VLC for Apple TV released!

Discussion in 'Apple TV Apps' started by UhFive, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    Glad to see it, but just like the iOS version, this loses a lot of value due to the lack of support for AC-3 and TrueHD audio. I understand why that is the case, but it would be nice if they could offer a paid version with a Dolby license.
  2. DebbieFL33 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2015
    As most of my files are AC3, can't even test VLC properly.

    Don't understand why VLC isn't doing at least a pass thru. Also, Apple TV covers the Dolby license on the ATV4 (IOS, no), so hopefully it's a misunderstanding on the part of the VLC team and will be corrected ASAP.

    P.S. The charter of VLC doesn't allow use of any code that isn't free/open source. All components have to be publicly available. That's why they can't add to IOS, even with an at cost charge.
  3. loekf macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2015
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    Quick test:

    - No passthrough, multi-channel stuff (DTS and AC3) is played as stereo
    - Hate the in my face file name (huge font) under the progress bar
    - Don't like the huge icons without album art. They should allow for a list view
    - No problems playing 1080p MKVs with reasonably high bitrate (x264) ... as expected

    MrMC is still #1 for me, but I'm a big fan of Kodi
  4. DebbieFL33 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2015
    - No passthrough, multi-channel stuff (DTS and AC3) is played as stereo

    Loekf, could you please tell me which audio settings do you have on ATV 4? I don't even receive stereo on files that have AC3. Some won't even start playing video.
  5. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    I am not getting any audio for my mpeg 2 files which play fine in MrMC, NAStify and Infuse Pro.
  6. DebbieFL33 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2015
    AC3 Audio isn't supported yet. View last several posts
  7. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
  8. Zimmy68 macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2008
    I'm having horrible luck.
    I just did a test rip of Cape Fear (1991) to H.264.
    InFuse plays it without a hiccup.
    VLC starts, then jumps to the next video.
    Not sure why I wouldn't keep using inFuse.
  9. geesus macrumors 6502


    Jul 3, 2015
  10. Dave01568 macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2008
    i made a video about the vlc app on Apple TV

    what do you think? is it better than infuse? dose it solve all of your airplay woes? let me know . lets talk about it

  11. JoeShades macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    Williamstown, NJ
  12. benjitek macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2012
    I gave it a quick try -- didn't stay installed very long. It saw my MacBook's Plex library, twice actually -- once as DLNA as I have that turned on, and something else (UMB I think). It doesn't transcode -- the MKV files played video only, no audio. MP4 files were fine. Lots and lots of scrolling around and selecting. I'm sure many will be thrilled to have it, I'm fine with Plex... It isn't really comparable to Infuse or Plex.
  13. loekf macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2015
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    If I remember correctly:

    - Dolby surround
    - Audio format set to auto
    - Prevent loud sounds to off (what I mean here is Apple's dynamic range limiter, when enabled it seems to destroy passthru via HDMI)

    This ensures:

    - I have DD(+) when using Netflix, so passthrough to my receiver
    - MrMC has passthru enabled for DTS and DD. MP3/AAC are output as PCM to my receiver. TrueHD and DTS MA are decoded by MrMC to PCM 5.1 (?) and pushed as PCM to my receiver.
    - DTS and AC3 passthru on Infuse works as well

    My receiver is an Onkyo TX-NR636
    --- Post Merged, Jan 13, 2016 ---
    This is still surprising, because all these media apps (Nastify, VLC, MrMC, Video Explorer) are using some form of ffmpeg and doing SW decode.

    I played around with VLC, but don't see the added value besides Nastify and Video Explorer, which look very similar and are also VLC based.

    As I mentioned in terms of UI, feature set, I'm a big fan of MrMC. It's the only one, which plays every video file in my collection. Except for .iso files of course, but I have hardly any .iso images in my collection.
  14. lemonkid macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2015
    Installed VLC and after a few crashes I gave up on it. I hope it will become better in the future...
  15. Zimmy68 macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2008
    I never saw the need to use Plex.
    Don't you need to have something running on your PC to use it?

    inFuse has no issues with that.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 13, 2016 ---
    Out of the ones I tried, VLC is the most like an Alpha, not even a beta.
    It scans my network share just fine (unlike the Nvidia Shield Version) but it does something that no program should ever do.
    I click on the Cape Fear I just ripped (H.264, AppleTV friendly) and it freezes the screen a minute, then happily launches the next video it can find.
    Who needs an error message? All you want to do is watch something, right? Who cares if it is what you selected.
    Just be happy I am playing anything.

    Then on videos that it would play, if I dared scrub, it just hung. How dare you not sit through the movie from beginning to end???

    How this got into the app store is beyond me.

    Trust me, I am the biggest VLC fan, at least on Windows.
  16. DebbieFL33 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2015
    Thank you for your reply. Helped me to form some suppositions re: VLC:

    VLC, probably, doesn't have SW decode of DD audio in US version only (due to previous license problems in IOS). IMO, this is what causing skipped files, video playing with no audio, etc. in US only.
    In your circumstance (outside of US), files will play with stereo as VLC hasn't implemented pass-thru yet.

    Yesterday, sent an email to VLC team to request they verify with Apple that ATV/TVOS carries the Dolby license, hence VLC could do S/W decode in US version. Also, probably a matter of time before pass-thru is instituted (most, if not all above media apps didn't have pass-thru on first release).
  17. geesus macrumors 6502


    Jul 3, 2015
    This is slightly off topic but are you able to get DD+ out of any films in Netflix? I can't manage it here, whereas I can with my PS3/PS4. I thought it was a limitation of the app on the ATV4 that it wouldn't output DD+?
  18. DebbieFL33 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2015
    Not being an audiophile nor being very knowledgeable in audio decoding, contacted VLC:

    As a follow up, received several replies from Felix Kuhne (VLC), so corrections to my assumptions are in order.

    Pass-thru. : "Because it wasn’t ready for v1.0. It will come."

    Dolby: Refuses to negotiate a software patent license with VLC.
    Apple: Does not expose the Dolby decoder in current releases of tvOS.
    Ref US vs non-US apps: All apps for iOS and tvOS are legally distributed from California, so this doesn’t make a difference.

    Based on Felix's replies, I cannot understand how loekf receives stereo on AC3 files and several US users do not have audio at all and some will see file skips.

    In conclusion, we wait for VLC to institute pass-thru (if one is using Audio Receiver which has DD decoding).
  19. a.coward, Jan 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016

    a.coward macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    Thanks for following up with the developers.

    Regarding why "lekf" is getting stereo output: my best guess is that the file he's playing contains audio tracks for both AC3 and Stereo. VLC in that case will pick Stereo as the default channel.

    Also, has anyone tried compiling VLC from source and side-loading it onto the Apple TV? I've read a couple of posts on different boards that the source for VLC for IOS still contains code for surround decoding and that the decoding is just 'disabled' in the packages in the App Store. (Mind you, the posts were at least six months old, before the Apple TV came out.)

    I've been able to compile the code successfully, but have no idea how to deploy the resulting artifacts into the Apple TV. I followed the instructions from here: https://wiki.videolan.org/IOSCompile/

    UPDATE (01/16/2016):

    I had some time today to go give this another go. The issue I had with side loading the bundle onto the Apple TV is now resolved. It appears that you need to have a paid Apple Developer Account in order to use the iCloud integration features added to VLC in v2.5 (I'm using the free version). This had prevented side loading onto the device. I had to go through some of the configuration files and disable some of the keychain and iCloud "entitlements", but in the end I was able to get DTS and AC3 audio decoding to work with some mkv files and an HDHomeRun.
  20. DebbieFL33 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2015
    Render me guilty of not seeing the forest for the trees. So simple. Too much testing is making my mind mush. Thank you.
  21. a.coward, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016

    a.coward macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    Following up on my own post, I managed to get a little bit further in building VLC for TVOS from the source files. Although I am still unable to deploy VLC on my Apple TV (I'm getting signing issues because I do not have valid provisioning profiles for certain entitlements... blah blah blah), I have been able to get it to run within the TVOS simulator from Xcode. From there, the good news is that I have been able to verify DTS/AC3 decoding is in fact enabled.

    UPDATE (01/16):

    I had some time today to give this another go. Good news is that I am now able to side-lode the VLC bundle onto my Apple TV and can verify that DTS and AC3 decoding is working properly. I tested this out with some mkv files and the AC3 audio track from over-the-air broadcasts from an HDHomeRun.
  22. Zimmy68 macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2008
    Where does one review the AppleTV version?
    I can say plenty about it, "it's a great app" is not one of them.

    Forget about not including basic audio streaming pass through (which Apple's video player does), does it actually work for anyone?
    Has anyone made it through an actual video?
  23. Mormith macrumors newbie


    Mar 25, 2012
    I've made it through a bunch of videos of various sizes and formats. MKVs don't seem to have any sound. My biggest complaint is if I pause a video and go do something and come back a few minutes later, the app is frozen and I have to kill the app from running in the background, relaunch the video and rescrub back to where I was when it froze.

    For a free video player I think it's a pretty good first version (that doesn't studder on playback) that I expect will improve over time.
  24. pacorob, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016

    pacorob macrumors 68000


    Apr 8, 2010
    the Netherlands
    I agree with you completetely Infuse 3 Pro is my favorite video app on all my iDevices. It works so great with so many video formats and also offers two other great features: opensubtitles.org support, automatic download of metadata together with a NAS it works like a charm and also the Chromecast support is super.

    I did saw another guy saying that MrMC is also very nice. It seems it also offers opensubtitles.org support. I do wonder if this iOS version is from the same developer as he is talking about. By looking at the screenshots it seems like it.

    I also looked at Plex in the past but didn't have a NAS to run it on and I also don't want to run a computer permanently so Infuse 3 Pro is sooo much easier.

    VLC on iOS and Apple TV is indeed lacking so much features. I can't see why people still bother to use it. On Windows desktop/laptop it's great though.

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60 January 12, 2016