Announcing VLC for Apple TV

Today, we are proud to announce VLC on the Apple TV. It’s a full port of VLC media player combined with platform specific features.

VLC for Apple TV integrates with a plethora of devices and services on your local network and includes a custom way of casting files directly to the TV from your other computers using a web browser!

Background
Immediately after Apple announced the future of television, we started to develop for the new box and now it is finally ready to be published. This is the first app we release with the increased limit of 2000 TestFlight beta testers, who had access to our app since mid November and greatly influenced the result. We were excited about the amazing amount of feedback we received.

Our mission for VLC for the Apple TV was to fulfill our claim “plays it all” and we got close:  it supports virtually all formats under the sun (like the iOS version of VLC). Before demonstrating VLC’s advanced playback experience on the Apple TV, let’s discuss about ways how to actually access content!

0x0ss-4

Content Discovery
VLC on the Apple TV automatically discovers storage and shares on your local network (using the SMB, UPnP media server, FTP and PLEX protocols). You can browse them with the clicker or the Remote, select the content you want and it will play.

During playback, you’ll be able to add subtitles from OpenSubtitles.org. Login credentials can be securely stored on your Apple TV and will be synchronized to your iPad or iPhone (and the other way around) to ease access.

0x0ss-3

Remote Playback
However, what about network streams and files you don’t have stored on your server? This is where Remote Playback steps in. On this view, VLC shows an address (and an IP) on your Apple TV. Open it using your web browser. Drop a file to play it on the big screen, drop multiple files to queue them. Until storage hits its limits on the Apple TV, the files will remain available locally on device.

For playback of a network stream URL on your TV, just paste it to the field and push return. Once playback concludes, you will find it in the Network Stream view for future use. Like for files, you can send multiple URLs rows in a row and they will be attached to the playback queue.

Finally, the web interface can be used for play/pause and seeking.

remote playback web interface

Speaking about network streams. URLs recently played on iPad or iPhone will appear along with the ones played on the big screen automatically.

0x0ss

Playback
VLC for the Apple TV supports the basic play, pause and seek. Additionally, you can navigate by chapter and titles or pick from multiple audio and subtitles tracks.
Watching a talk and you’d wish the speaker would be a bit quicker? Set your custom playback speed, a feature we missed from any other player on the Apple TV so far. As VLC is increasingly used to watch talks and documentation in education, it was naturally of high importance for us to include this feature from the start.
You enjoy listening to web radio or music? We believe that just showing album art is a bit boring so we integrated with the community service hatchet.is to show artist imagery and biographies – give it a go!

Let’s go back to subtitles for a second: VLC on the Apple TV supports any kind of text (srt, SSA, WebVTT, …) or bitmap subtitles including full support for Right-to-Left languages like Arabic and Hebrew, complex text layout for Malayalam as well as further Asian languages.
What to do when subtitles are not included with your media? Within the playback view, you can find VLC’s first integration on embedded platforms ever with OpenSubtitles.org!

0x0ss-2

Outlook
When looking closely, one content source known from VLC’s iOS port is missing so far: Cloud Services! Support for Dropbox, OneDrive and Box is currently in beta testing using the TestFlight platform. It will appear shortly after.

The day Apple announced the new device, we immediately started porting VLC to their new operating system and finally, our initial version was approved! We are excited about this first new port of VLC in 2016 after concluding 2015 with a port to Chrome OS and are really looking forward to your feedback!

I can’t thank Tobias enough for his dedication during the last quarter to make this possible.

VLC for iOS, version 2.7.0

Today, we will release a new major version of VLC for iOS. Note that due to adapted review guidelines, it is branded “VLC for Mobile” on the iOS App Store now.

We have been working on this update for the last few months, so it adds a lot of features:

  • full iOS 9 support incl. split screen and iPad Pro
  • re-written Apple Watch app for watchOS 2
  • system-wide search for content stored locally within the app using “CoreSpotlight”
  • Touch ID support to unlock the app
  • full support for Right-To-Left languages

feepk_2015-Nov-23

On the playback and networking side, we added

  • support for SMB  file servers (Windows shares)
  • highly improved subtitles rendering with font fallback for non-western languages
  • desktop quality SSA subtitles rendering (initially introduced in 2.6.6)
  • list of recently played network streams is shared across devices using iCloud
  • stored login credentials for servers is shared across devices using iCloud Keychain
  • stored login credentials for cloud services are shared across devices using iCloud Keychain

This release includes a lot of UI improvements, bug fixes and last but not least a newly designed sidebar menu!

Finally, this release drops support for iOS 6.1. VLC now requires iOS 7.0 or later.

Simulator Screen Shot 22 Dec 2015 16.19.54

This major update is the result of 4 months of work and I would like to thank TobiasCarola and Pierre for their dedication to make this possible.

Stay tuned, we have more exciting things in the pipeline, which we will happily present very soon.

feepk_2015-Nov-09

VLC for iOS 2.5.0

Today, we released version 2.5.0 of VLC for iOS with a strong focus on cloud integration. We added support for iCloud Drive, box.com and OneDrive. As part of iCloud Drive, you can have access to any cloud storage enabled app on iOS 8 and later. For box.com and OneDrive, we added native support, which allows us direct streaming from the cloud without having the user download a media first.

cloud services

Furthermore, we cleaned-up the playback experience matching recent changes in VLC for Android and added the full 10-band equalizer known from VLC’s desktop ports. While reworking playback, we also integrated support for titles and chapters included in a few Matroska / MKV and MP4 files. Due to popular request, you can also lock the UI and rotation during playback.

Equalizer

One last thing: you can share your media library between multiple devices on the same local network now! If you enable WiFi sharing and keep VLC active, it will appear in the “Local Network” tab of all iOS devices running VLC supporting both device to device streaming as well as downloads.

Finally, we added a couple of new translations to Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Khmer, Faroese, Belarusian, Serbian (Latin), Tamil and Afrikaans along with the usual set of bug fixes and minor improvements.

We hope you like this new version as much as we do.

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.

VLC media player for Mac OS X, versions 2.1.4 and 2.0.10

HEVC sample

Today, we released 2 versions of VLC media player for Mac OS X targeting different client systems.

Version 2.1.4

This is a small bug fix release, which improves an important regression regarding DVD playback and improves compatibility with HUffYUV contents by upgrading the respective decoder library. Additionally, a rare issue with some specifically crafted wmv files was fixed and a misleading error message no longer appears during video playback on OS X Mavericks.
Grab a copy here or trigger the internal updater if it doesn’t prompt you right away.

Screen Shot

Version 2.0.10

More than 3 months after the last update to VLC’s 2.0 release series, this minor update includes security updates for third party libraries, stability improvements and increased battery life when using a Mac with more than one graphics card.
While we generally recommend anyone using a Mac with OS X 10.6 or later on a 64bit-capable device to deploy version 2.1.4 linked above, VLC 2.0.10 is a great thing to enjoy your media if you decided to stay on OS X 10.5 or if you are using a PowerPC or 32bit Intel-based Mac.
Fetch the PowerPC binary here or grab the Intel variant there. The update is also appearing in VLC’s internal updater.

Screen Shot

VLC for iOS, version 2.2.1

iphone5s-black-player-1

Today, we released a small update of VLC for iOS. It solves the most important regressions in last week’s 2.2 major release, but also includes a major improvement: full initial support of 64bit aka AArch64 aka arm64 on late 2013’s iPhone and iPad thanks to a close collaboration with the libav team.

Additionally, we added enhanced support for a broader set of UPnP servers, notably Twonky 7, Serviio 1.4 and XMBC 12, and resolved an inconvenient memory management issue in the underlying upnp library, which lead to the weird behavior that from a full folder only a single file would actually be played over and over again.

Regarding VLC for iOS’ networking capabilities, the option to manipulate the caching level was implemented in the same way as known from its desktop counterparts. Furthermore, ftp streams respect non-ASCII file encodings and URLs with spaces correctly now. Streaming from Dropbox is more reliable, too.

Finally, we increased the readability of metadata displayed on iPad (iOS 7), solved stability regressions on iOS 6 and implemented a more intelligent thumbnailing mechanism.

Oh, and your TV show episodes disappeared with the last update? That’s solved, too. Sorry for the confusion and the trouble this database edge-case caused.

ipad-air-black-landscape-player-3

VLC for iOS, version 2.2

Today, we published version 2.2 of VLC for iOS on the App Store. It features a re-designed interface for iOS 7, which we demonstrated in early November last year.

IPhone 5C player 1

Since then, we took the time for further improvements, polishing and most importantly adding features in addition a plain restyling.

Notably, we added the following:

  • Google Drive integration and Dropbox streaming,
  • New multitouch gestures,
  • Improved library for TV Shows and Audio,
  • Better UPnP integration, with downloading support,
  • A startup tutorial,
  • New streaming formats and protocols supported,
  • Rewritten WiFi upload,
  • Improved privacy when using Passcode Lock

Ipad air white landscape

Additionally, we performed a lot of tweaks and minor improvements on the interface, which are also reflected in the legacy iOS 6 UI (yes, we still fully support it!):

  • Improved feedback for media download progress including data bitrate, procentual progress and estimated remaining download time
  • Opening network streams no longer leads to a collapsed file system hierarchy on the remote system. After playback, you can continue where you left off.
  • Added bookmarks for FTP servers
  • Previously removed episodes and tracks no longer show up in the respective group listings (#9705)
  • Improved privacy by requesting the passcode immediately after leaving the app and by obfuscating playback metadata if passcode lock is enabled
  • Added support to endlessly repeat the currently playing item (#9793)
  • Added option to disable file name display optimizations (#10050)
  • TV Shows are sorted by Season number / Episode number and Music Albums respectively by track number
  • Added ability to rename any media item in the library view
  • Added deletion of multiple media items in one step
  • Improved TV Show handling for shows with more than 100 episodes
  • If your media was recognized as part of a music album, the next track will automatically start playing afterwards
  • New translations to Czech, Malay, Persian, Spanish (Mexico)

Ipad air white landscape player 2

Furthermore, we worked on details of all kinds of network interaction supported by VLC for iOS:

  • Improved UPnP stability and new support for downloading files from supported servers
  • Added cover-art and duration to UPnP server item lists
  • Fixed displayed size for files stored on UPnP multimedia servers larger than 2147.48 MB (#9641)
  • Dramatically improved WiFi upload reliability during concurrent or repeated sessions
  • Added support for HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) (#9174)
  • Added support for https playback
  • Added support for system-wide HTTP proxy settings
  • Added support for m3u streams
  • Improved vlc:// custom protocol handling (#9542)

We hope that you with love this new version as much as we do. You can find detailed usage documentation on the VideoLAN wiki.

VLC for iOS is fully developed by volunteers in their spare time. If you would like to contribute in one way or another, please check VideoLAN.org.

In case you are interested in embedding our underlying technology as a simple framework to your own iOS or OS X app, have a look at the VLCKit wiki page and get in touch.

Iphone5s white player 2

Iphone5s white

VLC 2.1

Today, we published VLC media player 2.1.1 for all major desktop operating systems. If you used VLC for Android or for iOS in the last couple of months, you already got in touch with VLC’s 2.1 code base.

VLC media player 2.1 was initially published on September 26. However, we didn’t enable VLC’s internal updater since then. Why? We spent extra time on polishing the release, added support for the upcoming major video codec HEVC aka H.265 in MKV and MP4 containers as well as raw files, and lastly improved compatibility with both OS X 10.6 and 10.9.

Image

2.1 is a major release for us, something we worked on since September 2011. We took the time to entirely re-write VLC’s audio output structure resolving architectural issues, improving lip synchronization, enhanced efficiency and improved device management. On the Mac, this upgrade also adds full support for external audio output devices and 6.1 / 7.1 / 8.1 / 10.2 multi-channel layouts.

Image

On OS X, we finally added support for hardware-accelerated H.264 video decoding with further improvements including support for MPEG 2 and H263 scheduled for this winter season. Furthermore, video capturing using AVFoundation is supported on OS X 10.7 and later as well as recording the current screen contents, a feature previously supported on 10.5 and 10.6 only.

Image

VLC 2.1 completes the transition to our re-written Mac interface introduced in version 2.0 with various major improvements, further customization options including additional playlist columns, support for cloned and split video output windows, as well as customizable presets for video filters, audio filters, and the equalizer. A new “Subtitles” menu embraces VLC advanced compatibility with any textual or bitmapped format and allows the user to customize text styles and size on-the-fly during playback. An all-new “Convert/Stream” panel simplifies media to file conversations as well as setup of streams on the local network or the internet. The media library and playlist view gains full Podcast support known from our ports to Windows and Linux.

"Clone" video filter

Those major improvements have a drawback though: VLC 2.1 no longer supports any 32bit Intel-based Macs and any PowerPC-based Macs. It requires OS X 10.6 or later. For the older  Macs, we published another bug fix release last week, 2.0.9, fixing various annoyances and resolving all known security issues. Macs compatible with VLC 2.1 will be offered the update automatically while the others will remain on 2.0.9 with the potential option for a future 2.0.10 release, should it be needed.

We have great news for developers: VLC’s underlying work-horse, libVLC, as well as most of its modules were relicensed to LGPLv2.1+. This allows any interested party to deploy our proven code their own apps and solutions. As showcase apps, we developed VLC for Android and VLC for iOS demonstrating libVLC’s features. While libVLC is a C library, an all-Objective-C framework named VLCKit is available for Apple platforms. Native Java bindings are available for Android, too.

We hope you enjoy VLC 2.1 as much as we do and we are looking forward to further releases in our pipeline on track for release this winter.

VLC for iOS 2.0

So there we are. We have come a long way. Today, it’s my pleasure to announce that VLC for iOS is back on the App Store. It’s available free of charge in any country, requires iOS 5.1 or later and runs on any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

This is more than an upgrade of the initial version: it’s a full re-write. From the ground-up. Relying on the power of MobileVLCKit and its underlying libvlc, we started with modern video and audio output modules offering faster drawing, full support for 10bit H264 encodings, retina displays and lower latency.

On top, we started from scratch. While the UI offers all the functionality you might remember from the initial version, we did not stop there. We added multiple ways to sync media, video filters and playback speed manipulation, support for subtitles including Closed Captions and complex SSA, playback on external screens or AirPlay, and of course native support for multiple audio tracks and background audio playback as well as passcode lock.

Depending on your App Store’s time zone, it will be available here.

Let us walk through the features and let’s start with:

Media Synchronization

WiFi Upload

When switching a toggle in the VLC menu, a URL will appear. Entering it in a web browser on your PC or Mac will reveal a file upload mechanism. You can choose your files with an ordinary picker or just drop them in the browser. It will automatically upload the media to your iOS device and allows parallel operations. You can start playback on the device as soon as upload started. No need to wait until it is complete.

WiFi Upload

Dropbox

VLC for iOS offers native Dropbox integration. After login, you can browse all your files and folders to download media to your device for offline playback. Integration with further clouds such as Google Drive or Microsoft Skydrive is scheduled for subsequent releases.

Download from Web Server

VLC for iOS allows you to download files from any web server and scheduling should you choose to download multiple files at a time.

Network Streams

VLC for iOS includes the ability to play any network streams support by VLC media player for desktop operating systems, be it locally served or provided through the cloud. It will remember your last 15 streams and offers a private mode, too.

iTunes File Sharing

Like the initial port to iOS, you can attach your device to your Mac or PC and use iTunes to fetch or put files.

3rd party app integration

Any app including a “Share” dialog can use VLC for iOS for media playback. You will be prompted if you’d like to keep a copy in its media library or not.

Media Library

Your media collection. It offers basic information about each file, such as length, resolution, or file size. Your last playback position is visualized through an orange triangle at the bottom of the snapshot, unless it’s new or fully played.

ipad white library

Playback

The controller panel provides access to basic playback controls, a video filter panel, audio and subtitles track selection as well as playback speed.

iphone black playback

The time slider a the top of the playback screen matches the default media player behavior by allowing you to seek at the pace you want. Next to it, you will find a 2-mode time counter and a button to control aspect ratio and cropping.

Video Filters

Like VLC media player on desktops, VLC for iOS allows you to modify the video’s colors in real time. Brightness will adapt your device’s physical luminance unless you play your media on an external screen, where it will fallback on a software mode.

video filters

Licensing

VLC for iOS is fully open-source. You can fetch its code online, modify and redistribute it following its bi-licensing under both the Mozilla Public License 2.0 and the GNU General Public License Version 2 or later.

MobileVLCKit and MediaLibraryKit are licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License Version 2.1 or later, which allows you to build your own playback applications based upon our engine. Launch partners include ROTAPP and Korrisoft.

We will publish a SDK along with VLC media player 2.1 for desktop this summer. Both frameworks can be adapted to your needs. If you need assistance, you are more than welcome to get in touch.

Thank you

VLC for iOS wouldn’t have been possible without major support by the VideoLAN association, which sponsored devices and trips to meet with geeks and major cooperations, invaluable help provided by Gleb Pinigin who wrote a fifth of the app, Jean-Baptiste Kempf for sharing his insights during conception, regarding legal implications and for insisting on WiFi File Sharing, Pierre d’Herbemont, the original author of VLCKit and MediaLibraryKit, which lay the base for this project to great lengths, Jean-Romain Prévost for stepping-up for the Web Interface, Damien Erambert (once again!) for the UI design as well as Romain Goyet from Applidium for finishing touches and final suggestions.

Furthermore, a huge thank you to Freya Lindhorst for providing the freedom to devote so many nights on this project as well as Helena Arndt, Luca Barbato, Ana Coronel, Keiji Costantini, Ludovic Fauvet, Roberto Ferraro, Christian Kosim, Adrien Maglo, Ilkka Ollakka, and Alexandre Perraud for tests, ideas and translations.

You are terrific.