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Monday, March 31 2014

VLC for Android: take 2

Intro

VLC for Android is on the store since quite some time, and it is quite popular, notably knowing it is only a Beta release.

After more than 6 months since the last release, we've developed a new version that is changing a lot of things.

This could be mostly considered as a Second main release of VLC for Android.

The most important parts are a new UI, closer to a modern Android theme and a rewritten hardware acceleration.

Continue reading...

Monday, March 10 2014

First achievement unlocked!

Oh boy, this has been a long and bumpy ride!

Today, the first Beta of VLC for WinRT is getting deployed on the store.

As many of you know, the road to come to this point has been long... Very long.

I've been driving or helping some ports of VLC on mobile, but this port has been the hardest, by an order of magnitude.

I'll speak a bit more about the lateness of this port, another time. Today, I'll introduce a bit to this application.

Features

This application, version 0.2.0, is a BETA stage of the port of libVLC on WinRT. WinRT is the runtime of Windows 8/8.1 Metro/ModernUI, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox 1.

As this is a beta, some features are still not perfectly stable, but we are working on that. We thought we should share it with the users, so that people could test and help us.

This application:

  • works on Windows 8.0 and 8.1: too many people are still on 8.0, so we had to use that. This decreases the stability of the application, though...
  • is compiled for Intel x86 CPUs: Windows RT version will follow as soon as we are able to compile it. ARM version will also apply to Windows Phone.
  • plays all video and audio formats of VLC, including MKV, Ogg and Mov files or FLAC and MPC;
  • supports the same codecs as the VLC application for desktop, from MPEG-1 to H.265, through WMV3 and VC-1;
  • supports multiple-audio tracks selection;
  • supports embedded subtitles;
  • supports Background Audio playback;
  • features a easy-to-navigate but complete UI, notably for audio browsing;
  • supports Live Tiles!
  • supports removable storage and DLNA servers.

However, there are a few limitations:

  • This app is currently slow, and is slower than VLC for desktop for video decoding and has no hardware acceleration;
  • Subtitles support is not very good yet, and notably it only supports embedded subtitles; this is our major point of focus for now.
  • Audio does not seem to work in all configurations;
  • Playlists and streams are not supported in the UI (they are present in the core)
  • It's clearly not as stable as it should be.

We are working on all those points, but notably on subtitles and audio quality and stability. Since we now have a release, it will be easier to do releases quite often, as soon as we can.

We also have longer terms goal to work on, and we'll share them when we know more :)

We hope you like this application, and if you don't, we'll fix that soon :) Entry Point VideoPlayer.jpg Main Page Video Pane Music Pane Music Playback Artiste Page Removable Storage Search

Thursday, August 1 2013

News about our WinRT port

WinRT still advances

As people who follow @videolan know, we keep working quite a bit on our port to the WinRT platforms. It is probably the port where the most effort is spent on those days, and is probably the most difficult.

The good news is that we are improving quite a bit, and we are closer to having something on the store.

Precision about VLC ports

Some people said that we stopped working on WinRT to ship VLC on iOS... This is totally wrong, because those are not the same people working on it.

VLC development is closer to a bazaar than to a cathedral building, and while the core advances altogether, people, who are volunteers, work on what they want, and on the features they want. This is very often true for VLC modules, and this is even more true for the ports to the mobile platforms.

Notably:

Therefore, doing work on one platform does not slow down the development of other platforms ports.

On the contrary, porting VLC to more platforms improves the portability of VLC, and helps finding weird bugs or misdesigns that benefit all the other ports, when they are fixed!

For example, the work on OpenGL ES for Android helped the port to iOS. Or the work on WinRT helped the normal VLC for Windows.

WinRT calls

So, last time we spoke about our advance, we had to fix 16 forbidden calls to 4 Windows dll, from 5 dlls and all the socket code. And those required WinRT direct calls from C.

We fixed most of the issues, including the WinRT static calls, meaning that we rewrote a lot of idl, idl tools and header files. We are at 5 forbidden calls (3 tonight, I hope), to 1 Windows dll, from only the VLC core. We still have the socket code to fix though.

The remaining calls are on the threading initialization, and so far, we are not able to create those WinRT objects from a C codebase. We are looking at alternatives, including using a C++ library to work-around this issue.

For the socket code, we have an idea for that too, and I hope I can share it soon to you.

As soon as we are down to 0 calls, we can upload something on the store, for the backers to test it.

Goodies

We've done another round of sending of goodies.

Therefore, if you had a certificate, a key-holder, a mug or a cone, you should have received them before the end of the week.

If you had a t-shirt or a hoodie, they might not have reached you yet. Note that, if you had one of these, the keyholder and certificate will arrive at the same time.

If you have not received your goodies, please e-mail us about it, to the email where you received your confirmation from. If you are at a total loss, please mail me or contact me :)

Sorry again for the delay, but we're doing the best we can, so far. Have fun!

Monday, July 29 2013

VLC releases

Today, we've published quite a few version of VLC, for your pleasure.

VLC 2.0.8

The first release is a stable release of VLC: 2.0.8.

This is a necessary update to fix a few crashes and security issues that are important enough to deserve an upgrade.

Moreover, as VLC 2.1.0 is slowly approaching, upgrading the stable branch is important for many GNU/Linux distributions, or for OS and architectures that won't be supported in 2.1.0 anymore.

Unfortunately, there is no much fun in this release :)

Still, grab your version of VLC 2.0.8!

VLC for Android 0.1.3

As you might have seen, Android 4.3 was released last week, with numerous improvements and fixes.

Unfortunately, this broke the video output of VLC on Android. Moreover, the saddest part was that Google started deploying the upgrade right away on the Nexus devices.

Therefore, we had to do a quick bugfix branch and a 0.1.3 release to fix this problem.

Get it now on our website or on the Google Play store.

VLC 2.1.0-pre2

But the most interesting release is probably the second pre-release of VLC 2.1.0, named "Rincewind".

Rincewind Rincewind by tarthiev.

Features

Many features are present in this new branch. I will describe the highlights.

  1. VLC 2.1.0 development cycle allowed us to ports VLC to mobile OSes, including Android, iOS (again) and WinRT (ongoing).
    This is important because it will help VLC to be more portable for tablets, phones, smartTVs or boxes.
  2. Following the numerous issues on the audio side of VLC 2.0, the audio core has been mostly rewritten, including a rewrite of most audio output modules, and of many audio filters.
    This should allow us to fix volume delay, crackling, multi-channels issues and improve performance.
  3. We introduced many hardware decoders and encoders, for performance reasons, for mobiles and desktop in order to decrease the power usage when using VLC.
    This includes OpenMaX for Linux and Android, Media SDK on Windows and VDA on Mac OS X.
  4. We added support for numerous new codecs, formats and protocols, including a preparation for Ultra-HD, notably for new codecs, like VP9 or HEVC, that are arriving soon.
  5. A few new video and audio outputs, filters and converters, to increase VLC capabilities, have been addded.
  6. Some interfaces, notably the Mac OS one, got a bit of polishing, to solve the few rough edges VLC has.
  7. A relicense of most of the libVLC library code license to LGPL has happened, to allow wider spreading of our technology.
    This also extends to numerous language bindings.
  8. Some important improvements on the Webplugins, including windowless mode and increasing reliability, are also part of the package, to please our web developers friends.

Stats

Fun fact: there have been 6999 commits since the split of 2.0.0 from master and the tagging ofr 2.1.0-pre1, creating a diff of more than 4 million lines :)

Download

You can download this preversion now!

Monday, June 24 2013

VLC for Android and LGPL

This is just a very short post (almost a bookmark-post) to share that we finished the releasing of the VLC engine on Android to LGPL.

This is now live in the release that was done today, named 0.1.2.

It mostly includes:

  • the Java code in the org.videolan.libvlc namespace,
  • the jni code gluing between libVLC and the Java code.

The corresponding commits are here and there.

This should allow to use the VLC engine in any other application on Android.

But be warned: so far, it is very difficult to build :)

Tuesday, April 2 2013

New report about the WinRT port

News and Excuses

I must start this post by sharing some excuses of not doing enough updates lately.

The main reason is that we've been mostly under-water with the current development, that took most of our time.

News and report

The good news is that we have had tremendous progress...

The bad is that we have still a bit of work to do before sharing it on the store, as I will explain soon.

Pictures

But first, the current pictures:

Current start screen

Metro Start Screen

Metro Main Screen

Fully working playback

Metro Playback

Metro Playback 2

Technical update

If you followed closely, our main work, in addition to the UI, was to fight and replace the forbidden symbols not allowed on Windows App Store mode.

We've been quite efficient at that, working closely with Mingw-w64 project and GCC developers.

The biggest result is that we have now cut down 90% of our symbols, that are forbidden on Metro Mode.

We mostly did this by:

  • replacing our forbidden calls with newer authorized equivalent calls,
  • modifying gcc and Mingw-w64,
  • writing new code in a special library of ours,
  • writing dummy functions,
  • disabling VLC code that would not work on the Metro platform,
  • moving VLC to MSVCRT 11.0,
  • moving all the VLC codebase to UNICODE and WideChars to fit the new requirements.

We did also a lot of minor things to help the integration of libVLC and VLC in this modern platform.

What are we working on now:

We are now mainly working on 2 things:

  • make VLC work with MSVCRT 11.0 without crashing ;)
  • write headers and C/C++ code to access the new fashion of COM APIs in which WinRT is written in.

What we are gonna work just after:

  • ARM, ARM, ARM,
  • WP8

Goodies

They are gonna get shipped soon :)

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