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VLC 2.0 first look: Video player app features new single-window UI and robust media support


A few days ago we told you VideoLAN was readying version 2.0 of its popular video player and now the company has made the final version available for download. This latest version is a major update which features a completely re-designed UI, full-screen support on Lion and experimental support for Blu-ray discs.

I've been a long-time fan of VLC and gave this latest version a test run. As expected, VLC lives up to its reputation as the media player that can handle just about everything. I have a video library with a wide variety of file formats and VLC was able to playback every file I threw at it. It handled the standard .mpg, .avi and, of course, .mov files. It also played some oddballs that most Mac players don't support including .swf, .asf, and .wmv files.

DVD played back in full-screen mode with full menu support. Besides discs, VLC also played ISO and VOB files from ripped DVDs. Location of the media didn't matter either as I was able to play local media, media on a network attached storage drive, and files on the Internet. The app has a slick, single-window UI that lets you easily switch between your library and the video that is playing. If you don't like the single-window look you can always change back to the traditional UI in the options. Speaking of options, VLC has a lot of them. You can spend at least 15 minutes poring over the preferences and tweaking the app to your liking.

The best part about VLC is that it's easy to use, but chock full of features that'll please even the videophiles in our midst. It plays a wide variety of file formats which makes it an excellent companion (or replacement) for QuickTime. VLC 2.0 is available for free from VideoLAN's website.

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