Although there is a tonne of free video players on the market, few of them enable you to view just about every video and audio format, relying on you to upgrade to the ‘Pro’ version with additional codec support.
Not VLC, which has been the most universally lauded media player since it’s original release back in 2001.
After 3 years in development, VLC 3 is now fully available and it’s a huge release. Codenamed ‘Vetinari’, the cross-platform media player now gains Chromecast support (Windows and Android only with iOS support coming soon), meaning you can convert your own media to playback via your Chromecast media device, via VLC. Of course, you can also use VLC to stream existing Chromecast media on a relevant device.
Other new features include 360 video, meaning you can now capture immersive 360 video and zoom around using VLC, before you upload your content to a streaming portal such as YouTube. 360 video and 3D audio support is seen as a forerunner for full VR support, which VLC is intending to add mid-April.
Another huge bonus for any modern PC is full hardware decoding, meaning that VLC will now use your CPU and the relevant codecs built into your system to playback video. VLC claims that the new v3 media player will be able to decode and play 8K video at 60fps, without stutter, on a Kaby Lake Core i7 system.
VLC 3 also ships with full 4K and 8K support, a 12bits codec, plus full HDR10 on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update or higher. HDMI audio passthrough for E-AC3, TrueHD and DTS-HD, means that your system (if supported) will now decode and support the latest audio codecs, too, essential for watching a Blu-ray 4K movie.
In addition, there are many other minor updates such as support for Ambisonics audio, BD-Java menus support (required for Blu-ray discs) and full support for both local network and NAS drives.
VLC 3 supports every edition of Windows from XP through 10 and Mac OS 10.7 or higher. Download VLC 3 for Windows (and 64-bit), Mac, Android and iOS (still at v2.9).
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