VLC 1.1 Features GPU Acceleration, Extensions [Download]

VideoLAN VLC is among the most popular video players on Windows, Linux but still not the best one. The decoding codecs used by current versions of VLC (1.0.x) are way too inferior in performance and quality as compared to the top of the line.

The Proof of Concept comes when one tries to play a 1080p High-Def video in VLC vs. using other Codecs. Our previous post talks about superior contenders in Codecs: CoreAVC, that lets you play 1080p smoothly, even on low-end machines (1.5Ghz Dual core, low-end GPU).

Well, the things are about to change for this open-player. The next VLC version i.e. 1.1 will come with a lot of new features. Here are the key features:

GPU-Based Decoding
This is the most coolest one. Technologies like CUDA are closed and limited to NVIDIA only, but VLC opens up the gateway to General Purpose processing using GPU with DxVA (DirectX Video Acceleration API) on Windows Vista and Windows 7, and VAAPI on Linux.

It works for few GPUs and reduces CPU usage pretty well, but on others might not. You can check the GPU compatibility list here. This should improve as we get near to the final version.

Extensions
Starting with version 1.1, users will be able to write their own plugins for VLC, codenamed Extensions. The difference with other VLC modules consists in the language used to write these Extensions: Lua, a simple a lightweight scripting language, embedded inside VLC media player.

How to use Extensions:
Download the VLC (Nightly build link available at the bottom) and Lua scripts and copy them to your VLC scripts folder:

  • Linux: ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/extensions/
  • Windows: %APPDATA%\VLC\lua\extensions

Open the Plugins & Extensions dialog to reload the list of extensions.

New Media library
Till now, VLC was just a player with no library. This is going to change with v1.1. It will now have a searchable music/video database (based on SqlLite) for easy access and management.

New Playlists, MIDI Support
VLC will add support for WPL (WMP playlist), ZPL playlists and MIDI sequences.

Windows 7 Integration
Starting from VLC 1.0.0.3, VLC started to feature Windows 7 Integration. VLC 1.1 plans to bring all the cool stuff that is available to Windows Media Player: Preview Thumbnails, recent media, jump lists, etc.

All New User Interface
The New UI will become a lot more prettier and intuitive.

New Visualizations
Milkdrop visualizations come to VLC using Opensource project projectM.

Desktop Wallpaper Overlay
Remember the cool Feature of WinAMP that enabled you to put videos on the desktop behind icons? Same thing is now coming to VLC.

Possible Mobile Support
From what I heard, it is getting Nokia N900 port and may be few more smartphones.

I took the GIT build a few days back to try out all the new stuff and decided to upload it for enthusiasts. You can download the nightly build of the VLC 1.1 from the link provided below.

IMPORTANT: Just to warn you, VLC 1.1 is BETA, Most of the features are available but can be buggy.

Download VLC 1.1 [Windows] [Mac OS x] [Linux, Others]

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