VLC 2.0 Media Player Released

VideoLAN has just released version 2.0 (codenamed ‘Twoflower’) of the popular free media player VLC. This is a major new version with multiple new features and improvements.

New Features

  • Faster decoding on multi-core processors and mobile hardware, ability to use GPU (graphics processor) hardware acceleration (optional)
  • Ability to open more formats – notably professional, HD and 10bits codecs
  • New rendering pipeline for video, with higher quality subtitles, and new video filters to enhance your videos
  • Supports many new devices and BluRay Discs – experimental: menus are deactivated in this release but will come soon. AACS and BD+ DRM libraries and keys are not shipped, for legal reasons
  • Completely reworked Mac and Web interfaces plus improvements in the other interfaces
  • Fixes several hundred bugs

Installing VLC 2.0

The download size is about 21MB and is currently only available as a 32bit version – download and full list of features here. The installation process will determine if you have an older version of VLC installed and uninstall it automatically i.e. you do not have to manually uninstall VLC 1.x.xx yourself first.

GPU Acclerated Decoding

This is optional and the default is ‘Off’. It can be switched on in the menu options: Tools / Preferences / Input and Codecs / then tick ‘Use GPU accelerated decoding’.

I tried switching it on and it promptly crashed my test PC even though the PC happily used GPU hardware acceleration in other programs. Upgrading by a few months to the very latest ATI drivers cured this problem but I saw no obvious benefit but if you have a high end graphics card it may be worth trying GPU acceleration for yourself.

User Interface Changes

The user interface is familiar yet subtly different so tweaks you have made previously may be lost in the upgrade. One thing I immediately missed was an easy way to speed up or slow down playback. It is possible to adjust it via the menu bar \ Playback \ Speed but, in my previous version of VLC, I had added slower / faster icons to the time toolbar – such customization was lost in the upgrade and needs to be reapplied.

To do this, or tweak any other icons, open Tools \ Customize Interface from the menu bar.

Here you can add, remove and move toolbar elements – in the example below I have added back the faster and slower icons to the end of the time toolbar but there are a host of other options to play around with to suit your own needs:

VLC2

Adding back the faster/slower buttons

Conclusion

VLC 2.0 adds many new features and worthwhile improvements. As it is a major upgrade it is inevitable that there may be a few teething troubles – it would certainly be a good idea to upgrade graphics drivers first and make a note of any user interface customizations you have made previously so you can reapply them if required.

However, the new version and addition of more formats are welcome improvements and keep VLC positioned as an excellent multi functional media player for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Note that VLC 2.0 also has new video outputs for Android and iOS so we can probably expect official VLC apps on those platforms in the near future. An updated portable version should also be released in due course.