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Universal video player: VLC with more than 3 billion downloads

Universal video player: VLC with more than 3 billion downloads

Since its release in 1996, VideoLAN Client, or VLC for short, has become the most popular media format player. What initially served as a streaming solution to enable the campus campus with television through a single receiver, now looks back on over three billion downloads.

Many users can look back to the time before the VLC completely without sadness: Was there no media codec installed on the system at that time, could not play appropriate formats with former players. That was the big time of codec packs, which did not abate even at the beginning of the XP era. The VLC brought many, if not all, codecs with it, which generally made rendering much easier. Today, the player can play over 100 different formats.

James Bond and Terry Pratchett as namesake

It took until the first stable version 1.0.0 until July 7, 2009. About a year later, the development team with the version 1.1.0 said goodbye to the tradition of naming all publications with code names, which by characters from the Movie “James Bond 007 – Goldeneye”. This is due to the fact that the original version of the player was tested with this movie. Thereafter, the team resorted to characters from the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett back.

Now, about 23 years later, at the CES 2019, which is still taking place in Las Vegas, the team of the free media player looked at their own booth at the limit of three billion downloads, shown with individual numbers on smartphones and tablets.

Real download number not countable

But this is only half the story, as the team of students from the French engineering school École Centrale Paris at Châtenay-Malabry near Paris and developers from more than 20 countries did not begin counting download numbers until 2005 – and that only through their own infrastructure, which counts macOS, Windows and source code downloads. The only external sources in the list are the Android and iOS installations. It is also questionable which installations from various Linux repositories and their package administrations were counted. In addition, the software is offered directly on many pages for download. This large number of sources of supply makes an absolute count of download numbers basically impossible.

Still much ahead

Even after almost a quarter of a century, the developers are still far from having their ideas, especially as new technological developments enable new functions. Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the heads of development, said that the software should also receive support for Apple's AirPlay in the coming months. In addition, a focus will be placed on the area of ​​virtual reality, 2D films will be played in a virtual cinema environment. Furthermore, the media library is to be revised and made easier to use. Even though VLC is becoming an ever more powerful media solution, Kempf emphasizes that you do not want to compete with established solutions like Kodi or Plex.

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