The VideoLAN organization has released a new build of VLC Media Player for OS X. The version 1.1.0-rc of the player has been updated with numerous changes and fixes, including a major reworking of the VLCKit framework, CoreText-based text renderer for subtitles, and support for new codecs and enhanced features of current codecs.
More specifically, the new release includes the following new features:
- GPU and DSP decoding, depending on the platform
- Faster and more stable
- New codecs and HD codecs enhancements
- Webm and VP8 support
- MKV, mp4 and avi improvements
- Important code cleanup and rewrite
- Interface and playlist reworked
In brief testing, I played two H.264-encoded QuickTime movie files in both the previous version 1.0.5, and the current release candidate to see the CPU usage differences. For the smaller of the two files, version 1.0.5 of VLC used about 16.5% of the CPU to play the file, whereas the current version uses around 12.5%. For the larger movie, version 1.0.5 takes about 35-40% of the CPU, and version 1.1 takes around 26-30% at the same scenes.
This is a decent improvement in performance, so lets hope it scales to various codecs and more complex and enhanced encoding schemes as well.
The player is freely available for download from VLC's website (see the News section below the current 1.0.5 download link), and is highly recommended by us as one of several alternatives and enhancements to Apple's QuickTime (MPlayer OS X Extended and the QuickTime Plugin "Perian" being some others). Keep in mind that this is a release candidate, which means it has left the "Beta" status but is not yet an official release. As a result it may have one or two quirks, but the major issues with the development of this version have been tackled.
While the VideoLAN website will point you to the download for the 32-bit version of VLC by default, there is a 64-bit Intel and PowerPC version as well. These are available at the following download page: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/releases/1.1.0-RC.html
Recently there was news that the, and that version 1.1 would be the last supported release on OS X. The problem was primarily the lack of interface developers for the program (though this version sports a slightly tweaked UI), so hopefully VideoLAN has been able to recruit a few Mac developers to continue this project. We would love to see VLC continue for the Mac well beyond version 1.1.