First public beta version of VLC app for Windows 8 released

One of the most popular free media players is now finally available for Windows 8. The team at VideoLAN has now completed work on version 1.0 of their VLC media player and it is now available to download from the Windows Store. The team actually submitted the app to the store for certification on Monday, but it took Microsoft a little longer than expected to actually approve and release it. This first release is considered to be a beta version.

The all-volunteer VideoLAN team got the funding to develop the Windows 8 version via a successful Kickstarter campaign in December 2012, but it took a much longer time to complete than the team originally predicted. This first version just runs on Windows 8; it does not currently support Windows RT which means owners of Microsoft's Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets are out of luck for now. VideoLAN will add support for that OS in the near future and also has plans to release a Windows Phone port as well.

VideoLAN's Jean-Baptiste Kempf updated his personal blog with some more information about the VLC Windows 8 app. One thing he points out is that it works on both Windows 8 and 8.1 so if you haven't upgraded to the new OS version you can still use the app.

Stay tuned as Neowin will post an interview with Kempf later today as he talks very frankly about the development of the Windows 8 VLC app and the team's plans for future versions.

Source: Windows Store | Image via VideoLAN

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I've wait for this app since the moment it was announced, and it instantly crashes whenever I launch it on my Dell Venue 8 Pro. Such a let down.

Doing a search wouldn't actually find it in the store so I ended up clicking the link in your article.....hmm.

Does it use DXVA? And by that I mean, can I watch a video without battery drain?
Second, why do these 'developers' keep on insisting on using compilers that are not RT compatible

Pluto is a Planet said,
The same compiler can't be used for Linux and OS X.
I thought that was precisely what a cross compiler was for. Can't gcc compile Linux apps and also cross-compile for OS X, or vice versa?

Because most smaller/indie developers insist on using FOSS compilers, and especially gcc. gcc isn't necessarily bad in a general sense - however, it IS feature-limited compared merely to Visual Studio Express, let alone Visual Studio Professional (both of which are available either at no cost or very little cost, and especially to small/indie developers). The battle is still philosophy vs. practicality.

Romero said,
I thought that was precisely what a cross compiler was for. Can't gcc compile Linux apps and also cross-compile for OS X, or vice versa?
It's more compatible than the one available to build for Windows RT, that's for sure. Do you think Microsoft spends time making its compiler work on anything but Windows?

That's what I meant by cross-platform: in comparison to the others that do exist.

Pluto is a Planet said,
Do you think Microsoft spends time making its compiler work on anything but Windows?
No, and why should they? The problem stems from the fact that Visual Studio apparently doesn't fully support some C99 features their code uses. I'm sure if Videolan had dropped the legacy code and started afresh using VS from the beginning they'd have had no trouble, but they wanted to reuse as much of the code as possible from their existing ports. They now need to refactor the code for the Windows version, remove the missing C99 feature dependency and then use VS to target WOA. Either that, or fix gcc to target WOA, or wait for the VS team to fix the C99 issues. The last would delay the project by who knows how much, so they realistically have only two options open to them. Let's hope they get to it soon and get the RT version out the door ASAP.

why should they? You can find crap knock offs all over the internet of all applications. No one is stopping them. Just download tools out of legimite sources. Would not dare do just install something out of the app store without knowing what it is.

-adrian- said,
why should they? You can find crap knock offs all over the internet of all applications. No one is stopping them. Just download tools out of legimite sources. Would not dare do just install something out of the app store without knowing what it is.


Because it makes it extremely hard finding an official app or quality app in general.

Anarkii said,
Still, I think M$ needs to stop allowing crap knock offs of the real thing on their web store.
I'm just wondering whether it even makes sense for the Store owner (be it Apple, Google, Nokia, MS, whoever) to dedicate resources to run background verification checks on each developer who uploads an app, to confirm whether he's connected to the official app or not or whether he's submitting a knock-off? Isn't it the duty of the copyright/trademark holder (in this case Videolan) to protect their property by tracking and informing MS of each offender or clone? After that if MS doesn't remove them in a timely manner then of course they can be held accountable.

what do I search for to get this? I typed in 'VLC video player' in the search on windows store and all i get is 42 knock offs of VLC.

WTF Im more then sure the purpose of the Kickstarter was to get vlc player for RT devices. People who have the full Windows 8 experience can't easily download the desktop version of voc player and be just fine. Now the people who participated in the Kickstarter with their RT devices have to watch users who already had the ability to play other files get an update while they still can't play mkv files properly. Got to be one of the worst Kickstarters ever, very poorly managed and I'm sure it's very disappointing for a lot of people as well.

too bad it doesn't yet support subtitles. also we need some battery life tests. the original vlc is a battery hog while the win 8 video app is amazing. I wonder how good this is.

Not a single problem here - I had a video (an MPEG-4 I had downloaded from YouTube) paused while I switched back to desktop Firefox to view this subject, then I switched back to VLC (ModernUI) to resume playback, then switched BACK to desktop Firefox to write this post. What's your hardware, paul0544?

I used the link in the article. And it opened for me in the UK store when I allowed the prompt. However I am beginning to wonder if this is a US release and it doesn't work for me at all the app.

Some of us don't spent twice as much to get the same content that usually scales up quite nicely
also its only if the movie is highly re-watchable that I'll rip it.

Try deleting the user data in the %localappdata%\Packages\VideoLAN.VLCforWindows8_XXXXXXXXXXXXX\LocalState folder (replacing the X's with whatever it actually is).

Leopard Seal said,
No RT version?
No sale.

It's free. And an RT version is coming. But considering how mediocre the W8 version is running I think they should take their time before releasing the RT version.

Personally I'm looking forward the most to the WP8 version. On Windows RT there are now other players that run all kinds of formats. WP8 needs this more than RT at this point.

Leopard Seal said,
No RT version?
No sale.

Totally agree, isn't getting an RT version out more important? If running Win8 you already have access to the legacy application. I don't understand the approach they are taking after all this time.

Ronnet said,
It's free.
Not for backers.

Ronnet said,
But considering how mediocre the W8 version is running I think they should take their time before releasing the RT version.
Oh sure, delay it even more than how much it's already going to get delayed anyway.

Ronnet said,
On Windows RT there are now other players that run all kinds of formats. WP8 needs this more than RT at this point.
On WP there aren't? Looks like you just want a free app? If not try MoliPlayer Pro and you'll forget about waiting for VLC.

I think I tried Moliplayer. I still have it installed on my Phone but can't continue without paying. THere was a reason why I didn't like it enough to do so. And I don't just want free apps. I've paid for plenty of apps already but only when they're worth it.

I use the Modern version (despite having the desktop version) because it does things the desktop version does not - specifically, it pauses a video when switched away, and by default. (I don't know of ANY desktop video player that pauses when switched away from - by default or otherwise.)

PGHammer said,
I use the Modern version (despite having the desktop version) because it does things the desktop version does not - specifically, it pauses a video when switched away, and by default. (I don't know of ANY desktop video player that pauses when switched away from - by default or otherwise.)

That could also be considered a flaw. For example when you're using it to play music or some instructional video and you want the sound to continue when switching to another app.

I know there are ways for apps to access the background music player and stream audio to it but few apps use it. It should really be an option. For VLC its not that big of a deal but I really wish Metrotube would use it (I know Primetube and Mytube (WP8) have this feature).

Ronnet said,
I think I tried Moliplayer. I still have it installed on my Phone but can't continue without paying. THere was a reason why I didn't like it enough to do so.
I'm curious, what were the reasons for your dislike? If they're something that would benefit us all I'd like to pass them on to the dev if you haven't done so already. Personally I find it the best media player so far on WP.

Romero said,
I'm curious, what were the reasons for your dislike? If they're something that would benefit us all I'd like to pass them on to the dev if you haven't done so already. Personally I find it the best media player so far on WP.

I can't remember. I tried a lot of them. Basically all that had a free trial. None suited me. That's all I remember. But you seem to love it. Too bad I can't get another free trial. Any good reviews of it out there?

Yes, I do like it, and especially the fact that they got a working WP app out the door well before VLC did and then kept improving it while as a VLC backer I'm still waiting for the RT and WP versions that don't even seem to be on the horizon. You can check out the articles here if you're interested in reviews: http://www.wpcentral.com/tag/moliplayer-pro

Yay, I got my name on it Um famous!

Disappointed you can't add folders to a media list in the settings but that might come later although it's not in the default application

Nice, will install when back home later with great anticipation.

i know i can and i do use the full x86 app on my computers, but I've been,leaning towards the modern apps for 'fun' stuff since launch as i like the separation (semi subconsciously on a level of work/play) but also i like the modern app switching method. This cant work for 'work' stuff yet due to workflow needing end to end support that i cant sacrifice and not sure if i want to.

with w8 though i can have a single device that handles both angles extremely well, and will only get better.

so for me its modern apps all the way (along with with multiple device sync, pay once use on all (w8 i mean- tablet, laptop, desktop), for entertainment and 'slouching on couch, general iPad esc stuff' and x86 for real work, thankfully i get both from the same OS and same store (single purchases) and full sync over the lot.

sorry if i sound like a poster boy for MS, i do prefer MS stuff simply due to my training meaning i know more in this field, but i do not consider myself a fanboy or someone who ignores logic in order for ideals to set my view of truth, but i do think atm MS is having a rough time and is under the microscope and if the general feeling towards them (not logic based but 'feeling' based) then they'd be flying on the google/apple buzz with what they are putting out.

i genuinely believe that. That if apple brought out a merged ios / osx os before ms had the idea, it would be classed as the best thing ever (i personally feel Tim Cooks offensives are due to him knowing this is the correct path, for long run succes but as Sony did (they want a pure digital only console system, but its marketing rules system and mind share)he wants to,diminish the competition and then wait for the right time (a luxury when you have the 'fashionable and desirable tag' to bring out the same #### in a different parcel) and the main thing against everything ms does is mindshare (perception) and general coolness, it causes everything they do to be put under a level of microscopic intensity other companies never have to deal with.

i,may be wrong, entirely or partially but that's how i see things and I'm very willing to readjust it based on further none objectionable facts.

Edited by duddit2, Mar 12 2014, 9:33pm :

Followup - it's fully file-compatible with the desktop version of VLC (which is my default video player already), and, as I referred to above, it auto-pauses when switched away from (which the desktop player doesn't do). Full-screen video is as good as desktop VLC (which is how it earned the default-video-player status in the first place). *Winner*.

"works on Windows 8.0 and 8.1: too many people are still on 8.0, so we had to use that. This decreases the stability of the application, though..."

Good job using the Store to push the 8.1 upgrade, MS. Gift that keeps on giving.

Lord Method Man said,
"works on Windows 8.0 and 8.1: too many people are still on 8.0, so we had to use that. This decreases the stability of the application, though..."

This is a truly ridiculous statement. How does supporting both (i.e. building as an 8.0 app) in *any way* impact stability?

Good job using the Store to push the 8.1 upgrade, MS. Gift that keeps on giving.

I haven't released Tweetium for 8.1 and have had only one or two people ask about an 8.0 version. Downloads for the 8.1 version of Newseen have slowed to a trickle. I suspect those still on 8.0 aren't using the Store anyway...

Brandon Live said,
This is a truly ridiculous statement. How does supporting both (i.e. building as an 8.0 app) in *any way* impact stability?
Who knows? This is a statement they have to provide proof for. Sounds like an excuse to me for instability in their app but more investigation is required.

Edited by Romero, Mar 13 2014, 2:36am :

Still has a lot of work before I'd use it over the desktop version, but glad to see something finally hit for public use.

Crashes regularly for me too, no way to clear history, no way to view folders on USB drive (everything seems to be lumped together?), no playlists, doesn't show files in music and video library folders I have on my SD card which is a massive fail, files on DLNA server aren't showing up, no hardware acceleration so kills battery life, no external subs support which is another huge fail for me and I'm sure lots more. Plus of course nothing for Windows RT. Sigh, still waiting...

Edited by Romero, Mar 13 2014, 2:16am :

This is all ironic considering that Windows RT is the OS that actually needs this. It's too bad they couldn't have just recompiled the desktop version for jailbroken RT 8.0 devices (due lack of required non-Microsoft developer tools that can target ARM for win32 I believe)... then the people needing this would be even less...

Yeah, but how many people still on 8 have jailbroken RT devices (or ever did)? About the tools, I don't know what the hold-up is but the guys recompiling apps for jailbroken RT devices on xda-developers didn't seem to have the same problem. They managed just fine and built up quite the app library for WOA.

Romero said,
Yeah, but how many people still on 8 have jailbroken RT devices (or ever did)? About the tools, I don't know what the hold-up is but the guys recompiling apps for jailbroken RT devices on xda-developers didn't seem to have the same problem. They managed just fine and built up quite the app library for WOA.

Every desktop app that has been recompiled for Windows on ARM was written using Visual Studio, as gcc and MinGW can't target WOA as yet, which someone posted above is the same hold up for VLC apparently. If they can get gcc for ARM working (as hinted at in the interview article) that would enable a ton more desktop applications that could be recompiled. I sure hope someone finds a way to unlock the desktop in 8.1 too.

I don't know the numbers of jailbroken vs non, but considering the entire Windows RT user base is pretty small anyway, it was probably rather small. I for one still run RT 8.0 for that precise reason, as Windows RT without the desktop would be mostly be a Netflix box.

Edited by domboy, Mar 13 2014, 5:16pm :

Dot Matrix said,
Wait, how does it not support RT?

Just because it uses the common language elements with RT does NOT mean all the libraries and other elements of the application do.

Zidane said,

Just because it uses the common language elements with RT does NOT mean all the libraries and other elements of the application do.

Well, Windows RT actually does have all the same OS libraries available to WinRT apps. It's actually very uncommon to have something which doesn't "just work" on both platforms (with a simple recompile needed for native code, which VS handles for you).

However, there are a few reasons they may have chosen to not support ARM in this first release:
1) They just didn't have time to test on it and they want to make sure everything works.
2) They're concerned about performance on low end machines, and they want more time to optimize before being judged by Surface RT/2 owners.
3) They're including video codecs which use CPU-specific features like SIMD, or are porting their own libraries which include some x86 ASM, and haven't ported that to ARM yet.

It is a shame for them to take so long and then launch something so buggy and still not even support RT though =/

I guess I was wrong! He answered in the interview Neowin just posted that the reason is they build some of their libraries with gcc and MinGW which I guess doesn't (yet) support compiling for Windows on ARM. That's unfortunate. Also unfortunate that Microsoft's compiler apparently doesn't support the parts of C99 that they use.

Brandon Live said,
He answered in the interview Neowin just posted that the reason is they build some of their libraries with gcc and MinGW which I guess doesn't (yet) support compiling for Windows on ARM.
So you're saying we won't see the Windows RT version till the compilers are updated? Great, at this rate I don't think we're ever going to see it then.

Lord Method Man said,
I thought all Modern apps were WinRT apps.

Not all Modern apps can be run on Windows RT Arm processor, although most of them will run fine.

Lord Method Man said,
I thought all Modern apps were WinRT apps.

Windows RT and WinRT are two different things.

Also, being a WinRT app doesn't mean it automatically supports ARM.

The funny thing is that windows RT needs this app much more than windows 8, since you can install a ton of different players on 8, yet no proper free players are in the store.

Cute - and it pauses when switched away from (something which the desktop VLC player does not do, and can't do). It therefore brings a USABLE feature to those of us that would like auto-pause when playing back video - even better, it's the default.

PGHammer said,
it pauses when switched away from [...] even better, it's the default.

is it even possible for metro apps to play video in the background?

PGHammer said,
Cute - and it pauses when switched away from (something which the desktop VLC player does not do, and can't do). It therefore brings a USABLE feature to those of us that would like auto-pause when playing back video - even better, it's the default.

Do you have ModernMix installed? If so, there is a setting in it that turns that off.

CJEric said,

is it even possible for metro apps to play video in the background?

Yes, as a developer you can force metro apps to continue running in the background be it video\music etc.

bitflusher said,
A quick test with an MP3. It keeps playing. Yes media can continue running in the background.

MP3s do but videos don't and it depends on the Metro app. I believe XBox music won't pause but the Metro video app will and so did Plex's metro app. ModernMix gives you the ability to turn off that pause globally.

No - and, as I said, I don't WANT it playing when I switch away from it. In other words, the default settings (Modern player vs. desktop player) are why the Modern player wins - if I want a video to keep playing, that's what the desktop player is for.

Unlike some - that will only use a Modern app that is feature-identical to a desktop application - I look for Modern apps that offer features their desktop counterparts lack - auto-pause is a feature that I actually WISH that desktop media players had! (Lack of auto-pause is, in my humble opinion, the BIGGEST lack of all desktop media players, and especially of those that play back video, whether full-screed or windowed - and primarily windowed playback (it's too easy for a windowed player to get covered up by another window). Along comes VLC Modern, with auto-pause - again, it's a feature the desktop version lacks - which rather neatly solves that problem.)

PGHammer said,
auto-pause is a feature that I actually WISH that desktop media players had! (Lack of auto-pause is, in my humble opinion, the BIGGEST lack of all desktop media players, and especially of those that play back video, whether full-screed or windowed
Personally I think this is a stupid option. Why? Because I listen to so many music videos and VLC's is rarely the active window since I'm working on other windows simultaneously while continuing to listen and watch, or even just listen if the window is hidden.

That said, this is a relatively simple thing to implement and I wouldn't say no to it being an option. In fact, it has been suggested to the VLC devs more than once years back and people even provided source code patches to implement it as a user preference. Unfortunately Jean-Baptiste Kempf refused to include it. If you want it so badly add a new issue on the bug tracker and bug the devs to make this minor modification so that those who'd like to do so can turn this option on while the rest of us can continue using the player as if nothing's changed. I wonder why they're against it so vehemently?

https://mailman.videolan.org/p.../2011-September/081405.html
http://comments.gmane.org/gman...eo.videolan.vlc.devel/79584

PGHammer said,
auto-pause is a feature that I actually WISH that desktop media players had! (Lack of auto-pause is, in my humble opinion, the BIGGEST lack of all desktop media players, and especially of those that play back video, whether full-screed or windowed

I wouldn't prefer that either. I have two monitors and often I watch movies/TV/listen to music on my second monitor while working on something like remote work on my work servers, Word docs, or even playing a game on the first monitor.