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VLC Player For Android Is Almost a Reality

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the incremental-progress dept.

Android 144

An anonymous reader writes "Android, as a platform, has always fallen a little short when it comes to media playback. The native apps that come with every Android device don't make it easy to watch movies. The only native app that allows you to navigate movies is the Gallery app, which is great for photos, but bad for movies. Among the many contributions to the Android ecosystem made by Austen Dicken are his developments in support of the Motorola Droid line of phones for Cyanogenmod, Embedded Gentoo for Android, and, as a fun side project, he's playing with VLC for Android. Austen describes his work on VLC for Android to be pre-alpha at this point in time, but he is still able to show some impressive results regarding basic functionality. "

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Where are the VLC devs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519528)

Why don't the VLC assholes port it to Android? They've ported it everywhere else.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519616)

This sort of mentality makes me hesitate to contribute anything back to open source... Contribute, have people call you names or worse. Don't contribute my improvements, continue blissfully as before without all that hassle.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520156)

You don't have to let the complaints bother you.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521116)

It was just one AC posting both comments above.

Microsoft employs Weber Shandwick to foster ill-feeling about Linux and Open Source projects wherever possible. They use reputation management software to run multiple identities in most social networking sites across the internets.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (5, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520246)

Or contribute (iPhone VLC port) only to have your contribution buried by one of the authors on philosophical grounds, depriving users of choice.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521456)

What are you talking about? The iPhone port was killed by Apple because it "duplicated core functionality" as the iPhone already has a horrible video playback feature hidden away somewhere in the built-in iPod app and streaming video via the browser.

VLC isn't depriving the user of choice, Apple (as always), is.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522062)

VLC on iPhone was killed because it breached the licensing terms of being able to copy it from the device to another device. To quote Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] "VLC was available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch from the Apple AppStore, but was pulled due to a licensing conflict between the GPL and the iTunes Store agreement.[11]" Referenced details can be found here [macnn.com] .

The story was even reported on some tech [slashdot.org] blogs [pcmag.com] ...

From memory the guy who forced the removal by suing Apple was an Linux/Android developer. So, no conflict of interest there at all. But feel free to blame Apple.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (1)

sitkill (893183) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522176)

wow, I never knew about this. No wonder my VLC player on my ipad hasn't been updated in close to a year. :( I guess I should count my lucky stars that I got it when it was still legit.

Re:Where are the VLC devs (1)

gmon750 (1216394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520200)

Way to go AC. Sling verbal insults at the very same people you want help from. Does that work method work for everything else in your life?

Re:Where are the VLC devs (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520272)

It's called a troll...

The non-troll way to say it would be "I'm so happy VLC is coming to the android, my life is complete and the sun is shining"

Contribute good code and people will thank you, crash their computer and they may have a few things to say, imagine that :)

I hadn't really thought about this... (2)

Maquis196 (535256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519538)

Going from the N900 to the Galaxy S II when it turns up is going to be a culture shock, I honestly hadn't thought that video playback would be a concern.

RIP N900 :(

(Yes I'm a bitter fanboy)

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519628)

Playback is fine in my experience, the video player that comes on the Galaxy S 2 is fine for watching things and supports any format I've thrown at it (not sure if it's a stock Android thing or if Samsung has their own Video player, but it's separate to the Gallery app).

It has a fairly bad interface for selecting videos, but I just use the file manager to find them, then they load in the video player anyway.

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519902)

It's their own thing. Motoblur on my Atrix 4G only supports H.264 and a handful of audio codecs, Ogg Vorbis not amongst them.

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522078)

i wish people would qualify which level of the h264 spec they mean.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC#Levels [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC#Profiles [wikipedia.org]

please please stop assuming that when you say "H264" there is a single version. for example my old phone and PS3 did not share a level. My current phone (htc glacier) might share a level i haven't looked.

PS3 requires level 4.1 main or higher, and my old phone stopped around level 3.0 base

sorry rant over now...

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519670)

No matter what - it would be a culture shock. But that would be the case if you move to any other platform from N900.
But do not believe the FUD here. Android works perfectly fine with videos. This is clearly written by somebody who has to be told how to navigate a directory.

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (1)

mea_culpa (145339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520032)

Just download RockPlayer from the market. I've been using it over a year and it plays almost everything VLC does and it supports hardware acceleration if available. I use it mainly for SD divx TV shows and is perfect for these, plus it supports subtitles like VLC does. You don't need to buy it either, the unlimited trial version puts a small logo in the corner of the screen.

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521120)

It doesn't support hardware acceleration when using MKV containers though. I've used RockPlayer, VPlayer and MoboPlayer and none of them support it. Using software decoding for MKV works, but it eats more battery and causes HD video to stutter or get out of sync. It's kind of annoying to have to remux stuff into an MP4 container just to get hardware acceleration working.

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (1)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520570)

Interesting point: before one of the developers had an, ah, disagreement about App Store policies and had the app pulled, you could get VLC for iOS. I still have it and works very well, despite surviving a few major iOS updates.

I was very surprised to not see it on Android.

Re:I hadn't really thought about this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520668)

What do you mean "when it turns up"? Both my brothers have already bought them two weeks ago. And every shop has them. Seriously, right now so many people are buying them, that it feels like an iPhone killer. (It just feels like it. I don't say that it will be. Although I pray for it to the god of GNU five times a day. ;)
(And when it happens, I will pray for a N900-like device to kill *that* one. :D)

Worth Waiting For... (0)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519540)

VLC on Android is something I and my kids have been waiting for. It's worth it, as this is our primary media player at home (Ubuntu + Lubuntu + PCLinux OS).

Accelerated WebM? (0)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519546)

How is WebM playback?

Does it need hardware accel?

Is there hardware accel on any current-model phones? Next gen phones?

Re:Accelerated WebM? (4, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519738)

Yes, there is hardware acceleration, but it depends on the chipset. The Tegra 2, for example, can play back h.264 1080p24 (/p30/i60) perfectly happily, but ONLY Main Profile. Throw CABAC and weighted p/b frames at it and it'll throw a wobbler, so no High Profile.

There are several existing free apps that provide a nice browsing interface and software decoding for any codecs not supported in hardware (usually pretty slow, think 480p30 max) and hardware decoding for unsupported containers (e.g. MKV. I think MoboPlayer can even handle Ordered Chapters). I can't see VLC doing anything different other than having the traffic cone logo and a hideous interface. And probably dodgy subtitle rendering.

Re:Accelerated WebM? (2)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520422)

Intel's Atom and the Cortex A9 have about the same performance clock-for-clock (the A8 was a bit slower, the A9 is a bit faster). A single-core 1.6GHz Atom can, from personal experience, handle 720p h.264 content in software. Any dual-core Cortex A9 smartphone at 1GHz or above should be able to handle 720p30 h.264 video with the right codec. A dual-core A9 at higher clockspeeds (the SGS2 LTE and HD LTE are at 1.5GHz) can probably even do 1080p30 if you cut some corners (skip in-loop deblocking). Of course, there's little need for anything higher than 720p on a 4.5" display, unless you're plugging your phone into a larger display.

They're shipping some pretty sophisticated programmable GPUs in modern ARM SoCs these days, I wonder if there'd be any gains to be had by offloading some stages of the decoding pipeline in a software renderer to the GPU (in a purely shader-based fashion, since I don't think there are OpenCL interfaces for the SGX or Mali, and nVidia does't plan CUDA until the Tegra 3)?

Re:Accelerated WebM? (2)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520574)

Yes, but handling it in software isn't anywhere near as efficient. And less efficient means more power consumed. Software video, particularly processor intensive video like h.264, will suck through battery like nothing else.

Re:Accelerated WebM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521430)

Doesn't matter if they have CUDA. You can just as well do offscreen "rendering", by "drawing" a texture with a shader against a offscreen surface. where the color of each pixel is whatever value you want to calculate.

And yes, the gains will be crazy. Something like 5-10 times performance improvement. If done right.

P.S.: My next laptop will be my mobile phone with a display in my glasses and a small arm-wrist keyboard, both connected via Bluetooth! Whoohoo for the future!
And it will dual-boot Gentoo Linux! Even if it's the last thing I'll do!! ^^

IOS + Handbrake (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519578)

Or VLC For IOS!!! or any number of video players for IOS My only complaint for the Non-Apple video players is that for 4:3 content, it is not flush with the screen, must be an API limitations. 16:9 content is flush with no conversion needed.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (2)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519678)

I believe VLC was on IOS, I think it is probably is still possible to get on jailbroken devices. Basically Apple decided that GPL and apples terms and conditions are incompatible. http://appadvice.com/appnn/2011/01/vlc-ios-removed-app-store [appadvice.com]

Re:IOS + Handbrake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519906)

If by "Basically Apple decided that GPL and apples terms and conditions are incompatible." You mean, one of the copyright holders objected to a 3rd changing the licensing terms, and requested his copy written code be removed from the App Store, then yes, you are right.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (2)

ZPWeeks (990417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520004)

Not quite that GPL and Apple TOS are incompatible- otherwise Apple wouldn't permit other popular GPL-developed apps like the iOS WordPress client. VLC doesn't hold the copyright to contributed code, and one of the VLC contributors (who holds copyright to part of VLC) decided to make a stink about it for everyone. That person may have thought the GPL to be at odds with Apple TOS, but he's not the one calling the shots. As far as Apple was concerned, the complaint was that the developer publishing an iOS VLC port didn't have the rights to do so.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (2)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520268)

Wrong.

VLC is GPL3. GPL3 is incompatible with the App Store due to the anti-Tivoisation provisions. On that basis, nobody has the right to publish an iOS App Store version without the consent of all contributors.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520362)

Wrong.

VLC is GPL3. GPL3 is incompatible with the App Store due to the anti-Tivoisation provisions. On that basis, nobody has the right to publish an iOS App Store version without the consent of all contributors.

... and the contributor who objected was an employee of Nokia.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37521090)

Jeez only one contributor who wasn't willing to roll over for Apple? And because he may have had a business interest in doing so? Seems the days of open source idealism are long gone...

Re:IOS + Handbrake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521922)

Or grown up.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522098)

That is the worst possible meaning of "grown up." Meaning, "given up hope, accepted defeat, sold out."

Irrelevant (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520546)

VLC is GPL3. GPL3 is incompatible with the App Store due to the anti-Tivoisation provisions.

Regardless of that being true or not, it doesn't matter - because that is not how VLC was pulled from the app store. As stated. one of the VLC contributors had Apple pull it - Apple published it to the store just fine and it was up for a while.

Re:Irrelevant (2)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520658)

Well duh, it's not like the copyright holder can just delete it themselves now is it?

If Apple allowed anyone to sign or otherwise distribute & install binaries on iOS devices then the original copyright holder would have had no standing to ask for the removal, as it would have been distributed in compliance with the GPL.

You can distribute GPL2 on locked devices - that was TiVo's great innovation - so you get plenty of GPL2 software in the App Store. As far as Apple is concerned, they're just the man in the middle. If you upload something, they assume you have the rights to do so. If you tell Apple that a particular app violates your copyright, no doubt they'll take your word in good faith and pull it from the store.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520700)

VLC is GPL3. GPL3 is incompatible with the App Store due to the anti-Tivoisation provisions. On that basis, nobody has the right to publish an iOS App Store version without the consent of all contributors.

No, VLC is GPL2 (check your COPYING.txt). Only GPL3 has an explicit Tivoisation clause, which makes it clearly incompatible with the App Store, but the FSF and others (including one of the VLC programmers) have argued that Section 6 of GPL2 is also violated by Apple's additional restrictions, making even GPL2 apps incompatible.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (4, Informative)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#37521086)

Wrong.

VLC is GPL3. GPL3 is incompatible with the App Store due to the anti-Tivoisation provisions. On that basis, nobody has the right to publish an iOS App Store version without the consent of all contributors.

Wrong? That's so wrong it's right. Not only is VCL under GPL2, the VCL project has even spoken out against GPL3 http://www.videolan.org/press/2007-1.html [videolan.org] because of the Tivo clause - and the VCL engine is about to move to LGPL2.1 http://www.videolan.org/press/lgpl.html [videolan.org] to make it even more open.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37522298)

Wrong? That's so wrong it's right. Not only is VCL under GPL2, the VCL project has even spoken out against GPL3 http://www.videolan.org/press/2007-1.html [videolan.org] because of the Tivo clause - and the VCL engine is about to move to LGPL2.1 http://www.videolan.org/press/lgpl.html [videolan.org] to make it even more open.

It's called VLC (originally for Video LAN Client), not VCL.

Re:IOS + Handbrake (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522364)

Wrong.

VLC is GPL3.

It's useful to actually know what you're talking about before calling someone out like that. I'm not sure what you're basing this post on because VLC is quite clearly GPLv2 and *not* v3 as you can see here: [videolan.org]

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

You can also have a look in the COPYING file in the source code and you will find:
GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
Version 2, June 1991
...

Re:IOS + Handbrake (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520192)

Apple removed it at the DMCA request of a Nokia employee that had contributed code to VLC (and retained copyright of it).

full software rendering? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519596)

I'll be interested to see if it has full software rendering engine bypassing the hardware decoder. I don't see why it shouldn't, I believe that's what the desktop VLC does.

The hardware decoders on a lot of phones/tablets leave a bit to be desired. Why, for instance, would you limit hardware (nook color) with a display with a native resolution of 1024x600 to hardware accelerated playback of 854x480. ugh. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why my handbreak encodes weren't playing any visuals at native res until I looked up the stupid 854x480 limitation.

Re:full software rendering? (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519618)

Why, for instance, would you limit hardware (nook color) with a display with a native resolution of 1024x600 to hardware accelerated playback of 854x480

Because that's all the hardware can handle.

Re:full software rendering? (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519642)

Also "BIG SCREEN GOOOOD" is a better way to market something than a more technical explanation.

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519668)

ok, let me rephrase.

Why would you choose to build a device with hardware incapable of handling rendering at the native resolution of the device, especially when you've chosen hardware capable of rendering at 2/3 of the native resolution. was the last 1/3 really so far away price-wise?

Re:full software rendering? (2)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519920)

Most videos are 480p or 720p, hardly anything in between. So the choice was between video hardware capable of 480p and upscaling it to fit a 1024x600 screen, or video hardware capable of 720p and downscaling it to fit a 1024x600 screen. From the tests I've done, there's not much difference in appearance between 480p upscaled or 720p downscaled to fit on the NC's screen. So I think B&N made the right call. You lose the ability to play native 720p videos from camera phones, but that wasn't a feature originally intended by B&N, it was one added later by people hacking the NC to run vanilla Android.

Also, 480p may be 2/3rds the NC's native resolution. But 720p (the next step up) is 2.2x the pixels of 480p. So the next step up from the video decode hardware they used on the NC would have to have been more than twice as powerful. And anyway, the Nook Color is primarily an e-reader. B&N (rightly IMHO) put more money into a nice high-resolution screen, less into video playback on that screen. Have you also noticed its capacitive screen can only track two simultaneous touches, unlike the 6-10 for other more general purpose devices?

Re:full software rendering? (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519936)

It's probably incapable of refreshing it at an acceptable rate for video playback. Doesn't it use the whole screen while you're performing less intensive operations, like reading a book?

Also... Remember analog CRTs? Remember that you always had to design for the "overscan" area and designate a safe draw area with a margin around it, when making games and GUIs. It's been done before, and continues to be relevant even today because CRTs are still alive. Not being able to use the entire display resolution is nothing new. Not that it's an optimal scenario, just that display hardware has always imposed some sort of restriction until recently. We're just spoiled! :)

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520022)

Also... Remember analog CRTs? Remember that you always had to design for the "overscan" area and designate a safe draw area with a margin around it, when making games and GUIs. It's been done before, and continues to be relevant even today because CRTs are still alive.

Manufacturers are starting to ignore this now, though. For example, Roku doesn't consider overscan--it just displays its full resolution. That means that on CRTs, a moderate amount of the screen can be cut off. There's no way to adjust it on the Roku. If your TV can't adjust, you're out of luck.

There are other (HD-enabled) set-tops that act similarly, such as the PS3. While games may take overscan into account, the Netflix app didn't.

I had to find the service manual for my TV (luckily available online) to get the damned thing to be even usable. I never quite managed to get it perfect.

Re:full software rendering? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520354)

Manufacturers are starting to ignore this now, though. For example, Roku doesn't consider overscan--it just displays its full resolution. That means that on CRTs, a moderate amount of the screen can be cut off. There's no way to adjust it on the Roku. If your TV can't adjust, you're out of luck.

Which is why there are still title and action safe areas even on HD. And said areas for 4:3 SD downconversion (important for TV shows).

Most devices don't care because it isn't needed for the vast majority of HDTVs out there. If it claims 720p, it can display all 1280x720 pixels. Ditto 1920x1080 for 1080p. Some TVs though have to put into a "pixel perfect" mode as they chop the frame down 5% (the HDTV overscan area) then upscale the remaining center of the frame up again

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520124)

ok, let me rephrase.

Why would you choose to build a device with hardware incapable of handling rendering at the native resolution of the device, especially when you've chosen hardware capable of rendering at 2/3 of the native resolution. was the last 1/3 really so far away price-wise?

Because they didn't design it for video playback period, it was designed for displaying books and fairly trivial images. They didn't say "hey I bet people are going to root this and try to turn it into a full-fledged tablet, let's make sure we have the hardware to support them." They put a nice screen on it and said "we don't have to support this other stuff, so let's not spend the extra money on better hardware". It's supposed to be a limited platform designed to push the sales of e-books that just happens to run Android. There's a REASON it only costs $250 and full-blown tablets like the iPad/Tab/Xoom start at $500.

This is what the tinkering crowd needs to understand. You want to modify these devices, fine, but don't complain if it doesn't support something beyond its original intended scope. The Nook IS NOT A FULL-BLOWN TABLET. You get what you pay for.

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519704)

And hardware varies a lot in this regard.

Since the Nook Color isn't designed as a video playback device, this limitation wasn't a big deal for whomever chose the hardware architecture for the Nook.

For example, the GPU in many Samsung devices happens to be capable of decoding hardware accelerated video at well ABOVE the device resolution - the assumption being that it'll be used for HDMI output.

The GPU in Nvidia Tegra 2 systems is kinda "meh" as far as video playback performance. Nvidia focused on gaming - it can handle 720p H.264, but you need to either limit yourself to baseline profile OR limit your bitrate significantly. In terms of video playback, the GPU in my Samsung Infuse blows away the GPU in my Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Tegra 2).

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519756)

Since the Nook Color isn't designed as a video playback device, this limitation wasn't a big deal for whomever chose the hardware architecture for the Nook.

This has generally been my working assumption, either that or the rendering hardware was finalized before the display size was known. it is just the first time I've ever had a device incapable of rendering a format it supports at it's own native resolution. struck me as very odd. Seems to me like buying a Corvette and putting cheap tires on it. You know the corvette's guts are capable of 170mph, but the car will never get faster than 120mph nonetheless. (the need to do faster than 120mph obviously notwithstanding).

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Beat The Odds (1109173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519624)

I'll be interested to see if it has full software rendering engine bypassing the hardware decoder. I don't see why it shouldn't, I believe that's what the desktop VLC does.

If you have no regard for your battery life....

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519714)

If I did, would I overclock it to 150% of normal speed?

As long as it lasts through a single movie (say, for an airplane trip), that'd be good enough for me.

For car trips, it uses a standard microUSB port, and I've got at least two car chargers for those. Granted, the NC will draw about twice the default amps of a stock usb port if it has its preference, but stock will do in a pinch.

Re:full software rendering? (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519646)

Does an ARM have the guts to decode half a million pixels?

Even if it does, what does that do to the battery?

I suspect your answer lies in one of those two questions.

Re:full software rendering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520150)

And tablets are going to replace desktop PCs/laptops? IMHO if they do we will be taking a step backwards in computing power

Re:full software rendering? (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520242)

And tablets are going to replace desktop PCs/laptops? IMHO if they do we will be taking a step backwards in computing power

I'm afraid you are looking for a simple answer to a complicated question. I think the most concise answer is that they will replace many desktops and many laptops. But obviously they cannot replace computers that were being used for computationally intensive tasks, or for tasks with large storage needs, or for tasks which are ill suited to small screens or a touch interface.

I don't have a crystal ball, but my opinion is that they will take a huge chunk of growth out of the PC market (both laptops and desktops), but the PC market will remain stable.

Re:full software rendering? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522228)

no, but the DSP does, you are forgetting most ARM CPUs have extra hardware to handle video/audio/etc decoding.

Depends, my tablet is mostly backlight usage even when watching movies, so not much.

Acer Iconia Tab A500.

Re:full software rendering? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520230)

Even relatively recent, dual-core 1.2 Ghz Android devices simply do not have the horsepower to decode a 1080 stream. Note that even a Core2 at 2 Ghz won't even reliably keep up with many 1920x1080 streams, and the performance per clock is better there than ARM.

Now consider the fact that even at full tilt, it will have massive frame drop. Imagine your battery consumption.

The reason I presume Nook hardware decode is limited is because even their hardware decoder couldn't have been architected to do that decode at the price B&N wanted to set. You'll be massively disappointed trying software decode if it is available, as I imagine the Nook color is stingy with the CPU as well.

I don't know about VLC, but mplayer and xbmc do vaapi, vdpau, and dxva2 (windows) specifically because even in intel land, either the CPU will choke or at *least* destroy battery life if it has to decode the stream.

Re:full software rendering? (2)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520782)

I'll be interested to see if it has full software rendering engine bypassing the hardware decoder. I don't see why it shouldn't, I believe that's what the desktop VLC does.

You've got that backwards, as VLC originated on general-purpose PCs without any particular hardware decoder to "bypass." VLC, relying on libraries like libavcodec implements everything it needs in C for maximum functionality on a wide range of hardware. It optionally uses tuned assembly-language routines, hardware acceleration or decoding features when they exist for specific hardware. The C implementations will be the first to work, but hardware features of specific devices that save power or enable higher quality decoding can always be exploited if someone writes the code for it. I think Android devices all implement EGL, which could be used for scaling at least.

TouchWiz (1)

Anubis_Ascended (937960) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519644)

Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 packs in a fairly decent media player - it's been able to handle just about every format I've thrown at it (granted, I only have AVI, MP4, MKV, and MPG, but still); the only thing I wish it could do natively is display subtitles, for when they're embedded in the MKV's.

Almost a reality? (1)

dnewt (2457806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519650)

I wouldn't call 'pre-alpha', 'almost a reality'.

That's funny (2)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519686)

I've been using android since the 1.6 days and I've never had issues playing any movie or video right out of the box. In point of fact, it's the only thing that's impressed me about the Android OS, that is *could* play anything thrown at it.

Anyway, I like VLC on the desktop, so a fully working one on Android would only be a plus.

Re:That's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519826)

You obviously don't download many movies. MoboPlayer is the best I have found so far, but it doesn't handle subtitles or some weirdly encoded avis.

Re:That's funny (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519932)

You must not be playing anything all that great, then. Anything with 5.1 or even sometimes 2.1 surround typically fails, higher bitrate stuff is often choppy, and often .mkv stuff won't play properly or allow you to pause/resume/seek. This is with the built-in video stuff as well as players like RockPlayer or MoboPlayer.

Re:That's funny (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520070)

Yeah, same here. I stopped having problems playing video on Android only when I stopped trying. What I managed to play smoothly drained the battery badly enough to make it not worth it.

Re:That's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520118)

VLC hands off DTS and co to the receiver, and it'll play 1080p/24 and 1080i/60 perfectly fine *without* HW acceleration. On 5 year old PC, it'll downsample the audio to 2.1 and handle upscaling 1920x1200 to a higher resolution monitor. You either fucked up your system, or have something odd buggering it up. Or, more likely, you are making it up.

Put up or shut up. Post a link to an mkv you state will not be handled.

Re:That's funny (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520184)

Put up or shut up. Post a link to an mkv you state will not be handled.

Nice try, Mr. MPAA lawyer.

Re:That's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521418)

Post a link to an mkv you state will not be handled.

Grab any 720p or 1080p video, remux it with MKVMerge and try it for yourself. There is no Android player that will use hardware decoding for MKV and software decoding is too slow, even on a dual core Cortex-A9.

Re:That's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520434)

You use 5.1 on while listening on a phone? Did you replace the factory keypad with a wooden one [museumofhoaxes.com] ?

Re:That's funny (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520778)

Is it really fair to complain about not being able to play 5.1 audio tracks on a phone, or mkv files on anything?

Re:That's funny (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520840)

MKV is a great container format, and one of the only ones that you can throw vobsub subtitles into and expect them to work. It's a shame that more devices don't support them well, if at all.

mini-HDMI out (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37521020)

Is it really fair to complain about not being able to play 5.1 audio tracks on a phone

When you don't have the time to transcode everything to 2.0 in advance, yes. Or when the phone has a mini-HDMI out, yes.

Re:That's funny (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520836)

Try Dice Player. It's handled everything I've thrown at it, even hi10p (which actually puts it ahead of my desktop machine)

Oh really? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519706)

Android, as a platform, has always fallen a little short when it comes to media playback.

Sounds like this was submitted by a smug crApple fanboy. Android does just fine playing any videos I put on it, without having to ask Lord Job$$ permission or go through the CRAPTUNES store. It also does Flash videos, unlike your iJesusPhone. Maybe you should buy a real phone instead of an overpriced shiny toy that has been purposely crippled.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520284)

You know when you post like that you just sound like an idiot rather than making any real point, right? You're completely undermining whatever message you're trying to send by appearing so retarded. It's the same principle as people who use 'M$' or '$ony' or 'Nobama.' Even if you have a valid point to make about the deficiency of a particular person, platform or company, you IMMEDIATELY undermine that criticism by sounding like a fucking five year old trying to think up the meanest insults he can without getting scolded by his teacher or parent.

Here's how your post was probably intended to sound:

"Sounds like the submitter is uninformed. Android plays most media formats fine and even those that don't work can generally be viewed by a third party player such as Mobo or Rock for free from the market. It's a lot more flexible that way than an iOS device which generally requires a purchased piece of software because of Apple's store policies."

Here's how it actually sounds:

"Derp."

Sounds Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519794)

...but MX Video Player is free and already plays everything under the sun.
tons of video players in the Android market do. I love VLC player on my pc but i'm not sure that it will bring anything we don't already have.

Re:Sounds Good (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519974)

^^^ What they said.

Not only MX VP, but others play everything just fine too. I was bored the one night and tested quite a few different video players plus the stock player on .avi, mp4, mkv, and vob videos. Some didn't like VOB or mkv, and some that did didn't play them smoothly, but a few played with no issues.

Also, a lot do streaming just fine now... one such is Avia which is made by a company my friend works for (Videon-Central) who's done quite a bit of work on GoogleTV stuff (both software and hardware wise). Right now it's focused as an app for GoogleTV devices, but the APK my friend sent works absolutely fine on my Galaxy S GT-i9000 (running CyanogenMod 7) for both regular videos as well as finding DLNA/streaming devices on my network (including my Belkin router with the USB ports). The only thing I haven't tested with it yet is if MKV's and VOBs play smooth or at all (and if it will stream those etc etc.. sometime I'll get around to that). The layout is pretty straight forward, though I don't care for how it automatically plays the next video after the one you selected is done playing.

Anyhow, you may or may not find it in your market. I know it doesn't come up in my market which is why my friend had send the apk to me.

Gallery not great for photos (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520062)

>"The only native app that allows you to navigate movies is the Gallery app, which is great for photos"

No, it is NOT great for photos because it doesn't understand what a directory structure is. So it flattens out all my subdirectories into just two levels, making it impossible to find anything. Sure, it might work fine for someone just using the camera and with a few directories of stuff. But for someone who wants to load their card with thousands of pictures so they can use their tablet as a nice display system- it is a mess.

Unfortunately, not a SINGLE photo display app I have tested can properly display nested subdirectories with more than 1 nest. And Gallery does the same crappy thing for videos too, it is just that I don't have tons of them, so it isn't an issue.

Re:Gallery not great for photos (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520610)

That's one of the thing I *hate* android and "modern interfaces" for. They are hiding the directory structure, often using some meta data included in the file for sorting such as the EXIF data. They do not seem to care about the directory structure (which is meta data as well). They just assume the user does not know how to use directories (which is definitely true for some users). But come on, if I have 10000 files, linear order IS NOT the way to go.

Re:Gallery not great for photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521958)

There is a presumption that tagging is a superior organizational scheme. It's true that tags can provide a more flexible discovery system. However what if the files are not tagged? What if the tagging is incomplete, disorganized, or just peculiar?

Call me old fashioned, but I like a directory system. It can provide a default (and easily discoverable) organizational metaphor. And it need not be at the expense of tagging either.

Now you kids get off my lawn!!

Re:Gallery not great for photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520680)

If you want to look at the file system then use a file manager.

This one will display images in a way similar to a desktop O/S, thumbnails and a Windows Picture View style thing to browse through photos in a folder: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.estrongs.android.pop

Re:Gallery not great for photos (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522332)

File managers are not decent photo display applications. I know, I tried them. They usually don't understand how to zoom, how to full screen, how to maxpect, how to create a thumblist, etc, etc.

I don't want to look "at the filesystem", I simply want a photo gallery application that doesn't assume the user is completely stupid. Many of us really do have a clue, and put the photos in specific nested directories for a very good reason.

I don't think it is too much to ask for Gallery (for example) to have the option of not trying to "hide" the directory structure.

Re:Gallery not great for photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520822)

If you want to display the file system then why not use a file manager?

Estrong does desktop O/S style thumbnails etc and can handle as many levels of nesting as you want.

Likes pirate downloads too! (3, Interesting)

networkz (27842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520132)

The screen shot has an R5 pirate copy of Toy Story featured in it.

Guess they forgot to rename the file before taking a shot. Noice.

Finally.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520358)

...I can watch porn on my HTC Eris.... well i will be able to, soon.

Good for esoteric formats, no advantage for H.264 (2)

Trixter (9555) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520370)

Unless he's planning to build in hardware decoding support for H.264, VLC won't be anyone's main player because it will burn up CPU like nobody's business. It's good news for old/esoteric formats though (MPEG-1? .mod/.s3m/.xm/.it modules?), which don't need a lot of CPU to decode.

Let me try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520410)

The cure for that disease is almost a reality.

Eternal life is almost a reality.

Unassisted flight is almost a reality.

Hmmm, all depressing... conclusion: works very well!

rockplayer is also nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520498)

VLC will rule but rockplayer will be a close secon

VLC isn't on Android yet? (1)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520754)

Then what am I running? When I got the tablet last week, I chose VLC Direct from the Android Market. Works just fine. Guess this refers to a fully-free version, since this already-working project is a paid application...

Re:VLC isn't on Android yet? (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520824)

Then what am I running?

When I got the tablet last week, I chose VLC Direct from the Android Market. Works just fine.

Guess this refers to a fully-free version, since this already-working project is a paid application...

Did you get an offer for source with your VLC binary? If not, it's probably infringing on the copyrights of the VLC developers.

Re:VLC isn't on Android yet? (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520964)

Then what am I running?

When I got the tablet last week, I chose VLC Direct from the Android Market. Works just fine.

Guess this refers to a fully-free version, since this already-working project is a paid application...

Did you get an offer for source with your VLC binary? If not, it's probably infringing on the copyrights of the VLC developers.

Reading the description of VLC Direct [android.com] , I suspect that it's not derived from VLC, but an Android front end for the VLC web interface which must be running on another machine to make it work. Though that approach probably has advantages, such as reduced power usage, it's certainly not the most flexible. VLC running natively on the Android device wouldn't require any transcoding server.

If "VLC Direct" is not derived from VLC, it's not copyright infringement, but it could be trademark infringement, since it's clearly causing confusion.

Re:VLC isn't on Android yet? (1)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | more than 2 years ago | (#37521304)

VLC Direct doesn't need VLC running on the desktop, as long as the content is on the phone/tablet already. It can stream to or from VLC on another machine.

I haven't looked into the licensing, because I'm still working on whether or not I'm keeping the tablet itself.

font cache rebuilding - now mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520790)

Now I can watch VLC rebuild its font cache while on the go, too!

Re:font cache rebuilding - now mobile (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37521700)

heh.

It took forever yesterday on my brand new quad-core i5 desktop here at work.

They'd have to update their dialogue to remind you to plug your phone in.

"Always fallen a little short"? Not true. (1)

julian67 (1022593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37521874)

My little Archos 43IT running Froyo plays mp3, m4a, ogg, wma, flac, wav, ac3, dts, mp2 ....in fact so far it has played everything I fed it with the sole exception being musepack.

As for video it plays up to 720p and works fine with all kinds of containers and codecs i.e. ts, vob, mkv, mp4, avi, wmv, mov containers and mpeg2, h.264, xvid/divx, wmp, even theora. It handles vobsubs and text subtitles as well, and if there are multiple audio tracks the user can choose. It can play all this from internal storage or microSD or from network shares or by streaming from the www. And it has HDMI out.

Try that with your iPod Touch.

Internet Radio Streaming? (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522116)

What I've always wanted is an app for my phone which can stream internet radio stations. Most online radio stations stream at a low bitrate and don't require much bandwidth, but I haven't yet found an app that can just open any stream I want from a URL. Whenever I search the market for radio apps, all I get are a bunch of crapware that stream preset stations you can't change.

DVD (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37522288)

Could I watch DVDs? The regular VLC has a feature where I can play a DVD files folder just like it was the real disc. This is something I might desire to do on my phone.
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