VideoLAN: VLC 3.0's huge update brings Chromecast support, 360-degree video

VLC 3.0.0 also introduces early support for the emerging royalty-free video-compression standard AV1.

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VLC 3.0.0 now offers hardware acceleration for 4K and 8K playback.

Image: VideoLAN

VideoLAN and the developers of the open-source VLC media player have unveiled its first major release in three years, dubbed Vetinari.

VLC 3.0.0 is available today for Linux, Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android, and brings support for streaming to Chromecast devices, 360-degree video and 3D audio, and hardware acceleration for 4K and 8K playback.

The update also enables browsing local network drives to access content, and improved support for Blu-ray movies.

Android updates include Chromecast support from a phone, hardware decoding ,support for Android Auto voice actions, playlist files detection, and picture-in-picture support.

The developers note that the 3.0.x branch of VLC will be the last version to support Windows XP, which is now supported on a "best-effort basis" and so works but with limitations.

"You really should upgrade to a more modern Windows version," VLC's developers told its users, and urged them also to use the 64-bit version of VLC for Windows. VLC 3.0.0 also requires a Linux kernel higher than 2.6.26 and has dropped support for Mac OS X 10.6.

The release notes also mention "experimental AV1 video" decoder support. VideoLAN last year joined the Alliance for Open Media's effort to develop the AOMedia Video codec, AV1, a successor to VP9 and a royalty-free alternative HEVC.

This initiative was hatched by Google and is backed by Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix and Nvidia.

Apple only recently joined AOMedia as a member and in doing so added significant weight to the initiative.

The iPhone-maker had previously backed HEVC or H.265, but as CNET notes, using the software in products can be difficult and requires negotiating royalties with three different HEVC patent licensing groups.

Previous and related coverage

Chromebooks get an official Android port of the VLC media player

The free, open source "Swiss Army knives" of media playback comes to a new platform: Chrome OS. VideoLan ported its Android app using Google's ARC tool.

Windows 10 tip: How to play back DVD movies for free

A clean install of Windows 10 doesn't include the software required to play back DVD movies. If your PC includes a DVD drive, you could pay Microsoft $14.99 to add this capability, but why not use a free alternative instead?

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