... Shooting them an email right now.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I mention that in the article. It was intentionally geo-restricted. I don't know the reasoning, but the US is excluded from the beta tests.

      • my95z34

        Wow, I'm an idiot... I read through the article at least twice and somehow managed to miss it each time. Sorry about that!

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          My wording was probably a bit vague, I've changed the sentence for emphasis. Still, it's kinda of a silly thing that they did. I can't really think of a good reason to exclude a single country, especially the one that tends to have a tendency towards higher-end devices.

          • my95z34

            Got it. Guess I'm just not used to the US being excluded, lol.

          • Brian Lippman

            I can't find it on their website now, but I remember reading a while ago there that it's not supported in the US because they didn't have access to US devices to test it on and make sure it worked. That makes a little sense since OEMs have a tendency to do a "US Version" with different chips (like Tegra instead of Snapdragon that i think Samsung and HTC did a few times) but it's strange that they haven't made it available in the US for devices that are the same all over the world (like Nexus devices, for example).

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            I think I remember the same thing, but there are a lot of instances where the chipsets used in a US versions are in a nearly identical phone in some other international version. There aren't very many chips that only see a release in the US. Granted, there are always software variations that make things more complicated, but it's basically impossible to solve those issues without eventually opening up to the US.

          • Brian Lippman

            Yea, that's why I don't get why it's still exclusive to Europe now. A few years ago, I get it. That's when Samsung and HTC were doing the different chips for different countries, mostly i think because of the newness of the LTE stuff. Since that's matured a bit and OEMs are using the same chips in every territory, for the most part, I don't see that as convincing reasoning anymore.

          • saratoga

            In the US you'd have to pay to distribute it because of software patents on various ffmpeg decoders. I guess as an open source project they don't want to charge for the app, or perhaps don't want to deal with the legal issues for just one country.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            How exactly does this not apply to the desktop or iOS version? Unless there's a hardware-specific patent or something that somehow applies directly to Android, I don't recognize how a patent issue is interfering with distribution in only a single country. Also, I've seen a few people say that Canada doesn't have access either. If that's true, then it would mean that there's a patent issue that applies to the US and Canada, but somehow doesn't apply to any part of Europe.

    • Andre

      I think software patents are the reason.

  • http://www.smsnetwork.org/ Mikael Jakobsson

    Fuck pirotery iOS before Android is Google products should be release to Android first :D

  • jpelgrom

    That's odd... An iOS app receiving Chromecast support before the Android version.

    • Captain Canada

      but is it REALLY that odd? lol

      • Michael Pahl

        yes. especially since is open source software and hasnt really been brought to android yet. I mean it officially supports like 5 devices.

    • Dan Saleem

      Hangout has voice call on ios, but still disactivated in android

      • Android Developer

        it's deactivated? or just not present ?

      • senor_heisenberg

        Yeah, but that doesn't have a single thing to do with Chromecast.

    • ben

      Why should it be odd? They can't program the support on all platforms at the same time, and Chromecast is not in the slightest Android centric: right from the start it was always meant and marketed for all major os. Heck, they even used an iphone during the initial presentation :)

  • Richard

    I always found MPC-HC to work better for me than VLC on my computer.

    • http://flavors.me/sabret00the sabret00the

      I used to be a die-hard MPC HC fan, but then I got an Android and wanted a decent remote app and after that I moved to Linux and so MPC wasn't even a choice any more.

  • Sourav Gupta

    MPC-HC !!! Fuck VLC.

    • steelew

      Looks like VLC and SM player had a baby

      • steelew

        SM player FTW. I just tried MPC-HC and its similar but not as good. I couldn't find settings for rembering where you left off in a video or how to change the OSD time remaining text color and size.

        • Nathan J

          This is funny.

          MPC-HC used to be called MPC, or Media Player Classic. It was born either after Windows Media Player 7 blocked downloaded movies (a punk move that MS quickly rectified with 7.1) or because people really, really liked Windows Media Player 6.4. MPC was a new media player designed to look and, for the most part act like WMP 6.4.

          At some point it evolved into MPC-HC, and SM Player is based on MPC or MPC-HC.

          I, too, would use SM Player over MPC/HC, but that's kinda like saying I'd use MPC over WMP 6.4. Um, duh?

          FWIW, VLC is my player of choice, but every now and then I get a video I can't play. There was an episode of Supernatural a few months ago where the colors were off and there was a buzz in the background. Played fine with SM Player, so I keep it as backup, but I prefer VLC. It's just what you're used to. Certainly not a contest or anything.

    • Android Developer

      Yes, sadly Android doesn't have this wonderful free video player.

    •   

      Initialism so that it doesn't have to be "classic"?
      I think they should just change the name already.

    • Steve Freeman

      I agree. I used to get video tearing all the time on VLC, but I've never seen that problem on MPC. Except for when it was just a crappy file, of course.

  • thelionk

    VLC on Windows is kind of ugly, but on Mac it's gorgeous

    • Colin Richardson

      I dont look at the interface, I look at the videos it plays.

      • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

        I waste all my time looking at the interface instead of the videos.

  • http://flavors.me/sabret00the sabret00the

    They really need to drop Gingerbread support on the Android app. I hope they can put some sort of resource injection into the Android app as I'm finding myself using it less due to not being able to play some videos.

    • Ricardo Ferreira

      Install MX..

    • Android Developer

      At first I didn't understand why you are saying this about supporting older versions, but now I see.
      The UI itself belongs to this Android version....
      They don't have to drop the support of GB in order to make it look native for all versions. They just need a simple tiny tweak : set the targetSdkVersion to 19 (which is kitkat). This way they will automatically optimize it to the new version of Android.
      I do it too on my app:
      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lb.app_manager
      It also supports GB, and yet it still looks fine on both old and new Android versions.

  • Guest

    VLC is not US only, I'm in Jordan and can download it

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      The developers have excluded the US from downloading VLC from Play Store. It's everybody else that has access.

      • Justin W

        Does anyone know why they did it this way? I feel it's to spite all those in the US who typically get first (and exclusive) access to certain services/apps. It just seems odd to me.

        • Pierre Gardin

          Software patents if I remember correctly.

          • james kendall

            you have got to be kidding me Software patents suck

    • JG

      It's the exact opposite. It's aviliable to everyone except those in the US

  • Booyabobby

    I'm all for desktop support

  • steelew

    Way to get in to the game WAY late. VLC is ok but I have already started using SM player on the desktop (win 8.1 64bit) and ACT1 on android (I know its old but I like the customizability of how I control and view it). I don't want to support devs who still insist on supporting iOS first, it seems like backwards thinking. I see tons of people moving from iOS to android and iOS seems to be turning into the new Black berry (ie older, less tech savvy users...not all but that's what I see). I'M NOT STARTING A FLAME WAR, THAT'S JUST WHAT I'VE SEEN. Anyway, I'll take another chromecast compatible app and hope its good.

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  • b0b

    Can't wait to see how they can support Mac, Linux and Windows since the only Chromecast SDK available is for Android, iOS and Chrome.
    You can't talk to a Chromecast without the official SDK since there is encryption going on.
    That is also what is preventing to write emulators.

    • geodk

      No emulators?
      Try googling leapcast.

      • b0b

        Try Googling to check in what state it is. Hint: not working with most apps.

  • CuriousCursor

    Does this mean we'll be able to cast rtmp streams from VLC? o.O

  • Eddie Spageddie

    Incompatible with Nexus 7 FHD...bummer

  • RyanWhitwam

    It's incredibly stupid that VLC for Android has been in "beta" for like two years. Either let everyone download it from Google Play or don't.

    • Pierre Gardin

      It's...FLOSS, done by ppl in their spare time. You're really not entitled to complain.

      • Android Developer

        But it is available for everyone...
        And I've seen Gmail in beta for a very long time too, and people still used it...
        I don't care it's called beta.

        • RarestName

          Then don't use it?

          • Android Developer

            I only said that "beta" can be ignored.
            People should try it out and see if it's good enough for them.
            I myself tried it and decided to uninstall it due to the lack of proper subtitles support (or more specifically Hebrew support). Will try it again in the future.

  • alfuen00

    Why in the hell develope chromecast support for iOS, the people that have iOS devices have apple TV, airplay, end of discussion, dammit it's so hard to understand that the people that uses chromecast have android phones/tablets, please help them Jesus!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      And iOS users shun gmail, they've all abandoned Windows to buy Macs, and none of them use Chrome because Safari is pre-installed. It must be true, because they have no choices at all.

      • AbbyZFresh

        i don't know about that. In my local Apple store at the Genius bar, i saw many people use chrome on their Macs(and to a lesser extent, iPhones).

        Hell, I use Chrome on my Mac and iPad right now.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          You're screwing with me right now, right?

          I honestly don't know how I could have made that comment more thoroughly sarcastic. Believe me, I was just making a joke.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Why not? The point of Chromecast is to reach large markets of different platforms, which one of em happen to be, ummm, iOS. VLC obviously sees an opportunity here.

    • Christopher Lee

      Do keep in mind that some households (and indeed, some users) have mixed-device scenarios. Your use case isn't everyone's; frankly, you need a reality check if you find this concept so mind boggling.

      Here's an easy one; students with an iPad for reading (maybe they got it as a gift?) and an Android smartphone (perhaps it was the best upgrade choice available?).

  • Henrique Persechini

    Chromecast+vlc can only be good news

  • Michael Romano

    How is this different from what AllCast does?

  • Drootz

    anyone got a link to download the apk for a U.S. GalNex?

  • Emperius

    There are easier solutions to local network streaming for ages. Chromecast comes in and it complicates an age old procedure so that devs can re-code solutions that are already in place. Not sure why people love this ad-dongle so much. Can somebody enlighten me?

    • Dragos

      the general public isn't aware of local network streaming solutions and chromecast came as a simple dongle that solved the issue of youtube on tv and now much more. Even so, i am interested in the streaming solutions you talk of since i am doubtfull that chromecast could stream at the same bitrate a ethernet cable could (3D 1080p files)

      • Emperius

        Ah well you have a point.

  • Roi Katz

    Finally!

  • Tonny

    VLC on my PC whenever i open any audio or video it darken the screen for a while then lighten back again and play, its kinda like i'm installing something.

  • Phragmeister

    PotPlayer wins.

  • NemaCystX

    I like VLC, but GOM player is my player of choice, but with Chromecast support on VLC, I may start using it again.