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VLC for Android Finally Available in the US Play Store

 VLC for Android Finally Available in the US Play Store

VLC has long been one of the top media players on the desktop, but its life on mobile platforms has been much more tumultuous. After coming to iOS a few years ago it was pulled because of Apple's licensing requirements. It eventually returned to iOS, but the development of the Android version has been arduous to say the least. After nearly two years, VLC is available in the Play Store for US Android users.

Many beta apps are geographically restricted for testing purposes, but a two year geo-restricted beta is pretty unusual. The US was the last country to get access to the beta, which was also available for download on the VideoLAN website. However, it's ideal to have automatic updates via the Play Store rather than sideload nightly builds.

All Android devices come with video players that can access standard local storage (unlike iOS), so what's the need for an app like VLC? If you want to playback a regular H.264-encoded video file, the stock players will work just fine. However, anything else and you might have issues, depending on the phone. Even devices that have codecs to decode other files might not be very good at it, but VLC has an efficient software decoder that can play almost anything. The drawback, of course, is that software decoding is a bigger power hog than hardware decoding. While VLC is mostly a video player, it can also be used to listen to music.

The app isn't the most gorgeous thing ever designed, but it's functional and offers various sorting options for your content. The network stream feature from the desktop app is present on Android too. Just enter an address, and you're good to go. While video apps like MX Player have become more popular on Android, VLC is worth checking out now that it's available to everyone

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