Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Software Music Open Source Entertainment News

VLC 's Beta For Android Is Ready — Unless You're North American 118

Posted by timothy
from the norteamericano-is-the-correct-term dept.
MrSeb writes "The VideoLAN Project has pushed a beta version of VLC for Android to the Google Play Store. The beta brings most of the functionality of VLC for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X to Android in a native UI in the Android 4.0 Holo style. However, there are a few hitches. The beta release published to the Google Play Store today is only compatible with ARM systems that use the ARMv7 architecture set and support the NEON instruction set. That means that there are several devices — mostly those released before the Samsung Galaxy S in late 2010, and anything powered by Tegra 2 — that cannot run the current beta. Also, apparently due to a lack of North America-specific Android test devices, VLC for Android is currently not available from the US or Canadian Play Store. Both problems should be rectified soon, though." VLC is one of those impressive programs that just works with nearly any input thrown at it, and one of the first things I put on any computer. I hope the Android version retains pitch-controlled variable-speed playback, perhaps my favorite VLC feature, and something I miss on my tablet.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

VLC 's Beta For Android Is Ready — Unless You're North American

Comments Filter:
  • by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:34PM (#40530805)

    I remember when the tegra 2 was hot shit.

    i mean, i love my asus tf101, it's awesome, but it always saddens me when there's yet one more cool thing like thist that it won't support cause of lack of NEON instructions or limited video memory bandwidth or something like that.

    • Re:tegra 2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:44PM (#40530969) Journal

      I remember when the tegra 2 was hot shit.

      Meh.

      I remember when the AMD 386DX40 was considered to be wickedly fast, except for the Motorolla 68xxx line in the Macs. Now, my router has a more powerful CPU that runs on just 100 milliamps, 5 volts. Although the i7 is today's "wickedly fast" x86 processor, I don't remember really giving all that much of a damned about it. The marketplace has matured, and nobody really cares all that much any more.

      Did you get a Core2, i5, or AMD CPU? Would you notice if you had? Chances are that you wouldn't notice the difference. Because it does the job well and reliably, I'm still using a 10 year old Pentium 3 server as a network monitor!

      But phones are different. It's still new technology, needed features are still being implemented, tested, and improved on. My 2 year old Droid2 phone is already so obsolete that when I went to exchange it because of a defect, Verizon decided to replace it with an entirely new model!

      • Re:tegra 2 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:50PM (#40532641)

        Although the i7 is today's "wickedly fast" x86 processor, I don't remember really giving all that much of a damned about it. The marketplace has matured, and nobody really cares all that much any more.

        I think that has more to do with the phenomenon known as Getting Old, than with the state of the marketplace. We, the desktop users, are the ones who have "matured."

        Back in the day, you could argue about whether a 386-40 or a 486-25 was the better way to go. Some benchmarks went one way, some went the other. The difference between the fastest x86 CPUs and the slowest ones on the shelf at any given time was perhaps 2x-3x. A lot of us paid very close attention to the CPU market and were always up for an argument or flame war about it.

        Today, the difference between the high-end Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge CPUs and the low-end parts is stupefying. The performance spread between the fastest and slowest devices is 6x [cpubenchmark.net] in the "high end" category alone. In the broader market the spread is more like 30x-50x. And this doesn't even consider GPU-based computing.

        So I'd say the desktop CPU market is a lot more interesting now than it was back in the day... but there's too much other stuff going on that's even more interesting, like getting work done and paying the mortgage.

        • The performance spread between the fastest and slowest devices is 6x in the "high end"

          I agree with your overall point, but the high end category includes some quite dubious choices for high end, and also some rather ancient parts.

          Also, there's some weird results, like the Opteron 6274 scoring lower than hte identical but slower clocked 6272 and the A8 CU being quite close to the 12 core Opteron 6172, which utterly smashes the 6134, by a much larger factor than the advantage in core count.

          Very strange.

        • by Raenex (947668)

          The performance spread between the fastest and slowest devices is 6x in the "high end" category alone. In the broader market the spread is more like 30x-50x. And this doesn't even consider GPU-based computing.

          But it is based on multiple cores and parallel computing. That's great if you have a highly parallel CPU load that makes use of it, otherwise it's not really faster.

      • I remember when the tegra 2 was hot shit.

        Meh.

        I remember when the AMD 386DX40 was considered to be wickedly fast, except for the Motorolla 68xxx line in the Macs. Now, my router has a more powerful CPU that runs on just 100 milliamps, 5 volts. . . .

        Meh.

        I remember when the PDP11/73 was considered awesomely fast. Now I have a faster processor in my wristwatch.

        • by mcrbids (148650)

          Old thread is old. Anyway, I worked with a Vax PDP 11/750 and I have never had the opportunity to work with such a well-designed, reliable piece of equipment. Today's whitebox Linux servers are marvels of excellent reliability, but lack fault tolerance that the old 750 had in spades.

          I've seen one "crash" when the both of the (redundant) A/C units died and the room got too hot. When we rebooted, it picked up where it left on and resume running everything that had been running when it died, it had literally m

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        That is why I've been saying for ages that just as desktops matured so too will mobile devices and at the current rate their "MHz wars' will be winding down soon simply because there is only so much power you can use before battery life becomes an issue with the whole "thin is in" design aesthetic.

        I figure another 2 years, 3 tops and we'll be right back to where we are with desktops and laptops, with every device so insanely overpowered compared to what the average user does with it that folks won't get r

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Meh.

        I remember when the AMD 386DX40 was considered to be wickedly fast, except for the Motorolla 68xxx line in the Macs. Now, my router has a more powerful CPU that runs on just 100 milliamps, 5 volts. Although the i7 is today's "wickedly fast" x86 processor, I don't remember really giving all that much of a damned about it. The marketplace has matured, and nobody really cares all that much any more.

        Did you get a Core2, i5, or AMD CPU? Would you notice if you had? Chances are that you wouldn't notice the difference.

        We've reached the point where the processing requirement of software no longer routinely outweighs the processing power available. So yeah, the difference between a budget AMD and latest i7 is trivial unless you've got some very demanding software (I.E. a database) and then, your performance chips are in the server market. HDD speed is a bigger bottleneck for the consumer these days.

        My gaming rig is over 3 years old, It's an AMD Phenom 2 955 with a Geforce 285. High end when I bought it and 3 years on it ca

    • by camperslo (704715)

      i mean, i love my asus tf101, it's awesome, but it always saddens me when there's yet one more cool thing like this that it won't support cause of lack of NEON instructions or limited video memory bandwidth or something like that.

      Well hopefully there will be a version supporting whatever features the hardware is capable of. Being open source, motivated individuals could cook up such a build even if it isn't officially supported.

      The VLC variable speed playback feature is great for a few of the older movies that move a bit too slowly at times. (many in public domain are available at archive.org)

      It's bad enough when a smaller item that doesn't last too long, like a phone, gets obsoleted by software changes. It really hurts when it'

    • by makomk (752139)

      Tegra 2 was obsolete due to its lack of NEON instructions for its entire lifetime, it just wasn't always as obvious as this.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Why do I care? The included video app plays every video in my video share already (except TiVo .ty), even weird formats like .3g2. If the included app already plays everything, who cares about VLC?
    • by mrvan (973822)

      Tried using VLC to stream from my dreambox satellite receiver, but no luck. It doesn't recognize the m3u file and it I point it to a web address it doesn't do anything. Hope that they'll fix it in the real version!

    • by kllrnohj (2626947)

      I remember when the tegra 2 was hot shit.

      Tegra 2 was *never* hot shit. Nvidia didn't know what they fuck they were doing when they built it, and it is obvious. GPU was weak compared to the competition, the CPU was missing obvious stuff like NEON, it is so memory bandwidth starved it's ridiculous, etc...

      What Nvidia managed to do really well, though, was *pretend* it was hot shit, which was convincing enough for tech bloggers.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:38PM (#40530871)

    Will this version of VLC support hardware acceleration for H.264 and other video formats on those devices where the hardware supports it?

    • by WilyCoder (736280) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:10PM (#40532117)

      You're not gonna get hardware acceleration any better than what the device manufacturer supplies via their include 'video' app.

      Getting access to those HW accelerated video decoders is very black box in nature. Notice how the article mentions requiring the NEON instruction set. VLC must be using the simd instruction set called NEON to do the decoding.

      Surprisingly, you can achieve a good amount of performance by using NEON in your code (I've used it myself).

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You're not gonna get hardware acceleration any better than what the device manufacturer supplies via their include 'video' app.

        Except that the included apps on my Transformer Prime are utterly helpless at playing most of my collection of DVDs/BluRays, which are in MKV format. So in that case, any hardware acceleration that actually works is better than whats included.

        • by PRMan (959735)

          which are in MKV format

          Well THERE's your problem. All my .mp4 and .m4v files work just fine on my original Transformer.

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            Yes. We should all adapt to our consumer devices that are PCs in disguise rather than expecting those PCs in disguise to be flexible enough to adapt to us instead.

            "...lowered expec-t-a-a-tions"

            It's not a different "format". It's a different container. It's the most trivial aspect of the entire problem.

            • It's not a different "format". It's a different container.

              You think "codec" and "format" are synonyms? I don't.

              I'd say format is a combination of the two.

  • It appears VLC has removed them since the version I'm using.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Keyboard shortcuts only now, I think it is + and - by default.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Select "View --> Status Bar" to see the variable speed control.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Still don't see the speed control. Oh well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by KuNgFo0 (519426)
          Enable the status bar like the parent said, then you can click on the "1.00x" text and a popup gives you the speed controls.
  • Good to have VLC on any OS, but it isn't my favorite player anywhere and it does seem a bit flaky under Linux.

    Under Linux, it will often lose sync in DTS/DD SPDIF passthrough, and worse it will occasionally crash and completely lock up Linux. So I use smplayer instead, which has no issue with DTS/DD passthrough and it never takes down Linux.

    On Windows it doesn't have either of these problems, but I prefer MPC-HC on Windows.

    • by Picass0 (147474)

      "...it does seem a bit flaky under Linux."

      I'm a Fedora user and in my experience it's the Swiss Army knife of media players. It works with everything I throw at it.

      I am disappointed the VLC beta doesn't work reliably on my Galaxy SII touch. It seems more alpha than beta.

    • I've always found the video quality of VLC on Windows to be really poor. Both regular WMP and MPC-HC produce vastly better color and less noise. I keep it installed though for the occasional 1 in 100 file that MPC-HC won't play. These days I'm using XBMC. It's an entirely different class of program though.

      • by guidryp (702488)

        I think VLC quality is ok, but I like MPC-HC interface better and I can't remember the last time I had to fall back to VLC on Windows.

        In fact MPC-HC does a better job of working with files like .wtv that I record with my tuner. In VLC the seek bar doesn't work.

        BTW I found MPC-HC updates were lagging, so now I get my MPC-HC from Russian page, where there are weekly updates:
        http://www.xvidvideo.ru/changelog-media-player-classic-home-cinema.html [xvidvideo.ru]

  • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:42PM (#40530931)

    for people in north America just grab it off of their nightly build site. thats what i did yesterday

  • by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:43PM (#40530949)

    You can always download it from the Nighties

    http://nightlies.videolan.org/build/android-v7-neon/VLC-debug.apk [videolan.org]
    or for Tegra 2:
    http://nightlies.videolan.org/build/android-v7-tegra2/VLC-debug.apk [videolan.org]

    Plays all files, in all formats, like the classic VLC.
    Audio and video media library, with full search.
    Support for network streams, including HLS.
    Supports Android from version 2.1 (platform-7).
    Supports ARMv6, ARMv7 and ARMv7+NEON.
    Subtitles support, embedded and external, including ASS and DVD subtitles.
    Multi audio or subtitles tracks selection.
    Multi-core decoding, for Cortex-A7 A9 and A15 chips.
    Experimental hardware decoding.
    Gestures, headphones control.

    I sincerely doubt its due to an unavailability of US/Canadian test devices because late model GSM HSPA/UMTS devices from all the major manufacturers are pretty much the same world wide. I actually prefer buying unlocked international versions of these devices rather than carrier models.

    I suspect this is really another patent fight over Codecs used or worked around by VLC, and the Google Market (play store) is making sure they don't end up on the wrong side of the MPAA, (not to mention trying to keep Google's YOUTube ox from being gored.

    It does work, but won't necessarily play everything the desktop version plays just yet. The software decoding is slow and jerky for videos recorded on the android device it self, and the sound is out of sync, where as the embedded video player, or the desktop version works perfectly playing the same files.

    It has a hard time of finding media on External_SD or attached USB storage on some tablets.
    Still its a beta. And its nice to see progress,

    • by ilikenwf (1139495)
      Neon build works great on my HP Touchpad...
    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      I suspect this is really another patent fight over Codecs used or worked around by VLC, and the Google Market (play store) is making sure they don't end up on the wrong side of the MPAA, (not to mention trying to keep Google's YOUTube ox from being gored.

      I seem to recall Apple had no problem posting VLC on the App store, until one of VLC's copyright holders (and, in what I am sure was a complete coincidence, a Nokia employee) demanded it be taken down [tuaw.com].

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        Interesting. When this story was front page news, I did not know that the programmer worked for Nokia.

        Wonder if he still does?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Please release us from your hanging left parentheses.

  • by Ardeaem (625311) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:54PM (#40531109)
    Whatever. I tried piping some input [random.org] to it and it failed miserably.
    • Whatever. I tried piping some input [random.org] to it and it failed miserably.

      Hmm, I don't know what the problem was. I tried random input and it worked great. Just like I expected it to. (:-)

  • hmmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @02:16PM (#40531431) Homepage
    Ahhh, VLC. The only free, open source software I've ever seen that was just as good as the hype.
  • What for (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @02:17PM (#40531447)

    What do I do with this? I could set it up. But beyond the hack value "hey I'm running VLC"...

    So the target market is a subset of android users who know how to put files on a memory card but don't know how to transcode, who want to watch movies on a tiny little screen with a tinny mono speaker where the battery probably doesn't live long enough to watch a movie so its tv shows only ... I'm kinda getting painted into a corner for what to do with this.

    I'm not (only) trying to make a rhetorical question but it is a fair question in general, what to do with this.
    1) No access to a desktop to transcode on
    2) Access to short/TV length files in odd formats that don't play natively
    3) Not terribly concerned that it only works on certain / my hardware
    4) Very concerned about video but not care about the awful audio
    5) Tiny screen is OK (I thought the most important feature of couch potatoe viewing was the larger the screen the better, 60+ inches etc)
    Man if I could do the above, then I would... um... what? I donno. Understand that I'm a pretty creative dude in general but in this specific instance and at this specific moment, I'm completely stumped.

    • by DeanCubed (814869)

      I use a phone to play video for road trips all the time. Just grabbed an audio jack from my phone to the car speakers, and I dont really want to look at the screen much while driving. But to watch things like WWE wrestling, reality shows, Gordon Ramsey shows, Mythbusters, etc. it's convenient and my passengers can watch the screen no problem.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What do I do with this?

      You play audio and video files with it.

    • The only reason that I've been anticipating VLC on Android is for SMB streaming on my Xoom. The 10.1" screen is perfect for watching a flick in bed, so the tiny screen concern kind of evaporates. I have no interest, whatsoever, in configuring transcoding: I just want my device to be able to play videos natively, and across my existing network.

      Can someone who's tried the Beta comment on whether it has SMB support? Bonus points if you can tell me whether Tegra 2 seems to be able to play an average 720p H.264

      • by vlm (69642)

        SMB streaming

        OK that is a real answer, and is also a real good idea. I've not had great success watching mythtv recordings using my phone, maybe VLC would decode better. I could skim thru a show, for example, decide if its worth watching on the tv or if not I could just delete it. Or I suppose I could do the mythtv "watch live TV" thing on my phone and go watch the weather channel or whatever in the morning.

      • by Laur (673497)
        I have not idea if VLC natively supports SMB streaming (I didn't even know that was a feature desktop VLC had), but SMB streaming is wroking great for me with cifsmanager. [google.com]
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Your problem is you are looking at the things that id doesn't do or doesn't do well. You should be looking at the things it does do, and does do well. Common logic error.
      • by vlm (69642)

        Yeah I assumed it was obvious that it plays videos pretty well is a given for the audience. Probably everyone here (?) has used VLC on a desktop at one time or another. If it doesn't work "right" on mplayer then simply try vlc or vice versa.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What do I do with this? I could set it up. But beyond the hack value "hey I'm running VLC"...

      So the target market is a subset of android users who know how to put files on a memory card but don't know how to transcode, who want to watch movies on a tiny little screen with a tinny mono speaker where the battery probably doesn't live long enough to watch a movie so its tv shows only ... I'm kinda getting painted into a corner for what to do with this.

      I'm not (only) trying to make a rhetorical question but it is a fair question in general, what to do with this.
      1) No access to a desktop to transcode on
      2) Access to short/TV length files in odd formats that don't play natively
      3) Not terribly concerned that it only works on certain / my hardware
      4) Very concerned about video but not care about the awful audio
      5) Tiny screen is OK (I thought the most important feature of couch potatoe viewing was the larger the screen the better, 60+ inches etc)
      Man if I could do the above, then I would... um... what? I donno. Understand that I'm a pretty creative dude in general but in this specific instance and at this specific moment, I'm completely stumped.

      If the Android version has the same features has the PC version, you could:
      * use your phone as a RTSP server to stream its video / sound files or capture camera / micro output (transforming it into a kind of webcam for your PC).
      * use your tablet as a universal multimedia file player (which is not so stupid because even if the screen is tiny, chances are that your TV's resolution is lower than most recent tablets).
      * actually have some use for this damn HDMI output that you never got to plug.
      * do a lot of

      • by vlm (69642)

        RTSP server to stream its video / sound files or capture camera / micro output

        OK that is a real idea and a real good idea. I'm surprised no one has ever proposed something like that for camera apps. So after you record the cops beating a minority, the cops want to wipe your phone's memory. Um, OK guys wipe away, see what I care, its already uploaded read-only status uploaded to youtube in real time, or being broadcast by the local tv station as you talk to me, so delete away if it makes you feel better....

    • by Laur (673497)
      You're really not thinking very hard, Android runs on more than just tiny phones. I just installed the VLC alpha a few days ago on my (rooted) Kindle Fire, which is great for watching video (that's one of it's selling points). Combined with cifsmanager, I can now browse and play my entire music and movie collection on my home server, without having to transcode everything into the limited formats that the Kindle supports. Very, very useful indeed.
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > users who know how to put files on a memory card

      Which is like what? Putting things on a floppy or CD on a Mac?

      You plug it in. A nice explorer windows pops up. You drag and drop things to the window.

      No advanced degree required.

      Whether or not you want to watch videos on your phone or tablet is an entirely separate question. It's nice to have more than one option when it comes to software. Not everyone is an extra from an Apple SuperBowel Ad.

    • My phone has a micro-HDMI port. I play movies at hotels and friends place directly from my phone. And yeah I dont really bother to transcode to shitty resolution, since I will be watching it on large screens anyways.

  • Living here in Ecuador I always complains when the stuff is only available for access in the US and not in the rest of the world.
    Now is payback time !!!! ...ha ha...

    ...but seriusly, Im also against this. We are globalized now, this kind of things has to stop. Everybody should have access to the same things on the internet.
  • What is the common thing between all these players? You are correct: ffmpeg library. Once you have this little tiny tini library ported for your favorite CPU, IT DOES NOT MATTER what UI you are actually using. If you are computer savvy enough, you could pretty well do with command line parameters only, and btw, it is how many "video" servers are actually implemented. Example: Sonic.
  • If you have AT&T's shitty cellular internet, the only movie player compatible with the bandwidth you actually get is AAXINE. Which I can't seem to find in the PlayStore.

  • by Ed Avis (5917)
    So which Android devices let you plug in a DVD player (by USB, say) to play movies or rip them (probably without recompression) to local storage?
    • Out of the box, none. In theory, any which are rootable and allow you to replace the kernel, since it's only a question of having the corresponding drivers compiled in - once that's there, software support should be fairly trivial. In fact, if you can see the filesystem, VLC should already work.

      That said, Samsung has apparently released a USB DVD that is supported by stock Android 3.x and above [engadget.com]. Would be interesting to combine these two together and see how well it works.

  • Which is vital if you are listening to a podcast and need to hear something again.

    • by Briareos (21163) *

      Preferences > Main > Enable wheel bar

      This turns the play/pause button into a dragable button that skips back/forward up to 60 seconds according to how far you drag it until you let go. IMHO much more flexible than fixed size jump buttons.

      np: Plug - The Life Of The Mind (Drum 'n' Bass For Papa)

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.

Working...