VLC, a popular media player which allows you to play video in almost any format or codec known to man, has recently received an update for the Android application. The developers are still working on this folks, so be patient, as they are currently working on this in their free time. According to the developers, the app is progressing well and maturing more and more on a daily basis for Android. Ivoire, a VLC Media Player developer had this to say on his blog:
After two months of work, VLC media player is working quite well on Android based systems. The project still requires a lot of work before any release but we now know that running VLC media player on Android is achievable.
Some of the things they have been working on as stated on the developers blog include:
The video output developed by Adrien Maglo (alias Magsoft) is now able to output video directly into an OpenGL surface. This is the second video output module created by Adrien for VLC on Android. This second version is able to run on any version of Android and not only Gingerbread (2.3) but is a bit less efficient. This trade of is very important because few phones and tablets are running Android Gingerbread at the moment.
A first audio output module was developed by Dominique Martinet (alias Asmadeus). This module was based on OpenSL ES which is quit convenient and efficient but OPENSL ES is only available on Android 2.3. This is the reason why we decided to write a new audio output module that might work on any Android devices regardless of the version.
For this reason, I (Rémi Duraffort, alias ivoire) am developing a second audio output module for every Android versions. The work is barely started so we cannot show you any video at the moment.
Here are a few things that “still need to be done”:
Improving the Video output
The video output must be improved to handle some specials cases like the rotation of the device or the power saving mode (and many more).
Some work must also be done to improve handling of the aspect ratio and rendering performance.
As said before, the next goal is to finish the audio output module to handle audio correctly. This module requires some work to be able to output audio for any Android version.
Graphical User Interface
As you saw in the screenshots, the GUI was only made to help us testing both the audio and video output modules. Before any beta version, we must create a nice GUI that allows users to select the right media or stream to play. We will work on this task as soon as the audio and video output work well.
VLC media player is relying on a set of libraries for a lot of functions like decoding, encoding, getting meta-datas (id3 tags), …
To enable these functionalities we must port the underlying libraries to Android based devices. This work is not began yet but as for now we already have a lot of libraries (like FFmpeg) that allows us to decode many formats like: mpeg, h264, mp4 or ogg. So this task does not have priority.
The last task is to improve VLC media player performance by optimizing it for the devices it will run on. Every Android devices uses ARM processors which imply some specific optimizations that are currently not activated. Some devices also provide ARM NEON instructions that VLC can use to speedup decoding.
The developer summarizes with the following:
As a conclusion, you can notice that VLC media player on Android is working quite well. Anyway we are not ready to release a version until some months because we want something stable and nice to use. Be patient, we are working on it, even if this job is only done on our free time.
I will write another article when some interesting news about VLC and Android come out.