VLC For Android has been steadily improving over the past months, but today's beta update is a big step forward to the app that even the developers acknowledge as a "major release."
VLC went through a hardcore bootcamp between versions 1.3.2 and 1.5.0, emerging with enhancements all across the board. Internally, the app's code has been rewritten to be faster and to require fewer permissions especially on KitKat devices and above. Externally, the app's design has been given a small facelift to better fit Material's clean and elegant look.
Video on your watch. Video... on your watch. Yup, it's a thing now. And not just any video, millions and millions of videos (at least 20% of which feature cats) on the world's biggest distribution service. Pack it in, NASA. Hit the showers, CERN. Go suck eggs, DARPA. There's no need to try anymore: now that we've got a YouTube app for Android Wear, humanity has reached its absolute peak.
Android's default video capabilities leave a lot to be desired, so the Play Store has a small but thriving industry of third-party video players. MX Player has been one of the most dependable among them, and the latest update fixes a few bugs on Android 5.0+ devices and adds a few new features. The most notable is probably the new ability to upload and download subtitle files from the web. That's a big deal if you often watch videos in a language you can't speak - anime fans, ahem, accessing unavailable shows come to mind.
Among tech-savvy media fans, Video LAN Client (VLC for short) is easily one of the most popular video and audio players in the world. It's available for every major desktop platform, and for almost two years, it's been in beta for Android. Today the app has officially graduated to a 1.0 build, marking its formal exit from beta and a day of celebration for fans of flexible media playback on mobile devices.
Since the recent update to MX Player, many users are running into a new problem: there's no sound in certain videos. It turns out the latest release of the popular video player removed support for two audio codecs: AC3 and MLP. Unfortunately, it seems this is a result of licensing issues, meaning MX Player will no longer ship with built-in support to play these audio formats. However, there is a simple workaround that will get things working again with relatively little hassle.
MX Player is now ready for Android Lollipop. No, it's not any prettier than it was before. There's no Material Design to drool over, no bright colors, nor a floating action button to make us feel like we're living at the end of 2014. This video player is largely the same app as before. Its developer has just removed the restriction that prevented it from running on 5.0 devices. Now people who rely on MX Player don't have to do without when upgrading to Lollipop.
Into every life a little rain must fall. Across every software update a few bugs will crawl. The most glaring problem for new users of Android 5.0 on the Nexus 7 2013 is a bug that appears to be stopping video playback dead. You can see a few users reporting the issue here, and we've seen it on at least one Android Police staff member's tablet. The good news is that there appear to be a few ways that you can fix it.
Well this is amusing. The International Olympic Committee has released an Android app into the Play Store that is arriving just in time to stream video from this year's Summer Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Nanjing, China. Ironically, though, China is the one place where Olympic TV is explicitly labeled not to work. It's written in plain sight on the app's Play Store page.
The event will take place this year from August 16th to the 28th and provide teenagers with a venue to compete in all manner of athletic games.
Update: While both the US and Canada did not have access to VLC for Android on the Play Store at launch, some of our Canadian readers have pointed out that they have since been able to download it from there for quite some time now. As it turns out, the American release was indeed the last hold out.
We in the tech industry have a tendency to throw around the word "finally" perhaps a tad more often than we should.