VLC for iOS 2.4.0 & 2.4.1

After a 5 month hiatus and a couple of delays in between, we are very happy to release version 2.4.1 of VLC for iOS to the general public today. Please see our press release for cross-platform information.

As an introductory remark, make sure to get the legitimate version of VLC. There are a number of clones on the iOS App Store right now, which violate both our copyright and our trademarks, include advertisement and usually charge $1 to $5 per download. We sent 39 DMCA take down notices against 48 apps over the cause of the last 12 months and in the end, we always succeeded. However, this can take up to 3 months, even for seemingly obvious violations.

As a consequence to those continued violations, VLC for iOS’s source code repository will no longer be publicly accessible, but archives of the stable releases only.

So, what’s new in VLC for iOS?

  • Support for iPhone 6 and 6+
  • Native support for Plex using their custom protocol
  • File Sharing with third party apps
  • Media library search
  • Custom URL scheme based on x-callback-url
  • Greatly improved UPnP support
  • In addition to uploading media via WiFi, you can also download all the media stored within VLC using a simple web browser
  • Streaming and folder support for Google Drive
  • Flat folder synchronization via iTunes
  • Options for default playback speed and FTP text encoding
  • On-the-fly audio and subtitles track synchronization
  • And a large number of small features, improvements and bug fixes as well as a new translation to Traditional Chinese.

This release removes support for Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3) and Dolby TrueHD (MLP) for the foreseeable future due to a content dispute with Dolby Laboratories, which could not be resolved in a different way.

We are very happy with this major version of VLC for iOS and hope that you’ll like it as much as we do. Further, we are excited about the things we have in our pipeline for the forthcoming releases. A first beta of version 2.5 will be released to our testers today.

VLC media player for Mac OS X 2.2.0

Today, we will also a major new version of VLC for Mac OS X. For cross-platform changes, please have a look at the release notes and our press release.

What’s new in VLC for Mac?

  • Support for OS X Yosemite
  • Completely re-written web plugin for Chrome, Safari and Firefox is back!
    Improved fullscreen behavior
  • Continue playback where you left off
  • Improved playlist adding a file size column and an option to increase the font size
  • In addition to iTunes, Spotify can be paused on playback start
  • New encryption and decryption modules for SSL based on OS X’s SecureTransport library for FTP and HTTP connections. This greatly improves speed and security.
  • A lot of improvements in VLCKit for use in third party applications, notably
    • Switched the code base to ARC and added support for Swift projects
    • Support for HLS and HTTPS playback on iOS
    • Improved thumbnailing
    • Various new APIs for playlist handling, the equalizer, thumbnailing and meta data handling

We are excited about this major update of VLC for Mac and hope that you’ll like it as much as we do.

MobileVLCKit and VLCKit, part 2

This is a follow-up article covering VLC’s Objective-C framework to include its functionality in third party applications. If you missed the first part, click here.

Today, we will discuss meta data processing.

In VLCKit, every item you play is a VLCMedia object. For typical use cases, it can be created with an NSURL or an NSString containing a path.

We differentiate between two types of meta data: technical information describing the media such as codec, bitrate, video size and user-visible/-provided information such as artist, publisher name, album title.

Let’s start with the technical information, which can be retrieved from any media object with a single API call:

@property (NS_NONATOMIC_IOSONLY, readonly, copy) NSArray *tracksInformation;

This gives you an array containing as many dictionaries as the media contains tracks, be it video, audio or subpictures (subtitles, teletext). The track type is defined by the VLCMediaTracksInformationType key. All tracks will include information about the respective codec, bitrate and encoding details. Depending on track type, keys for video dimensions, audio channel numbers or text encoding will be set as well as an optional key for language.
Retrieving this property can potentially be very expensive, especially if your media is stored remotely as VLCKit will synchronously parse the source to provide this information. Therefore, we recommend you to cache this data, as it will probably not change during the lifetime of the VLCMedia object.
Note: for codec information, you’ll receive an integer which is a raw FOURCC representation of the codec name. Releases following VLCKit 2.2 will include a convenience method to translate it to an end-user readable string.

On mobile devices, you might run into the question if a given device is powerful enough to decode a given video file. For this purpose, VLCMedia includes the isMediaSizeSuitableForDevice property which will provide a reasonable guess. Note that this property will always be true on OS X.

Now, what about non-technical information about the media contents? To retrieve them, VLCKit needs to parse the source. This can be done both synchronous and asynchronous depending on the needs of your application. We generally recommend you to use the asynchronous way so you don’t block the execution of any threads. VLCMedia includes an optional delegate protocol, which allows you to follow meta data processing by receiving notifications every time further information becomes available as well as once parsing finished.
VLCKit can provide up to 17 different meta data keys with more to come in subsequent releases. While it allows to fetch them one by one, we recommend you to fetch the full dictionary using:

@property (nonatomic, readonly, copy) NSDictionary * metaDictionary;

If you have write access to your media source, you can also set values for the respective keys and save them to disk.

Thanks for reading!

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to use the comment section or to shoot a mail. The next part of this series will be about thumbnail creation.