Just a few weeks ago, the team behind the popular VLC Media Player announced via a simple tweet that the Android variant of the much anticipated multimedia playing application will soon be hitting Google Play Store. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for these claims to substantiate, as the very first beta variant of VLC Player for Android has just been released for devices that are powered by an ARMv7 CPU with NEON support. Dubbed to be aimed at just the ‘power users’ and ‘hackers’, this debut release of the cross-platform app is meant to play almost every multimedia file format known to date. The app is not just restricted to catering to your local audio and video playback needs, but also supports playing high quality network streams. Other features currently supported by VLC on Android include swipe gestures for volume control, support for multi-track audio and subtitle files, option to lock video player window, toggle for aspect ratio adjustment, audio playback control via headset button, option to filter audio tracks by artists, songs, genres and albums, album art support, browsing by directory, and last but not the least, a nifty homescreen widget that helps controlling audio playback.
As with the highly successful desktop variant of VLC Player, the Android version also comes across as an open-source project, and is expected to play High Definition (up to 1080p). With VLC for Android, you can play videos sporting a variety of formats, without requiring any additional codecs. Wondering whether your device will be able to run the app or not? The following devices are almost certain to handle the app effectively:
- Samsung Galaxy S III
- Galaxy Nexus
- Nexus S
- Motorola Defy
- HTC One X
- Nexus One
- quite a few others
The app’s main interface is split into two halves: Video and Audio. At launch, the app scans your device for all the local media content available, and lists the files under the relevant tabs. The option to manually search for required media, or open a specific network stream, is accessible from the bar at the top. Tapping the menu button lets you switch between directory and media library view, or head over to the app’s settings screen from where you may toggle various options, including hardware acceleration, headset detection, clear search history, and/or select the required audio output.
While within the Video tab, you may long press a file to reveal its Information, such as audio and video codecs, video resolution, frame rate, and audio sample rate etc. On the other hand, long pressing an album, genre or artist from within the Audio tab lets you play all the underlying tracks, whereas doing the same on a specific track displays the option to append it to the current playlist.
Now to the business end of the app: its capability and effectiveness to play High Quality videos. While VLC Beta for Android fares relatively well in handling most file types, it still doesn’t seem to be prepared all that well to handle 1080p videos. In addition, we also observed the app to be taking a heavy toll on our Galaxy Nexus’ battery during the brief trial run.
Given it’s only an initial beta release, we didn’t expect the app to work wonders, anyways. However, with the likes of the crowd-favorite MX Video Player, the recently reviewed Wondershare Player and other extremely powerful media playing and streaming apps in their sight, the team behind VLC Player might very well know that they have a mammoth task confronting them, if they’re to make their product a success symbol among its counterparts.
Hit the link provided below to head over to the Google Play Store page of VLC Beta for Android.