VLC goes modern in latest update

Driven by its open-source and cross-platform nature, VLC Media Player reigns as the best-known alternative media player. Version 1.1 gains hardware acceleration, WebM codec support, and integrates an extensions framework.

Perhaps the best-known alternative media player for Windows and Mac, VLC's popularity has been driven by its open-source and cross-platform nature. The latest update, for Windows, Mac, and Linux, goes to great lengths to keep the player current.

VLC Media Player 1.1 gets extensions, along with a bunch of improvements under the hood.

VLC Media Player 1.1 gets extensions, along with a bunch of improvements under the hood.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

VLC 1.1 adds in hardware acceleration on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Linux computers; supports encoding and decoding the HTML5 video and audio codec WebM; better MKV HD support and 40 percent faster HD decoding; introduces lua-based extensions; and has overall better performance because of the removal of "tens of thousands of lines" of code.

There's also a significant subtraction from the media player, if you're a fan of Internet radio. VLC 1.1 removes support for SHOUTcast Radio because, according to a press release, "VLC developers have received several injunctions by e-mail from employees at AOL, asking us to either comply to a license not compatible with free software or remove the SHOUTcast capability in VLC," over the past year. As a response, VLC stopped supporting SHOUTcast, although the top of the press release now indicates that the situation is more fluid than it appeared at first.

The full list of changes to VLC Media Player 1.1 are available at its site.

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