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.

VLC playback Chrome OS.jpg

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After nearly a billion downloads of its VLC media player across Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS and Android, VideoLan has an new platform: Chrome OS.

For nearly 15 years, VLC has become known around the world as "the" software for media playback, mainly because it supports a wide variety of audio and video codecs.

Pretty much any file format you throw at it, VLC can handle H.264/MPEG-4, VP9, AAC, FLAC, WMA, Vorbis and DVD-Video to name a few containers and file types.

So the news is good for Chromebook owners, who up to now are limited mainly to the formats natively supported in the Chrome OS media player.

With VLC, Chromebooks can stream audio - managed by an in-app music database - with equalizer and filter settings or watch video, whether it has been downloaded or is streaming from a network. Even ISO's burned from DVD movies are supported.

VLC for Chrome.jpg

According to VentureBeat, VideoLan used Google's Android Runtime for Chrome - aka: ARC - to port its Android app to Chrome OS. Google provides ARC in hopes that developers will bring their Android apps to Chrome OS, which has far fewer titles than Android.

Indeed, although ARC has been available since September 2014, the number of Android apps that can run on Chromebooks is meager at best.

VLC for Chrome OS is open source and freely available in the Chrome Web Store. It has only been officially tested on the Chromebook Pixel and HP Chromebook 14, so if you have issues, it may be due to hardware incompatibilities.