VLC Media Player Might Integrate Ad-Supported Streaming Channels


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Apr 24, 2016
We're still waiting patiently for the VLC 4.0 update. Now, in an unexpected announcement, VideoLAN says that it's working on an Apple Vision Pro app and a web-based VLC media player. The non-profit is also toying with the idea of ad-supported streaming channels.

In a conversation with Lowpass, VideoLAN president Jean-Baptiste Kempf stated, "we already have a version of VLC running on the Vision Pro." The app hasn't been released because the Vision Pro user base is still quite small, and Kempf notes that there isn't a clear use case for VLC on the platform. Interestingly, VideoLAN isn't building a VLC app for Meta Quest headsets, though Kempf says that he's open to the idea.

A WebAssembly version of VLC is also in the pipeline. This may come as no surprise to open-source enthusiasts, as the VLC.js project has been kicking around for about seven years. Still, it's an interesting thing to think about. Web-based VLC could be embedded into websites for robust media playback. It would support various file formats, including DVD ISOs with subtitles, and reduce the use of embedded YouTube videos. Years ago, Jason Scott wrote a blog post explaining how VLC.js could benefit the Internet Archive and the web as a whole—it's an interesting read.

The Vision Pro app and web-based VLC announcements aren't too shocking. But Kempf's interest in FAST, or free ad-supported streaming, comes as a bit of a surprise. On the one hand, VLC has always been a top-tier streaming solution for local networks. And beta versions of the VLC 4.0 update include a more user-friendly media browser interface, meaning that VLC could more readily replace library-focused media apps like Kodi or Jellyfin.

Presumably, VLC would provide access to third-party FAST channels. These may be the same channels that are available on Tubi, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, and so on, but they could be fired up from the open-source VLC player. However, Kempf hasn't really explained the idea, and it's still just an idea. Lowpass also confirms that FAST integration may be disabled by the user, assuming that VLC ever gains FAST functionality.

It seems that 2024 will be a big year for VLC. The open-source media player has surpassed five million downloads, and Google recently announced that it will use VideoLAN's Dav1d decoder for AV1 video on Android. As for the VLC 4.0 update—it's still in the works, and Kempf says that the development team is busy "rewriting the whole core of VLC."

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