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.
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.
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.
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.
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.