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VLC Expected to Break 3B Downloads at CES, Will Add Airplay Soon


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Open source video player app VLC was mere hours away from surpassing 3 billion downloads Friday, and the Videolan team celebrated the occasion with a special download counter at their CES booth in Las Vegas.

VLC is expected to surpass the milestone some time Friday afternoon, according to Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the app's lead developers. And in a sign of the times, around a quarter of those downloads are coming from mobile devices.

Kempf also shared some of the roadmap for VLC with Variety , which includes implementing Airplay. This will make it possible for Android users to beam videos from their mobile devices to Apple TVs. Kempf said that Airplay support could make it to the main VLC app in about a month.

Another feature demonstrated at CES was enhanced support for VR, which makes it possible to watch traditional 2D movies in a virtual theater environment within headsets like the HTC Vive.

Kempf said that the Videolan team reverse-engineered most VR headsets to natively support VR video through the main VLC app. Relying on the SDKs of headset manufacturers would have added hundreds of megabytes of code to VLC. The implementation demonstrated at CES on the other hand is based on just around 1 megabyte of additional code, he said.

Finally, VLC is also looking to build out a more compete media library for its app to simplify the switch from iTunes. However, Kempf cautioned that the goal was not to build a complete media center solution with intricate tools to manage large personal media libraries. "We are never going to compete with Plex or Kodi," he said.

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