VLC for Windows 8 passes Microsoft's certification but without its audio output

It's been almost a year since the VideoLAN team raised enough money via Kickstarter (close to $76,000) to work on a Windows 8 app for its very popular VLC video player. Since then, we have reported that the development of the app has taken much longer than first predicted, mainly because the team has had to stamp down what are known as "forbidden calls" in the program. Today, VideoLAN President Jean-Baptiste Kempf sent Neowin an exclusive update on their progress and it looks like we are very close to an actual release.

Kempf sent over a link that showed that the VLC app had passed Microsoft's Windows App Certification Kit test, which the page shows was accomplished on September 23rd. That's the good news. The bad news? As Kempf told us, "In order to achieve that, we had to disable the audio output, but we are working on that, for the next couple of weeks."

Hopefully the audio output will be enabled quickly and Kempf assured us that more news on the VLC Windows 8 front will be announced "soon". It has certainly been a long wait for those people who donated money to the Kickstarter campaign so that the all volunteer team at VideoLAN could complete the Windows 8 app. We really do wish them the best of luck as they get close to the finish line.

Image via VideoLAN

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54 Comments

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Now all we need is a torrent app that will run in the background. I hope someone releases a good app compared to the current ones sitting on the store.

As far as I know, no. I asked this question on the kickstarter forum and they said they will be using their own framework.
Well, I asked that question because I am concerned with it as well.

Real close o the release, we've been reading it ever since the first 3 months were gone.
I don't like VLC, but I am pretty sure it will be a lot useful. And even I am going to try it myself, even not liking it very much.

BinaryDevotee said,
Real close o the release, we've been reading it ever since the first 3 months were gone.
I don't like VLC, but I am pretty sure it will be a lot useful. And even I am going to try it myself, even not liking it very much.

I tried VLC and I'm not fond of it either, playback isn't all that good compared to just getting a codec pack and using WMP

freakyfriday said,
hope it works with 1080p and 720p Blu-ray rips!

You can already rip BluRay for playback, just use a standard format codec and a standard container.

I haven't followed its development at all. Are they striving to be the end-all, be-all player like it is for the desktop? If so, good on them--the platform needs it.

with the amount of crud currently in the MS Store, it's surprising VLC has taken this long lol I'm pleased they are making sure it's a quality product. Shame other devs aren't like them.

OMG, a Working VLC player for windows RT with full mkv support and i'll buy a surface 2 immediately. The lack of an ability to install a codec pack in windows RT is the only thing holding me back right now from buying, but once VLC is available it's an instant purcahse!

What's performance like for you? I don't have an RT device to test. I tested it on my win8 x64 desktop and the app seemed to crash whenever I tried out an MKV file, until I switched it to "default renderer" from "native renderer"- so im not sure if it's working off the codecs I already have installed in my system. Also I couldn't get subtitles to work either (I need subtitles since most the mkv files I watch are foreign language)

Pretty good, there was not support for DTS for example at the beginning or multiple audio tracks or subtitles, but the author has been iterating on the app and it's now a solid reader. It's not as robust as a desktop VLC, but it still reads mkv/mp4/avi very well.

This is one of the bad sides of "modern" apps... there are so many API's and other interfaces we are so use to in a pure desktop environment, that porting all apps to modern apps gets very hard if you relied on older VC++ runtimes, or don't have system API's exposed to you now in "modern" apps... I know we can't port our desktop apps we write because a bunch of .NET calls we use aren't supported yet when used with the windows store model.... "modern" has a way to come yet

neufuse said,
This is one of the bad sides of "modern" apps...

I would argue that as one of the best sides of modern apps.

No more inconsistent implementations of Win32/COM+/DCOM and basically bad native code.....

Although, I'll give the VLC guys credit, their native work is top notch!

deadonthefloor said,

I would argue that as one of the best sides of modern apps.

No more inconsistent implementations of Win32/COM+/DCOM and basically bad native code.....

Although, I'll give the VLC guys credit, their native work is top notch!

there are a LOT of methods and properties in the .NET framework that are not supported in windows store apps, some of them you have to scratch your head at and wonder why didn't they implement this one... these aren't all native level or low level functions that are missing

Pretty sure they will. They had a kickstarter for it and that was on an international level. I'm one of the individuals who supported the project.

I can't wait to see how these guys did with this app. and I'd love to see an interview with them on the challenges for developing for Win 8.

The overriding feeling I'm getting hers is that Microsoft are making app makers jump through certain hoops to have their apps certified.

Not really... VLC for desktop obviously uses some undocumented or unsupported APIs that they have to remove to get in the Metro store, for security/stability reasons probably. The same way Apple disallowed the use of UUIDs a year or two ago due to privacy concerns - any app submitted after the cutoff date that used UUIDs was rejected.

Javik said,
The overriding feeling I'm getting hers is that Microsoft are making app makers jump through certain hoops to have their apps certified.

I don't think so, at least not in this case. Like most platform-agnostic FOSS code, it was probably full of undocumented API use and non-traditional calls from straight C/C++. Stuff that would never work in the sandboxed environment provided by the WinRT runtime. It doesn't surprise me at all how much re-working of the code they've had to do to get this functioning. I imagine Mozilla is dealing with similar issues right now, though it seems they are closer to getting Firefox fully working.

Javik said,
The overriding feeling I'm getting hers is that Microsoft are making app makers jump through certain hoops to have their apps certified.

I have Win8 apps on the store and in the past I had an app on the iPhone store. There were no real differences between the two. You need to make sure your app doesn't crash, supports a specific version of software such as OpenGL or DirectX, doesn't violate some UI guidelines, etc. The only difference is that on Win8 they give you an app that you can run on your desktop to verify, which is what the VLC people are running. When I wrote my iPhone apps, there was no such program to verify so you submitted and prayed it would work.

xpxp2002 said,

I don't think so, at least not in this case. Like most platform-agnostic FOSS code, it was probably full of undocumented API use and non-traditional calls from straight C/C++. Stuff that would never work in the sandboxed environment provided by the WinRT runtime. It doesn't surprise me at all how much re-working of the code they've had to do to get this functioning. I imagine Mozilla is dealing with similar issues right now, though it seems they are closer to getting Firefox fully working.

They are making browser. So not really. They don't have to go thru much hoops for metro firefox on windows 8.

metro firefox for windows rt? that's a whole different story.

JustAnotherTechie said,
Not really... VLC for desktop obviously uses some undocumented or unsupported APIs that they have to remove to get in the Metro store, for security/stability reasons probably. The same way Apple disallowed the use of UUIDs a year or two ago due to privacy concerns - any app submitted after the cutoff date that used UUIDs was rejected.

I can see how abuse of UUID's causes security problems (especially if UUID databases are leaked), but how on earth does hearing audio imply a security or stability problem?

Crimson Rain said,

They are making browser. So not really. They don't have to go thru much hoops for metro firefox on windows 8.

metro firefox for windows rt? that's a whole different story.

You presume that Mozilla are just using the 8.1 browser API and not porting their engine to the Windows Runtime.

deadonthefloor said,

You presume that Mozilla are just using the 8.1 browser API and not porting their engine to the Windows Runtime.


which is what they are doing. running active code in an app is a no-go on WinRT.

Northgrove said,

I can see how abuse of UUID's causes security problems (especially if UUID databases are leaked), but how on earth does hearing audio imply a security or stability problem?

It isn't the audio, it is problems with the code that is written to make the audio play.

It could be they are using old calls to non-trusted DLLS or some other way around the WinRT framework that is not allowed.

Code that doesn't behave as the OS expects is where 'stability' and 'security' problems come from.

Javik said,
The overriding feeling I'm getting hers is that Microsoft are making app makers jump through certain hoops to have their apps certified.

I agree 100%. Who needs quality anyway. As a marketing concept it's a bit overdone. Just look at Android.

deadonthefloor said,

You presume that Mozilla are just using the 8.1 browser API and not porting their engine to the Windows Runtime.


At this point, they are not doing that; at least, there is no public news about it.

Also, because of the sandboxing and api restrictions, they can not port their engine to WinRT without crippling it a lot (similar to browser situation in iOS).

Aaron44126 said,
An "exclusive update"? This was sent to all backers as an update to the project via Kickstarter. :-)

Yes... "exclusive" in that only the backers got to see it normally.

Can someone perhaps elaborate one what they mean by audio output? Playing movies with no sound or some sort of aux feature?

Axel said,
Can someone perhaps elaborate one what they mean by audio output? Playing movies with no sound or some sort of aux feature?

Basically they got all the video components to pass validation but audio is not so they published that the player is passing certification without any form of audio output. They have not released a build yet though.

If there's a class driver for a DVD drive on Windows RT, I don't see why that wouldn't work. Though I'm curious how VLC is going to get the libdvdcss code through the Store certification process.

j2006 said,
You could already watch DVDs/Blu-Rays on Windows RT with an external drive.

How? I know RT devices will recognize external USB DVD drives, as I've hooked a couple up myself. Is there already a free DVD player application available in the store?

Pluto is a Planet said,
Yes actually, because VLC is made in France where software cannot be patented (no paid license required for audio and DVD decryption).

Unless MS or Google decided to buy them too like they did Skype and Youtube. Hoping neither happens

A media player with no audio? Why bother releasing anything until such a core component is working/resolved?

SK[ said,]A media player with no audio? Why bother releasing anything until such a core component is working/resolved?

they haven't, they have simply tested the app without sound and got an all clear using the certification test but its not yet submitted for store inclusion. They just need to work on the audio output and release.

to others here, if this is like the desktop vlc it means RT devices will be able to play .mkv and other video where the codec is not included in windows ( on RT you cant install codec packs).

SK[ said,]A media player with no audio? Why bother releasing anything until such a core component is working/resolved?

I don't think they have released anything yet.

Per the kickstarter posting:
"We are working on fixing this audio issue and we will share a build to you backers, as soon as it is done."

"
to others here, if this is like the desktop vlc it means RT devices will be able to play .mkv and other video where the codec is not included in windows ( on RT you cant install codec packs).
"

Possible now using the Mobile.HD app