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31 January 2016

These weeks in VideoLAN - 34

34th VideoLAN report

I was traveling quite a bit lately, so here is a double-week report about the VLC and VideoLAN communities.

FOSDEM

Once again, the VideoLAN team was present at FOSDEM.

Here is a the usual Delirium Cafe photo!

FOSDEM 2016 Delirium

And of course, my talk about VLC 3.0.

FOSDEM 2016 VLC talk

Features

VLC

The first change was related to ChromeCast: a new module was added, to split the control of the chromecast from the streaming part. More code on that feature should come in the next weeks.

Petri then got us support for a Bluray demuxer in our Bluray module. It was only an access_demux before, and will now allow to open ISO files of Blurays over the network, including FTP, SMB, NFS or HTTP. Additionally, you can now use the default drive with the MRL bluray://.

We fixed the support of Windows XP for the 3.0 release: but XP support is now only on a best-effort basis.

Fran├žois also got support for ATSC A65, aka PSIP, or information like EPG and related, for ATSC broadcasted streams.
Almost at the same time, we received support for SCTE-18 / AES, aka alerting system inside broadcast.

Hugo added support for Metadata over UPnP, (notably artist, album, cover ART and related fields) and fixed quite a few issues on this module.
We finally will get proper UPnP support soon!

We also received fixes for TS sections, dialogs, win32 installer, TS seeking, DxVA decoding and MIDI. And also improved the features merged in the last weeks: keystore, the dialogs and SMB modules.

iOS / Apple TV

After the release of the Apple TV version in my last report, we produced 2 updates to fix bugs: 1.0.1 and 1.0.2.

We're still waiting for feedback to improve for the future releases.

On the main development branch, we mostly got:

  • improvements on FTP and Plex protocols,
  • support to play "next item" automatically,
  • support for a "play all" action,
  • support for 3D Touch Quick Actions,
  • and a few bugfixes.

Android

Android development was quite busy too, as it's been the usual in the last few weeks.

The most visible change is that from now on, you will have only one version and apk for both Android TV and Android.

We also got:

  • a new File Browser for the Android TV version,
  • an option to select Android TVs or Android look, (useful for TV devices not officially Android TV),
  • support for the history view on TVs,
  • support for icons in the extensions,
  • media directories are now displayed on the main TV screen,
  • fixes for keyboard and remotes navigation,
  • fixes for bitrate display, preferences and equalizer,
  • improved now-playing support,
  • the About and License dialog in the TV interface,
  • numerous fixes for crashes,
  • memory reduction when the application background.

WinRT

WinRT development was quite active too, mostly focusing on a complete UWP project.

Thomas:

  • improved the launch speed of the application,
  • reworked numerous exceptions,
  • fixed numerous crashes,
  • reduced the amount of WindowsPhone specific code,
  • improved the responsiveness of the application,
  • improved our Pivot-control,
  • improved the audio metadata,
  • added various interface fixes and improvements,
  • and many other small tweaks...

That's mostly it for those weeks, see you next time!

14 December 2015

Last weeks in VideoLAN - 29

29th VideoLAN report

This report is a bit special, since the previous week-end was the VideoLAN meeting in Barcelona, so I did not do a post last week.

So, I'll cover in this post, the work of the last 2 weeks on VideoLAN and VLC development.

VideoLAN meeting

The VideoLAN team met for our 4th quarter meeting, in Barcelona, Spain, in the offices of Skyscanner. VideoLAN @Skyscanner

We were around 20 for 2 days, and worked on quite a few things around VLC. VideoLAN working in Barcelona!

During the week-end, we worked on:

  • the next update of the videolan.org website, to update its contents and to make it responsive,
  • finishing the next release 2.2.2 of VLC,
  • fixing important 3.0 blockers, notably in the Qt and OS X interfaces and in the core decoder,
  • most of the 3.0 blockers, to discuss and find the correct way to fix them,
  • new features like HEVC packetizing or HTTP/2 support (see below),
  • finishing our Apple TV/tvOS port,
  • finished the port to Android 6.0, aka Marshmallow,
  • adding important features for our Android port,
  • reworking our Code of Conduct,
  • preparing our move to Gitlab,
  • fixing important VLC bugs in demuxers and decoders,
  • internal policy and decisions for the VideoLAN non-profit,
  • and other stuffs I forgot about. :)

So, all in all, a quite busy week-end :)

Features and changes

So let's discuss a bit more in details, what got merged, in the last weeks.

VLC

Core

The fight against the deadlocks in the input and video output core went on during the last 2 weeks. To solve this, the core got 2 new functions named picture_pool_Cancel() and vout_Cancel() for the video output and the function vlc_fifo_TimedWaitCond() which allowed to introduce an interruptible mwait in the decoder core.
We should now be close to the end of these issues.

Related to this, all the decoders and packetizers now have a pf_flush function that they can implement. This flush was notably re-implemented in the libavcodec module.

VLC now has support asynchronous decoding, in the core: the methods decoder_QueueVideo, decoder_QueueAudio, decoder_QueueSub were introduced for that, and the preroll was fixed and simplified accordingly.

Finally, we have now timespec_get() (to fix issues on Win64 snapshot numbering) and timegm() replacements in our compat/ library.

Access

On the bluray side, the menus are now activated by default, we've improved the speed of transitions, and the overlay, and we also fixed numerous issues on titles detection, chapters count, end-of-file behavior and static menus.

We fixed the listing of numerous UPnP shares, including the Plex ones and UPnP module was made interruptible.

We fixed the support for AVC Intra files without SPS/PPS, and we added support for HEVC NAL parsing, at the same time.
This led to a big refactoring of the H264 and HEVC packetizers and parsers. This will allow us to record in HEVC codec.

HTTP/2 stack

Finally, a large piece of code was added to VLC last week: a new HTTP/2 stack.

It's around 5000 LoC and it supports HTTP 2.0 protocol, and supports seeking by reusing the TCP connection and the TLS session.

The code is currently only used for HTTP/2, because it is still missing some features compared to the HTTP 1.1 module (proxies, cookies, auth...)

OS X

On OS X, we've had an important rework of the simple preferences interface.

We've also reworked and fixed the starting of the interface from command-line.

Qt

In the Qt interface, we've fixed the layouts for the Right-To-Left (RTL) languages.

We've also fixed an important 3.0 regression in the input seekbar and a singleton thread-safety blocker for 2.2.2!

Miscellaneous

  • We've fixed an SMB module performance issue,
  • We've improved tizen and iOS video output.
  • We've fixed a FLAC CRC issue, that rendered some FLAC inaudible
  • For the adaptive streaming module, we fixed the computation of the length, in some unusual Content-Length cases,
  • Finally, we've fixed a regression on MKV ordered chapters issue and improved our WebVTT support.

Android

Android development got quite busy in the last 2 weeks: we've released VLC 1.7.0, 1.7.1 and 1.7.2.

We've fixed the video playlists feature introduced the previous week, we've improved the Android TV audio player, and fixed numerous reported issues.

Then, we've pushed the last fix for Android 6.0 Marshmallow support to VLC's core. It was mostly related to PIC issues (Position Independent Code) in 3rd party libraries. We will now be able to target Sdk 23!

Finally, we've merged the asynchronous decoding, which should improve, once again, the performance of VLC on Android. VLC should be now the fastest player in town.

iOS

Most of the work on iOS was done for the tvOS port, and to fight against Kafkaesque issues in the iOS Store.

We're still waiting.

WinRT

The WinRT port got quite busy too. Large refactoring to the applications were made to clean and simplify the old code and increase the speed of the application.

The look was refreshed too.

Finally, the port to UWP projects was merged. It should allow us to compile the application as a UWP application, without dropping support for 8.1.

That's quite a lot for those weeks, see you next time!

29 September 2015

new libVLC backend for EFL/Emotion

This is quite short a post about libVLC in EFL (Enlightenment).

Emotion is the multimedia API of the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) used in the e17 desktop environment. It is similar to KDE's phonon.

For a long time, the libVLC backend for Emotion was not a full backend, but was considered as a generic player, mainly because of the license, at the time.
The 2 full backends in EFL were based on GStreamer and Xine.

Since last week, there is now a FULL Emotion backend based on libVLC: see libVLC emotion commit.

Notes:

  • It requires libVLC 3.0.0
  • It supports the major part of the Emotion API, including some that the other backends don't support,
  • It misses visualization support because there is no libVLC API for this yet,
  • It misses mouse events support because there is no libVLC API for this yet,
  • It misses some events, notably to change the DVD angles and some other we did not understand,
  • It's not yet the fastest, because it would require a new video output in VLC.

We will use that backend to port VLC on Tizen :)

Please test it and report bugs :)

16 September 2015

The future of codecs is at VideoLAN Dev Days '15

VideoLAN Dev Days 15

Like the last few years, we are organizing the VideoLAN Dev Days, this week-end, in Paris.

The conference is nicely hosted by the French unicorn Criteo and sponsored by Google and Videolabs.

Last year was in Dublin:

New Codecs conferences

This year, we'll have quite a few nice talks, focused on all the new and future of open and open source codecs!

In fact, we will have talks about VP10, Daala, Thor and x265.

Video codec Talks

Alex Converse, from Google, will speak about the future development of VP10.

Timothy Terriberry, from Mozilla, will speak about the ongoing development of Daala, and do an update compared to what he spoke about last year, at VDD14.

Thomas Davies, from Cisco, for his first time at VDD, will speak about the new codec named Thor.

Finally, Deepthi Nandakumar, from MCW, will speak about x265, the new implementation of the H.265 encoder, inspired by x264.

Clearly, the fight between the new generation codecs is just beginning! :D

Other talks

We will have talks about VLC 3.0, the speedup of the VP9 decoder in FFmpeg, a new AAC encoder for FFmpeg and the open source community, and a few other surprise talks!

Come and see us!

14 September 2015

This week in VideoLAN - 18

18th week of VideoLAN reports

Here is the weekly report of what has happened in the VideoLAN community and VLC development, during the past week.

Features and changes

VLC

The week started with the addition of a long-asked feature in VLC: hotkeys to increase and decrease the size of the subtitles, without going to preferences or restarting VLC.

We then had several fixes for the Bluray support and mostly BD-J menus, that should now work correctly in VLC.

The skins2 module was fixed for some windows managers like Gnome 3 and Unity that could sometimes keep the taskbar above VLC.

The big mutex that we had for Android decoders and video output was removed by Thomas, after a big fight.

Thomas also modified the core loading of decoders and packetizers: we now always packetize. This is done in preparation of the asynchronous decoding that we'd like to merge inside VLC.

Fran├žois rewrote some parts of the mp4 demuxer related to seeking to improve fragmented MP4 and adaptive streaming support.

We've also had numerous fixes and improvements for the Direct3D outputs, but also for the OS X code signatures, SFTP input, libVLC playlists, Video Toolbox and subtitles handling.

Oh, and one more thing... we started to prepare VLC for tvOS. :)

Android

This week was mostly a preparation for the next major release.

What we mostly did was fixing bugs, notably in audio playback, in cover art management, chapters display and in the bitmap cache.

We largely modified our Android Thumbnailer to fix regressions and support DVD thumbnails.

We also tweaked a bit the interface for advanced options and started to load asynchronously the images for the video list.

Finally we updated all the translations and pushed a version numbered 1.5.90 on the Play Store, in beta.

iOS

On iOS, we prepared and pushed the 2.6.5 release, fixing a couple of regressions, notably the handling of the vlc:// protocol.

The master was updated to match the latest libVLC 3.0.0 which we will base 2.7.0 on.

We also fixed a few bugs for this next version.

Finally, some code to build VLCKit for the new tvOS was merged.
It's very early though, but we have video playback! :)

tvOS simulator screenshot

WinRT

Last week was a calm week, mostly on the UI side, for WinRT.

We've spent our week fixing regressions and issue in the thumbnailer, in the video output and fixing crashes.

No new feature, for once :)

That's all for this week! See you next! Have fun!

8 September 2015

This week in VideoLAN - 17

17th week of VideoLAN reports

As this now almost an habit, here is the weekly report of what has happened in the VideoLAN community and VLC development, during the past week.

You'll see that this week has been busy on VLC's core and the WinRT port.

Features and changes

VLC

The week started by adding the support for the newest versions of libavcodec/libavformat, who deprecate a few API and symbols that we were using. VLC 3.0.0 will be fully compatible with those releases.

access and stream

We then had quite a few modifications in the size reported by the access modules, that allowed to introduce a new helper stream_GetSize() that correctly reports unknown file sizes.
Related to this, the stream_Read() and stream_Peek() functions now warn if one doesn't check the results; and a stream_Tell function was exposed through libvlccore.

The stream filter code was also streamlined to have a proper seek function, instead of a call to the Control() one and stream_Seek() was exposed to modules too.

The STREAM_IS_DIRECTORY Control call was improved, to behave similarly to the GET_SIZE one, and a ACCESS_IS_DIRECTORY was introduced in the same way.

All those changes are here to clean the VLC input and notably the stream filters, that were abused in their design. This is important to ensure that VLC always behaves in the same way, for all inputs, but also to correctly support all weird cases (a zip on a SMB share, containing an MKV with WMV in it).

We also removed the byte offset from seekpoints/chapters. Seeking is now only time-based.

the rest

The block allocation was reworked too: we remove block shrinkage feature and we added a block_TryRealloc() function.

Continuing the work of last weeks, the work on Video Toolbox acceleration for iOS and OS X was finished, mostly by fixing the memory management of frames.

The MediaCodec for Android code was modified to prepare the work on asynchronous decoding, by reworking the support for MPEG-4 video and allow late opening of the module.

The prefetch module was modified to support buffering while the input is paused.

Finally, the calls to the deprecated NSAutoreleasePool function were removed from all the OS X code; we removed the deprecated GnomeVFS module; we fixed issues with videos that have an alpha plane; and, of course, we've improved the HLS and DASH modules.

Android

As already said, a large part of the work for Android was to improve again the decoding speed, which is a focus of us since quite a few weeks.

We fixed numerous issues for the Android TV port, but also in the playlist management, and the video lifecycle. Those issues were hard to track down, but they should be well fixed :)

The code of advanced options during playback was simplified and a corner-case fixed.

Finally, we've started to integrate the new DataBinding API into the application: this code is not merged yet, though. Maybe next week.

iOS

As for Android, most of the iOS work was done on the hardware decoders.

However, a bit of work was done on VLCKit to fix memory leaks and to rebase the work on top of the normal VLC code.

WinRT

Once again, the WinRT port was the more active, with almost 100 commits in a week.

Most of the core changes were to solve deadlocks, notably after using the hardware decoders, and the Thumbnailer.

The interface was updated to fix alignment bugs and issues reported by numerous users.

A large work was done on gestures and keyboard shortcuts to support more of them!

Finally, the audio and subtitles synchronization was implemented to match the desktop and the iOS and Android versions!

A new release should be expected soon!

Conferences

I was invited to speak at the Techniche conference about VLC, VideoLAN and the rest :)

Techniche

That's all for this week! See you next! Have fun!

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