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VLC Media Player Plans to Add Online Media Streaming

VLC is gearing up to offer new features. Sounds exciting!

We already knew that the upcoming VLC 4.0 release was going to be a major shift from what we have seen from VLC so far. There are plenty of exciting upgrades in store that will take it into a new era of media consumption.

Surprisingly, the popularity of this media player doesn't seem to be going down in this age of online streaming, as the project reported a whopping 5 billion downloads of VLC across various platforms since 2005.

And, with a recent development, we now have a better idea of what to expect from the VLC 4.0 release, with plans to support ad-supported online media streams as well.

So, join me as I take you through this.

What's happening: In conversation with Lowpass, VideoLAN president, Jean-Baptiste Kempf mentioned that they were rewriting the whole core of VLC for the 4.0 release which will see a new interface providing a more enjoyable media browsing experience.

a screenshot of an early vlc 4.0 build with the video tab open
An early look at the interface of VLC 4.0

When he was talking about that, he also shared that they plan to add support for FAST channels and other kinds of ad-supported online media streams that would allow users to watch ad-supported movies, TV shows, and more.

However, he also clarified that plans for this were not finalized yet, and if it were to happen, it would be optional for VLC users.

That's not all, Kempf added that they are working on a WebAssembly (WASM) version of VLC geared towards use with websites to stream content to viewers. He also shared that they have a version of VLC for the recently launched Apple Vision Pro that has not been released for everyone yet.

Does it Matter?

It does when you consider that there are over 1,500 FAST channels in the US alone, plus countless others around the globe, with the number still growing. Providing support for such channels in what is arguably the world's most popular media player, will just be the cherry on top.

Then there's the WASM version of VLC that can be an excellent addition to the existing lineup of online media players dominated by HTML5-based options.

On this, Kempf added that:

People, especially the younger generation, expect to stream.
The Videolan team has been trying to figure out how to best balance those changes in consumer behavior with continued interest in video file playback.

It is nice to see that they are keeping up with what is happening in the world of online streaming, and VLC entering this space will be quite interesting to see.

When to Expect: Kempf has not mentioned any specific dates as to when we could expect these changes. Sometime in 2024 is my best guess, as these changes are quite far-reaching.

Needless to say, as things stand right now, the popularity of VLC doesn't seem to be going down anytime soon, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for it.

If you want an early look at the upcoming changes with VLC 4.0, you can download the latest nightly release from the official website or the latest “Edge” build from the Snap store.

I would recommend the Snap store version as it is quite straightforward to get installed. Keep in mind that these builds are unstable, and not recommended for daily use.

💬 Are you excited about the upcoming VLC 4.0 release? Let me know below!

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