Raspberry Pi gets support for VLC media player with latest Raspbian update

The latest version of Raspbian, the default operating system for the family of low-cost computers, adds support for the popular open-source VLC media player.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+: A tour of the new board A walk through all the features on the latest Raspberry Pi board.

Want to use the VLC media player on the Raspberry Pi? Well, you're finally in luck.

The latest version of Raspbian, the default operating system for the family of low-cost computers, adds support for the popular open-source media player.

The move is significant for Raspbian, giving the OS a graphical media player for the first time, in addition to the existing command-line OMXPlayer.

"Windows has Windows Media Player; MacOS has QuickTime Player and iTunes; but we've had a big hole where something similar ought to be for Raspbian," said Simon Long, senior principal software engineer at Raspberry Pi Trading.

"After a lot of work (by people far cleverer than me), we are now able to announce that Raspbian includes a fully hardware-accelerated version of VLC."

SEE: Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi (Tech Pro Research)

From this point onwards, VLC will be bundled with the OS and offer hardware-accelerated playback of H.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1 encoded video on the Pi. As is the case with all media players on the Pi, you have to buy one-off codec licenses for MPEG and VC-1.

The new version of Raspbian also features the Thonny 3 IDE for the Python programming language and a change to help prevent updates to the desktop's appearance from overriding customizations made by the user.

Long also announced a change to how Raspbian is made available to download. To make it easier for people on slower internet connections to download the OS, Raspbian is now available as a minimal and full build from the usual download page.

The minimal build, simply called 'Raspbian Stretch with desktop', is 1GB and includes the desktop, the Chromium browser, the VLC media player, Python, and some accessory programs.

The full build, called 'Raspbian Stretch with desktop and recommended software', is 1.8GB and bundles additional software including: LibreOffice, Scratch, SonicPi, Thonny, and Mathematica.

Existing Raspbian users can also update to the latest version of the OS by running the commands sudo apt-get update followed by sudo apt-get dist-upgrade in the Linux terminal. Existing Raspbian users updating in this manner will need to install VLC separately, by typing the commands sudo apt-get update followed by sudo apt-get install vlc.

This latest Raspbian update follows last week's release of the Raspberry Pi 3 A+ board, a $25 successor to the Pi 1 A+, which is basically a stripped-back version of the $35 Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

Read more about the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+